Should I Get a Base Tan Before Vacation?

I just got back from a conference in Hawaii. Did I get a base tan first? No. Why? Because it does more harm than good.

Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even if the base tan helps prevent sunburn, you had to damage your skin to get that tan in the first place. Using artificial tanning to rush a tan before you get on your flight can be even more damaging.

Go to Hawaii, swim with the dolphins, lounge by the pool. Cover up, wear sunscreen, sit in the shade. Your skin needs a vacation too.

Photo: J Benabio, MD

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Will Eating Red Meat Make My Hair Grow?

Eating more red meat will not significantly affect your hair growth. Here’s what you should do.

Blond long-haired young lady woman girl watching the surfers at Morro Bay, CA

No. Unless you’re malnourished, eating more steak or other protein won’t significantly affect your hair growth. For your hair to grow you need to be free of disease, have your stress under control, and eat a well balanced diet.

Iron and biotin are essential for hair growth. If you’re a vegetarian or you don’t have a healthy diet, then consider iron and biotin supplements. And if you smoke, even occasionally, stop.

Photo credit, FCC, Mike Baird.

 

Why Does My Face Turn Red When I Drink Alcohol?

Many people notice that after drinking alcohol their face turns red. Often acne or rosacea looks much worse. Sometimes people become sweaty and flushed. This is because your liver is eliminating the alcohol in your body and creates acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product. Acetaldehyde causes facial redness, flushing, sweating, and nausea. Asian people are more susceptible. In this video I explain how this happens, why it happens to people of Asian descent more often, and how you can avoid having a red face.

Two Things You Must Do To Prevent Razor Bumps

Razor bumps are painful red bumps that develop from ingrown hairs. Shaving against the grain or using a razor with many blades can cause them. In this video I’ll show you what causes razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae (in case your date asks and you’re trying to impress her). I’ll also give you two tips to prevent them.

3 Ways To Keep Warts From Spreading on Your Hands

Witches Party! Postcard art collection

Warts aren’t just for witches. People of all ages and races get warts, those ugly, sometimes painful skin growths, most commonly found on hands, feet, and genitals. That’s because warts are caused by a virus, the human papillomavirus (HPV), that’s highly contagious and easily transmitted. You can get a wart by touching someone else’s warts, by touching contaminated surfaces such as soiled towels, or by picking at a wart, causing it to spread to other areas.

Here are three ways to keep warts from spreading on your hands:

1. Stop chewing your nails. Nail biting is the fastest way to spread warts. Nail biting causes tiny tears in the skin on your fingertips and on the nail beds which pokes a whole huge in your front line defense against HPV. The virus finds these tiny openings, takes root, and grows.

2. Stay moisturized: By keeping your skin moisturized, you create a powerful barrier against viruses. Remember that moisturized skin is healthy skin. When skin is dry and cracked, it’s vulnerable, making it easy for HPV to enter the skin and infect you.

3. Wash your hands regularly: Hand-washing is cheap, easy, and effective in the battle against spreading warts. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and to dry them throughly with a clean towel, paper towel, or air dryer.

Photo credit, FCC, koiart71.

Why You Might Be Missing Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer. Catching it early is critical. The best way to find melanoma is to check your moles using the ABCDs. However, nodular melanomas can be trickier to find. A recent study from the Archives of Dermatology suggest that we might be missing these nodular melanomas which might be the reason why the death rate for melanoma has not improved in 20 years. How can we find nodular melanomas? Add “E” to your ABCDs.

  • Is the mole Asymmetric?
  • Does it have irregular Borders?
  • Does it have more than one Color?
  • Is the Diameter larger than 6 mm?
  • Is it Evolving (changing) or Elevated?
If it has any of the above and you have any concerns, then make an appointment to see a doctor. If a mole has 2 or more of the above, then it is by definition atypical and it must be checked by a physician.

In this video I’ll explain how examining your moles for the ABCDEs is the best way to catch melanomas as early as possible and to minimize the chances that it has spread.