Summer Skin & UV Protection

By: Dermacenter Aestheticians

It’s that time of year again! Summer is upon us, so as you're soaking up the sun rays and enjoying vacation time, it is a must to take special care of your skin. The summer sun can do a number on the skin including damage such as sunburns, hyper pigmentation, and the dreaded PREMATURE AGING!!!  Make sure you protect yourself and preserve your skin for another year! We all love that sun kissed glow so consider a spray tan (From one of our partners) instead of laying out in the sun baking the surface of your skin. Now we all know we are not going to stay inside this summer season so make sure to you wear sunscreen DAILY! Using a higher SPF in addition to your normal skincare routine will help protect those nasty UVA (Aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Sunscreen is your number one first line of defense in the anti-aging war and is vital in protecting the skin. At the DermaCenter we carry a few different options for your sunscreen needs, for all skin types from oily, acne or just aging.

In addition to using a higher SPF you may also switch out the heavier moisturizers for something lighter and water based to help combat oily skin on hot and humid days. Environ's AVST moisturizer is a great summer moisturizer being that it is light, water based and has Vitamin A which is crucial protecting the skin. Also adding in a "treatment" product in the evening is huge in the summer months since the sun is damaging the outer layers throughout the day. Using something with a higher level of Vitamins and Peptides is beyond beneficial in helping to restore the skins surface.  Environ's C-Quence is a boost of Vitamin A, C and additional peptides to help the skin look younger and more refreshed.

Through the month of June 2016, at the DermaCenter, we are offering Skin Tightening and Ematrix treatments at a discounted price. Skin Tightening is a treatment that uses Radiofrequency to stimulate collagen below the surface and give you an instant tightening effect. This treatment is known as the lunchtime facelift, have a big event coming up set up an appointment feel instantly tighter and more firm. EMatrix is a treatment that also uses Radio Frequency but actually stimulated Collagen but putting "micro-traumas" into the Dermal tissue, creating cell turnover and regeneration. This treatment is wonderful for fine lines, wrinkles and acne scarring. A combination of these two treatments results in a more youthful looking appearance that will last,

Please contact the DermaCenter at (215)735-7990 to set up a free consultation to see which treatments would be right for your skin.  

What You Should Know About Hives

By: Monica Duvall, M.D.

 are raised, red, itchy patches of skin (also called Urticaria, welts, or wheals) that can be frustrating to experience.  Hives are commonly caused by a number of triggers, and figuring out the cause is sometimes challenging.  Hives can be the result of allergies to medicines like penicillin, or to foods like nut, soy, or shellfish.  They can be caused by viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections (especially in children), by physical contact with substances like plants (such as poison ivy or poison oak) or latex, and by insect bites or stings.  Some people can even develop hives in response to less obvious triggers, such as exposure to temperature changes, or pressure on the skin.  Regardless of the cause, treatment ofhives is usually initiated with medications called antihistamines (Loratadine, Cetirizine, Benadryl); in more resistant or diffuse cases, a short course of oral steroids may be used to reduce the swelling, itching and inflammation.  

Occasionally, hives are accompanied by a more serious type of allergic reaction called Angioedema.  Angioedema causes swelling of the face, eye area, hands feet or genitals.  This can be treated with the same medications as hives, but angioedema should always be evaluated by a health care professional to make sure it does not progress to a more serious type of allergic reaction.  Other complications of hives that require emergent attention include hives that are accompanied by throat closing or breathing difficulty; nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain; or passing out--these symptoms will not respond to regular antihistamines alone.

Although typically hives will be a self-limited affliction, with lesions coming and going in minutes to hours, and episodes lasting for a few days, in some cases, they can last for  weeks.  If hives last for six weeks or more, they are called chronic hives.  This type of hives is more difficult to manage, and often, a cause if not found.  Symptoms will usually resolve over several months, however.  Generally, hives can be successfully managed by avoidance of triggers and prompt treatment of outbreaks.  For more information about this and other skin issues, ask you health care provider.

IV Nutrient Therapy

By: Phil Kim, M.D.

Nutrient Intravenous Infusion is a concept pioneered in the 1970s by John Myers, MD, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland. These infusions are a great means to provide essential nutrients and vitamins to patients who cannot absorb them naturally or to obtain higher concentrations than could be achieved by oral means alone. A good example of this is Vitamin C which may have antiviral and antibacterial properties at concentrations higher than would be expected with regular meals. Over the past 50 years nutrient intravenous infusions have been developed to treat a variety of clinical conditions. Millions of these infusions have been used to treat patients worldwide.

