Dermatology, Cosmetic Surgery, Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery & Laser Surgery

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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

Lip dryness is, at a minimum annoying, and, at worst, painful. Dry lips may crack, become scaly and even bleed. One way to keep the lips moist is by licking them. As the skin around the mouth gets irritated, many will begin to lick at it, which makes it even more red and irritated. This leads to the classic lip licker’s dermatitis we see often in the winter.

The most important treatment is to stop licking your lips. This sounds easy, but it is hard for someone with dry lips. Regularly applying a bland moisturizer, as often as hourly, is necessary so you won’t feel the need to lick your lips. At bed time, a larger amount is needed to lessen lip licking while sleeping. In some cases prescription medications are required. With proper treatment, lip licker’s dermatitis goes away in a couple of weeks with no scarring or permanent skin damage.

Tips for treating Lip Licker’s Dermatits:

1. Minimize licking of Lips (very difficult)

2. Apply over the counter hydrocortisone ointment to affected areas twice a day

3. Apply Aquaphor ointment hourly or whenever you have the urge to lick your lips


How to Help a Hickey

TMZ  recently reported that Kim Kardashian was spotted sporting that telltale mark of love: a hickey. It makes sense considering it was spotted the day after her movie date with Kanye West. We’re calling PUBLICITY STUNT here at our office. What can Kim do to improve the appearance of her love bite? Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this affliction. A hickey is nothing more than a bruise, and like all bruises it just needs some time to heal. You can, however, try a few tricks to make it fade faster.

  1. A cold compress such as an icepack or a bag of frozen peas should be applied to the affected area for 20-30 minutes in order to speed healing and reduce swelling by constricting the underlying blood vessels in response to the cold. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the icepack in a towel.
  2. Avoid aspirin because aspirin slows the blood from clotting and may, in fact, prolong the bleeding.
  3. After about 48 hours, heat in the form of a warm washcloth applied to the bruise for 10 minutes or so two or three times a day may increase blood flow to the bruised area, allowing the skin to reabsorb the blood more quickly. Ultimately, the bruise will fade in color.
  4. Rub a little tincture of arnica or arnica gel onto the bruise. Arnica (Arnica montana) comes from a plant in the daisy family that grows in the Rocky Mountains, and may be helpful for bruises and sore muscles.
  5. Apply concealer in a shade that’s lighter than your natural skin color and discreet enough to fend off unwanted attention.
  6. The best treatment for a hickey: wear scarf and wait it out.

Phytophotodermatitis aka “Margarita Dermatitis”

Summer weather is approaching leading many to squeeze a lime into their cold beer or margarita. Surprisingly, one might find her skin breaking out with a burning rash called phytophotodermatitis after handling that lime. Phytophotodermatitis occurs if chemicals in certain plants come in contact with the skin making the area sensitive to light. A common culprit causing this condition is limes leading to the name “margarita dermatitis” but it can also occur from contact with other plants such as celery, lemons, figs and Queen Anne’s lace.

Phytophotodermatitis is a skin reaction caused by contact with certain plant substances (furanocoumarins) in combination with sunlight. Furocoumarins are the photosensitizing chemicals in certain plants and fruits and are at their highest levels in spring and summer increasing the likelihood of exposure. Classic presentations of phytophotodermatitis include bizarre and red streaks, blisters, and streaks of darkening of the skin. Particularly helpful clues to the diagnosis include “drip marks”; irregular, bizarre “sunburns”; and handprint shapes.

Helpful Tips:

1. Avoid UV exposure or wear a sunscreen when in the sun.

2. Wash hands and any areas thoroughly that are exposed to juice of limes/lemons or other potential plants.

3. Use cold compresses to drain and soothe blisters if a rash develops and contact a doctor to decide if topical steroids are needed.

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