Author Archives: sharon

Moisturizer? Maybe NOT a Good Idea

April 2012

For this newsletter, I am going to talk about a concept that I don’t recall being discussed when I was in dermatology training, but only have learned after practicing in New Orleans for over 20 years. In a nutshell, using moisturizer, especially during our hot, humid summers, may be a bad idea. Over and over, I have seen patients come in with complaints of acne and when I take away their heavy moisturizer, they get better! Heavy is when it comes in a jar and you turn it upside down and it stays in the jar. But other lighter moisturizers may not be needed and may be problematic too.

You say, but what about the sunscreen? There are other ways to get adequate SPF, including powders and sunscreen formulated for acne prone skin. If you use a powder, find out if it has sunscreen protection, and if not, use one that does, ie Jane Iredale and Bare Minerals. Elta MD line has “clear” for acne skin, which you can pick up in my office without seeing me or can find online at dermstore.com. (not my site, but hey, I do tell you everything!) For you teenagers, solbar liquid/gel is for oily/acne skin but most females don’t like the way it feels although it is a little cheaper. So, back to the moisturizers. What is their purpose? I guess to hydrate and plump up the skin making it appear less ‘wrinkly’. However, there is no real medicine in it that has been demonstrated to help with your wrinkles long term. So unless I have just had a peel, or a trip to Colorado/Arizona, I use something that will actually do something, ie retinoids (tretinoin and its many cousins), glycolic acid, peptides, Vitamin C and E, bleaching agents, or even better, multiple things in one cream. So If you get breakouts, bring in your products and let us look at them.

How do you make your Latisse bottle last up to three times as long?

If you read the instructions on the box, it states to use one drop per eyelash and a new applicator per drop. This is the way it was presented to the FDA so it has to say this. In discussing this with other dermatology colleagues, however, we have found that one drop for both eyes works just fine. Use the same applicator because much of the product remains on the brush after stroking one lash. How do you do this? Take the cap off the bottle, turn the cap upside down, and place ONE drop into the bottom of the cap. Dip the brush in, stroke one upper lash, then just re dip to stroke the other lash. The second eye will still get plenty of product! The following week, start with the opposite eye so one eyelash won’t always be the one that gets the first swipe. After you have been using Latisse for awhile, it is not necessary to use everyday-try three of four days a week. Now your bottle is lasting almost three times as long! Oh, I almost forgot…I also drag it across my eyebrows. Although not yet FDA approved for this indication, it is being looked into so there is thought it may work.

Changing moles? Get in QUICK!

April 2013

Sometimes I will go 6 months without seeing a melanoma but I have had three in the last month that I wanted to tell you about. I try to tell my patients “this is a partnership-my eye will hopefully pick up anything unusual, but I need you to tell me if anything starts changing”. Anyway, three women, all between early 40’s and early 50’s, came to me with a lesion or mole that was changing. All had been there about 6 weeks. All were biopsied and found to be melanoma. What gives me goose bumps and the message I want to convey is, if you believe a mole is changing or even have a new lesion you are worried about, try to see me in a week or two because these things can grow quickly. Basal cell carcinomas are a different story-we can watch something possibly suspicious over several months before we decide to biopsy and it only grows locally. As you know, as a rule of thumb, basal cells don’t metastasize and kill. So, what can I do to help? I usually have openings within the next two weeks, although it may not be at our preferred time. However, even if I have a full schedule, if you are concerned about one changing mole or new lesion, I would rather see you at the end of the day than think you waited because you could not get in. Just tell the front desk you have a changing mole and to schedule you at the end of the day! Now that I have said that, if you have a list of other issues, I may make you reschedule for those, BUT if I am suspicious about a mole, I will take it off that day…After seeing these three cases, I just wanted to get this off my chest. Fortunately, the three cases I talked about are in the early stages and I think all will be well. I am not trying to make you paranoid or scared; I would just hate to see you blow something off for months. I did speak to 2 of the women already about writing this to you,  and they thought it was a good idea. Pass it on to a friend if you want.