Myers’ original solution has now been modified to treat symptoms related to asthma, migraines, fatigue, fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis and fluid dehydration. For chronic problems, patients may receive a number of  treatments until their condition improves. It is important to note that although intravenous nutrient therapy is not meant to ‘cure’ any illnesses, it can give patients an extra boost to help fight infections, relieve pain or give you the feeling of a little additional energy to continue to recover. We all know how important it is to ‘feel’ better when we are ill, even if this does not mean we are recovered. The way we feel helps give us the strength to continue!

Under the direction of physicians, intravenous infusions are currently offered in a safe manner in an outpatient setting. Each infusion can be individualized for a specific patient’s needs. Following insertion of a small IV, the infusion takes only 30-45 minutes. We will be offering a wide range of formulations for our patients to take advantage of including hangover recovery, jet lag, fatigue and stress relief, dehydration treatment, migraine relief, cold and flu remedy, vitamin boost and hydration, a beauty enhancement formula, and a treatment to maximize athletic performance. If you’re feeling under the weather or need an extra boost, IV Nutrient Therapy may be just the thing for you! Call our office to schedule today! Services are available on Sundays from 8am till 2pm.

Is My Eating Disordered

By: Robin Hornstein, PH.D.

It is likely that you or someone you know has a “weird” obsession with food or their body. These days, the culture of beauty and perfection is understood even when we are young girls watching the world around us. Three year olds more commonly ask their moms if they are fat. You probably can give a lecture yourself on the media ruining the lives of many girls with standards of beauty that most of us won’t meet in our lifetimes. Most women also have been on some diet by the time they are 25 and have their own diets in their heads (cheat days, no carbs if you eat cake at a party, Paleo, Weight Watchers points, healthy eating, juice cleanses, calorie counting). The list is long and the demand on our psyches is high.  

I would argue that if more than 10% of your day is spent worrying about what you will or won’t eat and you are upset with yourself for losing the battle of these rules, you may have disordered eating or thinking about food. And if that time spent fretting is full of self-loathing, punishments, make-up time at the gym or other compensatory behaviors, you are headed for the emotional and physical suffering that can become an eating disorder. Further, if your worry interferes with socializing and intimacy with others on any level you are showing more signs of an eating disorder than you might want to live with day to day.

What crosses the line to an eating disorder? Well, first we need to know that the number one mental health disorder that leads to death is Anorexia.  It beats out suicide, which is quite alarming and perhaps should be classified as a suicidal illness. I imagine that most of you reading this can define the major diagnoses in the Eating Disorder list:  Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and Orthorexia may be familiar to you as you probably have read about these or have known someone who has struggled. Orthorexia is the least known and is actually best defined as a systematic elimination of foods one won’t eat as they are defined as unhealthy. The list is obsessive and ends up limiting many enjoyable life moments and affects mood and health. This disorder is not someone who says they don’t want to eat sugar – this is more a disorder where the body image and mood are affected by the choices that one will eat due to many factors. The underlying obsession leads to much anxiety, and Steven Bratmas, MD calls people with this disorder “health food junkies”.

In reality, if you see yourself in these descriptions and feel that you have any behaviors that you hide or get angry when you are confronted with them (bingeing, eating too few calories a day, exercising to excess, only eating certain foods, purging via vomiting or other methods etc.) you may require help to overcome these behaviors. And, it is not only our body that suffers. Living with an eating disorder is a disruption in your life.  It is a mental health issue and not just a will-powered choice. Most women with an ED (Eating Disorder) also have other mental health issues that accompany the ED behaviors.  

Depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are some of the illnesses that lead to or are caused by having an eating disorder. It affects all areas of one’s life. These disorders harm our bodies, careers, relationships, make us lonely, erode creativity and fun and hamper being a full and successful person in the world. What to do? Seek help. Tell someone and leave the secrets behind.

