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Boggios: A healthy choice for your whole life

Category Archives: Skin Care

Ringworm is a common name for fungal skin infections.  These types of infections are also referred to as tinea.  They affect approximately 10% to 20% of the population. Ringworm appears as rings or round red patches with clear centers and red, scaly borders.   Tinea can affect the scalp, nails, or skin. 

Management for superficial fungal infections involves some simple non-drug methods, and over-the-counter remedies in the form of sprays lotions and creams.  Affected individuals should try to reduce moisture in the affected area.  Loose-fitted clothing made of cotton or material that absorbs moisture should be worn.  The skin should be dried completely before covering with clothing.  If the infection involves the feet, flip flops should be worn with bare feet to prevent spread to others and reinfection.

There are also many topical antifungal agents available.  Examples include Canesten cream (clotrimazole), Nizoral shampoo (ketoconazole), and Monistat-Derm (miconazole), to name a few. Creams and solutions are useful because they can be rubbed into the area.  Solutions work in hairy areas because they are easier to apply.  Powders can serve as useful additions to creams and solutions.  They are helpful when the infection is wet or oozing, or where a drying agent is needed.  When applying the antifungal product it should be applied to the lesion as well as one to two inches around the lesion.  The antifungal should also be used for one to two weeks after lesions clear to reduce the rate of recurrence.

Patients who have diabetes, or those who are immunosuppressed may need prescription oral therapy.  It is best for your doctor to assess theses fungal infections.  Fungal infections of the nail are also resistant to over-the-counter treatment. 

There are some home remedies for treating nail fungus.  Patients have tried applying Vics VapoRub and tea tree oil.  There is not a lot of evidence to suggest the efficacy of these products for this condition, however some people may wish to try them before resorting to an oral medication.

If you think you may be affected by a fungal infection there are a number of treatment options available.  Most issues can be resolved with some persistence and the proper product.  Please speak to your pharmacist about what option is best for you.

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Warts are a common viral skin infection caused by human papilloma viruses.  In general warts on the hands and feet are harmless and most resolve on their own.  However, they can cause embarrassment and some discomfort.  There are a couple of over-the-counter (OTC) remedies that work well to treat these kinds of warts.

Infection with HPV occurs with skin-to-skin contact.  Warts are caused by viruses and are passed from person to person.  A common way of contracting the virus is by walking barefoot in public pools, showers etc.

About 30% of warts clear spontaneously in six months and 65% to 78% clear in two years without any treatment.  However, most people would like to resolve warts more quickly than this.  Salicylic acid is a first line OTC option.  This medicine slowly destroys virus-infected skin and may stimulate the immune response of the person infected through mild irritation, which in turn helps clear the infection.  There are a number of salicylic products available.  They range in concentration from 17% to 40%.  A 40% product should be used for plantar warts.  The use of salicylic acid on facial warts is not recommended because of a potential risk of hypo- and hyperpigmentation (skin discolouration).

There is a bit of a regimen to follow with salicylic acid products.  Before treatment the warts should be soaked in warm water for five minutes.  Then, an emery board or pumice stone should be used to remove dead tissue.  The salicylic acid treatment should then be applied.  Treatment may need to be continued for up to 12 weeks. If the wart causes pain, patients can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the discomfort. Examples of OTC salicylic acid wart removal products include Compound W, Dr. Scholl’s Clear away Plantar, and Duofilm Wart Remover.

Cryotherapy (freezing) is another common wart removal treatment. This causes irritation and tissue destruction so that the individual mounts an immune response against the virus.  Doctors typically use liquid nitrogen which freezes tissues to -196ºC.  There are also home cryotherapy systems available.  These contain dimethyl ether and propane (DMEP).  Examples include Dr. Scholl’s Freeze away wart Remover, Or, Compound W Freeze off.  Evidence shows DMEP and liquid nitrogen are fairly similar in efficacy.  After application of cryotherapy a blister is formed under the wart.  The frozen skin and wart falls off after about ten days and reveals newly formed skin underneath.   It is recommended that OTC cryotherapy only be repeated three times usually in ten day intervals.

The use of duct tape as a wart treatment has gained popularity.  By putting duct tape over the wart they think the virus is deprived of oxygen which causes irritation and stimulates the immune response to the virus.  Typical administration involves applying silver duct tape over the wart and removing a week later.  Scrubbing the area with an emery board and leaving it open over night.  Then reapplying duct tape.  Silver duct tape has been shown to be more effective than clear duct tape, possibly because of the adhesive.

There are also a number of prescription products that can be used for warts if OTC treatments are ineffective.  Patients with diabetes should consult their physicians before beginning treatment for their warts.  Also, genital warts must be treated by physicians and are not suitable for treatment with OTC methods.

