What should you avoid if you are allergic to poison oak?

Poison oak is now prevalent in southern California. For those of you who have ever had a poison oak allergy, it is now time to be particularly careful. Hiking areas and even park grounds can hide this devious culprit. You must be vigilant in trying to avoid contact, especially during this time of year.

Some of the things that you might want to consider would be avoiding rubbing up against any kind of brush/trees/bushes while walking or running outdoors and avoiding all fires made with wood or branches where poison oak may be growing as the smoke is a strong allergen for every part of the body with which it comes in contact.

I recently saw a patient who had been carrying pieces of wood across his arm while clearing brush. The wood had been in contact with poison oak, and the bark had rubbed the resin into his skin.

The rash seen from poison oak is red, itchy, and frequent blistering. In many areas, a linear scratch can be observed.

Poison oak on black skin reacts similarly to the allergies on whiter skin; however, the lesions may be harder to diagnose and differentiate from other skin conditions.

In addition to the allergic reaction, poison oak frequently becomes secondarily infected, which can add honey-colored crusting to areas that have been scratched. The rash tends to be intensely itchy.

Initial treatment at home can be over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream applied frequently throughout the day, as well as calamine lotion to the blistering areas. Over-the-counter Polysporin ointment (not any neomycin containing ointments) can be applied to any bacterial infected areas producing these honey-colored crusts.

A poison oak allergic reaction can be very serious and extremely uncomfortable. If at-home treatment doesn’t significantly help, a visit to your local dermatologist is highly recommended.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

Vitiligo in African-American skin—Can it be treated?

Vitiligo is patchy depigmentation, loss of normal color, of the skin. This is particularly troubling in African-American skin as the contrast of the two skin tones can be very dramatic. In our office, we treat vitiligo especially on the face and hands of African-Americans with an in-office procedure whereby we apply a tanning solution followed by ultraviolet light. Multiple treatments are necessary and the results are usually very rewarding.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

What can be done about aging hands?

Aging hands are treated much in the same way as an aging face. Frequently the problem with aging hands is sun damage. Sun damage results in brown spots, red spots and thickened scaly skin. The skin of the hands also lose elasticity with age. The sun damage can be treated with acid peels, microdermabrasion, as well as liquid nitrogen. The acid superficially destroys the pigmentation. The microdermabrasion gently causes exfoliation. The liquid nitrogen freezes the skin to destroy the unwanted sun-induced spots. It is very important in a total body program to minimize the signs of aging to include treatment of the hands. Carefully removing sun and age damaged skin from the hands can sometimes make hands look 10 or 20 years younger.

In addition to therapy that can be accomplished in the office, our Sal-Hydro Fade Formula can peel and bleach many surface skin lesions at home when applied two to three times per day. Even after office treatments, my patients are given Sal-Hydro for use at home to further enhance the effects of treatment.

In African-American skin, pigmented lesions (spots) can be even more noticeable and Sal-Hydro can be used up to four or even six times per day until the desired lightening is achieved for maximal effectiveness.

Likewise, Asian skin frequently pigments darker, and the in-office procedures are the same.  The Sal-Hydro used in conjunction with the procedures is also extremely effective.

Moisturizers, especially our Multivitamin Cream, can be applied to minimize the noticeable effects of the peeling process.

In certain cases where thinning skin on the surface of the hands is very noticeable, it is possible to inject a filler to increase the density of those areas. This is a procedure that is done in the office and only on select patients.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661

What can be done about dark spots on African-American skin?

Many of the dark spots seen on African-American skin are known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  This is usually caused by old acne scars or irritation of any kind to the skin. Many of the acne scars are self-induced as a result of picking or scratching at breakouts beneath the skin surface. Application of a cortisone cream is helpful in shrinking the unwanted scar tissue.  Sal-Hydro Fade Formula™ is excellent in diminishing the darker color changes. African-American skin usually does not respond well to over the counter bleaching preparations. In addition to the topical use of Sal-Hydro Fade Formula™, I also recommend weekly trichloroacetic acid peels within my office.

– Dr. Bussell

Beverly Hills Dermatology Consultants

433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 805   Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310-550-7661