Category Archives: Blog

How to Identify Signs of Sun Damage on Your Skin

We provide skin resurfacing at our Albuquerque, NM-based practice as a way of improving the health and appearance of skin that has been damaged by overexposure to sunlight or other stressors, such as smoking. Prolonged, unprotected sun exposure is a sure-fire way to cause lasting damage to one’s skin. This is because the sun’s rays penetrate beneath the surface and can reach the deepest parts of the skin to warp the DNA itself.

That doesn’t mean sun damage is always easy to detect, however. Your complexion might look quite clear and almost flawless in the mirror, but there can still be damage. Remember that sun damage occurs in different forms, and even if you don’t get sunburned in a noticeable way, your skin could still be being damaged in other ways. Not to mention, many signs of sun damage take time—sometimes many years—before they can be seen on the surface because UV rays are damaging it at such a deep level. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with UV damage include:

Uneven Pigmentation

An increased production of melanin (the pigment that gives color to your skin) occurs as the skin attempts to protect itself against UV rays. This can give your skin isolated spots, freckles, or a mottled and blotchy appearance if the excess pigment forms in an uneven way. 

Tan

Dermatologists often stress that there’s no such thing as a “healthy” tan or a “base tan.” Whenever your skin’s natural color changes, this is a symptom of some type of skin damage. 

Worsening Melasma

Melasma is a condition that causes patches of skin on the forehead and cheeks to turn brown. It can also cause blue-gray patches or spots that look like freckles. Melasma is made worse by sun exposure because the UV rays increase the activity of cells that produce pigment. 

Liver Spots

Flat spots with a tan, brown, or dark brown color that are a deeper shade than freckles may occur on sun-exposed areas. They are typically round or oval in shape and form in different sizes. They are non-cancerous, but you can choose to lighten them for cosmetic reasons. 

Remember that sun damage can also cause cancers to develop, so be sure to watch for more obvious signs, such as awkward-looking or evolving moles, crusty patches that bleed or never heal, and areas that are sensitive or painful to the touch.

Get a clearer, healthier, more flawless skin tone by taking steps to prevent sun damage—and by choosing skin resurfacing from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants. Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to get started. 

Why Are Humectants So Important in Skin Care?

Our skin is constantly in contact with the environment, so it’s affected not just by sun exposure, but also by all kinds of changes in weather and climate. Once “sweater weather” arrives in Albuquerque, our skin tends to become drier and duller, thanks to increased exposure to central heating and colder, less humid air. One of the best things we can do to maintain healthy, clear skin during these seasonal changes is adjust our skincare routine accordingly. One of the essentials everyone needs in the cooler months is a good face and body moisturizer to stave off parched, irritated skin—especially if you have a naturally dry or sensitive skin type. Chances are good that if you’ve ever looked up skin care ingredients, you may have seen the term “humectants” thrown around. What you might be asking yourself is what exactly do they do and why are they an essential part of your skin care routine? Hyaluronic acid, the same ingredient found in most of the popular facial fillers at our Albuquerque, NM-based practice, is a humectant. Here are some things you should know about the benefits of adding humectants to your skincare regime. 

Humectants Draw in Hydration

Humectants are hydrophilic, meaning that they’re attracted to water molecules. These substances act like magnets to attract moisture to the outermost layer of skin, called the stratum corneum. The water might be drawn from the deeper, middle layers of skin or from the surrounding environment. 

Humectants Are Mostly Used for Moisturizing

These water-loving ingredients are most typically found in moisturizing products for the face and body, such as creams, lotions, and serums, along with shampoos and other beauty products. 

Not All Humectants Are the Same 

Some of the most common examples of humectants used in skin care include glycerin or glycerol, hyaluronic acid (as noted above), urea, sorbitol, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, aloe vera, and honey. Some types of humectants simply hydrate, while others remove dead skin cells to regulate moisture levels. 

Want plumper, less wrinkled-looking skin and enhanced facial contours? Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to request a consultation if you’re curious about the benefits of aesthetic treatments. Find out more about products and services from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants.

How Does Mental Health Affect Your Skin?

Is stress acne getting you down? You’re not alone. Since the quarantines and lockdowns began, dermatologists have been seeing many adult clients who have had breakouts due to the stressful situation. Patients are often confused about why they’re having these sudden flare-ups when they’re not spending much time outside, so they aren’t being exposed to grime and pollution in the way they were in previous years. What you may have noticed is that when you’re feeling nervous and tense, your skin seems to also go through a tough time. Although your mental state doesn’t cause conditions like eczema or acne, your body does unfortunately release hormones when you’re constantly in a stressed-out state. This can lead to the development of visible conditions. Cortisol, for example, can trigger or worsen your breakouts. For conditions that result in blemishes and pimples, our Albuquerque-based team believes that learning techniques to manage stress can help you to soothe your skin more effectively and prevent breakouts.

