A dermatologist is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair, and nails. Some of the diseases a dermatologist treats include skin cancer, eczema, and acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.
Cosmetic dermatological treatments can include restoring the look of patients' skin after surgery for skin cancer or other issues; treating acne breakouts and scars; and diminishing signs of aging with treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic & Dysport® and dermal fillers.
For the most complete skin examination, your skin should be free of makeup or nail polish. Wear clothes that are easy to remove and put back on, so that any part of your skin can be examined.
While you may fill out an intake form discussing your medical history, it is best to have a list of any medications you are on, the products you use on your skin, known allergies, and any questions you wanted answered about your skin or lesions you may have noticed. Many patients also find it useful to bring something to take notes on during their appointments.
Remember that being informed, honest, and open with your doctor is key to establishing a good relationship, and will allow for more accuracy in diagnosis and effectiveness in treatment.
After a discussion of your relevant medical history, paperwork, and questions or concerns you might have, you will receive a complete skin examination all over your body to look for any suspicious lesions, growths, or moles. A bright light and a dermatoscope may be used. The scalp is then examined by parting the hair. If Dr. Brooks finds any signs for concern, she will either make a diagnosis or recommend more detailed investigation.
You and Dr. Brooks will discuss what your goals are and how best to achieve them. The consultation will last as long as is needed to lay out various treatment options and decide on a protocol. While you might have an idea of what treatments you would like to receive, be open to Dr. Brooks' suggestions, as she may recommend treatments that are best suited to your unique skin profile and the goals you'd like to achieve.
No matter where you decide to receive a cosmetic skin treatment, always check the doctor's credentials and board certification. Board-certified dermatologists such as Dr. Brooks receive extensive education, training and experience, as well as pass additional exams for board certification.
You should also ask what results you can reasonably expect from the treatment, and whether there are any risks associated with it.
Please inform Dr. Brooks if you have a history of cold sores, as she can prescribe antiviral medication to prevent a new outbreak (an occasional injection-related side effect).
Avoid taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and more), aspirin, alcohol, high vitamin E doses, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, or St. John's Wort two to three days prior to receiving an injection, as these could make the blood thin. Arnica, an herbal supplement, may be taken on the day of the injection to help minimize any swelling or bruising.
Blue light therapy is one of the most popular treatments for acne and actinic keratoses (precancers) that has been approved by the FDA. A topical solution called Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) is applied to the skin. It is absorbed by the precancerous cells (AK cells), and when activated by blue light (of the range 405-420 nm), a reaction occurs that destroys the AK cells. It is a convenient in-office procedure with little down time and minimal discomfort. Treated patients should avoid sunlight or bright light exposure for 48 hours.
As we age our skin goes through many changes. How we care for our skin in adolescence is very different to regimens required for maintaining healthy skin in our later years. Let Dr. Brooks explain.Learn More
XTRAC is an FDA-approved excimer laser device that delivers targeted beams of UVB light to skin affected by psoriasis, without harming the surrounding skin. This laser penetrates the skin to break up the cells that form mild-to-moderate plaques.
Microneedling involves using a "micro pen" containing a number of precisely spaced micro needles in a small cartridge. This pen creates invisible micro perforations on the epidermis and top layer of the dermis, kickstarting the body's natural regeneration process to produce more collagen and elastin to repair the skin—leaving it with newer, rejuvenated layers.
Dermatoscopy or dermoscopy (also known as epiluminescence microscopy) refers to the examination of skin lesions with a dermatoscope, a device used by dermatologists to carefully inspect the lesions without skin surface reflections obstructing their view. This instrument is especially useful in distinguishing between benign and malignant lesions.
Dr. Brooks uses dermatoscopy as part of all her skin examinations for the most thorough inspection possible.
Sunscreen products are safe and effective when used as directed.
Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun's rays (avobenzone, oxybenzone, cinnmates), while physical sunscreens deflect the sun's rays (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). Sunscreen ingredients such as retinyl palmitate or oxybenzone are safe and effective when used as directed, and have been used for more than 40 years without reported side effects in humans. Some sunscreens contain nanoparticles that help it spread evenly on the skin, but are not absorbed into the skin or internally.
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential for protection against UV rays (and especially to prevent skin cancer). Other ways to effectively protect your skin from the sun include seeking shade and covering up with clothing and sunglasses.
Examples of sun-protective clothing include swim tees, rash guards, and wide-brimmed hats. Clothes dedicated to sun protection can be found on websites such as rei.com, coolibar.com, landsend.com, tilley.com, and uvskinz.com.
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For all children, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Some people prefer natural ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are physical blockers of sunlight. It is important to select a sunscreen your child is comfortable wearing – new brands are available frequently, and choosing one is often based on personal preference and if it feels comfortable when you apply it. Sprays are effective when applied evenly to the skin and rubbed in to avoid missed areas. They are also easy to apply to the scalp. Avoid inhalation by spraying outdoors. Topical sunscreen sticks are also popular with children for the face and are less likely to get in the eyes. Hats and sun protective rash guards are important if your child is resistant to frequent sunscreen application (every two hours).
Adults also should choose a formulation they will feel comfortable applying. Remember to apply enough sunscreen (one ounce or two tablespoons of lotion) and reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Again, sunscreen sticks are easy to apply to the face and won't run in eyes. Water resistant sunscreens have been labeled for effectiveness (40 to 80 minutes) and are also good for playing sports, because they are less likely to drip into the eyes when sweating. Sprays are good for scalps and quick body coverage, as long as they are applied evenly to the skin.
While we all need vitamin D, the sun only provides a limited amount of it—and unprotected sun exposure can do more harm than good. More efficient (and safer) sources of vitamin D include a healthy diet with fortified milk and cereal, yogurt, cheeses, and fatty fish (such as tuna, mackerel, or salmon). The American Academy of Dermatology recommends discussing dietary and/or vitamin supplement options with your doctor if you are concerned about obtaining sufficient vitamin D.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is:
Support groups for some common skin conditions include:
While Dr. Brooks accepts patients with or without referrals, your insurance may require having a referral to see a dermatologist in order to cover visits.