June 2013

So Many Anti-Aging Creams! Which One To Use

It can be overwhelming to decide which sunscreens and anti-aging creams to use, so I thought I would share my thoughts. I borrowed a page out of a cosmetic dermatology skin care journal years ago, and I laminated it to use as a teaching tool for patients. I like it because it is unbiased and talks in classes of products, instead of naming any specific brands. To summarize, the main categories are retinoids, keratolytics, bleaching agents, antioxidants and photoprotection. The first and the last are the most important, and most dermatologists start with these. Since this article has been published, peptides and growth factor creams have come on the market. To simplify, If you do the same workout for your body over a long period of time, it may cease to give you the improvements you are looking for. I feel the same way about products; I use a combo of things for say 4 to 6 months -or until the bottle is out- then I switch to ‘shake it up a bit’. So don’t be surprised if after you finish a product I switch you! If you have a favorite sunscreen, you don’t have to change that though. If after months of using a particular product you are receiving compliments, remember that and rotate back to it after a break. Don’t you feel the same about shampoos? Doesn’t your hair respond better after changing it every so often?

Getting back to sunscreens. Find one youactually like putting on in the am even if it is a few dollars more and you will most likely really do it. If the skin cancer threat doesn’t get you to wear it, maybe vanity will! In the Times-Picayune 6/5/2013 and USA today of the day prior, there is an article which shows that  after 4 years of daily sunscreen use on the hands, participants were 24% less likely to show signs of increased aging.

I need to give you a ‘heads up’ that I will be unavailable from June 21 to July 9. So, if you have been putting off making a appointment, call tomorrow or hopefully it can wait til I return.

So what’s new and are there any promotions? The newest botulinum toxin is Xeomin and I have been using it for several months now. All the articles I have read have stated it is equal to the others. The advantage with this one is if someone develops antibodies to the competitor products, this one can still work!  It’s priced about the same but the company that makes this also makes a good filler called Belotero Balance (another hyaluronic acid) for fine lines and wrinkles. From now until the end of August: If you get this filler, you get one area of Xeomin for free! I am adding

Saturday June 15th on the schedule for this month to make sure you are able get in.

Thank you for your interest!

Dr. Sharon Meyer

Xeomin

 

Belotero

September 2013

This month, I am excited to introduce TruSculpt. I am not usually a believer in things that seem to good to be true, but the results from just one session with this new machine have impressed me. TruSculpt is a noninvasive therapy for fat reduction and skin tightening. It works by using Radio Frequency technology. TruSculpt therapy delivers deep heating to tissue which results in body sculpting and fat reduction. Non-invasive means that results which used to be available only with surgery, are now possible from just two or three sessions spaced about 4-8 weeks apart.

Commonly, stubborn fat tends to be found on our stomach, buttocks, and thighs. Trusculpt is a comfortable therapy session intended to help sculpt and tighten these areas. I have also seen some really nice results on people who have used it on their neck, too! Believe it or not, there is no down time with this procedure and most patients do not require any anesthetic or pain medications. Even better, after receiving TruSculpt therapy, you can return to normal activities!

Buy One Session, Get the Second Half Off! From now until the end of the year, if you buy one TruSculpt session, we will give you half of on your next one, That’s a savings of $500.00.

I’m certainly glad to be able to provide this service to those of you who want to sculpt and reduce fat but who are not thrilled about the idea of undergoing surgery to achieve results.

If you are interested and would like more  info on TruSculpt, call the office and schedule your free consultation with Melinda.

So what’s new and are there any promotions? I am having a ‘fire sale’ of sorts on Obagi products. If you get the same email blasts that I do, you know that there are some websites that are offering huge price reductions on Obagi. Since I don’t buy the same bulk amount as these online giants, I can’t afford to offer them at those prices. So I am most likely not going to be selling Obagi any longer and am offering 20% off my current stock which includes the cleanser, toner, and exfoderm. These products don’t expire, so you can stock up and not worry about rushing to use them. We will also give you a free travel wash with any Obagi purchase-those come in handy when packing for a trip!