We know that having skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema can be more than just bothersome because of the cosmetic issues. They can also be a lot to deal with mentally because they may seem unpredictable—and some can’t be cured. These skin problems have a major impact on patients’ lives and are linked to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Although it may not be fully possible to stop any kind of stress, here’s what you can do to help:

  • Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping is one of the most effective stress reducers. When you’re sleep deprived, your exhaustion not only puts you in a worse mood, but also gives you bad skin. Try to get enough quality sleep—preferably seven to nine hours each night—and regulate your sleep schedule.

  • Try Relaxing Activities

Whether it’s watching TV, reading a book, painting, or chatting with friends, try to make a little time each day to do something that puts you in a better mood.

  • Meditate

Mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation have been shown to help people focus on the present, build self-esteem, and reduce levels of cortisol in the body.

  • Stay Active

Exercise is well known for improving your physical and mental health. The gentle, relaxing movements of tai chi and yoga can help you to release tension.

Find out more about treatments for chronic skin conditions like acne from our team at Western Dermatology Consultants. Call us at 505-855-9267, or submit a contact form to learn more about how emotional stress and anxiety can affect your skin.

Can Facial Filler Results Be Reversed?

Facial fillers are a quick way to make your skin appear less wrinkled or to enhance facial contours by adding volume to the cheeks and lips. The satisfaction rate for fillers is very high, and most patients who receive injections from an experienced, board-certified injector are pleased with the way they look. But what happens if you go to a less-experienced injector and end up with a less-than-stellar result, you have a negative reaction to the fillers, or you simply change your mind about having them? Patients are often curious about whether they can potentially get rid of results that they don’t like. The short answer is yes, it is indeed possible to undo certain types of dermal fillers at our New Mexico-based office—if for some reason you aren’t fully happy with results. Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm® are temporary, dissolvable fillers, so they’re an excellent option for people who are trying out fillers for the first time.

Although significant complications from dermal fillers are rare, there are some potential risks. These include acne-like skin breakouts, asymmetry, lumps, redness, rashes, infections, under or over correction, incorrectly placed filler, Tyndall’s effect (filler placed too close to the skin surface that causes a blue discoloration), or palpability of the filler below the skin’s surface. Patients can choose to have the filler decreased or dissolved completely if one of these complications occur or they no longer want their results.

Instead of having to wait for several months for the temporary fillers to metabolize, they simply have to go in for another injection. The reversal agent is known as hyaluronidase, an enzyme that we naturally have in our bodies. Once it has been injected below the skin, it causes a reaction that dissolves the hyaluronic acid contained in the filler. This takes just a few hours.

The skin should return to its normal shape after the filler has been dissolved.

We encourage patients to wait and see how they adjust to fillers before deciding they want them removed. There will always be some initial swelling, so the results don’t truly “settle” for a few days after a session. That said, it is possible to use the enzyme right after getting fillers if you need or want it.

Get more tips on dermal fillers from our team at The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants. Want to meet with us to discuss fillers or another cosmetic procedure? Call us at 505-855-9267, or submit a contact form to reach out to us for additional details.

Western Dermatology Consultants Was Named Albuquerque Readers’ Choice for Best Dermatologist in 2020!

The skin plays various important and complex roles in the body, including everything from protecting you from germs to keeping your temperature regulated. It’s difficult to hide anything about this highly visible part of the body from others—and usually your complexion is one of the first things others will notice. Regardless of your bone structure and features, having healthy skin is also considered important for a wide range of cosmetic reasons. The appearance of the skin says a lot about what’s going on beneath the surface, and if you’re concerned about the way it looks or feels, it’s always best to talk to a board-certified dermatologist directly, as they’re experienced in diagnosing and treating an extensive range of conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. Our Western Dermatology Consultants team provides general and cosmetic dermatology services in Albuquerque—and we’re especially proud to announce that we took the 2020 Albuquerque Reader’s Choice Award for Best Dermatologist!

As a practice committed to continually providing top-quality dermatology services, our team, which specializes in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, provides treatments for common skin concerns including acne, scarring, skin cancer, dry skin, and nail fungus.

We also offer effective treatments for improving wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture, and a wide variety of other skin irregularities. Patients can explore aesthetic options such as injectables, laser and light treatments, skin rejuvenation techniques, and more. These procedures, when used together with a good, daily skin routine, can give your skin the extra fine-tuning it needs to become brighter, smoother, and more supple.

There are many reasons why patients should consider seeing a dermatologist:

  • While some conditions might seem straightforward and harmless, they affect individual patients differently, and you’ll get the best advice from an in-person consultation.
  • Dermatologists have an in-depth knowledge of thousands of conditions affecting the skin, nails, and hair, thanks to their extensive training.
  • Dermatologists offer acne treatments that are more effective than over-the-counter products.
  • Dermatologists can diagnose life-threatening skin cancers and rashes in their early stages.

Find the cosmetic or medical dermatology option that’s right for you—and learn why locals readers agree that we’re the best!—at Western Dermatology Consultants in Albuquerque. Want to maintain glowing, healthy skin throughout your lifetime? To talk to a dermatologist directly. Give us a call at 505-855-9267, or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation.