How Your Skin Can Benefit from Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural way to treat minor skin conditions such as insect bites.

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Patients are always asking me for natural or non-chemical remedies. Sometimes, there are good ones, sometimes not.

Inexpensive apple cider vinegar (it need not be organic) is a good one. Soak a cotton ball with it and use it these three ways to treat minor skin conditions:

1. Bug Bites: Reduces itching and swelling of bug bites, especially mosquito bites.

2. Athlete’s Foot: Mix 3 parts vinegar with 1 part water and soak feet for 15 minutes once or twice a day. It can help eliminate the fungus.

3. Smelly Pits: Sweat doesn’t smell bad. It’s the bacteria that breaks down your sweat that does. Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your pits can help kill bacteria and odor.

Photo credit: FCC, Loco’s Photos

How To Use Alcohol Sanitizer Correctly

Dr. Benabio shows you how to use alcohol sanitizer correctly to kill bacteria and other germs on your hands.

Did you pack an alcohol sanitizer in your child’s backpack? Bacteria love to hang-out at schools and methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial bad-boy that you want your children to stay away from. Alcohol sanitizers are a great way to reduce the risk of infection. Be sure you choose one with at least 60% alcohol, and be sure to use it right way. Not sure how? Watch and I’ll show you.

The Pros and Cons of Proactiv for Acne

Proactiv® is the most popular acne treatment in the US. If Proactiv is so popular (and used by all those now-acne-free celebrities), then it must be a great product, right? Well, maybe. Here are the pros and cons of Proactiv. Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of Proactiv for Acne”

Your Hands Are Teeming With Bacteria

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Right now your hands are teeming with bacteria. Countless trillions of organisms call your skin home, and that’s a good thing. Skin infections do not arise because you have bacteria on your skin. Rather, they arise because the type of bacteria on infected skin is not healthy bacteria but aggressive pathogenic bacteria.

Determining which bacteria are good and which are dangerous is difficult, but our immune systems have managed to get it right most of the time. When our immune systems are wrong, either an infection develops, or excess inflammation develops, as is the case in eczema or psoriasis.

Telling good from bad is hard. There are hundreds of types of bacteria on your hands right now. A recent study of college students (perhaps not the cleanest group of individuals) discovered that the average student has 140 different types of bacteria on his or her skin. There were over 4,000 different types of bacteria identified across all the students. Not surprisingly, the most common types were familiar household names: Propionobacterium (the bacteria responsible for acne), strep, and staph (of which the infamous methicillin resistant staph aureus, MRSA is a subtype).

There were also differences in the bacteria on the dominate hand versus the non-dominant hand — namely bacteria normally found in the gastrointestinal track was found more often on the dominant hand. This will no doubt lead to a follow up study of: “Do college students wash their hands before leaving the bathroom?” (Research so far does not look promising).

Photo: Pink Sherbert Photography (flickr)

MRSA, the Staph Superbug

What is MRSA?

MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to methicillin, an anti-staph antibiotic. MRSA is a particularly virulent strain that can cause a life threatening infection, especially in frail or immunocompromised patients. It is more common than we thought; data from the CDC showed that there were about 94,000 cases of MRSA in the US in 2005 with over 18,000 deaths, more than from AIDS. Continue reading “MRSA, the Staph Superbug”