COVID-19 Precautions: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Avail Dermatology

COVID-19 Precautions: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Avail Dermatology

Dear Patients of Avail Dermatology:

The physicians at Avail Dermatology are continuously monitoring the latest guidelines on management of the COVID-19 outbreak via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). As these recommendations are updated, we will modify our procedures as needed to minimize the risks of spreading infection. Avail Dermatology will continue to operate normal business hours unless otherwise notified.

At this time, we would like to inform you of our latest policy:

  • We ask all patients and their families and other close contacts, who have a fever, cough, symptoms of a respiratory infection, or have been exposed to a person with coronavirus, the flu or any other communicable disease to reschedule their appointments or surgeries. At this time we are waiving cancellation fees.
  • If you are at all concerned you may have a serious infectious disease, please seek care at your primary care physician’s office or local hospital’s emergency department.
  • If you have travelled recently to any country specified by the CDC as a Level 1, 2, or 3 Health Advisory country, please reschedule your appointment or surgery. These countries can be monitored at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices. Currently, they include
    • Level 3 (highest risk): Italy, China, Iran
    • Level 2: South Korea, Japan
    • Level 1: France, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore

Please remember that the best way to prevent the spread of communicable disease is cleanliness and hand washing. The CDC has guidelines on personal practices to reduce infection risk.

There is still quite a bit of influenza activity in the US which is still more likely to cause serious illness than the coronavirus. If you have not yet received a flu shot, it is not too late and is still being recommended by the CDC.

We are taking extra precautions and have added additional hand sanitizers throughout the practice. We sanitize our workstations and counters continuously throughout the day and will continue to do so.

We will continue to monitor this situation and post new information to our website and commicate via email if urgent. Thank you.

– The providers and staff of Avail Dermatology 

Important Message for Our Psoriasis Biologic Patients

Important Message for Our Psoriasis Biologic Patients

The recent coronavirus outbreak has led to many questions about what patients should do if they are on biologic or oral medications to treat their psoriasis. Unfortunately, there are no official recommendations from groups like the American Academy of Dermatology: if those are forthcoming, we will alert you immediately.

In the meantime, these are our current recommendations. They are certainly subject to changes as we get more information about the outbreak:

  1. On Otezla, Dupixent, or IL-17 or IL-23 inhibitors (Stelara, Tremfiya, Ilumya, Cosentyx, Taltz, Siliq, Skyrizi) can continue their treatment IF they are symptom-free and have not had any contact with potential coronavirus-infected people, and have not traveled to a Level 1, 2, or 3 country.
  2. Patients on TNF inhibitors (Enbrel, Humira, Cimzia) who have other risk factors for coronavirus (age > 50, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like Heart disease, Diabetes, or Lung disease should discuss with their provider whether they should stop treatment, or switch to a different class of medication.
  3. Patients on TNF inhibitors (Enbrel, Humira, Cimzia) WITHOUT any known risk factors for coronavirus, including older age, other medical conditions, contact with potentially infected people, travel to high-risk areas may still want to consider switching to alternate medications, or holding doses of medication. In some cases, it may be possible to continue their treatment under close observation.

ALL patients should practice all of the CDC-recommended strategies to minimize risk of coronavirus infection.

Emergency Preparedness: Coronavirus

Emergency Preparedness: Coronavirus

At Avail Dermatology, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus and protocols around it are changing quickly, and we are working to mitigate any impact on our providers, staff and patients.

According to the CDC, this virus is very limited (104 known cases on March 3, 2020) in the United States, and the immediate health risk from coronavirus remains low. However, as global cases rise and the virus continues to spread in more and more countries, the risk for a pandemic is elevated and more likely to occur.

We ask all patients and their guests who have a fever, symptoms of a respiratory infection, or have been exposed to a person with a coronavirus, the flu or any other communicable disease to reschedule their appointments or surgeries. We will be posting signs in our offices, asking screening questions, and following CDC and Georgia DPH protocol for screening and management of patients. If you are at all concerned you may have a serious infectious disease, your best course of action is to seek care at your primary care physician’s office or local hospital’s emergency department.

