Category: Skin Health

October 20th, 2016 by LiveMD

LiveMD takes a look at the profession of dermatology and discusses when a consultation with a dermatologist can be beneficial.

What is Dermatology?

Dermatology is the study of the skin and different skin disorders and a Dermatologist is the doctor that deals with these conditions. There are numerous different diseases that affect the skin ranging in severity from very mild to life threatening. A dermatologist has been specially trained to help a patient manage the symptoms of these conditions, prevent future outbreaks, and treat existing issues.

Common Skin Conditions

Here is a listing of some of the most frequently seen skin conditions and their symptoms:

Acne: Acne occurs when the glands under the skin become infected and inflamed, causing red, raised bumps to appear on the skin. These bumps are usually filled with pus and can be painful. This condition is most common in puberty, when hormonal changes increase the skin’s oil production, but it can occur to anyone, at any age and on any part of the body.

Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s immune system is malfunctioning and begins to attack itself. With this condition scaly patches appear on the skin. These areas can be red and itchy and over time may build up to thick white or silvery patches called plaque. Someone affected by this disease may have a few tiny spots on the body or large areas of skin may be affected.

Dermatitis: Dermatitis is an allergic reaction that affects the skin. It is triggered when an allergen is ingested or comes into contact with the skin. Symptoms of this condition include a red, itchy, sometimes painful rash.

Warts: Warts are small, raised bumps of thickened, hardened skin. They occur when the skin comes into contact with a specific virus. Warts are not usually harmful although they can be unsightly and may cause mild itching or discomfort.

Skin Cancer: Skin cancer occurs when the cells of the skin become damaged and start to mutate. This often occurs from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation from either the sun or tanning beds. The most common symptom of skin cancer is abnormal growths on the skin that are sometimes painful. Some may be flesh coloured while others may look like unsymmetrical moles or freckles.

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist has been specially trained to diagnose and treat a vast variety of skin conditions. It is important to see a dermatologist:

  1. If your skin condition is not clearing up on its own or is getting worse
  2. Is causing you pain or discomfort
  3. Has appeared suddenly
  4. If there is are signs of infection such as redness, swelling or pus
  5. If you notice unusual growths or skin discolorations
  6. If you have sores or lesions

If you are suffering from a skin condition, the dermatologists at LiveMD can help. A quick video chat can help diagnose your problem and find you the right solution for your dermatological issue. To speak with one of our trained professionals today visit www.mylivemd.com

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Posted in Skin Health

May 2nd, 2016 by LiveMD

skincareMaking safe and skin friendly cosmetic and skin care product choices is important for many reasons and LiveMD is here to help you determine which items are the best to meet your beauty needs.

Why is it important to use safe beauty products?

Creams, lotions, lipsticks and eye shadows are commonly used products in most households, however many people don’t even know what ingredients make up the make-up they are applying. Unfortunately, many of the additives that are in our cosmetic products can be harmful to our skin and to our health. Cancer causing agents called carcinogens have been found as have allergy causing substances. Some products will dry out the skin, while others will cause rashes or irritations and many beauty products contain harsh and potentially toxic chemicals that can be extremely dangerous to your health.

How to make safer choices

The best way to know if the beauty product you are purchasing is safe is to fully read the label and all ingredients that are listed on the packaging. Don’t be fooled by flashy advertisements or claims on the box. Companies can use words like “All Natural” or “Hypoallergenic” but because claims like these are not regulated by most government agencies, they do not have to be true. By reading the label and knowing the contents of a product, you can be sure to know exactly what you are putting on your skin. When reading labels here are some things to look for:

  1. Choose the product that has the least amount of ingredients. The fewer the number of ingredients the less chemicals that are being put on your skin
  2. Avoid choosing skin care products that are fragranced. Scented products contain more chemicals and can cause more allergies and irritations than non-scented products.
  3. Stay away from preservatives. Ingredients with the word “paraben” in them, phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol should all be avoided. These chemicals help to extend the shelf life of a cosmetic but they are also known to cause allergies, tumours and depress the central nervous system.
  4. Many beauty products contain crude oil or petroleum. It is a relatively cheap and long-lasting substance but it is known to cause cancer and therefore should not be used.

When you have found a skincare or cosmetic product that is right for you it is important to test it first to ensure that you will not have a reaction to it. Apply a small amount on the inside of your arm and wait a day or two to see if you have any irritation to it. If your skin turns red or you develop any type of rash, do not use the product.

