Everyone ages, after all, it beats the alternative. In past blogs we have discussed some things you can do to help prevent your skin from showing those signs – like staying out of the sun, wearing sun screen, having a good daily skin care routine. But, inevitably, many if not most of us do start to see those signs of aging – the dreaded wrinkles.
So now you have them, what are you going to do about it?
In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Botox for temporary improvement of the look of crow’s feet and frown lines. The use of Botox specifically addresses lines resulting from repeated muscle movements. (Since that time, it has been approved for other uses such as excessive sweating and migraines.) Botox is a $2.5 Billion industry with over 4 Million people in the US getting injections.
Botox is like Kleenex, meaning it is a brand name and just like there are several different companies who produce and sell tissues, there are many different brand names for the botulinum toxin that is used for crow’s feet and frown lines. For simplicity sake, we will just use the term Botox.
For some, Botox is the magic bullet to staying young looking. For others, it is too scary to consider. So how do you know if Botox is right for you?
Here are some Myths and Truths about Botox that may help you decide.
MYTH: Botox is poisonous
FACT: Botulinum toxin can cause botulism if ingested and this is very serious. But Botox is formulated form Botulinum toxin A but is purified so that it is safe to be injected. When administered by a qualified doctor using appropriate quantities it is quite safe. You should advise your physician of your health history and current medical conditions or medications you are taking.
MYTH: Getting Botox requires surgery.
FACT: Botox is given using very small needles and is minimally invasive. Dr. Jennifer Fryer administers Botox here in our office and the procedure is very short – about 15 minutes with minimal discomfort. There is no downtime.
MYTH: Once you start getting Botox you have to keep going or the wrinkles come back worse.
FACT: This is a temporary treatment. Most patients see results for 4 – 6 months. If you do not treat the area again you will eventually see the lines come back but it will not be worse than before because of the Botox.
MYTH: Botox is just for women.
FACT: Men can use Botox in the same ways as women. We have many men who are patients at Fryer Dermatology.
MYTH: Botox injections will prevent me from moving my face or showing expressions.
FACT: Botox only effects the movement of the muscles that have been injected, not your entire face. When done properly, it minimizes wrinkles while allowing facial expression.
MYTH: Botox is addictive.
FACT: There is nothing chemically addictive about Botox. You may like how you look and want to continue to see the benefits, which in time does mean re-treatment.
MYTH: I will see the effect of Botox injections immediately.
FACT: It takes a few days, up to two weeks to truly see the impact of the Botox injections. This is why we recommend a follow up visit two weeks after your initial treatment.
MYTH: Anyone can inject me with Botox.
FACT: While many different medical practitioners may have undergone training to inject Botox, we recommend seeing a Board Certified Physician with a strong understanding of facial structure, skin and muscles.
As with any cosmetic procedure, you should discuss what you want to achieve with your physician before having treatment. Understand what results you can expect to see. And then determine together if you are a good candidate for that procedure.
So to Botox or not to Botox? It is up to you. If you would like more information, contact us and schedule a cosmetic consult with Dr. Jennifer Fryer.
For students, teachers, and people with kids, September is the start of a new year. And for many of us, we look at it as a time to get started on new projects and get caught up from the summer. So it makes sense that September is also a time that many people think about what health screenings they need to schedule. And while it can be done any time of the year, it is a great time to schedule your Skin Cancer Screening.
While some people think of going to the dermatologist as something to do for a specific problem like a rash, acne, or to get some Botox, a routine skin cancer screening can be a lifesaving event. A skin cancer screening is non-invasive – that is the dermatologist will visually inspect all of your skin to look for areas of concern. If a problem is identified, your dermatologist may suggest a biopsy to provide a definitive answer of the issue.
WHY? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 1 in 5 people will develop some type of skin cancer in their life time. Once your dermatologist has the results of the biopsy, they can recommend proper treatment to cure the problem. The most serious skin cancer is Melanoma, but if it is identified before it spreads, it has a very high cure rate. In addition, there are a lot of things that we identify that, while not cancerous at present, have a significant chance of becoming so. Removal of these pre-cancers is one of the dermatologist’s most important functions. Early detection is always key!
