Look-alike Skin Conditions Only a Dermatologist Should Treat

Not all skin conditions are as they seem. While some may be obvious to the untrained eye…others can be a reason for much more concern and attention.

Common skin conditions like acne and rosacea, different viral rashes, and even poison oak versus poison ivy can all be confused for one another—and some are worse than others.

To help us correctly identify these commonly mistaken skin conditions is Apex Skin’s Marlise Fletter, CNP.

About Marlise Fletter
As a board certified family nurse practitioner, Marlise began her career in family practice in 1997 with St. Joseph Medical Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She enjoyed 10 years building a firm foundation in family medicine while obtaining additional training in dermatology.

Marlise’s interests include cosmetic dermatology and general adult and pediatric dermatology, particularly skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common skin ailments we’ll touch on in this blog post, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Acne vs. Rosacea

Acne Vulgaris and Acne Rosacea are two common skin conditions that resemble each other and can affect adults.

What do acne and rosacea look like?

Both acne and rosacea are characterized by inflammation, papules and pustules (skin bumps). Acne occurs when hair follicles and skin pores become clogged with oil, dead skin and environmental debris.

What is acne?   

Additionally, acne usually presents with comedones, either open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). Acne may cause scarring if left untreated. The causes of acne can be genetic or familial, hormonal, or bacterial, and it often presents heavily on the forehead, cheeks, and jawline. The chest and back may also be affected.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea differs from acne because inflammation, intense reddening of the skin, is the predominating symptom. The redness is caused by the dilation of superficial blood vessels in the face. There may still be papules and pustules, however, comedones are not present with rosacea.

Dry skin and itching are more common with rosacea. Also, rosacea usually presents over the central face (forehead, medial cheeks, nose, and chin). Specific triggers like sunlight, heat, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and strong emotions have been identified, which cause rosacea to flare. Controlling exposure to these triggers can improve the symptoms.

How are acne and rosacea treated?

Now that you’ve identified these skin conditions correctly, they must be treated uniquely, as they can’t always be treated the same way.

There are some treatments that will work with both acne and rosacea. However, some acne treatments will make rosacea worse. It’s important to see your dermatology provider to determine the best regimen for your condition.

Sources: Stanford Medicine, stanfordmedicine25.stanford.edu, National rosacea Society, rosacea.org

To learn more about look-alike skin conditions check out Apex Skin blog post at https://www.apexskin.com/2019/04/09/look-alike-skin-conditions/.

Advice to Newly Engaged Couples

We, as wedding professionals, are here to offer some advice and guidance as you begin the exciting journey of wedding planning!

Communicate
Most people think planning a wedding falls on the bride, and while that might be the case for some couples, it’s so important to talk with your partner and communicate what you both want for your wedding. This is when you can start developing the theme and feel of your big day, as well as discuss your budget.

Hire A Planner

  • Planning your wedding should be fun and exciting, not stressful. We often see couples that try to do everything themselves, only to realize halfway through planning that they need more help. That’s what we’re here for! Wedding planners can help with every aspect of your day, or just be there for day-of coordination and logistical help. We help with things like venue selection, catering menus, vendor coordination, design, décor, and everything in between.As important as it is to do certain things following your engagement, it’s just as important to be aware of the things you should not do:
  • Do not have your heart set on only one date. Many couples have only one date that they want at one specific venue, and then are heartbroken when it isn’t available. Plan your wedding around the theme you want, not just one specific aspect.
  • Do not make all the decisions yourself. Certain ideas might make sense in your head, but sometimes they’re not realistic for your venue or budget. Again, this is where a wedding planner is beneficial to aid in the planning process; offering advice and help.
  • Do not get caught up in Pinterest. Getting lost in the endless supply of wedding inspo on the site can stress you out and give you the wrong idea about what your wedding should be. Your big day should be a celebration of you and your significant other’s love and should reflect that.

We hope this advice has been beneficial to you as you start your wedding planning journey. If you’re interested in Creative Transformation’s services, we’d love to hear from you! Visit our website ctstyling.com and check out our other pages (Creative Transformations on Facebook and @creative.transformations on Instagram).

Creative Transformations 
www.ctstyling.com

 

 

The Heart/ Mouth Connection in Reverse

By Dr. Scott L. Rose

When I thought about what I was going to write about this topic, I wanted to share some personal experiences rather than spew out some boring facts. So let’s get the classroom stuff out of the way first. Yes, there is a connection between oral health and heart health. And yes, poor oral hygiene and oral disease can adversely affect the function and health of your heart. But that street runs both ways. Taking care of your oral health is no guarantee that you won’t develop heart disease. You can have great hygiene, no decay, healthy gums, and still develop heart disease. I was one of those people.