Please remember that the best way to prevent the spread of communicable disease is cleanliness and hand washing. There is still quite a bit of influenza activity in the US which is still more likely to cause serious illness than the coronavirus. If you have not yet received a flu shot, it is not too late and is still being recommended by the CDC.

Again, this is an evolving and fluid situation. We will continue to monitor and report any new information as it becomes available, if needed.  Please check our website as we plan on posting any new information as soon as possible. We are, as always, focused and dedicated to keeping our patients and staff healthy.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris, also known as KP, is an extremely common skin condition that affects almost three million people worldwide. Despite its commonality, not much is known about this chronic, long-term skin condition, and many people who have it may not even realize that their skin is abnormal.

To learn more about keratosis pilaris from the experts at Avail Dermatology, keep reading below.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis is a common skin condition that causes the skin in certain areas to have a bumpy appearance, often described as “chicken skin.” By far, the most common location is on the upper outer arms, but less commonly, it can affect the outer thighs, and lateral cheeks on the face. These bumps are caused by an build-up of keratin, , which is the protein that is forms the outer layer of the skin. In KP, the keratin builds up into tiny “mounds” around individual hair follicles. .It is an extremely common condition, particularly in children and adolescents, with some estimates as high as 50% to 80% of adolescents showing some degree of KP. It often worsens in winter when the skin is dry, particularly in patients who also have eczema, a common finding.

Generally, KP improves with age and is less common in adults, though still not rare. Generally, KP does not cause symptoms, although in rare cases it can lead to skin irritation and peeling.

KP appears to be a genetic disorder, and many patients have a family history of KP. There are some studies suggesting that abnormal genes that control the production and function of keratin may be responsible for the condition.

How is Keratosis Pilaris Treated?

Just as it is not truly known what causes KP, there is also no known cure. The good news is that, most often, keratosis pilaris disappears with age and will go away on its own.

However, there are several ways to help manage your symptoms if they are a burden to you. Follow these steps to do just that:

  • Keep your body moisturized. This remains the hallmark of therapy for KP. Moisturizing reduces the appearance of the bumps and prevents peeling and scaling. Some moisturizers may be more effective for KP. These include alpha hydroxy acid moisturizers, which contain ingredients like lactic or glycolic acid. By accelerating exfoliation, they may reduce the bumpy texture of the skin.
  • Start new daily habits. Along with moisturizers, try out warm water instead of hot water for your bath, and add moisture to your home with a humidifier.
  • Work with your doctor. More resistant or bothersome cases of KP may need additional treatment. Work with your trusted dermatologist to help formalize a plan that will be best for you and your skin. Your physician will be able to recommend the best products and help you to avoid practices that may not lessen your keratosis pilaris.

If you would like assistance with managing your keratosis pilaris, then reach out to the trusted dermatology experts at Avail Dermatology. We’ll be happy to formulate a management plan that is just right for you and your skin.

Give us a call at 770-251-5111 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Older woman wondering how your skin changes as you age.

How Your Skin Changes as You Age

Everyone grows older. It’s a natural part of life, not something to fear. Advancing age brings learning, opportunities, and the freedom to explore the richness of life that is not always possible when you are young.

What a lot of people don’t enjoy about aging is that skin starts to look and feel different than it used to. Lines develop on your face, and spots grow on your arms. Many patients notice sagging and lack of fullness.

If you’re looking in the mirror and not happy with how your skin is aging, know that you’re not alone. It happens to everyone, and, as discouraging as it can be, there’s a reason behind it all. Learn how your skin changes as you age below!

