Call Us Now!

PHONE: (828) 526-3783 | TOLL-FREE: (877) 526-3784

209 Hospital Dr #202
Highlands, NC 28741

Facebook IconGoogle Plus IconTwitter IconRealSelf IconYoutube Icon


Is Your Mask Causing Skin Problems?

Is Your Mask Causing Skin Problems?

Maskne from Mask WearingMaskne: A Problem of our Time

Before 2020, the term “maskne,” a term for skin problems caused by wearing a facial mask, did not exist. There was no need for a term like this before mask-wearing became the new norm. Once the threat of the novel coronavirus passes, and it will, we may go back to living our lives mask-free. For now, though, while we are masked, many people have to deal with an increase in inflammatory skin conditions. Maskne isn’t just more frequent acne flare-ups, it can also be new or worsening bouts of other dermatological problems.

It isn’t difficult to see why wearing a mask can result in these frustrating problems. When we talk and breathe under a mask, our breath creates the warm, humid environment bacteria and other flora love. Unfortunately, this problem may get worse as, because or the newer strains of the virus, we need masks that filter better, thus trapping warmth and oral bacteria more. The more microorganisms thrive in this environment, the more chance there is for skin irritation that results in physical symptoms like redness, itching, and pimples.

Can we Prevent Maskne?

Knowing that wearing a mask sets the stage for bacterial growth, we can implement a few strategies to minimize this risk.

  • If you wear a disposable mask, dispose of it regularly! Do not attempt to reuse this type of mask. If you wear a fabric mask, have a few on hand and wash them with a fragrance-free detergent often using warm water and a heated dryer.
  • Proper skin care is more important than ever. Wash your face twice daily using using an exfoliant at least once daily. Use of Vitamin-C Serum, an anti-inflammatory, can also help. It also acts as a pH balancer, which you need if you do not use Vitamin-C.
  • If you get significant irritation, you may need an antibiotic or other cream to control the problem. We are here to help with that.

If your skin is already showing signs of irritation from your mask, don’t wait to get help. Contact our Highlands, NC office. We may be wearing masks for a bit longer, but that doesn’t mean our skin has to suffer. Call (828) 526-3783 today to schedule your visit.

Common Sunscreen Mistakes: Are You Making Them?

Sunscreen UseIn spite of the skin being the largest organ in the body, we tend to forget about it. We only notice it when we encounter a problem like a sunburn or rash or when we we begin to see the signs of aging. The fact that there are about 300 million skin cells, and that cellular turnover occurs approximately every 30 days does not preclude us from the consequences of sun damage. One unhealthy cell is enough to cause concern. We, therefore, talk with our patients about ways they can prevent and treat skin cancer and the effects of aging. Here, we discuss common sunscreen mistakes we hope you will avoid.

  •      Using sunscreen only when “in the sun.” It might seem odd to read a blog about sunscreen smack dab in the middle of winter. If this seems odd, it because most of what people believe about the sun is wrong. There are not times at which sunscreen is necessary and times it is not. Sunscreen should be worn every day, all year, rain or shine. We have been told that UVB, which is strongest in the summer, down south, and mid day, is the bad guy. It does cause sunburn, but it is UVA, which is present morning, noon, and evening, summer, winter, indoors and outdoors, even in the shade, that causes cellular injury leading to aging and skin cancer.
  • Looking for SPF when buying sunscreens. Unfortunately, all SPF tells you is that you are protected from sunburn caused by UVB. It says nothing about protecting you from UVA damage. Companies cannot call themselves a sunscreen or sunblock unless they also block UVA, but they can use SPF even if they don’t.
  • Not knowing how to use Sunblock. One of the most common mistakes we see people make when it comes to sunscreen is that they do not apply enough, nor do they reapply sunscreen often enough when using most. A sunscreen, not a product that says SPF, should be applied to otherwise unprotected skin first thing every morning. The face needs about a dime-sized amount. For a whole-body application, you need about a shot glass full of lotion. If the sunblock you are using contains zinc oxide, you need to reapply it whenever you wash or rub it off. For ALL other sunscreens, you should reapply it hourly if outside or every 2 hours if inside.
  • Limiting your options. Sun protection does not end with sunscreen use. To significantly decrease your risk of skin cancer and premature aging, think outside the tube. Wear long-sleeves and pants designed as sun protective. normal clothing does not protect from UVA. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or hat with a sun protective flap that covers the back of the neck. Also, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Stay Protected by Staying Informed

We are proud to serve patients from the Highlands, NC area and beyond. In addition to plastic surgery procedures, we offer a variety of skin services to prevent and treat sun damage. To schedule a visit with us, call (828) 526-3783.

