May 23

Sunscreen Breakdown – What You Need To Know

What’s in your sunscreen is just as important, if not more important as its SPF number. When deciding which sunscreen to purchase, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of choices out there. This is why Dr. Palm talked recently with Elle.com to discuss the differences between the two main “groups” of sunscreens and why one is very much superior to the other. The active ingredients in sunscreens are what separate the good from the not-so-good – and they are divided into two broad categories: physical and chemical. 

Physical vs. Chemical – The Breakdown

What they’re made of

Physical sunscreens are often referred to as “natural” sunscreens, because they are made up of either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both).  These are the only FDA-approved physical sunscreens and are both minerals, which is the reason they are often labeled as “natural.” 

Chemical sunscreens are made up with ingredients that are often hard to pronounce, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, homoscalate, octinoxate and octocrylene. 

How they work

Physical sunscreen agents work by reflecting light that reaches the skin’s surface back into the environment. Many dermatologists, Dr. Palm included, prefer a physical-based sunscreen for this very reason. Zinc oxide has excellent coverage across the UV spectrum, even better than titanium dioxide, and published scientific literature shows that neither of the two are absorbed from the skin’s surface into the body. In fact, even micronized forms (where particles of sunscreen are invisible to the naked eye) cannot and do not penetrate the surface of the skin. They simply sit atop the skin’s surface, acting as a shield and reflecting the light back into the environment.

Chemical sunscreens work by converting light energy into heat on the surface of the skin, which may contribute to sun damage to the skin over time. The heat causes inflammation on the skin, which can cause premature aging. Anyone with melasma should be very weary of chemical sunscreens, as the heat produced on their skin by chemical sunscreens can further aggravate their pigmentation.

What to Look For When Shopping For Sunscreen

Dr. Palm recommends looking at the active ingredients on the label of the product. A physical sunscreen should list zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. She recommends using a zinc-based sunscreen with a 7% or higher concentration of zinc oxide. It’s also important that a sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or more and that it states it is “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB. 

Dr. Palm also likes combining the power of a physical sunscreen with other ingredients that fight inflammation, reduce free radical production and promote anti-aging effects on the skin. She says to look for ingredients like tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants such as resveratrol and green tea) and niacinamide (vitamin B3). 
Art of Skin MD Brightening Vitamin C Serum

Understanding the breakdown of what is in sunscreen is the first step in being able to make informed decisions when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If you’re still unsure as to which one best suits your needs, Dr. Palm has a few favorites all dependent on when she uses them. She also recommends reapplying every two to three hours and immediately after swimming.

 

Dr. Palm’s Sunscreen Picks

For the Face

EltaMD UV Elements Broad Spectrum SPF44 | Art of Skin MD | San Diego

 

Easy Reapplication

Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF Brush

For the Body – Everyday Use

EltaMD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF 30

For the Body – Outdoor Activities

EltaMD UV Sport SPF 50

 

Stop by or call us at 858-792-SKIN (7546) if you have any questions or need any assistance in selecting your perfect sunscreen. We are happy to help you make sure you're protecting your skin as best you can!


May 8

Skin Cancer or Just A Mole?

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and in an effort to help spread awareness, Dr. Palm was asked by Glamour Magazine to share not only her knowledge but also photos of her patients’ skin cancers for an article in their May 2017 issue.  As this can often be a confusing and sometimes scary topic, Dr. Palm is passionate about breaking down the information in an effort to educate as many people as possible and encourage patients to be proactive when it comes to their health.

While getting skin checks at least once per year is imperative, there are signs and symptoms that can be cause for concern. Here, Dr. Palm breaks down the differences between what is “normal” and what is cause for a visit to your board-certified dermatologist.

Normal Mole
Normal moles develop through our mid- to late-20s, and any moles that develop beyond this point in time should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist.
Art of Skin MD Normal MoleWhat a normal mole looks like: Continue reading


Apr 20

First-Time Fillers: A Patient’s Perspective

I was 31 years old when I first had Botox injections. Up until that point, I had really only done peels and facials. I’ve never liked needles, so the thought of them going into my face was not one I was fond of. However, I also was not fond of the creases between my eyebrows, so off to the dermatologist I went. And when I saw the results, I wished I had started sooner.

When deciding where to go, I did my research. The one place I kept hearing wonderful things about was Art of Skin MD – that the facility is state of the art, the providers are the best of the best and the staff is wonderful. It made my decision easy, and I scheduled my consultation. From the moment I made my initial appointment, they lived up to their stellar reputation. And upon arriving to my appointment, everything I’d heard about Art of Skin MD was absolutely true. Another one of the top reasons that I came to Art of Skin MD as a patient is that looking natural is incredibly important to me, and they are known for doing just that. It’s not that I don’t want to age, it is that I want to age gracefully.  I immediately loved that both Dr. Palm and her Registered Nurse, Jessica Scott, approach toxins with that in mind – my face looks fresh, never frozen.