  • Tan to brown lesions, such as so-called “liver spots” and “age spots,” may begin to appear throughout your body. Most of them should be benign.
  • Puckering and wrinkles around the mouth may become more noticeable as you experience bone loss around the jaw and midface.
  • The top layer of skin (epidermis) and the second layer (dermis) may grow thin, causing your skin to appear more transparent, showing underlying blood vessels.
  • In the dermis, stretchy fibers called elastin are diminished. This causes your skin to feel slack and lack tightness.
  • Hyaluronic acid—a water-loving substance in the dermis—is lost. This is another cause of thin and fragile skin.
  • Blood vessel walls lack support, and bruises form easily, even after minor trauma.
  • Your cheeks, temples, chin, nose, and eye areas will lose subcutaneous fat, contributing to looser skin and sunken areas.
  • Your skin may develop dryness. This will make it rough and prone to itching.
  • Nasal cartilage may be altered, causing the tip of your nose to drop.

While some visible signs of aging are inherited from our parents (and grandparents) and beyond our control, there are many things that can be done to look and feel your best. Sun protection, consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise, adequate sleep, and smoking cessation are foundational.  A tailored skin-care regimen is also vital.

If you’d like to learn more about how your skin changes as you age and develop a personalized approach for aging gracefully, click here to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist experts at Avail Dermatology or give us a call at 770.251.5111.

Asian woman pointing out spots that appear on your skin that aren't moles.

Spots that Appear on Your Skin that Aren’t Moles

You are probably very familiar with moles. They are one of the most frequently discussed dermatology lesions, and for good reason, since they are so commonplace. But what about all the other spots and bumps that may appear on your skin?

It is important to stay informed on what could be forming on your skin, so you can know what is normal and what to watch closely. We’re breaking down the most common spots that appear on your skin that aren’t moles. Keep reading to find out what those are!

Freckles

Freckles are tan- or brown-colored spots that are located on sun-exposed skin.  They may grow darker during the summer but lighten up during the winter. They are totally harmless, but—for those who have a lot—it may signal an increased risk for skin cancer. Keep track of the freckles you have.  If you notice any changes in size, shape, or color, seek out a dermatologist.

Skin Tags

Extremely common, skin tags are soft bumps of skin that grow in skin folds of the neck, underarms, eyelids, groin, and breasts. They are usually the same color as your skin tone.  Friction and rubbing seem to be a risk factor.  Occasionally, skin tags can be a marker for a condition such as diabetes.  Usually they are asymptomatic but occasionally they may become irritated by clothing or jewelry.  Since they are benign, no treatment is necessary, and removal is not typically covered by medical insurance.

Sun Spots / Age Spots / Liver Spots

These common names are imprecise but usually refer to flat spots that are light tan to medium-dark brown located on the face, forearms, back of the hands, and upper trunk. They are brought on by sun exposure over your lifetime. Though they aren’t usually dangerous, their appearance may cause you to seek treatment. There are a variety of cosmetic treatment options, ranging from lightening creams to chemical peels to lasers. The best way to have them evaluated and learn more is by seeing a dermatologist.

White Spots

These small, smooth, white spots on your skin are technically called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) and develop most commonly on the forearms and shins. About 80% of patients over age 70 have them, including patients of all skin tones.  IGH is not a dangerous condition.  Interestingly, the exact cause is unknown but is thought to be related to sun damage.

Cherry Angiomas

Do you have a red spot on your skin — something that looks like it might be a red mole? That is probably a cherry angioma, and it’s a small collection of blood vessels near the surface of the skin. They can be raised or flat, appear anywhere on the body, and are usually smaller than a pencil eraser. The good news is that these are harmless and don’t require any form of treatment. For patients that seek removal, this is not typically covered by health insurance.

Seborrheic Keratoses

Although the name may not sound familiar, seborrheic keratoses are probably one of the most common lesions to prompt a visit to the dermatologist. These are brown to dark brown growths that may sometimes resemble melanoma.  Their surfaces may be smooth or rough and wart-like, often with a somewhat greasy texture.  They are found all over the body and often occur in multiples on the back. Some people liken them to barnacles. Occasionally, they may cause itching and bleeding, but the good news is that they can easily be removed.

From freckles to seborrheic keratoses, we’ve covered the most common spots that appear on your skin that aren’t moles. If you find that you are experiencing any of the above dermatology issues, the experts at Avail Dermatology are happy to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 770.251.5111.