Having suffered and survived a massive heart attack, having good oral health was one thing I did not have to worry about in my ongoing recovery. I see many patients who have had all kinds of heart conditions and this can complicate dental treatments and long term oral stability. So while it is important to take care of your mouth as a preventive action, it also serves to help eliminate problems and complications should something happen to your health in another area.

Recovery from acute heart problems (or any other major illness) can be a long and complicated process. We all personally have been through something or know someone who has been through something. And during that process, one little thing can often tip the scales in a bad way and stop or reverse the recovery process. Taking care of your oral health with regular dental examinations, cleanings, and doing necessary dental work can help you on both lanes of that health road. This is a bonus double effect. Recovering from any major medical issue is hard enough; take away some of that risk. Do the right thing. See your dentist.

Best Foods for Healthy Skin

We’ve said it time and time again: what you put into your body has a major impact on what appears on the outside.

“Skin is the largest organ in our body and reflects our overall well-being”, says Ringaile Sirvaitis, Certified Nurse Practitioner at Apex Dermatology in Concord. “The foods and drinks we consume directly impact what our skin looks like on a day-to-day basis. Nutrition has a very strong correlation with various skin conditions such as acne, premature aging, and other inflammatory skin conditions.”

This is why it’s not always wise to only rely on external medicines in order to aid skin conditions, but rather to use them in unison with foods that can support healthy skin from the inside out.

About Ringaile Sirvaitis, CNP

Born in Lithuania, she has resided in the United States since 1999. In addition to English, she is fluent in Lithuanian and Russian. For many years, her passion and interests were focused on health, and more specifically, on beautiful skin.

Ringaile says, “It gives me huge satisfaction to see my patients looking and feeling better.”

During her advanced nursing training she studied in the dermatology department of Cleveland Clinic. Her diverse background and expertise in skin care gives her an excellent platform for sharing her knowledge and educating patients about the preservation, nurture, and well being of the skin.

And that includes which foods and drinks can help your skin in the long run.

What foods are good for skin overall?

Your skin is comprised of many layers and in order to properly care for them, they need nutrients that supports them.

When you want to buy foods and drinks that are good for your skin look for:

  • Fatty fish – such as salmon (wild-caught better than farm-raised to avoid hormones and antibiotics), mackerel, herring, sardines. These fish are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids that act as building blocks for healthy skin cells and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
  • Eggs – are protein rich and contain biotin, a B vitamin that is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Grass-fed meat that does not contain hormones or antibiotics
  • Vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, green beans, peppers, sweet potato, tomato, carrots, squash, pumpkin – contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins as well as fiber.
  • Fruits – lemon, papaya, avocado, orange, watermelon, honeydew, mango, pomegranate, apple, kiwi, apricot, banana, organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, bilberries) – contain antioxidants, are rich in vitamins and minerals, are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber.
  • Mushrooms – rich in vitamin D
  • Whole grains, beans and legumes – high in B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Good source of folate. Low in saturated fat.
  • Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds – contain natural fatty acids and vitamin E that helps to increase skin hydration and keeps away wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Green tea contains antioxidant EGCG that fights DNA damage from UV rays to prevent skin cancer. Also has anti-inflammatory effect improving skin tone and reducing acne.
  • Water has ability to flush toxins from our system, keeps our skin clean, well hydrated and more youthful.

What foods and drinks are bad for your skin?

It’s just as, if not more, important to understand which foods and drinks can also hurt you in your quest for perfect skin.

These are foods and beverages you should consume in moderation if you want to maintain healthy skin:

  • Refined carbohydrates – white flour foods such as white bread, pasta and white rice have a high glycemic index. This causes an insulin surge after consumption and leads to production of androgen hormones that cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil and cause acne.
  • Sugar/corn syrup – soda, juices, sport drinks, protein-granola bars cause inflammation and destruction of collagen and elastin in the skin that leads to wrinkles and premature aging and also same mechanism as with refined carbs, where an increase in serum insulin leads to more oil production by sebaceous glands and the overproduction of oil leads to clogged pores and acne.
  • Dairy products – high inflammatory food that will contribute to skin conditions such as acne, eczema and wrinkles.
  • Overconsumption of alcohol – pro-inflammatory, causes dehydration, increases likelihood of broken capillaries due to skin vasodilation, increases skin dullness and wrinkle formation.

To read more about the Best Foods for Healthy Skin click here to check out the Apex Skin Blog.

Hormones Protect Our Heart

By Tara D. Scott, MD, FACOG, FAAFM, ABOIM, CNMP

My struggle with hormones and infertility prompted me to start studying a holistic approach and eventually led to me completing a fellowship in functional medicine and getting another board certification in Integrative Medicine.