So WHO should be screened and how often? Certainly anyone with fair skin who burns easily. But also anyone with risk factors such as multiple sunburns, living at the beach, or prior use of tanning beds should be screened annually. In addition, anyone with a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma, should have an annual exam. Special cases like any one who is immunosuppressed, has a history of other cancers, or has Parkinson’s disease should also be screened. But really anyone who is concerned with health maintenance should consider an annual screening. Those who have had skin cancer already are typically seen twice or even three times per year.
Convinced of the importance? So now WHAT? Contact your dermatologist to make an appointment. At Fryer Dermatology, we have day and evening hours in both our offices and weekend hours in Bayside to accommodate your schedule. But remember like at any other specialist office, it may take a few weeks to find a time that works for you. While the exam itself may only take about 10 – 15 minutes, you also need to account for time to check in, get undressed, get dressed and check out. So make the appointment at a time when you won’t feel rushed.
WHERE? Each room in our office, as in most others, is private. You will get undressed and put on one of those highly flattering medical exam gowns, but rest assured we will do everything we can to make you feel comfortable and respect your privacy. When we do the exam, a Medical Assistant will be in the room with us to document what we see and hand things to the doctor as needed. We may want to look at a spot more closely and may use some magnification for a better view. If we find a spot of concern, we may want to take a sample to send to a specialized dermatological pathologist. Once we have those results we can tell you what treatment, if any, is needed.
Remember that emergencies do happen so if your doctor is running late, please be patient as we try to balance staying on time with not making you or any other patient feel rushed. And while we will try to answer any dermatological questions in that visit, we may need to ask that you schedule an additional appointment if you want to discuss certain conditions or treatments in greater depth. Things like in depth discussions about acne or cosmetic dermatology options may need an additional appointment.
So… WHO? You!
WHAT? Your non-invasive skin cancer screening.
WHEN? Every year starting NOW!
WHY? Because an annual screening gives you and us the best chance of catching a skin issue before it becomes dangerous.
And as always, don’t forget to wear your sun screen!
Want to schedule today? Call us or click here to request an appointment.
Labor day weekend -the unofficial end of summer. Gone are the lazy days by the pool or on the beach; kids return to school, and for many it seems like back to “normal” life. So if you are not sitting out in shorts or a bathing suit all day, you don’t need to apply sunscreen, right? WRONG!! For both adults and children the use of sunscreen should not stop as summer ends.
So since you are not in the sun all day, you don’t need to worry, right? WRONG! Depending on the UV index, it can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to get a sunburn. That is not very long. Walking the dog, sitting at a ball game, walking around the city, kids on the playground or at soccer practice - all of these activities include sun exposure that fits into that 10 to 45 minute time frame. And watch out for those cloudy days because 80% of the sun’s rays pass through clouds! Some surfaces like blacktop or (forgive us for mentioning it) snow reflect the sun rays and this increases your exposure too.
When your skin “tans” we think we look healthy but really it is a sign of damage to your skin. The darkening of your skin is its response to the harmful rays of the sun. When there is more than your skin can absorb, you end up with sunburn. Wearing sunscreen is an easy way to protect you from this damage which we know can cause both skin cancer as well as an increase in wrinkles and other signs of aging skin.
What does sunscreen do? Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn't reach the skin. Look for sunscreens with the active ingredients, benzophenones, cinnamates or salicylates. If your skin is sensitive, consider a sunblock. Sunblocks literally block the UV rays instead of absorbing them. Key active ingredients are titanium oxide and zinc oxide.
What is SPF? Sunscreens are given a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number that indicates how long a person can remain in the sun without burning. There is no such thing as "all-day protection" or "waterproof" sunscreen. No matter what the SPF number, sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 to 3 hours.
Here are some basic tips about sun protection:
Of course you cannot live your life indoors, and you don’t have to. Take precautions for yourself and your family to protect your skin all year long by using sunscreen and following the tips we outlined. Enjoy the beautiful days of all the seasons. Protect your skin and be safe at the same time. And don’t forget to see your dermatologist once a year for a skin cancer screening. Call us today or click here to schedule an appointment online.