Couple working on their skin care routine together.

Why Should You Have a Skincare Routine?

With so much to do in a day, it’s hard to make time for your skin with a daily skincare routine. After a hard day of work, sometimes all you want to do is climb into bed without thinking about washing your face or moisturizing your skin.

But there are several benefits of sticking to a daily skincare routine, no matter how tired you are. To help convince you, here are the benefits of having a skincare routine.

Improves the Health of Your Skin and Help Prevent Issues

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It does important things like protect us from extreme weather, infections, and toxic substances. The least we can do is help keep it healthy and refreshed.

Just like any other part of your body, if you take care of your skin it will be healthier. Washing it daily gets rid of the germs, dead skin, and other things that lay on your skin’s surface throughout your day. If you go to sleep without washing it, you are inviting those things to wreak havoc on your skin, making it more oily, acne prone, and susceptible to skin diseases.

Slows Down Aging

While those in their 20s and early 30s may not have to worry yet about the signs of aging, having a daily skincare regimen at a young age helps to slow down the effects of aging. This is because, as we grow older, our skin begins to lose its strength and elasticity. When we clean, exfoliate, moisturize, and use sunscreen on a regular basis, we give our skin some of its strength and elasticity back in the process.

While it’s impossible to beat off the signs of aging away forever, if the idea of wrinkles in your 30s scare you, then it’s time to set up your daily skincare routine.

Boosts Confidence

When we properly take care of our skin, we are also helping to beat away our biggest insecurities, like dark circles underneath our eyes or dark spots on your skin. Plus, after washing your face and putting on your moisturizer with sunscreen, your skin feels so much better than if you didn’t do a thing to it before walking out the door. The feeling of soft, happy skin is a great confidence boost as you head out for the day, versus going into the world with an unwashed face and all your insecurities front and center.

Self-Care Can be Fun

If you’ve had an extra-long or stressful day, it’s always a good idea to indulge in some self care. Using a special face mask or taking the time to try out new skin products can not only help to reduce your stress levels but it can also have lots of extra added benefits to your skin. Doing those special things regularly for your skin will only continue to reap in the benefits both for your stress and your skin.

If you have any more questions about the benefits of skincare and what you should be doing to make your skin feel amazing, then click here to schedule an appointment with the dermatology experts at Avail Dermatology.

Asian woman covering acne scars and acne with powder foundation

Tips for Handling Acne Scars

Having acne at any stage of your life can be extremely annoying. But what’s even more frustrating is when that acne leaves behind acne scars. Scarring occurs when breakouts affect the skin deeply enough to damage the tissue below. The scars look like divets, or holes, in your skin and can be just as annoying to treat as acne is.

If you’re battling acne scars, keep reading below to learn more about the best tactics for treatment.

Three Main Types of Acne Scars

Atrophic or Depressed Acne Scars

This is the most common type of acne scar. They occur when not enough collagen was formed when the acne wound was healing.

There are three types of atrophic acne scars. Boxcars are wide, u-shared scars that can be shallow or deep. Ice pick scars are narrow, v-shaped scars that usually go deep into the skin. And, finally, rolling scars are wide, deep acne scars.

Hypertrophic or Raised Scars

These are most commonly found on the chest and the back. These happen after too much collagen is created during healing, giving the acne scars a raised appearance.

Dark Spots

Dark spots are discoloration spots on the skin left behind after acne has disappeared. These are pretty common across all skin types and can be caused by other things. They can be purple, red, or brown. Usually, these fade over time and with the help of treatments.