What I have learned as a therapist for the past 33 years is that secrets can lead to severe illness constricting our happiness and functioning. Tell your physician, a friend, anyone you trust and start to unwind how you got to this place. There are many types and levels of care and your people, as you trust them, can help guide you. One of my clients told me the other day that she goes to the gym and spends her time seeing who she is thinner or heavier than, who has greater endurance than her and how she will beat them next time. When I asked if this was an enjoyable use of her time or if she ever talked to anyone, she looked at me like I had three heads. Body image issues and eating disorders are issues of loneliness and a feeling of being less than everyone else. If this is part of your story, or someone you know, reach out for help. It is everywhere around you. A good team of a physician, nutritionist and therapist can help you untangle the web you are stuck in and find a full and rich life.

Stroke Prevention Diet

By: Angela Luciani, RD

May is stroke prevention/awareness month. Each year, about 800,000 people suffer from a stroke (1). Anyone can have a stroke, including children. Having a stroke can be scary for many people because it is often an unpredictable event; however, up to 80% of strokes are preventable (2). There are some factors that increase your risk for a stroke that you cannot control such as age, gender, race as well as family/personal medical history but there are some steps you can take to modify your lifestyle in order to help reduce your risk.

  1. Incorporate a heart healthy diet – Diet plays an important role in reducing your risk for stroke as well as many other chronic diseases. Both poor cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are risk factors for having a stroke but can be improved with nutrition. Choosing a heart healthy diet includes the following:
  • Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat which can be found in items such as butter, cheese, fried and processed foods, red meat and other animal-based foods
  • Choose lean meats and poultry such as chicken or turkey without the skin
  • Incorporate fish at least two times a week for added benefits of omega 3’s

  1. Aim for a healthy weight – Obesity increases your risk of having a stroke. A normal BMI of 18.5-24.9 is recommended. Losing weight can have a significant impact on your stroke risk.
  2. Exercise daily – Exercise is one of the best ways to stay in shape as it can not only help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight but it also helps lower cholesterol levels and can keep blood pressure at a normal level. (It’s also a great way to de-stress!)
  3. Cut back on the alcohol! – Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and/or trigger an irregular heartbeat – both of which also increase your risk for a stroke. Alcohol can also tend to be high in calories, so regular consumption can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
It can seem intimidating to make lifestyle changes such as losing weight or exercising. Be realistic and set small goals that you can achieve and stick to! A Registered Dietitian has the expertise and qualifications to assist you in making significant lifestyle changes – make an appointment today!



On the Brink of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By: Catherine McGinty, NP

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, so we wanted to take the time to go over this tough issue that far too many women encounter. Many people think of sexual assault as “rape,” but what most people think of as rape is only just one form of sexual assault. Sexual assault comprises of sexual acts performed by one person on another without consent through intimidation or force. This can happen when someone is cognizant, or if the victim is passed out, drunk, or on drugs and not able to make decisions for herself. People can be sexually assaulted by strangers or people they know, such as family members.

Sexual assault is very common. In the United States, one in three women will be a victim of sexual assault during her lifetime and only 10 to 15 percent of sexual assaults are reported to the police. The number of cases that are reported decreases when the woman knows their assailant.

Sexual assault can be traumatizing and debilitating, but with the appropriate resources, it does not have to be overwhelming. The first thing you should do after a sexual assault is find a safe place away from the person who attacked you, then:

