Athlete’s Foot: Prevention is the Best Strategy

October 20th, 2014

Drs. Joshua Fox and John Troccoli Provide Tips on Warding Off Fungal Infections of the Foot


Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection, so common that as many as 70% of people will suffer an episode at least once in their lives and up to ¼ of adults have it at any time. Athlete’s foot got its name because the fungi that cause it to thrive in warm, damp areas frequented by athletes like showers, lockers rooms, and around swimming pools are often infected with fungi since the areas are warm and damp. But athletes aren’t the only ones who get athlete’s foot. It is easily spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or from the affected area of someone who is infected. “Not everyone who contracts the fungus will become infected,” says Dr. John Troccoli of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. in NYC. “The fungus needs the right conditions to flourish but when it does take hold, it can be difficult to eliminate. Also, having it once increases the likelihood of having it again. That’s why it’s important to understand how to prevent contracting the fungus.”

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is characterized by itchy, peeling skin anywhere on the foot but most commonly between the fourth and fifth toes. The infected skin may crack, blister and burn as the infection gets worse and may spread to the toenails. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot, known as dermatophytes, grow on non-living tissue, such as the nails, hair and outer layer of skin. They thrive in moist, dark, damp, poorly ventilated places – like the inside of shoes. “The primary strategy in preventing athlete’s foot is to deprive the fungus of the environment it likes best,” says Dr. Fox. “Good personal hygiene and simple precautions can prevent the infection and reduce the risk of spreading or recurrence.”

Drs. Troccoli and Fox’s Tips for Preventing Athlete’s Foot

  • Avoid tight shoes. Wear leather or perforated shoes that allow air to circulate. Avoid plastic or rubber footwear. Wear sandals in warm weather. Avoid going barefoot in bathing and showering areas. Allow shoes to air out for 24 hours before wearing them again. Wear shower sandals around public pools or showers.
  • Always wear clean socks when wearing closed shoes, especially sneakers. Wear cotton socks and change them if they get damp. Don’t wear socks of synthetic fiber. Never wear someone else’s socks or shoes.
  • Dry feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, after bathing or swimming. Use talcum or an anti-fungal powder daily, especially between your toes or in your socks. If you perspire excessively, put cotton between your toes at night to help absorb moisture. Toenails should be trimmed short and straight across and kept clean.

Some people are more susceptible to athlete’s foot than others. It is more common in men than in women and is rare in children under 15. Susceptibility may increase with age and people with sweaty feet, a history of diabetes, regular infections, or a weakened immune system are also more vulnerable.

Not all rashes on the foot are athlete’s foot. And there are different forms of athlete’s foot whose symptoms vary. It is best to obtain a definitive diagnosis from a dermatologist who will perform a physical examination and may look at skin scrapings under a microscope or take a culture. Simple cases generally respond well to anti-fungal creams and sprays. Oral anti-fungal medication may be prescribed if topical applications fail to eliminate the infection. “It’s important to complete the entire course of prescribed treatment even if symptoms have abated,” Dr. Fox says. “Failure to do so may enable the infection to flourish and make it harder to eliminate and more likely to spread to other parts of the body or to other people.”

“Athlete’s foot is a troublesome and tenacious ailment,” Dr. Fox concludes. “Conscientious adherence to hygienic practices can prevent it and prompt treatment can reduce its severity.”

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Skin Care Mistake: Sleeping with Makeup

October 14th, 2014

Most women have slept in their makeup at least once or twice. Sleeping in your favorite foundation or mascara seems harmless, right? Wrong! This makeup mistake can do some serious damage to the skin! Breaking your face washing routine just once can have negative effects on your complexion.

Side Effects

The skin is exposed to a lot of pollution throughout the day. Pollution and free radicals stick to the face more when you’re wearing makeup. If the makeup is not removed, the harsh chemicals stay on the face and cause damage while you sleep. The more you sleep in your makeup, the greater the damage is to the skin. Like every other part of the body, the skin has a function. The skin renews while we sleep. Sleeping in makeup prevents the skin from renewing itself. It can cause infection, larger pores, acne, and premature aging.

Solution

One third of women in the U.S sleep in their makeup. However, unlike a lot of bad habits this one is easy to correct. To prevent premature aging, acne, larger pores, and infection, always wash your face every night before bed to remove all makeup.

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Best of Long Island 2015

October 6th, 2014

Advanced Dermatology has been nominated for Best of Long Island 2015 in the categories of Best Laser Treatment Center, Best Botox Practice, Best Plastic Surgery Group, and Best Skin Care. Voting is easy and can be done once a day for each category. Just follow the easy steps below:

  1. Go to this link: Best of Long Island
  2. Scroll down to each category: Laser Treatment Center, Botox Practice, Plastic Surgery Group, and Skin Care.
  3. Check the box next to Advanced Dermatology, PC
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click the Terms of Service box, and click on Enter Now

That’s it! Thank you for supporting Advanced Dermatology!