Dr. Melanie Palm and Registered Nurse Jessica Scott
Continue reading


Mar 15

How To Attain & Maintain A Healthy Scalp

          Scalp health is vital to hair growth. It’s as simple as that. The reasons, though, are a bit more complex. Here, Dr. Palm breaks down the signs our scalps give us that say they are either healthy or not-so-healthy. And if yours is saying the latter, not to worry – she also offers tips on reviving the often forgotten area.

          Our scalps supply the network of blood vessels that nourish the base of the hair bulb, allowing it to grow with the proper nutrition, oxygenation and removal of toxic byproducts. When one of these necessities is interrupted, hair can be greatly effected. The result can be hair loss, sudden shedding, loss of hair density and even changes in hair architecture such as decreased hair strand width, sudden brittle hair or even a change in color.

          Are you having one or more of these symptoms? If so, I’m sure you’re wondering how can you know if your scalp’s health is the reason? Well, according to Dr. Palm, it really depends on the underlying cause for the symptoms. Non-scarring inflammatory conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis (or inflammatory dandruff) can cause redness, flaking, scaling, itching, tenderness and rashes. In some rare cases, acne-like lesions may result. Or, another reason could be an external exposure to a noxious substance, such as a hair dye someone is allergic to, which can cause redness, swelling, itching, hives, scaling, oozing, bleeding and in very rare cases, a systemic-wide body response called anaphylaxis. Continue reading


Feb 3

How Your Shower Routines Are Damaging Your Skin – And How To Fix Them

Shower Skin Damage? Last month, Dr. Palm answered some must-know skincare questions for Shape.com talking specifically about how seemingly-harmless shower routines could be damaging your skin. She breaks it all down with what you could be doing wrong, why it’s damaging and how to fix it!

Using the Wrong Soap
The wrong soap can be very drying to the skin. Some of the most popular brands of soap available over the counter (for example, Irish Spring, Dial and Lever 2000) use soap detergents to cleanse the skin. This might sound harmless, but these soaps strip skin of not only dirt but also the natural moisturizing factors that keep the skin barrier intact and keep the skin hydrated.

The Fix
Look for soaps that contain moisturizing agents, such as ceramides. Ceramides are a naturally occurring cholesterol-derived component to our skin that is devoid when skin is dry or eczema-prone. A great face and body wash that Dr. Palm recommends is our Art of Skin MD Antioxidant Soothing Wash.

Art of Skin MD Antioxidant Soothing Wash

Continue reading


Nov 21

Why We Love Mineral Makeup, And You Should Too!

This time of year brings many social gatherings, our calendars are filling up with fun parties and outings as we are sure yours are! We all want to look our best, so for many of us, that includes glamming up with our favorite outfits and of course having a bit of fun with makeup! There are so many choices out there, so we want to break the basics down for you and give you the information to be able to choose the right foundation for your skin's needs.

Benefits – Why We Choose Mineral Foundation

These foundations are great because the main ingredients in most of them (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, ferrous oxide) are either anti-inflammatory, provide great sunscreen protection (as a physical blocking agent), or provide natural, mineral-based color for the skin.  They are ideal for many skin types, but in particular can help calm sensitive and rosacea prone skin and the anti-inflammatory properties of many of the formulations help to improve acne prone complexions.  The mineral based foundations work great with oily complexions, helping to absorb unwanted shine.  Newer liquid mineral foundations are better for mature skin, and don’t settle in fine lines the way earlier formulations sometimes could.

Continue reading


Nov 10

The Down & Dirty on Blackheads

Blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne called “open comedones.”   Basically, a mix of sebum (oil) and skin cells get caught in the pores and oxidize, forming the characteristic brown–black color of comedones.

Number one rule when you have a blackhead is don’t pick at it! If you pick a blackhead, the area around the hair follicle and oil gland may get inflamed. This inflammation or trauma, the mix of sebum or skin cells, and the presence of a bacteria called P. acnes can cause non-inflammatory acne to become inflammatory. Inflammatory acne is characterized by redness, tenderness and cystic lesions. Inflammation in the area can lead to pain, unsightly acne cysts and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause scarring. Basically, you don’t want to stoke the fire of a well-behaving blackhead and create an inflamed and far worse situation.
Continue reading


Mar 5

San Diego Laser Expert Dr. Melanie Palm on Melasma and Laser Hair Removal

I just arrived back from Miami for our national meeting called the American Academy of Dermatology.  It was full of the latest and greatest on all the advances in Medical Dermatology, cosmetics procedures, and advances in laser technology.   At the AAD, I had the privilege on lecturing several times on a variety of laser techniques.    See the photos below on the packed audiences that attended the laser lectures.
National California laser expert Dr. Melanie Palm of Art of Skin MD discusses melasma treatment.

Dr. Melanie Palm breaking down melasma at the AAD exhibition hall.