Thanks for your interest!

Dr. Sharon Meyer

Obaji

truSculpt

Sunscreen: It is never too late to start a good habit!

Sometimes it is hard to think about what messages I want to convey. So I pictured myself in the patient room with you sitting there… and decided to talk about what I seem to discuss with patients day in and day out.

For example, today I look out the window and it is raining. I realize my facial tinted sunscreen is on ‘rain or shine’. We all really do get ultraviolet exposure (and therefore damage) all day long, through the windows as we are driving or while we’re walking the dog after work.

Wearing sunscreen every day is a habit that I developed in my 20’s and have practiced since. Some people only put sunscreen on when they are at the beach or before playing tennis, etc., but so much of the harmful UV exposure is during the little times when you aren’t even realizing it.

So find a sunscreen that you really like … one that you look forward to putting on, whether it is tinted or not. Even the mineral powders have sunscreens in them. So if you are using a powder, be sure to find out if it does have sunscreen protection in it and how much.

Some patients I talk to use a drugstore product (such as Neutrogena), others use something more high-end (such as Laura Mercier). In the office, we have some sunscreen products by Elta MD that I love! A while back I was interviewed on TV about sunscreens; I talked about how I actually visited stores like Earthsavers and found some sunscreens that I liked.

The key is, like your favorite shampoo, you may have to try some different sunscreen products before you find one that fits all your criteria. It is helpful if the place you are shopping lets you actually try some on or gives you samples to make sure you love it before you buy.

So what do you look for? I personally like ones with the micronized zinc oxide that disappears into my face quickly but also gives me at least a 30 SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology used to recommend a 15 SPF but increased it to a 30 when they realized that few of us put on the amount that we really need for that protection, so it kind of equals a 15!

Also, be careful in that the one you like in the winter may be too moisturizing for you in the summer; you don’t want to break out, do you? It’s OK to have different ones for different climates.
Lastly, the advantages of doing this from an early age are multifold. Your face will be a more even color with less splotchiness from the sun. If you have a problem like melasma, it is really mandatory for you to be diligent about sunscreen. Medically, you should have less of a chance of skin cancers.

Do you feel it is too late to start this now? It is never too late, but this should also be a wake up call to teach your children the basics of skin care.

Many of you know I have a 19-year-old daughter. She loves the fact that she gets certain perks from me ( i.e. laser hair removal, Clarisonic, great cleansers), but my plan is too sit her down soon and talk with her again about sunscreens, as well as start her on a retinoid ( i.e. a variation of Retin A) so that, even though she doesn’t even have acne, she can preserve her beautiful skin!

Tips for Winter Itch

How and when to moisturize

Our office visits for “rashes” and itchy skin go up dramatically in the cooler months in New Orleans. A great percentage of these are secondary to just dry skin.

Sometimes our skin can become so dry that we get “nummular eczema”, which are round, sometimes red, patches that can resemble ringworm. Fortunately, this condition responds to dry skin treatment including lubrication and prescription steroid cremes, and not ringworm medicine.

To help prevent dry skin, moisturize regularly! An ideal time is immediately following a shower, while you are still wet. Keep a bottle of oil in the shower, and put a few drops in your hand and apply to your body before getting out. Then, pat lightly with a towel to dry off.

My personal favorite is Theraplex Clear Lotion by Medicis as it does not leave an oily residue, though Neutrogena Sesame Oil is also worth a try. While I find oil a little easier to use, Eucerin Original Moisturizing Creme, and Cerave Lotion or Creme are also good alternatives.

Underwear for Your Lashes?

Achieve longer lashes with an “eyelash primer”

How many of you have ever used an “eyelash primer”? I hadn’t until several years ago and boy, does it make your lashes appear longer, whether you are using Latisse or not.

My nurse, Vanessa, refers to it as underwear for your lashes. Jane Iredale makes a good product, called “Purelash Extender and Conditioner”.

If you haven’t used an eyelash primer or conditioner before, have a look at our January Bonus below.