The dermatologists at LiveMD are here to help you with all of your skin care concerns. If you are suffering from irritation or an allergic reaction to a beauty product our doctors can help you find the right treatment options and offer suggestions on the proper products to try in the future. Speak to one of our healthcare specialists now at www.mylivemd.com

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Posted in Skin Health

March 9th, 2016 by LiveMD

bedbug2LiveMD gives you all of the information that you need to know on how to treat or avoid a bed bug infestation

What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs are small, round, brown insects that feed off of human blood. They are tiny until after they have fed, when their bodies will swell up and turn a reddish colour. These bugs can climb onto clothing or into suitcases and due to their ability to rapidly breed, can quickly infest a home. They prefer to live on bedding, mattresses and box springs and will feed on their human prey during the night while they are asleep. Bed bugs can be found anywhere where there is access to blood and are not a sign of a dirty environment. Although they bite humans and draw blood, they do not carry or spread disease.

How will I know if I have been bitten?

Bed bugs tend to bite at night, feeding on the blood of humans while they are asleep. They pierce the skin with a long, beak-like appendage that acts like a straw to suck the blood through. This feeding can last for up to 10 minutes, until the bug is engorged with blood. These bites are usually painless at first, and most people sleep through night completely unaware that they are being bitten. Afterwards, these bites can turn into red, raised welts, similar to a mosquito bite, that can be quite itchy.

How do I know if I have an infestation?

Here are some common signs that you may have a bed bug infestation:

  • There are spots of blood on your bedding or pajamas
  • You wake up with red, itchy welts that you didn’t have before going to bed
  • You see rusty, brown fecal spots, egg shells or shed skin from the bugs in your bed or in other areas of your room
  • You smell a musty odor that the bugs excrete from their scent glands

What should I do if I have an infestation?

A good, thorough cleaning should help to remove most bed bugs and leave your home free of unwanted guests. All bedding, blankets, clothing and curtains should be washed in hot water and placed in the dryer on the hottest setting. Any items that cannot be washed should be put in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum your mattress, box spring and surrounding carpets, making sure to get into all corners and crevices and underneath any furniture. Make sure to immediately empty your vacuum cleaner and dispose of its contents in a tightly sealed bag, outside of the house. Make sure to vacuum frequently.Your pillows and mattresses should be replaced but if this is not possible you can purchase mattress and pillow covers that will keep any remaining bugs inside. These covers should be kept on for at least a year to be sure that any bedbugs inside are no longer alive. Calling in an exterminator, who will use a chemical pesticide is a fast and easy way to ensure that all bed bugs have been killed and your home is no longer infested.

How can I prevent an infestation?

Anytime that you are away from home and sleeping in a different bed, you should check for bed bugs before going to sleep. Pull back the sheets and examine the mattress for any blood, excrement stains, eggs or bugs themselves. If you notice any evidence of an infestation, find a new place to sleep. When you return home, examine the contents of your suitcase to look for any signs of bugs and wash all of its contents immediately in hot, soapy water.

If you have experienced a bed bug bite or have questions about dealing with an infestation, LiveMD can help. Our doctors are on call to assist you, 24 hours a day, all week long. Visit www.mylivemd.com to speak with one of our team members today by phone, video chat, text, or in-person.

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Posted in Skin Health

February 24th, 2016 by LiveMD

acneLiveMD offers you advice on how to take care of your skin and keep it clear and free of acne.

What is Acne?

Acne is the term used to describe what happens when the oil glands of the skin become blocked, causing redness and inflammation. When this happens, red, inflamed bumps (also known as pimples) can appear.They can sometimes be quite painful and can become infected.

Pimples usually begin to appear during puberty and can continue into adulthood. They most commonly appear on the face but can also show up on the back, chest and shoulders.

Acne can be painful, embarrassing and if left untreated, it can sometimes cause permanent scarring to occur.

What Causes Acne?

Science is still trying to determine exactly what causes acne. It is known that genetics can play a role as can hormones, oil production and stress levels. Bacteria on the skin is also a factor in causing acne. It was once believed that eating unhealthy foods like chocolate and pizza would cause acne but this has never been scientifically proven.

How Can I Prevent Acne?

One of the best ways to try and prevent acne is to keep your face clean. Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and evening, with warm water and a mild cleansing soap. This should remove any excess oil and bacteria that has accumulated on your skin.

Makeup and face products can also clog pores. Use these items sparingly and try to buy good quality, hypoallergenic cosmetics. Hair care products can have the same effect and can cause irritation on the skin around the hairline and on the forehead. It is also important not to touch your face throughout the day. Oils, dirt and bacteria that are on your hands may also transfer to your face. If you do need to touch your face, wash your hands first.

What Treatment Options do I have?

With mild cases of acne, often an over the counter cleanser or topical solution is enough to clear up the problem. Many of these contain medicated ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid which can help to reduce the problem and prevent future breakouts. These items can be found at your local pharmacy.

For more sever cases of acne, a prescription treatment may be a better option. A doctor or dermatologist will be able to assess your specific condition and determine what solution is best for you. Prescription acne medication can be found in either a topical form or a pill form and the one prescribed for you will be based on the specific type and severity of the acne that you have.