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Ingrown Toenails: Nuisance or Worse?

October 3rd, 2014

Tips for Understanding, preventing, and treating ingrown toenails with dermatology specialists Drs. Joshua Fox and Francis DiSpaltro

Ouch! That ingrown toenail – marked by nagging pain, redness, and swelling around your toenail – can certainly slow you down. But ingrown toenails may also be more than just a nuisance and deserve careful attention, says Joshua Fox, M.D., medical director of Advanced Dermatology P.C. “Left undetected or untreated, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection,” says Dr. Fox. “Those with diabetes or other circulation problems are at an even greater risk of complications. Many people ignore ingrown toenails, but we should take steps to prevent and treat them, if only for our own comfort.”

Some people are genetically predisposed to ingrown toenails – which usually affect the big toe – but the nail can also grow into the flesh of the toe as a result of wearing tight shoes that crowd your toenails, an injury to the toenail, or – most commonly – by cutting your toenails too short or not straight across. Young men between the ages of 15 and 40 are most likely to cope with the condition, which affects tens of thousands of people of all ages each year, according to a 2012 study in British Medical Journal.

“Ingrown toenails are probably one thing everyone can count on suffering from at least once,” says Dr. Francis DiSpaltro, dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology. “But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to them.”

Tips for preventing ingrown toenails

Along those lines, Dr. DiSpaltro offers several common-sense ways to prevent ingrown toenails. They include:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across: Don’t curve nails to match the shape of the end of your toe, and make sure to mention this to your pedicurist if you have your toenails done at a salon. People with diabetes or circulation problems such as peripheral vascular disease should have their nails trimmed professionally by a podiatrist if they can’t do it themselves.
  • Keeping toenails at moderate length: Toenails that are even with the top of toes are the right length to keep ingrown nails at bay. Trimmed too short, the pressure on your toes from shoes may drive nails downward into the tissue.
  • Wearing properly fitting shoes: Shoes that pinch your toes or exert too much pressure on the tops of toes may trigger nails to grow into surrounding tissue. Those with nerve damage from diabetes or other problems who can’t fully feel their feet may want to be professionally fitted for each new pair at the shoe store.
  • Wearing protective footwear when needed: Construction workers or those whose work puts them at risk of foot injury should wear steel-toed shoes to protect from toe impact or pressure.

Treating ingrown toenails

Once a toenail is ingrown, treating it is usually a fairly straightforward process. But sometimes – when an abscess causes severe pain and redness – surgery is called for to alleviate the infection and repair the nail bed so the toenail can once again grow properly. Typically, however, home treatment measures will do the trick. They include:

  • Soaking the foot: A solution of lukewarm water and mild soap not only feels good, but helps reduce swelling and clear the skin of pus or other signs of irritation. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day.
  • Place cotton or floss under the nail: After soaking, when skin is soft, place bits of cotton or waxed dental floss under the ingrown nail edge to help the nail gradually grow above the skin. Change daily.
  • Apply antibiotic cream: This helps reduce redness. Place a bandage over the area before wearing socks or shoes.
  • Choose open-toed shoes: If possible, open-toed shoes or sandals will keep the pressure off while your toenail area heals.
  • Try pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can take the edge off pain. If pain persists, see your doctor.

“If home treatments for an ingrown toenail don’t work, don’t hesitate to see a doctor,” Dr. Fox says. “Surgery may seem extreme, but sometimes it’s the only way to prevent an infection from spreading into the bone or blood stream and causing a much larger problem. Nail health, as mundane as it seems, is important to overall health and well-being.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C., Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology, and plastic surgery services. www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery, and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery. Francis DiSpaltro, M.D. is in practice with Advanced Dermatology.

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Cosmetic Eye Care

September 30th, 2014

Eye cosmetics are safe when used correctly. It is very important to be aware of the risks of infection, injuries from the applicator, and unapproved color additives. Here are some tips on cosmetic eye care.

Clean Makeup

Keeping eye cosmetics clean is very crucial and they should not be misused. Misusing eye cosmetics can cause dangerous bacteria to grow in them. Also, replacing eye makeup is crucial to avoid eye infections. Eye cosmetics should be replaced every four to six months.

Don’t Share

Never share eye makeup. Another person’s germs can be hazardous to you. Always use clean cotton swabs to sample cosmetics in the store.

Ingredients

All cosmetics are required to have an ingredients declaration on the label. It is a very important consumer protection law. If there is no ingredient declaration on the label then you should not purchase or use.

Color Additives

Color additives that are approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in general are not approved for eye cosmetics. Kohl is a major concern for color additives. There have been reports that kohl can cause poisoning in children. Kohl is unapproved for cosmetic use in the United States.

Dyeing Eyelashes

Permanent eyelashes, eyebrow tint, and dyes cause serious eye injuries. There is no color additive that is approved by the FDA for permanently dyeing or tinting eyelashes.

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