During the winter months we all have some pesky skin issues. Fortunately, we got a chance to ask Dove dermatologist and Latina beauty expert, Dr. Alicia Barba, answer some popular questions dermatologists often get from their patients (and even those questions you’re afraid to ask).
My ingrown hair has become inflamed and painful, what should I do?
Many of my clients come in with painful cysts or infections that started from an ingrown hair. Inflammation and infection from ingrown hairs are not uncommon. But by the time someone comes to see me with an ingrown hair, there’s a problem because it’s not just how it looks, but it can be very painful and lead to bigger problems that require a doctor’s visit. I would not recommend trying to remove the ingrown hair on your own, as it can cause scarring and discoloration on your skin. Get in to your dermatologist who has the right treatments and tools needed to fix it properly.
Why am I experiencing dryness, irritation and dark spots in my underarms?
This can be caused by a number of factors including dry skin, the fabrics you wear (like wool) and even friction caused by shaving or waxing. Be gentle on this sensitive area of the skin! When shaving always use a moisturizing gel or cream. When looking for an antiperspirant, my go-to is Dove Advanced Care, it provides added skin care benefits for softer, smoother underarms, and helps aid in restoring skin to its natural tone.
How do I get rid of this pesky dandruff?
Dandruff is another common complaint that I get from patients and can be caused by stress, hormonal changes and dry skin – the scalp can become dry, itchy and flaky. I recommend my patients try an anti-dandruff shampoo with zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, and if that doesn’t work there are mild topical prescriptions that your dermatologist can prescribe, if needed.
What are those rough, red bumps on the back of my arms and legs?
This is called keratosis pilaris, (sometimes called chicken skin) and it’s caused by the follicles on the back of the arms becoming clogged with unexfoliated dry skin, which gets worse in the winter. The skin feels bumpy and dry. Although it can clear up on its own, if uncomfortable, I usually have my patients regularly use a moisturizing, exfoliating lotion to remove dead skin cells and look for ingredients that soothe and hydrate the area.
Is it normal for my butt to break out?
Pimples on the butt are more common than you might think, and typically caused by what’s called ‘folliculitis’ or the inflammation of hair follicles, often from friction. I see it a lot in patients who are bikers or taking spinning classes. If this is causing discomfort, your dermatologist may prescribe a topical antibiotic cream or an antibacterial body wash. Avoiding tight clothes while exercising may also help. It is important not to pick to avoid dark spots from forming in this area.
What’s the best thing to do when lips are so chapped, even if you’re constantly putting lip balm on them?
Avoid licking your lips thinking that your saliva will add much needed moisture. This will dry out your lips even further, risking painful cracks in yours lips. Switch lip balms and look for one that has a mixture of Petroleum jelly, beeswax, mineral oil, in addition to other natural oils to seal in the moisture. If you are not getting better, look for the lip balm that has 1% hydrocortisone in it. It can be a life saver when lips are irritated and nothing else seems to work. Dr. Dans CortiBalm is my favorite.
With colder weather, come the inevitable sniffles. But with blowing our noses all day, we end up with dry, flaky nose tips. How can we avoid looking like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer?
Be very careful what you reach for when you blow your nose and make sure you are using the softest tissue around since you will be using it quite a bit. After a while even soft tissue can feel like sandpaper. Do not rub the skin around the nose too hard when blowing your nose as you will be removing natural oils and proteins that lead to the breakdown of the skin barrier, causing irritation and redness. Apply a protective barrier to the skin around your nose to keep this area hydrated and protected EVERY time you blow your nose. Take an antihistamine or a product with pseudoephedrine to temporarily dry out the sniffles and give your poor nose a break. This helps quite a bit, especially when you have an important meeting or event. Use this dry spell to treat the skin around the nose so it repairs itself. Use a little over the counter hydrocortisone ointment to relieve the redness.