Allergic to Exercise? What Causes Exercise Urticaria?

Do you break out in an itchy rash or develop itchy pink welts when you exercise? If so, you might have exercise urticaria. This is a common problem that can range from  mild to debilitating. Exercise urticaria is triggered when immune cells, called mast cells, release histamine, causing the pink welts and intense itch. It’s thought to be the result of exertion and changes in your skin’s temperature. Once you develop the itchy rash, it’s difficult to treat. So the best defense against exercise urticaria is to take an oral anti-histamine, such as loratadine, about 30 minutes prior to working out.

Dr. Oz Is Wrong On This One

Millions of patients turn to Dr. Oz for advice about their health. He makes complicated health issues easily understandable. Like any doctor, we don’t expect him to be correct all the time. Recently he made a mistake. He recommended using tanning beds for their health benefits.

The only known health benefit of ultraviolet B light (which is in some, not all tanning beds) is to increase vitamin D levels. We know that using tanning beds increases the risk of getting melanoma and the risk of getting other skin cancers. Fortunately, we also know there’s a safe and inexpensive way to increase your vitamin D3 level — simply take vitamin D supplements.

I’m sure if he  consulted a dermatologist (and it needn’t be me), then Dr. Oz would be better informed and would modify his advice. Melanoma skin cancer rates are increasing (while most other cancers are falling) and death from nodular melanoma skin cancer is unchanged despite decades of advances in medicine. We need to give our patients the best evidence we have so they can keep themselves and their families safe.

If this issue is important to you, then please help me by sharing  your thoughts with Dr. Oz and his audience.

How To Grow A Mustache Like Wes Welker

I’ve has a sudden deluge of e-mail asking me how to grow a mustache like Wes Welker from the New England Patriots. Well, just as you might not be able to put up yards-after-carry like Wes does, you might not be able to grow a mustache like he does. It takes time and testosterone. My advice? Get started soon. In this video I’ll tell you how fast (er, slowly) a mustache grows for most men.

How to Prevent Dry, Cracked Hands

What causes extremely dry, cracked hands and how to treat them.

We’ve all heard it a million times. The #1 thing you can do to prevent catching a cold is to wash your hands. But what happens when all the hand-washing causes other problems like extreme dryness?

In wintertime as temperatures drop, the relative humidity in the air also drops causing moisture to evaporate more quickly on your skin and leading to dry skin. Now there’s dry skin, and there’s really dry skin. The other day a patient splayed her hands out in front of her, and asked, “What do I do?” Her hands were cracked and bloodied, her nails were peeling and brittle, and she was clearly frustrated. She told me she washes her hands several times a day so she won’t get sick. She’s doing the right thing, sort of.

It’s true that frequent hand-washing reduces the spread of colds and flu, so I don’t want you to stop. Here’s what you need to do instead:

1. Moisturize every time you wash your hands. When you wash your hands with soap, especially harsh antibacterial soap, you strip natural oils off your skin, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and cracking. The only way to return moisture to the skin is to apply moisturizer. Look for hand moisturizers that contain dimethicone or silicone which helps sooth and moisturize skin and form a protective barrier that won’t leave your skin greasy, such as Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Creme. Once you find a moisturizer you like, buy several and place them everywhere you might use them, such as on your desk, in your car, next to your bathroom and kitchen sinks, on your nightstand. Every time you wash your hands, apply the moisturizer. Yes, every time. Massage it into your hands and nails. If you do this consistently, you should notice a significant improvement within a week or two.

2. Use alcohol hand sanitizers more frequently. Though it may seem strange, water-less hand alcohol sanitizers are actually much less drying than hand-washing because they don’t strip the oils off your skin. Dry skin is an oil problem, not a water problem, so you want to preserve those protective oils on your skin to keep it moisturized. Make sure you use hand sanitizer that contains at least 62% alcohol to kill germs. Also, make sure you rub it vigorously into your hands, including between your fingers and along your nails, until the gel has completely dried. Though effective in killing germs related to the common cold, hand alcohol sanitizers are not as effective in fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria infections as once thought. According to a news release today, the FDA is going to start cracking down on companies who issue false claims regarding hand sanitizers’ ability to kill MRSA bacteria.

Hopefully, by following this routine, you’ll end up with both soft hands and a soft nose.

Photo credit: primaverapvr

 

The Link Between Obesity and Acne

Many of you are trying to lose weight in 2012 (W00t!) Did you know that you might be helping your acne as well? Obesity can lead to excess hormones such as androgens and insulin-like growth factors which trigger acne. Losing weight can help reduce your hormone levels and improve your acne. Have you lost weight and seen your acne improve?

Are Your Skinny Jeans Giving You a Rash?

If your legs are red, bumpy, and irritated, don’t blame your soap or body lotion. It may be your skinny jeans. Those popular body-huggers may look hot, but they could be causing some very uncool things on your skin.

When you move in your skinny jeans, the material causes friction on your skin, which over time, can lead to folliculitis, inflammation of the hair follicles. If you have red, itchy bumps or pimples, especially on your thighs where skinny jeans tend to be tightest, then stop wearing them for a few days to let your skin heal. To treat folliculitis, you can apply warm compresses to the affected area for a few minutes twice a day. Sometimes over-the-counter topical antibiotics such as bacitracin can help. If the condition worsens, spreads, or doesn’t resolve after a week, then contact your doctor.

Before wearing your skinny jeans again, be sure to moisturize your skin well which makes it less prone to irritation from fabrics.

If all else fails, go shopping. According to fashionistas, spring 2012 is all about wide-leg jeans.

Photo credit, FCC Oo_Dee_oO