3 Ways to Help You Quit Smoking Before the Start of the New Year

ZERONA™ Non-invasive Body Slimming Highlands, NCWhether you have been a tobacco user for your entire life or if it’s just a habit that you just picked up, there’s no denying that tobacco isn’t good for you. With Surgeon General warnings on every cigarette box and with commercials that are enough to severely scare you, the information is out there.  With the holidays in full swing and the new year just around the corner, you may have a few resolutions that you want to make. If you are a tobacco user or smoker, why not quit before the new year even starts? Here at The Center For Plastic Surgery, we encourage all of our patients to quit smoking,  and, in some cases, will not do a surgery if the patient is smoking, because nicotine use slows down your body’s natural ability to heal and, may severely jeopardize the success of some procedures. To help you quit, we have created a brief guide of a few things that you can do.

Change the Habit of Putting Something In Your Mouth

Whether It’s after work, on your lunch break, or after a drink on a Friday night, one of the things that keep people coming back for more cigarettes is their habit of having something to put in their mouth. This is a hard habit to break, so we recommend you just modify it to something other than a cigarette or tobacco, or nicotine containing product. Electronic cigarettes are in the latter category. Instead, consider using something like a toothpick or straw as a substitute for the cigarette.  

Break the Nicotine Habit

The hardest thing of all is breaking your nicotine habit. When trying to quit smoking, try doing something like making a chart of how many cigarettes that you smoke each day and when. Then, make a goal of smoking two fewer cigarettes each day for 10 days, deleting one from the morning and one from the evening. If you can, continue this until you are no longer smoking. If you find it problematic, then just delete one ever day or, even, if you have to, every other day until you are no longer smoking. Make sure that you physically log your cigarette use so that you can see just how well you are doing.

Picture Your Life Without Nicotine

Sometimes, one of the best ways for you to quit smoking is to think of just how much better your life will be without nicotine. For instance, you can:

  • Daydream of all the wonderful aromas that you can smell once you quit smoking.
  • Think of how GOOD food will smell and tastes when you quit.
  • Think of your lungs thanking you for setting them free.
  • Think of your body being able to get more oxygen again.
  • Think of those facial wrinkles no longer forming at such a rapid rate.
  • If all else fails, talk to Dr. Buchanan about other options

Here at The Center for Plastic Surgery, Dr. Buchanan wants all patients to live healthy, cigarette-free life. If you want to learn more about ways that you can quit, contact our Highlands office or call us at (828) 526-3783.

Myths About the Sun and Protection From It:

We all think we know about the sun, what it does to us and how to protect ourselves from it. Unfortunately, most of us really do not know what we need to know. A great deal of this is because most of the people who write about this keep repeating information that has been outdated for years. Though you may think that this is implausible, several studies have shown that it takes an average of 13 years before a new discovery is adopted into general usage. Unfortunately, it has already been well over 20 years we learned new information about the sun and how to protect from it, and it has still not been generally accepted.

 

You only need to use Sunscreen when you “go out in the sun.”

 

This is based on what we previously knew about UVB. Since UVB is immediately absorbed rather than being reflected, it is much less strong in the shade or inside. It is also what causes sunburn. Because of that, it was considered really bad. Also, many modern windows block UVB so you would not sunburn inside. None really block UVA, which is present almost equally all day, all year, at all latitudes and even inside and in the shade. UVA is also the “bad guy.” It is what really causes sun damage. We remember the effects by “UVB, Burn, UVA, Aging.” We, therefore, need to protect from UVA all the time every day. This requires the proper sunblock and sun protective clothing.

 

 “You don’t need sun protection in the winter.”

 

This is similar to the above. While UVB is twice as strong in the summer as it is in winter, the strength of UVA is almost the same. This means that you need to protect from UVA aging all year. This is also true indoors and on cloudy days as UVA is unchanged in strength then also.

“SPF is what you need to look for in selecting a Sunscreen.”