Other therapy options include chemical peels and laser therapy which can help to reduce a current flare-up, but will not usually do anything to diminish the occurrence of future breakouts.
LiveMD has a team of dermatologists and doctors that are available online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have a question or need a treatment option to clear up your acne, visit www.mylivemd.com today and speak with one of our trained professionals live via a phone call, text message or video chat.

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Posted in Skin Health

January 17th, 2016 by LiveMD

skin cancer2What is Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a term that is used to define any type of cancer that affects the skin. It is estimated that close to 50% of the population will be affected by some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Radiation from the sun is the most frequent cause of skin cancer. The earth’s ozone layer acts as a filter to block out the dangerous UVA and UVB rays but unfortunately, as this layer becomes depleted, it’s ability to protect the earth from the sun’s harmful rays is reduced.

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  1. Melanoma
  2. Basal Cell Skin Cancer
  3. Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

Although these three types of cancer differ slightly, many of the signs and symptoms that you should look for are the same.

What are the Signs of Skin Cancer

It is important to notice any changes in the appearance of your skin. Notice if there are any new moles, blemishes or lesions that appear and continue to grow in size or change in appearance. Moles that are not symmetrical, have different colours or dark spots throughout them, have jagged or uneven edges or look different from any other moles on your body should be checked out by a doctor.

Also see your doctor if you develop a sore that does not heal, a painful or itchy spot on the skin or any new or unusual nodules or bumps or if a previous mole or lump changes in size, shape or colour.

Who is at Risk
The people most at risk for skin cancer are those with light skin, however anyone can develop skin cancer. Those with a history of frequent exposure to the sun, excessive sunburns or a family history of skin cancer are all at a higher risk for developing this disease.

The importance of Prevention and Early Detection

Taking steps to prevent skin cancer can help to keep your skin healthy and keep you from developing cancerous lesions later in life.

  1. Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed areas and reapply frequently
  2. Reduce the amount of time that is spent in the sun
  3. Although UVA and UVB rays can still penetrate clothing, keeping skin covered while outside can help to reduce your exposure to these harmful rays.

Another important factor is the early detection of any unusual growths. Skin cancer can often be easily treated, especially if it is found quickly and in the early stages of growth. Inspect your skin regularly, including the palms of your hands and soles of your feet and have someone inspect the areas that you can’t see, like your back. Doing this frequently will bring any changes to your attention and you will be able to notice any abnormalities quickly and have them looked after before they develop into a more serious condition.

If you notice anything unusual about your skin or would like to know more about skin cancer, you can speak with one of our dermatologists via voice, text, or video by clicking here to book a consultation. You can also search and talk to our dermatologists and other doctors at www.mylivemd.com

Select a Dermatologist below and talk by Phone, Text, Video Chat, or In-Person.

Posted in Skin Health

January 4th, 2016 by LiveMD

Rashes are a common occurrence for both young and old and chances are you will experience a rash at some point in your life. LiveMD has all of the information that you need to know about rashes and how to treat them.

What is a Rash?
A rash is an irritation that occurs on the skin after exposure to an irritating substance or as a result of an allergic reaction. The skin usually becomes inflamed and red and there may be raised patches or bumps. The skin may be irritated or itchy. A rash may appear on only one small area of the body or it may cover a very large area.

What Causes a Rash?
A rash could be caused by many different factors. It could appear after exposure to a chemical or detergent such as a cleaning product, perfume or cosmetic product. Rashes can also be caused an allergen, like coming into contact with certain poisonous plants, having a reaction to specific foods or from contact with an animal or being bitten by an insect.

Different people will have different reactions to different substances and what causes a rash on one person may not have any effect at all on someone else.

How Can I Treat a Rash?
Most rashes can be easily treated at home. One of the most important things to remember is if the rash is itchy, don’t scratch it! Scratching can create more irritation and could spread the rash and make it worse. Applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream will provide itch relief and will decrease any redness. An oatmeal bath or a topical calamine lotion can also help to ease any irritation.

The area should be washed with cool or warm water and with a very mild, unscented soap and it should be left open and uncovered.

If the affected skin is dry or flakey you can use a mild, unscented moisturizer to help hydrate the area.

It is also important to try to determine what has caused the rash and stay away from any triggers if possible.

When Should I See a Doctor?
Although most rashes are not serious, it is important to see your doctor immediately  if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness or swelling of the throat
  • A rash that is extremely painful
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea

If you suspect that you have a rash and would like to speak with one of our dermatologists via voice, text, or video, click here to book a consultation. You can also search and talk to our dermatologists and other doctors at www.mylivemd.com.

Select a LiveMD doctor below and talk by Phone, Text, Video Chat, or In-Person.

Posted in Skin Health