In general OTC wart treatments are effective, however, it may take several weeks for the wart to be removed.  For proper selection of a treatment method come in and speak to your pharmacist.

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Acne is one of the most annoying skin problems.  It affects most people at some point in their lives.  Luckily there are a number of safe and effective treatments available.

Acne develops when pores in the skin become clogged.  The pores become clogged by sebum, an oil in our skin.  Bacteria that live on the skin thrive in this oil and rapidly increase in number, causing the pore to become inflamed.

Treating acne is very important.  People with acne can suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.  Improving one’s complexion can improve their confidence and quality of life

It may take several weeks to see a benefit from treatment but with some persistence most cases of acne can be resolved.  An important first step is cleansing. Acne sufferers should wash their face twice a day.  To prevent over drying, soapless cleansers like Cetaphil, and Spectro Jel  can be used.   Antimicrobial soaps like Dial can be used but these may cause excessive dryness.  It is also important to clean after exercise and excessive sweating.  Clothing and items in close contact with the skin can also increase acne problems.

Some people think that certain foods can lead to acne but there is no evidence that this is true.  (Have some chocolate every once in awhile).

After cleansing there are a number of creams, lotions, gels, and solutions, that can be used.  The most effective over-the-counter treatment is benzoyl peroxide.  A gel or solution which remains on the skin seems to work best.  An example of a product available inCanadais Solujel.

Prescription products available combine benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin.  These combination products kill the bacteria which causes the inflammation.  Clindoxyl and Benzaclin are examples.

Topical retinoids are prescription creams which can also be used.  These are often used to treat small bumps under the skin and blackheads.  These products can also reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  (Examples of these include Retin-A, Tazorac and Differin).  These creams can make individuals more sensitive to the sun, and should not be used by pregnant women.

Acne is influenced by hormones, therefore, oral contraceptive pills which manipulate hormones can also decrease acne.  Not all birth control pills are the same.  Some are better at controlling acne, depending on the type of progesterone the pill contains.  All pills will help with acne but Yaz, Yasmin , Tri-cyclen and Diane-35 are indicated for acne control.

Antibiotics can also be taken orally to help control acne.  Minocin and tetracycline are two of the most commonly used treatments.

If acne is very severe and resistant to treatment, Accutane can be used.  This prescription item is very effective however it comes with some serious possible side effects.  Under no circumstances should it be used in pregnant women and women of childbearing age must be on an oral contraceptive in order to take this product.  Patients must sign a waiver/consent form provided by a doctor indicating they understand all possible risks before taking this product.

Although acne can cause serious problems for people, it is often easily treated.  If you, or someone you know, is suffering try one of the treatment options listed above.

At this time of year patients are starting to complain about dry skin. Dry skin management often involves some trial and error of different products, but there are some general rules everyone can follow to help manage symptoms.

Dry skin occurs when oils in the skin are lost and water that is normally in the skin is able to escape. When bathing or showering it is important to use lukewarm water as opposed to hot water. Hot water can cause more oil to be lost from the skin and cause itching and dryness. Soap should be used only for groin, underarms, and feet. Other moisturizing body washes can be used for the rest of the body. After showering or bathing apply a moisturizer to help retain some of the moisture from the shower.

There are many different types of moisturizers. Depending on the ingredients they have separate functions. Some ingredients can hydrate and soften the skin. Others provide a barrier to prevent water loss, and others help to draw water to the top layer of the skin. Depending on what combination of ingredients are used there are four classes of moisturizers. There are ointments, oils, creams, and lotions.

Examples of ointment moisturizers include Aquaphor, and Vaseline. These moisturizers can be greasy and only a small amount is needed. They would be useful for someone with very dry hands. They can be applied at night under cotton gloves.

An example of an oil moisturizer would be baby oil. Again, only a small amount is needed. It is not a good idea to add these to the bath because they can make the tub very slippery. As well they can cause yeast infections when added to bath water.

An example of a cream moisturizer would be Cetaphil moisturizing cream. Cream moisturizers are generally less greasy, and very gentle for sensitive skin. Cetaphil specializes in products that won’t cause acne and are safe for people with allergies.

Lotions are the least greasy; however, they sometimes contain alcohol and can be drying. An example would be Nivea body lotion. Read the label on the back of the lotion. You may want to avoid those that contain alcohol.

In general, most moisturizers need to be applied several times throughout the day. Our cold dry climate leads to many complaints about dry skin. Luckily, there are many products on the market than can help even the worst sufferers. If you are not sure about what is right for you, you may need to ask for some professional advice.