As professors of dermatology and skin scientists, we want to provide the public with reliable, up to date and scientifically sound information about our skin and how it functions to keep us well.
Just as there is more to owning and operating a car then simply filling the gas tank and turning on the ignition, so, too, taking a closer look at how the skin operates will make us better stewards of its health and beauty. We offer both in-depth articles based upon the latest scientific understanding and research and shorter answers to commonly asked questions.
We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Dermatologists can be accused of having contradictory attitudes towards sun exposure. On the one hand, to prevent skin cancer we routinely advise against sun bathing, but on the other, we often treat common skin disorders like eczema (“atopic dermatitis“) or psoriasis with ultraviolet (UV) light. Now there is even reason to think that too little exposure to sunlight may be why allergic diseases, like atopic dermatitis, have become so much more common in recent years. What is going on with sunlight and the skin?
Unquestionably, sunburns damage the skin and promote the development of skin cancer. There is no known “safe” amount of sun exposure that does not produce the biochemical changes in skin which are linked to cancer. For this reason, dermatologists do not consider suntans to be healthy for the skin, either. Suntans, like freckles, are properly considered an injury response of the skin to excessive sun exposures. Hence, our general recommendation is to: cover up, use sunscreens on sun exposed areas and get your necessary vitamin D through diet and dietary supplements.
Yet, ultraviolet light therapy is a time honored and effective treatment for inflammatory skin conditions, like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Typically these treatments which use the sunburning, UV-B, portion of the sun spectrum are given in the physician’s office, to prevent over-dosage. The desired exposures are ‘sub-erythemogenic’, meaning they are below those that will produce skin redness or sunburn. [Continue Reading…]
INSIDE THE SKIN BARRIER
Dermatologists can be accused of having contradictory attitudes towards sun exposure. On the one hand, to prevent skin cancer we routinely advise against sun bathing, but on the other, we often treat common skin disorders like eczema ("atopic dermatitis") or psoriasis with ultraviolet (UV) light. … [Read More...]
This is the 4th in our series of updates on atopic dermatitis. In the preceding articles we considered why so many more children nowadays are developing eczema, what we know about the genetic underpinings of the disease, and how defects in the skin barrier and loss of the acidic pH on the skin … [Read More...]
Q & A
Pores on the skin represent openings of hair follicles and sweat ducts. These pores do not ‘breathe’ in the usual sense – our lungs take care of that need. Yet, it can help to keep your pores open. Sweat gland openings can become obstructed – for example, by wearing skin tight clothing … [Read More...]
REPAIRING THE SKIN BARRIER
Know anyone with psoriasis or some type of eczema? Most of us do. These are common skin conditions: one child in five has atopic dermatitis; 2% of the population has psoriasis. That’s a lot of people! Treatment is an ongoing battle for many who are affected by one of these conditions. They must … [Read More...]