When people hear that we specialize in hormones we usually get mixed reviews. One camp still believes that hormones cause cancer, which stems from a study in 2002 called the Women’s Health Initiative that studied a synthetic form of hormone replacement (HRT) and found that in women over 65 there was an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer. Since then, other studies have proven that the risk of blood clots is only with oral estrogen, so we never prescribe estrogen in an oral form. Furthermore, another study in Europe in 2008 observed that there was no increased risk of breast cancer in women aged 40-64 who took estrogen through the skin in a patch or a cream form, and a bio-identical form of progesterone. They compared this group to a group of women who took no hormones at all. So, the type of hormone and the way you take it, and the dose, all come into play. So you need someone who is an expert to manage your hormone replacement if you choose to take it.

Aside from the confusing data about the risks of HRT, we need to remember that the #1 killer in women is heart disease. Also, the studies are pretty clear that estrogen is protective of heart disease, that’s why we don’t see women dying of sudden heart attacks before 50 as often as we see that with men. Moreover, let’s not forget that the DEATH rate two years after a hip fracture is higher than TEN years after breast cancer diagnosis, so osteoporosis is very serious. Estrogen has been shown in many studies to slow bone loss and help osteoporosis.

However, aside from risks & benefits of HRT, I would advocate for everyone to KNOW their hormones. That means you should be aware before and after menopause what your levels are. I see many women that have much too high of estrogen levels that are at increased risk for cancers of the breast or uterus. Knowing their levels, we can craft a plan for prevention.

There are many ways to test hormone levels. Traditional blood testing helps us see what your ovaries are producing, but saliva levels are best to test the stress hormone cortisol or to see what your tissues are exposed to. For example, a blood test is like your balance for your checking account at that very moment. It doesn’t take into account if you are getting deposits or withdrawals. So if I’m an accountant, I won’t just look at your balance, I will look at your checkbook, your receipts, and how much you have been paid to make an assessment. Urine testing lets us see how your body is processing hormones and make sure you aren’t stockpiling estrogen, which would be bad. So, even if you don’t think you need hormones, you should get tested to make sure you are in balance!

We can help you get your life back too.

Preventive Care is Essential for Women

Medina County Health Department offers health services, screenings, and treatments to live a longer, healthier life so you can be there for your family.

AN ESTIMATED 66% OF CAREGIVERS ARE FEMALE.

Women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbors, and they play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate. We need to care for ourselves to care for others! Source: caregiver.org

Provided By Medina County Health Department

Our mission at the Medina County Health Department is to prevent disease, assure a healthful environment, prolong life, and promote the well-being of the citizens of Medina County. Many of our services and programs focus on educating all citizens, but we also recognize that women experience unique health issues and conditions.

The Health Department has a full-time family practice physician, a full-time family nurse practitioner, and a certified nurse midwife who are all trained to provide complete services for women. General physicals, breast and cervical cancer screenings, low cost reproductive health care, and consultation for gynecological issues are just some of the services available.

Regular health exams and tests can help and problems before they start. Some health issues that are common to both men and women affect women differently, so it is important to work with a provider who recognizes this and works with you as an individual. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments you are taking steps for living a longer, healthier life. For women of reproductive age it is especially important to address issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and substance abuse, which may affect future fertility, pregnancies, and birth outcomes.

The Health Center at the Medina County Health Department accepts private insurance, Medicare plans and all Medicaid plans. Our staff is committed to your health.

Hours of Service: Same day appointments available. 
8:00am to 4:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
8:00am to 7:00pm on Tuesday 
8:00am to 2:00pm on Friday

 

You Can Be Your Best You with Laser Acupuncture

By Luciana McCartney

Laser acupuncture, a non-invasive alternative therapy, uses low-level lasers (LLLT) on specific pressure points across the body similar to traditional needle acupuncture. As a form of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s “qi” or energy flow. Issues like tobacco and food addictions or chronic stress are believed to be caused by blockages in energy flow. By stimulating pressure points located in specific areas of the body, new channels can open allowing energy to be redirected, thus encouraging the natural meridians to flow properly.

How can laser acupuncture help the smoker, the person who is trying to lose weight or someone who suffers from stress?

For the smoker, LLLT reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms by stimulating pressure points that encourage better energy flow and endorphin production that reduce stress and anxiety.

For the person who is addicted to food, LLLT focuses on addiction, sugar detoxing, and weight health pressure points. AcuLaser Treatment Center has a number of programs designed to help specific needs. AcuLaser Treatment Center also offers The Cryo T-Shock for added support to help eliminate stubborn fat while dieting. You can see changes in just a few treatments.

