My Blog

Posts for: February, 2020

By Joy McElroy MD FAAD
February 26, 2020
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Tattoo Removal   Tattoos  

Tattoo removal has become one of aesthetic and medical dermatology's most sought-after services. Read on to learn about how this treatment works.

The procedure

Dermatologists mostly use Q-switched, or quality-switched, laser instruments for tattoo removal. Short, focused bursts of light break up the tattoo pigment that lies embedded in skin. With repeated treatments, the pigment particles eventually clear the body, and the tattoo lightens or fades away completely. Your skin doctor will tailor your treatments to your skin and to your tattoo.

Skin doctors find that older tattoos composed of darker hues such as brown or green respond best to laser removal. Colors such as red or yellow are more easily retained and may not fade completely.

These treatments are best performed by a board-certified dermatologist who will examine your skin and your tattoo, review your medical history, and give you the safest and most effective treatment options available.

The American Society for Aesthetic Surgery reports that skin doctors performed more than 45,000 tattoo removal procedures in 2013, and those numbers continue to rise. In just a few treatments, many patients experience complete erasure of their body artwork.

After your tattoo removal

As you may have some blistering, bleeding, and swelling after your laser removal procedure, you must treat your skin gently afterward. Keep the area clean and dry to avoid infection.

Additional aftercare involves:

  • Avoiding sun exposure
  • Keeping the treated skin covered
  • Wearing loose clothing over the tattoo site
  • Applying antibiotic ointment or cream as directed

If you want a tattoo removed...

See your board-certified dermatologist for a personalized consultation. They have the credentials, skill, and tools to do the job safely and effectively. Call your skin doctor today to find out more about removing tattoos.


By Joy McElroy MD FAAD
February 11, 2020
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Acne   Acne Treatment  

Anyone who has ever walked through the skincare aisle of their local drugstore knows that there are tons of acne-fighting products on the market. So, which one is right for you? Should you opt for an acne cleanser or spot treatment, or both? Choosing the right acne treatment can be challenging, to say the least.

While acne is a common problem among teenagers, many people don’t just leave acne behind the minute they toss out those graduation caps. In fact, many adults well into their 20s, 30s and beyond still deal with regular acne outbreaks. So, how do you properly treat acne? There is no singular way to treat acne and the best treatment option for you and your skin will depend on the cause. While you might not know what’s to blame for your acne symptoms a dermatologist certainly can help.

Treating Acne on Your Own

If you are dealing with mild to moderate acne, look for products that contain these powerful acne-fighting ingredients:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Glycolic acid
  • Sulfur
  • Retinol

How a Dermatologist Treats Acne

If you’ve tried over-the-counter acne products for more than 12 weeks and aren’t seeing results, or if you are experiencing severe, deep or cystic acne then it’s time to turn to a skin care professional for help. The first thing your dermatologist will do is determine the cause of your acne. From there, one or more of these treatments may be recommended:

Prescription topical medications: Certain topical medications act as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, which reduces redness and inflammation associated with acne while also removing acne-causing bacteria from the surface of the skin.

A simple extraction: You should never pick at your acne or try to pop a pimple on your own, as you could end up causes further irritation or scarring; however, a dermatologist knows the safest and most effective techniques for extracting blackheads and whiteheads safely.

Birth control pills: For women who notice breakouts that correspond to their menstrual cycle, certain birth control pills may be able to reduce the amount of androgen hormones, which in turn can reduce breakouts. Talk to your dermatologist about the birth control pills that are FDA approved to treat acne.

Isotretinoin: This is an extremely intense oral retinoid that is used for treating severe, cystic acne that isn’t responsive to other treatment options. Isotretinoin is better known as Accutane, and this treatment can take up to nine months to see full results. Some patients will require multiple courses of treatment. Due to the nature of this strong medication, there are some possible side effects. It is important to discuss these side effects with your dermatologist before beginning Isotretinoin.

If you are having trouble getting your acne under control it’s important that you have a dermatologist that you can turn to for customized care. Take control of your acne once and for all.