Posts Tagged skincare

Ways to Combat Dry Skin

Every one of us has had the urge to skip moisturizing our skin. We all think, “is it actually necessary?” The answer of course, is yes.

That extra step towards hydration is indeed essential. Well moisturized skin is healthy skin. Believe it or not, adding on a lotion, cream, or oil is just one of the many ways to combat dry skin, especially in those ice-cold winter months. Here are tips to combat dry skin in these harsh winter months.

  1. Choose Your Cleanser Wisely: It may seem hard to believe but the first step to hydrated skin starts in the shower. Harsh cleansers can strip the skin barrier of natural lipids and proteins leaving it weaker. Compromised barriers allow water to evaporate out and irritants to enter their way onto to the skin causing dry, flaky, or sometimes even itchy, or inflamed skin. The key is to use a hydrating, non-soap cleanser that will deposit moisture as it does its job. Bonus points if ceramides or other skin-identical lipids/proteins are on the ingredient list.
  2. Shorter Showers: Long, hot showers are good for the soul, but not so good for the skin. To optimize hydration levels, shorter, warm (not excessively hot) shower times are ideal. Set a playlist that is 5-8 minutes long and time yourself.  Adding music will add more pleasure to your experience and help keep your skin hydrated.  
  3. Timing (and towels) Matter: The best time to hydrate the skin is within minutes (less than 5) of leaving the shower or bath. You should pat, and not rub the skin dry with a soft cotton towel and then apply your favorite moisturizer. This locks in the ambient humidity and the water from slightly damp skin.
  4. Lotions Are Lighter: Lotions are usually lighter on the skin than creams or oils. Choose the appropriate products based on your skin needs. Sometimes a seasonal shift is key, meaning it is helpful to use a lotion in warmer months and then heavier creams in the colder months. For optimal moisturization, look for humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, occlusives such as petroleum jelly or squalene and emollients such as shea, or cocoa butter.  My go-to lotion is any lotion from the newly relaunched Vaseline Intensive Care line. They are reformulated with patent-pending Ultra-Hydrating Lipids to help provide 88% more moisture and have technology to work on the skin to replenish its own ceramides for a strengthened skin barrier, making for great moisturizers. 
  5. Avoid Fragrances: Although fragrances can add a pampering, enjoyable element to skin care products, they add little benefit and can be irritants, and or allergens. In general, gauge your skin sensitivity before grabbing a heavily fragranced cleanser or moisturizer. Irritation or a true allergy can manifest as dry, itchy, inflamed skin.
  6. Humidify the Air: It is certainly not unheard of to crank up the heat in your car or house on those blustery days. Maximum heat blasting through the vents can be another source of barrier compromise. Humidifying the air can help to soften the skin and cushion the excess heat blow to the skin barrier.
  7. Beware of Over Exfoliating: Overuse of chemical or mechanical exfoliants can be a one-way ticket to “Drysville.” Respect the barrier, and do not scrub off healthy skin cells.
  8. Never Say No to H20: Skin is our largest organ. All organs require a healthy dose of water to function best. So, protect your largest organ, wear sunscreen, lotion, and drink water to stay hydrated each day!
  9. Don’t Forget Head, Elbows, Knees, and Toes: Often those spots on the face such as the lips and ears, get neglected in the hydration game. Make sure to give equal love to all body parts including elbows, knees, and heels. Consistency year round, makes the return of short sleeve and sandal weather a breeze!
  10. See A Dermatologist: Sometimes dry skin is a sign of some other issue such as eczema, psoriasis, or a thyroid imbalance. See a Board-Certified Dermatologist to examine the skin and offer a skilled assessment as to what can be done to alleviate the problem. To find a dermatologist near you, please use the See My Skin platform, a tool created by Vaseline and HUED to help people with Black and Brown skin find dermatologists that are experts in treating their skin with the superior care their skin deserves.

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Benefits of Petroleum – How it’s Different than Other Ingredients in the Market

As a board-certified dermatologist, I know that the key to healthy hydrated skin is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Hydrated skin is healthy skin. When we think about skin hydration, the best moisturizers are those that contain a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Emollients are used to smooth and soften the skin. Examples include dimethicone, grape seed, jojoba oils, cocoa butter, and shea butter. Humectants on the other hand, attract and bind to water molecules, increasing the water content of the skin. They draw water to the skin either from the environment or enhance water absorption from the top layer of the skin. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are probably the most well-known humectants in moisturizers. Occlusives are products that create a barrier on the skin and therefore prevent water loss by sealing in hydration. They are able to hold hydrating ingredients and moisture in the skin. Petroleum jelly is one of the best-known occlusive agents and is an incredible ingredient, utilized for its moisturizing properties in many types of skincare. Petroleum jelly is not only amazing at soothing irritated skin and promoting wound healing, but it can act as a protective barrier for the skin.  Vaseline Healing Jelly and Vaseline All-Over Body Balm Jelly Stick are some of my favorite products that contain petroleum jelly, which do not contain lanolin (an ingredient which some people are sensitive to and may trigger skin reactions, such as eczema).

Whether or not you are prone to dry skin, it is mostly determined by your genetics (such as if other family members experience sensitive skin or allergies); environmental factors (such as the weather conditions in where you live); and/or behavioral factors (e.g. your efforts to moisturize and other daily habits). Dry skin is caused by an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or deficiency in the necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin (cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides), which are essential to normal skin function.  Since the protective lipid layer is responsible for keeping moisture in and bacteria and irritants out (aka our skin barrier), dry skin often presents with redness, flaking, and itching.