For someone who suffers from stress, LLLT helps reduce cortisol levels in the body, which trigger high levels of stress and anxiety.

If you want to experience the benefits of laser acupuncture for yourself, turn to the professionals at AcuLaser Treatment Center. Visit our website at www.theyquit.com to learn more, or call 440.740.1020 to make an appointment today.

What is Eczema and How Can it Affect You

As winter enters its harshest months yet, everyone’s skin is susceptible to the drying affects of the weather. Whether you realize it or not, the weather can play a large role in your skin and its ailments – including eczema.

Those of you who have experienced eczema are very aware of just how much worse it can get during the hard winter months.

To learn how to manage this chronic condition in winter months, we teamed up with our very own Dr. Shannon McKeen who answers some of your most asked questions about eczema and how it works against your skin.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a medical condition that affects the skin in various ways. It can result in rough, dry patches that may produce intense itching, blisters and bleeding skin if left untreated.

Occasionally, eczema is a reaction to various substances, known as eczematous dermatitis, but most often has no known cause.

Who gets eczema?

Did you know that eczema is actually a very common skin condition? It affects about 1 in every 10 people. Odds are, you know someone in your life struggling with it.

Dr. Shannon McKeen says, “Eczema can affect any age, ranging from newborns to elderly patients. It has a higher prevalence in patients that have a personal history of asthma or allergic rhinitis, as well as a family history of eczema.”

Basically, eczema doesn’t discriminate and can affect a wide range of individuals.

What causes eczema to flare up?

One of the most widely asked questions has to do with the cause of eczema and its flare-ups. Dr. McKeen dives deep to answer the cause for you.

“There are many different factors that can contribute to a flare of eczema. Anything that worsens the dryness of the skin can, in turn, worsen eczema. Therefore, the winter months can be very difficult for eczema patients due to the low humidity, hot showers and heaters running in the house.

Fragrances in soaps, lotions, laundry detergents and other personal care products can also aggravate eczematous skin. In rare cases, food allergens can contribute to severe and recalcitrant cases.”

In order to reduce the symptoms of eczema, pay close attention to your body and what substances you come into contact with prior to a flare up. This will help regulate your condition better.

What does eczema look like?

It’s important to understand what eczema looks like so you can accurately identify and treat it. However, as always, we recommend visiting your dermatologist to confirm before self-treating.

“Eczema can present as one small scaly patch or a diffuse itchy rash that covers the entire body. The distribution of eczema can vary with the age of the patient and the appearance can be different depending on how long the rash has been present.

Due to the wide variety of presentations and the fact that eczema can mimic other skin conditions, it is important to have the rash evaluated by a Dermatologist.”

Are eczema and psoriasis related?

Although eczema and psoriasis can, at times,  have a similar clinical appearance, they are unrelated and also treated differently.

As noted above, there are numerous skin conditions that can have a similar clinical appearance to eczema, therefore an accurate diagnosis is essential for proper management.

How can you best treat eczema?

There are a few different ways in which eczema can be treated. First and foremost, always confirm your diagnosis with a dermatologist and listen to their expert advice in treating this condition.

Dr. Shannon McKeen has more tips for treating eczema:
“Healthy bathing habits are of the utmost importance in patients that have eczema. Historically, topical corticosteroids were the mainstay of therapy. In recent years, there have been new exciting therapies that do not contain steroids which can be used topically.

There is also a new injectable biologic medication that can help for severe cases of eczema that are difficult to treat with topical medications alone.”

Not all cases of eczema are the same, therefore patients should work with their Dermatologist to formulate a unique treatment plan for their specific needs.

Can eczema be cured?

Unfortunately there is no cure for eczema. However, there are many steps that can be taken to improve the overall health of the skin and reduce the frequency of flares.

With the variety of treatment options available, allowing a patient to be in control of eczema is now a therapeutic reality.

Eczema is a skin condition that can be both painful physically and emotionally. Always book an appointment with a trusted dermatologist to understand how it works so you can utilize a treatment plan that’s best for you.

About Dr. Shannon McKeen

Dr. McKeen is originally from South Bend, Indiana. She completed her undergraduate years at Ball State University, and as a chemistry/pre-medicine double major, won awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Performance in Chemistry.

Dr. McKeen attended medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she was one of two students in her graduating class to receive the Academic Achievement Award.

She spent her clinical years at University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center, and after medical school, stayed to complete a Dermatology-focused Traditional Rotating Internship. She completed her Dermatology residency at Lakeland Health in Saint Joseph, Michigan where she was appointed chief resident. After completion of her dermatology residency, she became board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology and gained Fellowship status from the American College of Osteopathic Dermatology.