  • Call a close friend or family member. Choose someone who will give you support no matter what.
  • Call 911, go to the emergency room, or call a provider here. In the emergency room, a doctor or nurse can do an exam and make sure you are OK. They can take samples of cells or fluid from your body and clothes. These samples can show who your attacker was and what he or she did.  You do not have to let the doctor or nurse do anything you do not want. We do not have the test kits available in our office to get DNA samples, so we would make sure to refer you to the appropriate center to have that done. Either way, either a provider here or at the emergency room will be able to offer you medicines that can reduce your chances of getting pregnant or an infection. Emergency contraception can work 5 days after being raped, but it works better the sooner you take it, so don’t wait. If you are older than 17, you can get some forms of emergency contraception without a prescription.
  • Do NOT try to clean up before you see a doctor or nurse. If you clean up, you might wash away proof of what happened.  This includes:
    • do not change clothes
    • do not take a shower or bathe
    • do not brush your teeth
    • do not wash the inside of your vagina or rectum (in other words, do not douche)
    • If you can wait, try not to go to the bathroom or to eat anything until after you have seen a doctor or nurse
  • Seek emotional support- someone you can talk to about what happened. We have therapists at our practice who are good resources to talk to after any traumatic event. Other options include your primary care provider, a crisis counselor, a social worker, or a sexual assault nurse examiner.
  • Talk to your provider or counselor about filing a police report. If you do not want to report the assault, you do not have to, but people often change their mind later. Either way, it could be helpful to talk to one of the providers here or a counselor. Evidence is most useful when it is collected right after the assault.  
  • Return to our office 1 to 2 weeks.  This will give us a chance to do any follow up lab work that is needed and to make sure you are doing Ok.
  • Protect others if you might have an infection For at least 3 months after being raped, if you have sex with someone, use a condom every time. This will reduce the chance that you will spread any infections you might have caught. Also, wait at least 3 months before trying to get pregnant. That way, you can find out before you get pregnant if you have an infection that could hurt the baby.
  • If it has been awhile since you have been attacked, please schedule an appointment with us anyway. It doesn’t matter if we cannot collect proof of the attack. We will be able to test and treat you for infection or pregnancy, and help you recover from the event. We can also provide you with resources to help you if you decide you would like to report the event.
As always, please contact one of the providers here for any concerns of assault or rape.

Additional resources available in the event of any sexual assault are:

  • The Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
  • Women Organized Against Rape: Philadelphia’s Rape Crisis Center 215-985-3333
  • Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) to receive compensation for expenses incurred as a result of a crime or 1-800-233-2339

The Psychological Impact of Laughter

By: Courtney Liggera, Psy. D.

I was wondering why the ball was getting bigger.

Then it hit me.

We have all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine” – and there is more than a nugget of truth in it.

Laughter has a significant effect on our bodies and our minds. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which creates feelings of happiness, love, and euphoria.  Laughter also initiates a psychological phenomenon called “facial feedback,” whereby a certain expression can cause a person to have the corresponding emotion. Just the simple act of smiling from laughing can improve one’s mood.

As a result, laughter can be a powerful tool in everyone’s lives. It makes people feel good, and that good feeling remains even after the laughter stops. Laughter helps people maintain positive and optimistic outlooks even through difficult situations, disappointments, and losses.  Even more significant and powerful than getting relief from sadness and pain, laughter gives people courage to find hope in difficult times.  A laugh, or even just a smile, can help a person overcome significant obstacles.

There are several links between laughter and mental health.  Laughter helps to temper distressing emotions like anxiety, sadness, and anger.  Laughter helps you relax and recharge by decreasing stress, increasing energy, and helping you stay focused and accomplish more.  Laughter also helps change perspective by permitting people to see situations in more realistic and healthy ways.  It creates psychological distance which in turn, helps people avoid becoming overwhelmed.

We all can benefit from incorporating more laughter in our lives.  Here are some simple ways bring it on home:

1. Smile. A smile is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it is contagious.
2. Count your blessings. Make a list of good things in life which will distance you from negative thoughts which can be a barrier to laughter.
3. When you hear laughter, go to it. People are often more than happy to share something funny because it gives them a chance to laugh again.
4. Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily, both at themselves and at life and find humor in everyday things. Their happy points of view and laughter are contagious.

By focusing on a few small changes and welcoming laughter into your life, you can make significant steps towards improving your overall mental health.

Mood Enhancing Exercise and Nutrition

By: Marissa Martino, RD

Have you ever had a really stressful day at work, then decided to take a jog, attend your yoga or kickboxing class, or even go lift some weights at the gym? Chances are you felt much better afterwards, and the stress from earlier that day melted away. This is because exercise actually has both short term and long term effects on mood. Research shows that moderate exercise enhances mood within just 5 minutes of activity. Many studies have also shown that exercise can help and prevent anxiety disorders, also known as fight-or-flight responses. Those who participate in exercise have a decreased response to anxiety sensitivity than those who are sedentary.

Some have the idea that exercise will wear them out and be tiring, when actually the opposite is true. Exercise boosts energy. During exercise, blood flows more freely throughout your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to important organs, tissues and
muscle. Your body also releases chemicals called endorphins during moderate exercise. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that trigger a positive feeling. Ever felt a post workout high, or general sense of well being and confidence after exercise? That is your body responding to these feel-good chemicals being released during your workout.