 

SPF is a designation designed to tell you how well the sunscreen protects from sunburn. It has no bearing on whether it protects you from sun damage, however. As I said, sunburn is caused by UVB that is absorbed by everything, including your skin. This is the reason it causes a burn (all the energy is concentrated in the outer skin layer) and present twice as much in the summer as the winter, at noon as morning and evening and in Florida as in North Dakota (because of atmospheric absorption). Since it is UVA that is absorbed into all layers of the skin and causes cellular damage resulting in skin cancers and aging, you need a way to tell if what you are using does that. SPF does not do this.

 

All sunscreens protect from damaging rays equally,

 

Since December of 2013, any product labeled as a sunscreen or sunblock have to protect from both UVA and UVB. Any product that simply puts an SPF on the label but does not claim to be a sunscreen or sunblock does not necessarily have any UVA protection and any that it does have is usually short lived. Even those that are approved as sunscreens are not all equal in the protection provided. There is a long list of chemical sunscreens and the manufacturer can use a mixture of them. Some are better than others. The one thing they all share is that they only last about an hour if you are outside or 2 hours if you are inside. The physical sunblocks are zinc and titanium oxide. Both protect from both UVA and UVB and last until washed or rubbed off. However, zinc is by far the best, protecting maximally over a larger spectrum.

 

Something other than an applied sunscreen or sun protective clothing will protect you,

 

There have been many claims over the years. Most recently, several companies have marketed either a pill or something to drink that is supposed to protect you from sun damage. None of these products work, and the FDA has recently warned these companies to stop making such claims.

 

For proper sun protection, we suggest:

 

Since zinc oxide provides the widest spectrum of maximum protection and lasts as long as it remains in place, this is, not only the best, but the most practical. Probably the main reason it has not been adopted better is another myth, “it is that white stuff the lifeguards used to wear on their noses.” A recent health writer even bemoaned that we did not have a reasonable sunblock or “something other than that white stuff.” The fact is that it has not been “white” for well over 20 years and rubs in clear but provides superb protection. Instead of looking for SPF, we recommend that you simply look at the ingredients and buy one with at least 8% zinc oxide. This will give you all the UVA and UVB protection you need. We also suggest that your clothing is sun protective, either bought that way or washed with Rit SunGuard that washes in sun protection for 20 washes. We sell both in the office. Call, come in or visit our web site to find out more.

The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

For decades dieters and diabetics have used artificial sweeteners to reduce sugar intake in an attempt to lose weight or control their diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that this does not work. One study split a number of people with metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) who drank sodas into 3 groups. One stayed on the regular sodas, one switched to diet sodas (with artificial sweetener), and the third switched to Perrier or other drinks without sugar or artificial sweetener. By switching to diet soda, the prediabetes did not change. However, stopping all sodas did markedly reduce the problem.

This and other studies only showed that switching to artificial sweeteners did not change anyone’s diabetes, prediabetes or weight. One study 4 years ago did show that artificial sweeteners have an effect in causing diabetes. Another study a year ago showed that drinks with artificial sweeteners could increase a person’s risk of dementia or stroke. A new studyfrom the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University links artificial sweeteners to obesity and diabetes, claiming sweeteners change how the body processes fat and uses energy.

We at the Center for Plastic Surgery have preached for years that the way to control weight and diabetes is reduction of sugar through dietary management, not substitution for it. All these studies continue to add evidence of the significant harm that artificial sweeteners do and the necessity of proper dietary management rather than substituting something for sugar or fat.

Myths about the Sun and Protection from it:

We all think we know about the sun, what it does to us and how to protect ourselves from it. Unfortunately, most of us really do not know what we need to know. A great deal of this is because most of the people who write about this and even many Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons keep repeating information that has been outdated for years. Though you may think that this is implausible, several studies have shown that it takes an average of 13 years before a new discovery is adopted into general usage. Unfortunately, it has already taken well over 20 years to adopt new knowledge about the sun and how to protect from it, and it has still not been generally accepted. The following are some widely held myths:

SPF is what you need to look for in selecting a Sunscreen.

SPF is a designation designed to tell you how well the sunscreen protects from sunburn. It has no bearing on whether it protects you from sun damage that causes skin cancer and aging, however. Sunburn is caused by UVB that is absorbed by everything, including your skin. This is the reason it causes a burn (all the energy is concentrated in the outer skin layer) and is present twice as much in the summer as the winter, at noon as morning and evening and in Florida as in North Dakota (because of atmospheric absorption). Since it is UVA that is absorbed into all layers of the skin and causes cellular damage resulting in skin cancers and aging, you need a way to tell if what you are using does that. SPF does not do this.