        One of the most exciting and well-received information that I presented was on the treatment of melasma.  Melasma is a vexing problem for many women, especially in warm sunny climates.  Melasma is a pigmentary disorder that is caused by a combination of a hormonal source of estrogen and sun or UV exposure.  These triggers cause our pigment producing cells called melanocytes to overact, producing patchy areas of hyperpigmentation or brown spots.    Below is a before and after of a melasma patient after Spectra laser treatment.  
Spectra melasma treatment san diego

Melasma patient before and after treatment with the Lutronic Spectra laser.

  Another series of well-attended lectures for which I was invited to speak was on effective laser hair removal.  I addressed the ease and comfort of laser hair removal using the Lutronic Advantage - it can treat an entire male back in 7 minutes!     Check out our Fuzz-Free Fridays specials on laser hair removal.  Have questions?  Call us at Art of Skin MD at (858) 792-SKIN (7546) or through the Art of Skin MD Contact Page.            

Dec 19

Cold Weather Skin Tips – Eczema Treatment that Works!

The recent record-breaking cold weather that San Diego has been experiencing this Fall and Winter has led to a slew of skin-related rashes and conditions through our dermatology doors.  Here Dr. Palm shares some tips on how to identify if you are vulnerable to dry skin and eczema, and how to best safeguard your skin against harsh weather elements.   Here are some tell-tale signs that your skin is deprived of much needed moisture.  This leaves hands dry and even predisposed to irritating skin conditions like eczema (aka atopic dermatitis).  Affected skin often has the following symptoms:
  1. Itch
  2. Flaking
  3. Scaly
  4. Red itchy patches (eczema)
  5. People predisposed to dry skin often have a condition called "ichthyosis vulgaris."  Patients with this condition often have dry patches on the shins that resemble fish scales, which is how the condition derives its name (ichthy= fish-like).  An easy way to screen yourself is check the palms of your hands.  Patients with ichthyosis vulgaris have many more skin markings and stripes on their palms than those that are unaffected.
  Tips for winter-proofing skin:
  1. Moisturize often using specialized products.
    1. Ceramide containing products such Cerave and Cetaphil Restoraderm are especially helpful.  Ceramides are cholesterol-derived fats that normally moisturize our skin but are in short supply when skin is irritated and dry.
    2. Moisturize after hand washing
    3. Consider use of white cotton gloves at night after moisturizing in severe cases
    4. Temper the temperature of your shower
      1. Use more tepid water and moisturize after your shower or bath to seal in moisture
      2. Colloidal oatmeal added to bath water sooths dry irritated skin (Aveeno is a great brand)
      3. Use of heaters decrease air humidity.  Consider a humidifier or add plants which diffuse water into the air
      4. california dermatologist

        Flowers and plants help combat low humidity levels indoors

      1. Consider decreasing frequency of topical acne or anti-aging regimens if irritation occurs
      2. Consult with professional expertise if condition worsens.  Call the staff of Art of Skin MD to schedule an appointment with Dr. Melanie Palm.Art of Skin MD skin care center

Sep 12

Fractionated Laser Resurfacing (ECO2) –A Fantastic Special for September 2012 to Smooth Skin and Banish Wrinkles

Art of Skin MD and Dr. Melanie Palm are proud to introduce one of the newest laser innovations in laser skin resurfacing, the Lutronic ECO2.  This state-of-the-art device is used to eliminate wrinkles, improve skin texture, remove sun spots, and improve surgical, traumatic and acne scars.   As a special offering to patients, Dr. Melanie Palm is offering an unheard of value for laser resurfacing.  Normally priced at $4500 for the full face, Art of Skin MD is offering to qualified patients laser resurfacing for only $1500 during the month of September 2012.  Patients are encouraged to inquire with the Staff of Art of Skin MD at 858-792-SKIN (7546) to take advantage of this unheard of value.   Fraxel San Diego Art of Skin MD   Fractionated Skin resurfacing and is sometimes referred to as "Fraxel."  This procedure allows for dramatic improvement of facial wrinkles, eyelid droopiness, and vertical lip lines.  Acne scars and surgical scars can be greatly improved with treatment.  For an even more dramatic effect, the ECO2 can be combined with other procedures such as Intense Pulsed Light, Spectra laser treatment, photodynamic therapy, or injectables such as Sculptra for an even more dramatic facial rejuvenation.   Laser skin resurfacing with Lutronic ECO2 can also be used off the face to improve the skin.  The aging neck can be improved following treatment, as can aging hands or the chest or decolletage area.   Results for laser resurfacing continue to improve in the months following treatment.  Fractionated laser resurfacing has greatly decreased the downtime associated with traditional laser resurfacing.  Combining laser resurfacing with wrinkle treatments such as Botox and light fillers can dramatically improve the appearance of the skin.   Contact Art of Skin MD today to schedule your complimentary consultation during this limited time special.