Dr. Taub’s Spring 2014 Letter

Dear patients, colleagues and friends,

There hasn’t been much that has been exciting about this winter. For those of us mainly staying in the Midwest it has been a challenge to get enough exercise and keep up our spirits due to the unrelenting cold and snow.

Spring will soon be here bringing with it a soft breeze, flowers, and warmer temperatures.

Sometimes people are surprised to hear that we spend a significant portion of our days performing medical dermatology: skin cancer checks and surgeries, diagnosis and treatments for rashes, psoriasis, warts and acne; hair loss, rosacea and nail fungus. Although we often promote and have special expertise in cosmetic dermatology, much of our time focused on these important skin challenges that affect our patient’s daily lives.

By now, most of you who have psoriasis probably do know about the introduction of the so-called biologic therapies. These are injectable medications that have revolutionized the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. Additionally, many new biologic medications are coming to the market within the next 1-2 years that will prove to be even more effective. For those of you whose disease is more limited or mild, the Xtrac® laser (ultraviolet light in one wavelength) has proven to be extremely effective and the people who choose this route seem to be very satisfied with their choice.

A new discovery in the realm of atopic dermatitis (genetic based eczema) has been announced; it has been discovered that bacteria sitting on the skin can cause severe itching. Usually, we think of bacterial infections as causing pain, but the itch is more a result of an allergic-like response to some of the chemicals made by the bacteria. People with eczema lack an important ingredient in their skin that helps to keep bacteria and irritants out and water in. This explains the fact that bleach baths help with eczema. This seems counterintuitive to everything we know about people with eczema that their skin is sensitive to wool, fragrance and sweat. It turns out that bleach bath, a minimal cost,  kills off much of the bacteria sitting on the skin that causes itch. BLEACH BATHS must be diluted!

• Use one-quarter of one cup in a completely filled bathtub

• Submerging just twice a week for 5-10 minutes often helps with itching and can cause a real improvement

• Proper moisturization (such as Avène® Trixera Emollient Balm ($44) or Cetaphil® RESTORADERM® Skin Restoring Moisturizer ($20) and judicious use of prescription medications also help.

Acne is the number one reason that people come to visit a dermatologist. It is one of the best feelings as a dermatologist when a teenager, who was at first sullen and reluctant to look you in the eye, returns for a follow-up visit, smiling and confident. It is truly gratifying to see the change in self-esteem that comes with clear skin. Recently, I was in the grocery store when a woman approached me and showed me a picture of her son, who was in college. “Look at how clear his skin is!” she exclaimed. Her son also had to cut back on fatty foods while he was on Isotretinoin (Accutane) due to an abnormal lab test. I saw on her cell phone a picture of a 19-20 year old boy with perfect skin and a great physique. She said to me, “I want you to know how your practice helped my son; he is so healthy and happy.” One of the worst cases of acne that I had ever seen was that of a teenage girl who had truly disfiguring and painful acne. I prescribed Isotretinoin but I also had to treat her with many other things during the treatment to get her through the process. There were often tears shed by both her and her mother. But she came through, surprisingly with no scars! She contacted me about 7 years ago to tell me she was going to be a dermatologist due to her experience and she has now almost completed medical school. It doesn’t get any better than this; being in a position to help people is an honor and also deeply satisfying.

Over the years we have also seen many patients who have had skin cancer. This is why we are focusing on another year of skin cancer awareness at our annual Skin for Life event to be held on May 22 starting at 6pm at Viper Alley. It is really a fun event featuring up and coming Chicago area fashion designers, vendor demonstrations, and silent auction. The event will be emceed by the editor of SPLASH Magazine, the adorable and ebullient Susanna Negovan. It will be a fun night with proceeds donated to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Have a wonderful Spring and DO protect yourself from the sun! I have found that (like many of you) I am so on the go that I sometimes have the urge to run out the door without my sunscreen. So I have become much more of an aficionado of sun protective clothing. We have a great selection of Mott50 and Coolibar® sun protective clothing at skinfo® that is fun and stylish. Sun protective attire does keep you cool as well, by blocking out infrared rays. So pick up a few shirts or tops for your bike ride or run to protect yourself.

I am also excited to report we are continuing to see great results from Ultheapy®. This new ultrasound treatment will tighten and lift loose skin under the chin and neck. Many of our patients have noticed a sleeker jawline of the lower face. You can return to your activities while your own collagen builds over time tightening loose skin after just one procedure.

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Advanced Dermatology newsletter without mentioning at least one new technology. We are introducing the Vanquish; a device using radiofrequency that reduces fat around the abdomen and flanks. We identified a group of people who had a bit more padding than Coolsculpting® could effectively help. Coolsculpting® is wonderful for people with stubborn bulges, but when the fat starts being less focused, the Vanquish can take over. Vanquish can reduce the overall fat layers in the entire area of the abdomen and flanks. Once this is accomplished, we can then go to work shaping with Coolsculpting® and firming with TriPollar Apollo® or Thermage®. If you have a BMI of 25-35, you are a candidate for Vanquish. This new piece of equipment is usually PAINLESS and has no downtime, so please come in for a consultation to find out about this new technology. Getting healthy can start with something that can be this simple. My own positive experience with Coolsculpting® led me to eat less (I was so happy with the results I wanted to add to them) and I have successfully lost and kept off 11 pounds!

Have a great spring; we look forward to seeing you at Skin for Life!

Amy Forman Taub, MD
And the Staff of Advanced Dermatology and skinfo® Specialty Skincare Boutique