Tag: black dermatologist

Let’s Talk … Winter Skin Care

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BRRRRRR…. If it’s cold and windy … you have to change your skin care routine! Even if its April!!! See below for some of my favorite tips to share

TIP 1: Don’t skip the SPF!

Many assume that “sunscreen” is to protect from the warmth of the sun. Temperature does not matter! UV radiation comes from the sun and can cause sunburns and even skin cancer in the cold! Ever go skiing and come home looking like the beach? NEW research also shows that higher SPFs may provide better protection. Year-round protection is something always recommended by dermatologists. It’s also part of the reason why dermatologists seem to age slower …. MY FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FORMULA!

TIP 2: Moisturize differently

Windy and cold weather will dry the skin more effectively, which is what you don’t want. Add to this the Hard Water that is typical in the Northern cities and you have a recipe for skin problems: dry, itchy, rough, maybe even rashy. The best way to moisturize is actually using thick, heavy creams (something we call “emollients”). You will need something that you scoop out of a jar, not something you pump out of a bottle. So lotion is not going to cut it! Neither is coconut oil or Shea butter. Sure those are thick when you scoop them out, but once in contact with the heat from your skin, they turn to liquid quickly, making them less effective. Ready to go to the next level? Use those thick emollients when your skin is still damp! This will LOCK in the moisture to your skin and prevent water loss. We measure this feature in a lab with something called, trans epidermal water loss, or TEWL. Based on our lab experiments, we have found that thick emollients, like petroleum jelly are best.

Dr. Francis’ Top 5 emollients: Vaseline, CeraVe healing ointment, Aquaphor, Cetaphil cream, Aveeno eczema therapy. Available Here

TIP 3: Use gentle cleansers

The gentlest cleansers may not be advertised as “all natural” or “99.44% pure”. In fact, some of the most natural cleansers are actually quite hard on your skin. Why? Because pH is more important when considering how hard something is on your skin. Skin wants an acidic pH, closer to 5.5-6. Most soaps are very basic, with a pH closer to 9-10! The soap touting the “99.44% pure” is pure lye! It has a pH around 12! Very harsh!

Common Soaps most dermatologists advise avoiding: Ivory, Irish Springs, Castille Soap (check label, sodium hydroxide is typically added -this has a pH close to 14)

Dr. Francis’ Top 5 gentle cleansers: Dove, Cetaphil, CeraVe, Purpose, Basis. Available Here

TIP 4: Seal cracks with glue!

Cracked skin is PAINFUL. Close those cracks to speed up healing!

One of my favorite Winter HACKS … Crazy glue!
That’s right. Crazy glue. Cracked skin is open, which means that dirt, bacteria, allergens (things we are allergic to), and other irritants can easily get in. The more these get into our skin, the harder it is to heal. Those of us who suffer from this know that it can take FOREVER to heal on its own. Here’s the secret … the crack is the problem! So let’s fix it with a little glue. Our skin is our first line of protection against the environment … when it is intact, it is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, etc. So we must repair our protection and seal the crack to break the vicious crack cycle. Glue does the trick! I know what you are thinking, glue is a harsh chemical, but guess what, many “skin glues” were actually developed to replace stitches. Crazy glue is one of those. The glue gives our skin a chance to heal – and once the crack is sealed, our skin is able to heal itself.

Have a question (or comment)? I have an answer. Leave me a message below. Let’s talk!

Let’s Talk Shampoo …

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Here are a few answers to questions from a recent #Prevention.com article that I contributed to (Article link below) … But I’d like to hear from you! Post your questions in the comments section below.

1. Can you please explain why choosing the right shampoo is so important for your scalp and hair?

Shampoos are one of the most frequently used and important hair care products. They are the foundation of scalp health and can be very helpful or harmful to the condition and aesthetic appearance of your hair fibers (locks). At the most basic level, shampoos are designed to cleanse the scalp and hair, removing all the dirt, oil and hair products that have built up since the last shampoo. If not performed frequently enough, one could be much more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory scalp condition that could lead to hair loss and excessive shedding. If performed too frequently, the surfactants (soaps) could strip the hair fiber of its natural moisturizing/protection layer and cause cuticular damage – which typically leads to a condition called “trichorrhexis nodosa”, the medical term for hair breakage.  

2. Can you please provide 3 tips for what to look for when you’re looking at different shampoos in the drugstore? When it comes to ingredients (what to look for, what to avoid), etc.?

Tip 1:pH is one of the most important attributes of a shampoo. Unfortunately, it is often difficult information to find. If it is not printed on the label, one should assume it is around 6.5-7, which is much higher than what our hair prefers, closer to 5.5. The acidic (lower number) pH helps seal the cuticle, which leads to softer, shiny and less damaged hair. Think of shingles on a roof. The higher the pH, the more open the cuticle is, so the shingles can easily break off. If the pH is lower (more acidic) the roof shingles are more closed, which makes the hair fiber stronger, less susceptible to damage and more able to reflect light (shinier). But don’t worry, if not listed, a capful of apple cider vinegar to the bottle of shampoo, should help lower the pH to a better level. Aloe vera juice tends to lower pH as well.