If you don’t belong to a gym, or don’t know where to start in regards to exercise- first and foremost, get outside! Take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk or jog along a trail. Incorporate some jump squats or walking lunges to increase heart rate and blood flow. If you are at home, you can create your own plyometrics or HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuit. Sprint up the stairs in your apartment building, hold yourself in a plank position, use your body weight for wall-sits, squats or pushups. The options here are endless.

In conclusion, the benefits of daily exercise are remarkably valuable in so many ways- including weight control, improvement of mood and sleep, boosts energy and combats health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. Need any more convincing to get up and move? Remember, sweat is free!

Signs & Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

By: Maria Mazzotti, D.O.

Lead poisoning presents with very non-specific symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, irritability, anemia, difficulty concentrating and especially in children, developmental delays, learning difficulties and vomiting. Although it seems to be more prominent in children than in adults, repeated slow exposure in adults can also be very critical. Lead exposure in adults can lead to increased risk of hypertension, renal damage and cognitive decline if gone undetected.  

Children are more likely to get it by inhaling or swallowing lead in dust.  It may also be in paint chips in houses built before 1978.  We have also learned that certain toys that are manufactured outside of the US contain lead. Finally, we were recently reminded that water that travels through lead piping could also carry dangerous amount of lead particles.

Interestingly, in adults it seems to be more likely to occur in men than women, due to occupational exposure such as in the manufacturing of batteries, cable wires, car radiators and batteries, cosmetics, tin cans, glazes, paints and ceramic ware. Obviously, if you are remodeling an older home you should be wearing a mask. It is important to tell your physician if you work in any of these environments.

It is even more important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If there is concern, the blood from the baby’s umbilical cord should be tested at birth or the baby’s blood at 2 weeks. Since lead poisoning can also be transmitted through breast milk, and if there is concern, it is recommended that mom and baby be tested.

Lead poisoning can be prevented. Obviously, if you are aware of lead in your house, there are lead abatement professionals that can come into the house to eliminate the lead. Nutritionally speaking, you can have a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and iron to prevent lead poisoning. Children especially should take a multivitamin with iron on a daily basis.  

When your lead levels are high enough, you will need to undergo a treatment called Chelation. Chelation involves taking a medication that helps the elimination of lead from your body. It is important to keep in mind that since Chelation does not reverse the long-term effects of lead on learning and intelligence, patients should only be treated if they are no longer exposed to the lead environment.  

The Functions of Water

By: Marissa Martino, RD

Our bodies are composed of over 60% water, which means that this essential nutrient is vital to our health. Water plays many roles and has a variety of functions, along with maintaining a certain homeostasis in each of us. A deficiency in water can result in noticeable symptoms, such as dry mouth, eyes and nose. But it can also affect parts of our body on a cellular level that we can’t necessarily detect right away- such as carrying nutrients and oxygen to our blood. Water regulates our body temperature, lubricates and cushions our joints, aids in digestion by preventing constipation and also helps to put less of a burden on our kidneys and liver by flushing out our systems.

A very generic number for water intake is 64 oz a day. This number changes in regards to how physical our job is, our sweat rate, and the temperature of the weather. It’s important to make sure we are at minimum, replenishing the amount of water we lose each day. More than 1.5 liters of water are lost just by perspiration, breathing and urine output. This amount is before any physical activity! If we are dehydrated during physical activity, we don’t sweat as much which can cause our body to overheat.

Some simply forget to drink throughout the day, and others just don’t prefer to drink plain water. There are many ways to fix these problems! First, go out and splurge on a nice water bottle. This will give you an initiative to have it with you throughout your day. Place your water on your desk and set little goals for yourself- for example, by 10 am you will have drank the first half of your water bottle, and by 12pm you will have finished your first bottle and refill at lunch time. There’s also unlimited ways to flavor your water without adding sugar or artificial flavorings. Fruits such as citrus, berries, even mango and pineapple infuse awesomely in water bottles to give a little natural sweetness and vitamin boost to your water. Or you can go the herbal route with mint, lemongrass, rosemary, basil, or sage which mix very well with veggies like cucumbers. You could try a refreshing blend like citrus, mint and cucumber or you could energize your afternoon with raspberry and black tea infused water. If you are craving a bit more sweetness, a drop or two of stevia will do the trick. If bubbles help quench your thirst, add these flavorings to carbonated seltzer water. The combinations are endless!

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