Source: ApexSkin.com

Research Reveals How to Keep a Healthy Heart

By Jeff Tomaszewski, Chief Life Transformer, MaxStrength Fitness

When you think of February, what comes to mind? Chocolate? Roses? Love?

This February, we’re thinking about your heart—and not a chocolate filled cardboard heart. February is heart health month and it is a great opportunity to take stock of the health of your heart and what you can do to make it even healthier.

First, the facts:

If you ask typical Americans what disease they fear most, they will likely say cancer. And cancer is a deadly disease, killing hundreds of thousands of people each year. But there is a killer even more prevalent than cancer: Heart Disease.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer in America. In fact, more women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined! And men are 2 to 5 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than premenopausal women. But once women reach menopause, their risk is similar to a man’s. The facts speak for themselves: heart disease is an even greater threat than cancer.

But now for the good news. Heart disease is nearly 95% preventable! YES, PREVENTABLE!

Are you taking care of your heart?

Exercise is a critical part of having a healthy heart. The benefits of a well-designed cardiovascular training routine are pretty obvious, but what many don’t realize is how important strength training is for heart health. Exercise such as strength training not only builds muscle and helps keep your weight down, it also makes your heart stronger so it does not have to work as hard to supply your body with life-giving oxygen.

Weight control. Being overweight puts you at high risk for heart disease. When you are carrying around excess fat, your heart has to work harder. It enlarges as it works harder, and as it enlarges, it become less efficient. Eventually, this reduction in efficiency culminates in heart disease. As you strength train, however, you increase the muscle mass in your body, which helps to burn off extra fat, easing the burden on your heart.

Strong heart. High-Intensity Strength Training, like we do at MaxStrength Fitness, also increases your heart rate, which pushes your heart to become more efficient and causes you to grow more capillaries. The end result is a heart that is so strong and efficient that it has to do less work to supply your body with oxygen. You will have lower blood pressure as well, because your arteries will be supple and smooth—blood will flow through them easily. And the extra capillaries in your body will make it easy for oxygen and nutrients to be transported throughout your entire body, giving you more energy and better health.

After analyzing data from nearly 13,000 adults, researchers found that those who did strength training had a much lower risk of heart attack and stroke, dying from heart-related causes, and dying early from any cause than those who didn’t do any strength training. The strength trainers also had lower risk of harmful cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and large waistline. The best part? There’s no need to live in the weight room; the heart-health benefits were seen with less than an hour of strength training a week! Find a certified trainer and learn a simple, efficient routine using machines, free weights, or your own body weight, and do at least two sessions a week. Your whole body, including your heart, will benefit.

Source: Associations of Resistance Exercise with Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality.

2019 Wedding Trends

2019 is here, and this year, it’s getting personal. Weddings this season are all about adding personalized touches and reducing waste. Expect to see more ceremonies set up ‘in the round’ in order to allow all guests a perfect view. Décor at the wedding site will be minimal, and brides will instead focus more on enriching the experience of the guests at the reception.

Bridal dresses this year follow the simplistic, ‘less is more’ theme, with clean lines and high necklines. Similarly, bouquets will be minimalistic with plenty of greenery or grasses. Pampas grass is on trend to be the most used green of the season, and can be transformed in a multitude of ways. Grooms will be dressed in bespoke suits in rich, deep tones with an overall ‘custom’ look. As a whole, wedding dress codes are shifting to more straightforward requirements (think ‘black tie’), in order to minimize confusion for guests and create a more cohesive feel.

(Amsale Bridal)

(Amsale Bridal)

Sustainability is the name of the game this season, and brides are finding creative ways to reduce waste at their receptions. Traditional sit-down dinners are being traded for passed appetizers and charcuterie boards. Food stations are an easy swap for buffet dinners, featuring smaller portions of more intricate dishes. Getting rid of a lengthy dinner service cuts down on waste and encourages guests to dance and mingle as they please.

(Foodie City Network)

Elegant wedding cakes are making a comeback after alternatives such as donuts or macrons were used frequently in past years. Overall, receptions will feel less traditional and will instead have fun features like disco balls and confetti to make it feel more like a party. We’re excited to work with our 2019 brides and see their visions come to life!

(I do! Wedding Cakes)

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about 2019 wedding trends! Be sure to tag us in your engagement and wedding photos! (Creative Transformations on Facebook and @creative.transformations on Instagram). Contact us if you’d like our help planning an engagement or wedding, or if you have questions about our services. Want to see a specific topic featured on our blog? Let us know!