At-Home Skin Care Tips to Avoid Extra Trips to the Dermatologist

To help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, Minnesota issued a state-wide stay-at-home order in late March of 2020. Since then, millions of residents have had to drastically change their lifestyles. For most, this means working from home and making fewer trips to the grocery store. For many, it also means forgoing regular dermatology visits, especially for cosmetic procedures. Learn about the following skin care tips that may help you know how to modulate your regular routine.

But while skin care might not be considered an “essential” service, most gain both confidence and comfort in knowing that their skin is clear and healthy. If you’ve been struggling to care for your own skin, here are some at-home skin care tips to preserve skin health and avoid unnecessary trips to the dermatologist.


The Importance of Hand Washing – And Moisturizing

While most Americans are now familiar with handwashing’s importance, few understand the necessity of consistent hand moisturizing. If you’ve noticed dry, cracked skin on your hands and wrists, the constant soap and water use is likely to blame. To avoid potential infection, which can arise from cracked skin, invest in a high-quality moisturizer. If you’re having trouble controlling skin dryness, we recommend using two separate moisturizers – one lighter option for directly after washing and one heavier option for overnight healing.


Splurge on a Spot Treatment

Times of high physical and emotional stress are known to cause acne flare-ups. If you’re feeling more stressed out than usual, you’re likely having to deal with more consistent and persistent breakouts. While we will never recommend attempting an at-home extraction, we urge patients to think about investing in a high-quality spot treatment. Available over the counter, these products typically contain a high concentration of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to clear up and prevent future breakouts. That said, don’t become frustrated if you can’t clear up a spot. You can always schedule an acne consultation when life returns to normal.


Skin Care and Relaxation

If you’re having trouble managing your stress and skin, trying an at-home facial is a poular skin care tip.  This experience can be both relaxing and productive, both giving you the chance to decompress while addressing ongoing skin care concerns. Skin care masks are widely available at grocery stores, drug stores, and online. To make the experience a little more special, consider putting some additional effort into your surroundings – use an essential oil diffuser, make a cup of herbal tea, and massage your face with at-home tools, like a gua sha stone.


Skin Conditions that Require Medical Attention

While many routine skin conditions don’t require immediate medical attention, others are more serious. Even if you’re trying to avoid making unnecessary trips outside, these conditions can’t wait more than a few days or weeks before getting serious.

  • Melanoma and other potential skin cancers – If you notice a new spot on your body, especially if it looks like melanoma, you’ll need to visit your dermatologist as soon as possible. Melanoma is a fast-spreading and deadly skin cancer, but the prognosis can improve significantly with early and aggressive treatment.
  • Psoriasis – While many experience mild forms of psoriasis, some types of the condition can be very serious – even life-threatening. If you suspect you have pustular psoriasis or erythrodermic psoriasis, contact your dermatologist. When left untreated, these forms of the autoimmune condition can result in severe fluid loss. Even the more common plaque psoriasis can become dangerous if the skin becomes infected.
  • Eczema – This very common condition can sometimes become serious without active symptom management. Stasis dermatitis, for example, indicates a problem with blood flow, especially in the lower legs. This, as well as other types of severe eczema, can lead to infection, which will require immediate medical attention.


What to Do If You Need to See a Dermatologist

If you’re experiencing a skin care emergency, you’ll likely need to access medical help. If you’re unsure whether the condition you are experiencing constitutes an emergency, Zel Skin & Laser Specialist is offering telehealth appointments. While this won’t be enough to diagnose your condition, it can be a good first step toward getting treatment if you’re worried about unnecessarily going outside.

Whether your condition can be addressed at home or in a medical setting, know that our clinics will be ready to resume a full schedule for all medical and cosmetic dermatology services. If you have an acne outbreak that won’t go away, or if you haven’t been able to access your regular wrinkle treatments, contact us to make an appointment later in the season.

Top 5 Developments in Skin Cancer Research and Treatment

Medical dermatology is constantly evolving. Doctors and scientists are consistently looking for ways to improve treatment options for a range of conditions, from cystic acne and eczema to psoriasis and rosacea. Skin cancer research and treatment has commanded a lot of attention in recent months. Scientists around the world are testing the limitations of medical knowledge for skin cancer identification, diagnosis, and treatment, improving prognoses and prevention methods.


Skin Cancer Research Worth Following

We think some of those developments are pretty interesting. Below, we’ve detailed five of the most interesting and meaningful improvements to skin cancer research in recent months.


  1. Human Clinical Trials for Skin Cancer Vaccine – For years, companies have been attempting to develop a vaccine to hinder skin cancer development. Now, one company is expanding its human clinical trials into two more types of cancer: advanced Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Twenty patients with late-stage forms of these cancers will be eligible for the study, which will involve administering the vaccination, through a tuberculin syringe, into the tumor. If this phase of human clinical trials proves to be successful, the company will move into phase two, which will include 160 patients and expand to melanoma treatment.


  1. Connection Between Human Genome and Skin Cancer Discovered – A researcher at Indiana University has identified eight new genomic regions that can increase a person’s risk for developing skin cancer. The research team completed the largest genetic-associated study for squamous cell carcinoma ever conducted, and their findings shed light on how this form of skin cancer develops. They concluded that pigmentation genes, among others, can be a person’s skin cancer susceptibility gene. This will help develop new techniques of identifying a genetic predisposition to the condition.


  1. Doctors Find Limitations in Skin Cancer Screening Apps – Smartphone app developers are trying to make skin cancer diagnoses easier, but doctors warn that the technology is not sufficiently catching malevolent growths. A new study found that the leading apps that offer this service consistently missed melanomas and told some users their non-cancerous moles were a cause for concern. The study assessed nine previous studies, each of which analyzed six different apps. This is further cause to visit a dermatologist for skin cancer checks. Apps may be convenient, but they are never as effective as a doctor.


  1. Prevalence of Skin Cancer Differs Across Gender and Sexual Orientations – Researchers recently detailed differences in skin cancer prevalence across several sexual orientations and gender identities. The study, which is the largest study of skin cancer rates in sexual minorities, found that gay and bisexual men had higher rates of skin cancer than heterosexual men. By contrast, the study also found lower rates among bisexual and gay women than among heterosexual women. While the relationship between these rates is not causal (i.e. being a sexual minority does not cause skin cancer), the findings can be used to implement a more effective Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System for sexual minorities.


  1. Melanoma Prognosis Improves Amid Treatment Discoveries – Malignant melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. It is more likely to spread to other parts of the body, and though it accounts for only 1 percent of all skin cancers, it is responsible for more than 90 percent of skin cancer-related deaths. However, researchers are developing new therapies to block specific targets in tumor production pathways, and cancer vaccines are gaining additional momentum as possible treatment options. While melanoma prevention is still more effective than a cure, these new technologies provide hope that malignant melanoma prognoses will improve significantly in the coming years.


See a Dermatologist about Diagnosing and Treating Skin Cancer

Anyone in the Twin Cities area who believes they may have skin cancer or wants a second opinion about a diagnosis and treatment plan should Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our local clinics in Minneapolis, Edina or Plymouth.


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2 Carlson Parkway N., Suite 100
Plymouth, MN 55447

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