Best Treatment Options:

There’s a lot of options to explore for treatments. Here are the most common types:

  • Soft Tissue Fillers: Given by dermatologist, these fillers inject collagen or fat directly under the skin to fill out the scars. While the results are positive, they are temporary and require multiple treatments to keep them invisible.
  • Lasers: This type of treatment is very common and also given by professionals. Certain lasers or other light sources treatment are able to treat the scars and reduce their appearance.
  • Chemical Peels: Many medical spas and dermatology offices offer medical peels, sometimes even scrubs, that can reduce the appearance.
  • Botox: Botox relax the areas of skin where acne scars are, thus improving the appearance of the divets and scars.
  • Needling and Rolling: Another common procedure at many dermatology offices, needling or rolling uses a device that has small needles on a rolling bar. While this may sound painful, it’s extremely safe and your skin will be numbed before the procedure begins so the pain will be minimal.
  • Home remedies: There are lots of home remedies that countless people have used to help reduce the appearance. Masks made out of aloe vera, coconut oil, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar have been proven to have positive effects on only superficial acne scars. Do some research and try out your favorite options to see if it helps to reduce the appearance.

The best way to handle acne scars is to speak to your trusted dermatology professional. The experts at Avail Dermatology are here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with any of our expert team.

Multiple ethnically diverse people, wondering about How Skincare Varies Between Races.

How Skincare Varies Between Races

The world is an extremely diverse place filled with all kinds of beautiful people of different colors. What’s just as diverse as the kinds of people in this world is the right kind of skincare they require. There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to skincare.

To understand all the ways the color of your skin can impact your skincare regime and how skincare varies between races, keep reading below.

The Science Behind the Different Skin Tones

You may be curious why different skin colors need different care. It’s all behind the science of why skin color ranges. That information dates all the way back to the beginning of humans.

Every single person has melanin in their skin. This is what gives our skin its color, and it’s also the thing that protects us from the sun. However, there are two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. The former is what makes skin darker, while the latter does the opposite by creating red or pink shades. The more eumelanin a person has, the darker their skin is. The more pheomelanin they have, the lighter they are.

Eumelanin melanin cells are also much more effective in protecting against UV damage. The more a person has melanin, the more they are protected from the sun.

But what does all of that mean for skincare? We’re diving into that now.

Aging

Black and Asian people have a thicker dermis layer, the skin’s second layer of skin that gives it flexibility and strength. The reason it’s thicker is because it contains more collagen, which is also proven to delay the signs of aging.

If you have light skin, know you’ll have to start using products to help with the signs of aging earlier than others. If you have darker skin, you can wait a bit, but don’t ignore it altogether. Wrinkles will eventually come.

Acne

Did you know that acne affects 85 percent of the population? Acne happens to every race, but there are a few small differences that can occur. For example, Asians and those with dark skin are more prone to experiencing inflammation and scarring from their acne.

If you’re suffering from acne, know you’re not alone! Learn about acne treatments from the experts at Avail.

Spots and Conditions

Certain skin tones and colors are more prone to certain skin conditions than others. Here are the basics of those particular issues in skincare varies between races:

  • Age spots are more visible on white and Asian skin types.
  • Asian, Hispanic, and African skin tones are more likely to experience pigment disorders.
  • Darker skin tones are more likely to have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which occurs when patches of skin have overproduced melanin and therefore look darker.
  • Dark-skinned, Hispanic, and Asian people are more likely to have melasma, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation.
  • Certain skin types are more easily irritated than others. On that spectrum, Asian skin is the most sensitive while darker skin is the toughest.
  • Eczema is more likely to arise in dark-skinned and Asian people. However, the condition is also genetic.
  • Fair-skinned people are more likely to experience rosacea, a chronic skin redness.

General Care

Every type of skin deserves proper care, no matter the color. But there are certain things different races should look out for, distinctions that are still being learned about every day.

  • Women with light skin are more prone to issues with sun damage, dry skin, and early wrinkles. With this in mind, make sure to use products that help protect your skin from the sun, keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated, and also slow down the signs of aging.
  • Asians are prone to having sensitive skin. To ensure your skin doesn’t show signs of irritation, make sure to pay close attention to the kind of products you use as well as the ingredients. Discover which ones work best for you and then stick with them.
  • For darker skin tones, cancer may not show visible signs until it’s in the later stages. That’s why it’s extremely important for these skin tones to stay on top of their annuals and notice any changes in the skin.
  • Hispanic people are most likely to experience patches of dark skin or discoloration, as well as skin conditions such as melasma. To help fight against this, it’s important to clean your skin regularly with moisturizing products that are free of harmful ingredients.