All sunscreens protect from damaging rays equally.

Since December of 2013, any product labeled as a sunscreen or sunblock have to protect from both UVA and UVB. Any product that simply puts an SPF on the label but does not claim to be a sunscreen or sunblock does not necessarily have any UVA protection and any that it does have is usually short lived. Even those that are approved as sunscreens are not all equal in the protection provided. There is a long list of chemical sunscreens and the manufacturer can use a mixture of them. Some are better than others. The one thing they all share is that they only last about an hour if you are outside or 2 hours if you are inside since the sun actually deactivates them. The physical sunblocks are zinc, titanium and iron oxide. They all protect from both UVA and UVB and last until washed or rubbed off. However, zinc is by far the best, protecting maximally over a larger spectrum and is the easiest to apply.

You only need to use it when you “go out in the sun.”

This, again, is based on what we previously knew about UVB. Since UVB is immediately absorbed rather than being reflected, it is much less strong in the shade or inside. Besides, many modern windows block UVB. None really block UVA, which is present almost equally all day, all year, at all latitudes and even inside and in the shade. We, therefore, need to protect from it all the time every day. This requires the proper sunblock and sun protective clothing.

Something other than an applied sunscreen or sun protective clothing will protect you,

There have been many claims over the years. Most recently, several companies have marketed either a pill or something to drink that is supposed to protect you from sun damage. None of these products work, and the FDA has recently warned these companies to stop making such claims.

For proper sun protection, we suggest:

Since zinc oxide provides the widest spectrum of maximum protection and lasts as long as it remains in place, this is, not only the best, but the most practical. Probably the main reason it has not been adopted better is another myth, “it is that white stuff the lifeguards used to wear on their noses.” A recent health writer even bemoaned that we did not have a reasonable sunblock or “something other than that white stuff.” The fact is that it has not been “white” for well over 20 years and rubs in clear but provides superb protection. Instead of looking for SPF, we recommend that you simply look at the ingredients and buy one with at least 8% zinc oxide. This will give you all the UVA and UVB protection you need. We also suggest that your clothing be sun protective, either bought that way or washed with Rit SunGuard that washes in sun protection for 20 washes. We sell both in the office.

10 Worst Mistakes in Sun Damage Protection

I got these off AOL a week or so ago. I tried to find the source to just create a link but could not find it, so I have reproduced them and added my own comments. If you want skin that is healthy and looks good, the absolute number one thing you can do is protect it from the sun. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that leads to these mistakes.

  1. The attitude that “the damage has been done.”  Damage from the sun is cumulative, so every day you are continually getting more damage. The more damage you receive, the more likely you are to have visible damage.
  2. Not wearing Sun Glasses.  The sun not only causes skin damage, but also damages the cornea, lens, and retina. There is evidence that some astigmatism and cataracts are caused by sun damage.
  3. Avoiding sunscreen around the eyes.  Everyone worries about dark areas and crinkles around the eyes. Both these are, to some extent, sun damage.
  4. Looking only at SPF.  SPF is TOTALLY WORTHLESS as far as telling you whether the sunscreen will protect you from skin damage. All it says is that the sunscreen will protect you from UVB and getting a sunburn. UVA is the part of the sun causing long term damage. Instead of checking SPF, you need to check the ingredients. Avobenzone will block UVA, but needs to be applied hourly. We recommend that you look for Zinc Oxide, at least 8-14%, since it is a physical block and needs only be replied if rubbed or washed off.
  5. Relying on Label lingo.  All sunscreens are required to say whether they block UVA and/or UVB. However, just because the ingredient will block UVA does not mean it is practical. Avobenzone only lasts an hour. The only practical one is Zinc Oxide and it should be replied as often as you rub it off.
  6. Keeping the same bottle of sunscreen for months or years.  If you are doing this, you are definitely not using enough.
  7. Thinking Sunscreen is all you need.  Sunscreen is intended for the non-covered areas of your bodies. Most people think that clothing will protect from the sun. Unfortunately, regular clothing will not protect you. UVA penetrates most clothing as if it were not there. What you need is specific sun protective clothing or your regular clothing washed in Rit SunGuard every 6 months.
  8. Skimping on Sunscreen.  You need to apply an adequate amount to cover the areas generously.
  9. Skipping Sunscreen when indoors, on cloudy days or in the winter.  UVA is present morning, noon and evening, in North Dakota and south Florida, in summer and winter. It penetrates windows and bounces around inside the house. It also bounces off things outside and is, thus, present even in shade.
  10. Believing the “base tan” myth.  This is just a myth. Additionally, the way many people get their base tan is in a tanning bed, or, as we call them, “Skin Cancer Machines.”