Tip 2:Find out your surfactant. The surfactant is the main ingredient that does the work of cleansing and often foaming; it is usually the second ingredient, preceded only by water. It also has the ability to be the most damaging. This is key for “sulfate-free” shampoos. Often “sulfate free” shampoos still have sulfate, they just are free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which for some with sensitive skin, could be an irritant. In a recent article published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, surfactants were described as having the potential to remove natural skin oil, leading to disrupted skin proteins, skin dehydration, increased skin permeability, all of which contributes to scalp irritation and rashes. An irritated or inflamed scalp can affect the quality and appearance of the hair.

microtip. Do not focus on foaming – a shampoo’s foam is like your favorite car color – we all have preferences, but it does not translate to how well it works. Interestingly, foaming does not directly translate to cleansing ability, so the more foamy a product is, does not mean that it is truly higher quality or gets your hair more clean. But if you must have foaming, “cocamidopropyl betaine” is a commonly used foaming booster; however, use caution with sensitive skin, as this chemical is often also irritating.

Tip 3: There is no “standardized hair”. 23 and me and other personal genomic testing companies have well established how diversified and blended we truly are as a global race. Thus, hair types enjoy that same level of diversity. A one-size fits all modality of thinking should be avoided. Embrace your natural hair texture and choose a product that supports it to enjoy optimal hair health.

3. Now, on to the shampoos! Can you please give us 5 different shampoos for the different ‘hair types’ below? And why you think they’re great picks?

– best shampoo for ‘normal’ hair – See Tip 3 above. Embrace your natural texture and nurture it! It is far healthier to enhance what you naturally have then reverse what your body wants to do (e.g. celebrate those thick curls, let them bounce!)

best shampoo for fine hair. For fine hair, you may want to stay away from the sulfate-free shampoo trends, especially if your hair is more on the oily side. If volume is what you are seeking, volumizing shampoos tend to use small particles called siloxanes to move through the hair fiber to the center and stick there, plumping it up from the inside out. Humectants, such as glycerin and honey could be useful. A more neutral pH, closer to 6.5 will also open the cuticle and allow more water to end individual fibers, thus, giving a more full appearance.  It is important to note that these products product a temporary effect, so the effect usually lasts only 24-48 hrs after shampooing. 

– best shampoo for curly hair. Because of the natural bend of the hair fiber, curlier hair tends to be drier as it becomes increasingly difficult for scalp oil to distribute along the individual curly hair strands. As such, milder surfactants (such as sulfate-free shampoos) are usually needed to avoid overdying hair strands. More acidic pH’s will smoothen the cuticle, reducing frizz and cetyl alcohol is a popularly used, but unknown additive that helps maintain and even restore the nature oil barrier. It is a quite tricky balance, and at some point, if too many hair products are regularly used, a sulfate-free shampoo will not be effective at removing the product buildup, which could lead to problems in the long run.  

– best shampoo for oily hair. If your hair is oilier, or you tend to have a lot of product buildup, a shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is likely your best option. SLS has been well established as the most effective ingredient for sebum (natural scalp oil) removal. You should also avoid shampoos that contain silicones (i.e. dimethicone), as these ingredients tend to coat the hair fiber and resist removal, which could aggravate the oil problem.

– best shampoo for dry hair. Hair that feels dry would be best served with a lower pH and silicone-based shampoo. While pH closes the cuticle, silicones form a protective layer over the hair fiber that will smooth the texture (less rough feeling). Cetyl alcohol is a currently popular ingredient that helps with detangling and lends to a smoother feel when dried due to restoring the natural lipid content of hair fibers.

– best shampoo for colored hair. The goal is to keep the cuticle as closed and tight as possible to prevent leakage of hair color out the fiber. Thus, the lower the pH the better the shampoo – closed roof shingles. Also, the more coated the hair fiber, the better protected the color, so ceramides, cetyl alcohol and silicones could be helpful here as well. Sulfate-free is likely less irritating, which could help stabilize the fiber, preserving the barrier function; however, sulfate-free is not required as long as the pH is low. 

– best shampoo for damaged hair, lower pH works well for damaged hair and also products with silicones. Also look for products with ceramides. These molecules tend to work like glue, coating the damaged areas of hair fiber to improve strength, fragility and texture. Occasionally, protein-based amino acid ingredients are helpful, but it is best to leave these to a licensed salon professional, as overdoing this can lead to increased brittleness and further damage.  

– best shampoo for thinning hair. Be cautious that you are getting a product with a claim for increased hair density at the scalp level and not just reduced breakage. Several additives have been reported to help stimulate new hair growth including: caffeine, niacinamide, zinc, wheat protein and green tea (EGCG). Look for ingredients that also contain natural DHT blockers, saw palmetto being the most established in the medical literature data. 

https://www.prevention.com/beauty/hair/g25475298/best-drugstore-shampoo/

Have a question (or comment)? I have an answer. Leave me a message below. Let’s talk!

Hello World! 🌎

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Excited to spread education, knowledge, love, happiness, and healing to all seeking souls!

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Ready!

Let’s talk! Send me your questions, concerns, and love!

Feeling private? Drop an email: DIYDerm@ashiraderm.com 

Have a question (or comment)? I have an answer. Leave me a message below. Let’s talk!