The differences in how skincare varies between races we’ve noted between races are general ideas and findings. However, it’s vital to remember that your skin is special and shouldn’t be generalized into one group. You deserve a skincare regimen that is catered to you and your needs! If you’d like help with setting that up, contact the experts at Avail Dermatology to schedule an appointment.

Close up of female patient Rosacea

Learn All About Rosacea

At first, rosacea is easy to explain away. It often starts off with the skin on your face being redder, or maybe you’re more prone to blushing or becoming flushed. It’s an easy fix with makeup.

But, if it’s truly rosacea, it will only get worse. An estimated 14 million Americans, which equals about one in 20 people, have rosacea, a chronic skin condition that is more than red skin. Unfortunately, it’s often misdiagnosed with either acne or eczema, sometimes even a skin allergy. The symptoms are all very similar, so it’s easy to get them all confused.

If you’re wanting to know more about rosacea, learn more from the experts at Avail Dermatology.

What is Rosacea?

As described above, rosacea is a skin disorder that most commonly affects the face, though it can sometimes spread to the ears, chest, and back. The degree that people experience it often range from person to person. While some may have some small redness of the cheeks and nose, some people are completely red in the face and even have pus-filled pimples covering their skin.

Due to the large variety of symptoms, rosacea has four different types: 

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea occurs when there is redness, flushing, and “telangiectasia”—tiny “broken capillaries” on the nose and cheeks.
  • Papulopustular rosacea happens when the rosacea becomes more active. This leads to the development of “pimples” and “pus bumps,” similar in appearance to teenage acne, although completely different in cause and treatment.
  • Phymatous rosacea takes places the skin of the nose becomes thickened and bulbous, leading to enlargement and distortion of the nose. It is what WC Fields was known for, although in his case it was incorrectly blamed on alcohol.
  • Ocular rosacea usually has red and irritated eyes: dry gritty and “tired” feeling even when the patient is well-rested. Often the eyelids are involved, with redness and swelling of the edges of the lids, and sometimes, painful “styes” as well.

What are the Symptoms of Rosacea?

We discussed briefly above some of the most common signs, but here is a complete list:

  • Flushing and blushing
  • Constant redness
  • Swelling in the face
  • Super-sensitive skin
  • Acne and other small spots
  • Extra skin around the nose
  • Inflamed blood vessels
  • Sometimes it can even cause issues with the eyes, either making the inside of the eyelids feel swollen or make the eyes look bloodshot.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to head to a dermatologist to get the official diagnosis.

What is the Main Cause?

Unfortunately, it’s not known what causes rosacea. However, scientists have been able to identify several contributing factors that may eventually lead to rosacea:

  • Those with lighter skin are much more likely to have rosacea.
  • Genetics and family history has been shown to play a part.
  • In some cases, the presence of a microscopic mite known as Demodex in the pores can contribute.
  • There are vascular abnormalities, blood vessels in the skin that are excessively reactive, leading to the redness and flushing that are hallmarks of rosacea.

Scientists and dermatologists are still working to learn more about this disease, and these causes may not necessarily mean anything yet. But it’s good to keep in mind.

What is the Best Treatment?

Just like how the cause of rosacea isn’t known, there is also no cure. Unfortunately, if you do nothing at all to address the issue, the rosacea will only get worse.

The good news is that a combination of medications and lifestyle changes have been shown to improve symptoms. Topical medications, oral antibiotics, and eye drops are common examples of what doctor’s perspective to their patients to assist. Laser treatments can also give cosmetic, and in some cases, medical improvement.

However, there are also a handful of natural treatments that may also help curb symptoms. Easy steps like wearing more sunscreen, avoiding spicy foods, and not using skin products with alcohol may make the symptoms better for you. Ask your dermatologist which ones might be best for you to try.

If you have any more questions about rosacea or need help figuring out the best treatment plan for what you’re experiencing, click here to make an appointment with Avail Dermatology.