The Importance of Daily Sunscreen

About this time of year, many start thinking about using sunscreen and many stores add new sunscreen choices. The truth, however, is that we all need to use a good sunscreen every day all year. It needs to protect from both UVB, the rays that cause sunburn and are present mainly in the south, mid-day and in the summer, and UVA, those present morning to night, at all latitudes and all year that cause aging and skin cancers. My preference, because it is exceedingly effective as well as practical, is micronized zinc oxide of from 8-14%. We stock several in the office. We also have many excellent methods of rejuvenating the skin from skin care creams to laser, IPL and peels. A recent publication by Drs. Oz and Roizen has reinforced our thoughts on this subject.

New Study Shows 79% of Heart Attacks may be Preventable by Lifestyle Changes

We at the Center for Plastic Surgery have been teaching lifestyle modification for years to improve general health and reduce the risks of many diseases. A new study has added further credence our teachings. The study of Swedish men reports that four out of five “heart attacks in men are actually preventable when a person makes changes to lifestyle that include maintaining a healthy weight and diet, adopting a regular exercise program, avoiding cigarettes and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after conducting “a retrospective analysis of more than a decade’s worth of data on the health and lifestyle habits of 20,000 Swedish men, aged 45 to 79.” Specifically the study found  that “not smoking lowered the risk of heart attack” by 36 percent. Exercise also helped. The “men who walked or cycled for at least 40 minutes per day and did other exercise at least one hour per week had a 3 percent lower risk.” Additionally, men with “a waist circumference below 37 inches had a 12 percent lower risk,” the study also found. It also reports that moderate drinking and “a diet of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, fish and whole grains” also helped reduce the risk of a heart attack. Men whose behaviors included all of these measures “had an 86% lower risk of heart attack than those with high-risk behaviors.” However, just “1% of men in the study – and about the same amount of the US population – keeps this kind of heart-healthy regime.”

These findings were repeated by CBS News (9/23) and NBC News (9/23 Fox) on their websites and by Time (9/23 Sifferlin) and repeated by the AMA Morning Rounds (9/23) .

HealthDay (9/23, Dotinga) reports that when it comes to heart attacks in women, “healthy living” appears to have a “similar effect,” as seen in previous studies.

MedPage Today (9/22, Raeburn) reports that an accompanying editorial “cited earlier research attesting to the risk reduction power of simple lifestyle factors, and went so far as to call for change,” writing, “It is time to prioritize these most basic and fundamental behaviors.”

Low-carb diets may be better than low-fat diets for protecting against heart disease.

On the front of its Science Times section, the New York Times (9/2, D1, O’Connor, Subscription Publication) reports that individuals “who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades,” according to a National Institutes of Health-financed study published Sept. 2 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study “included a racially diverse group of 150 men and women…who were assigned to follow diets for one year that limited either the amount of carbs or fat that they could eat, but not overall calories.” By the time the study ended, “people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides…plunge,” while HDL increased.
The Washington Post (8/29, Searing) “Health & Science” blog points out caveats to the study, including the fact that “the study measured risk factors for cardiovascular disease but did not last long enough to measure actual development of the disease.” In addition, “dietary data came from the participants’ responses on questionnaires.”
As part of our lifestyle enhancement efforts, we, at the Center for Plastic Surgery, have been teaching that it is the carbohydrates and sugar that are causing a great deal of health problems including heart problems. We have also taught that the key to weight loss and proper health is balancing carbohydrates, protein and fat at about 33% each for all meals (most people’s diets have been 70-80% carbohydrate)  and that the carbohydrates should be low glycemic and minimally cooked or processed. This type of diet actually lowers cholesterol and other heart risk factors.

Call Now Button