Some of the most important steps to help moisturize skin include:

  • Using a gentle cleanser
  • Avoiding stripping soaps
  • Taking shorter showers with warm water
  • Applying a thick layer of moisturizing cream within 60 seconds after a shower or bath

A moisturizer with ceramides to help replace those stripped away in dry skin, as well as humectants, can quickly repair the skin barrier. Dehydrated skin on the other hand indicates a lack of water, as opposed to an impaired skin barrier. This can also be addressed by using humectants to attract and bind water molecules, increasing the water content of the skin. Applying occlusives like Vaseline Healing Jelly by itself over top of the skin or within a moisturizing cream also keeps hydration and moisture in the skin.

Slugging is a favorite technique of dermatologists around the world. It is one of the best ways of using petroleum jelly because it seals in moisture and can be applied in areas of the body in most need of hydration and delicate parts of the face, like the lips and eyelids. Slugging is the process of applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly as the final layer in a skincare routine (typically nighttime) to seal in your skincare products including, hyaluronic acid serums and moisturizers overnight. I especially love to use the slugging technique at nighttime, since we lose the most heat and moisture from our skin overnight. It helps prevent and treat dry chapped lips and dry eyelids.  The next morning, you would then wash it off with a gentle cleanser. I think slugging is a great skincare technique, especially in the wintertime, for those with aging , dry, or sensitive skin. 

This is how I slug at night in the winter:

  1. Clean your face with a gentle cleanser.
  2. Apply serums (including HA for hydration), peptides etc.
  3. Apply moisturizing cream if your skin is feeling super dry.
  4. Finish with a thin layer of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. Don’t forget eyelids and lips.

To prevent clogging your pores, I would also try to sleep on your back and consider changing your pillowcase more frequently. While Vaseline Healing Jelly is non- comedogenic (which I love using for chapped, dry skin all over the body), I would not recommend applying it to the entire face, if you are acne prone or experience very oily skin, as it may clog pores. Instead, opt for a moisturizing cream that contains a mix of occlusives, emollients, and humectants.  Now, let’s stay hydrated this winter.

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Eczema Triggers and Treatments

Most of us either know someone with eczema, but what is it? What makes it worse? And how can it be managed?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) or more commonly known as Eczema, is a skin condition that results from disruption of the skin barrier, allowing water to leave the skin and allergens to penetrate. This can lead to chronically inflamed, dry, scaly skin and in more severe cases, skin that crusts, cracks, and/or bleeds. In addition, those with eczema commonly have an imbalance of normal bacteria on their skin, which can lead to over-proliferation of staph bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.

There are several factors that can trigger eczema flares. For some people, the dry, indoor air during winter can ignite a flare. For others, the effects of warmer weather such as sweating, outdoor allergens, and increased sun exposure can provoke episodes of itching, rashes, and discomfort to the skin. Fragrances, drying alcohols, harsh chemicals and rough fabrics are other examples of triggers. 

The impact of dealing with eczema on the quality of life can be quite significant, not only for the patient, but also for the caretaker, and the healthcare system. According to the National Eczema Association, when compared to those without eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD), people with AD have increased healthcare utilization (or the use and measurement of services by healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate care). That includes more outpatient doctor visits, more visits to urgent/emergency care, and more hospitalizations. 

Navigating treatment and management of eczema can feel daunting, but if one’s routine centers on these 4 principles, I have found that patients are better equipped in keeping eczema flares to a minimum.

1. Seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist

Working with a dermatologist will confirm the diagnosis (there are rashes that are eczema mimickers) and help determine whether your eczema can be managed with creams and behavioral modification, or whether a combination approach prescribed by your physician that could include oral medication, light treatment, or biologic injectables are more appropriate for you. You can use the Vaseline x Hued Find A Dermatologist tool to find the right dermatologist for you.

2. Find (and avoid) your triggers

This tip challenges one to think outside of the box when considering potential triggers for eczema. Food allergies are often associated with eczema and its flares. While studies have shown this to be true in 5% of cases, the other 95% are attributed to one, or several, of the triggers outlined above. Be sure to avoid doing things that exacerbate dry skin, such as applying alcohols, hydrogen peroxide, or other harsh chemicals. While avoidance of triggers is unlikely to cure eczema, it can help minimize flare-ups. 

3. Baths provide hydration for dry, parched skin

If limited to less than 10 minutes, baths are actually hydrating for dry, eczema-prone skin. Bathing adds water to the skin, and moisturizing immediately after bathing locks in that moisture.

4. Thick moisturizers are your friend

A lesser-known fact is lotions have a higher water content than creams and ointments, which can lead to drying of the skin. For this reason, I recommend thick, rich moisturizers with hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter, due to their thicker water-in oil formulation. This is why I love Vaseline’s NEW Intensive Care Sensitive Skin Relief Lotion. Co-created with dermatologists, this formula uses colloidal oatmeal and ultra-hydrating lipids to provide long-lasting and soothing moisture – 88% more moisture compared to untreated skin – from the first use. As part of the full newly reformulated Intensive Care lotion collection redeveloped to prevent dryness and provide skin with 48 hours of moisturization, each dermatologist tested formula contains a special blend of humectants to draw water into the skin, including ultra-hydrating lipids, and micro-droplets of Vaseline® Original Healing Jelly to combat dry skin and provide up to 90% more moisture.  

Now you are equipped with the knowledge on eczema triggers, how to avoid them, and recommendations for treatment and management. You are officially ready to face the winter season!

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Types of Hyperpigmentation, Symptoms, and Who it Affects

Have you ever noticed spots or patches on skin that are a different shade than other areas? Often times we reference this as hyperpigmentation, which can be used to describe an area of the skin that is darker than the surrounding skin. This can be due to something benign, like a mole, or something malignant, like skin cancer. Benign skin conditions can include moles, birthmarks, skin infections, drug induced rashes/spots, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can result from trauma, an old acne spot, melasma and more. Malignant skin conditions can include melanoma and pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma.

What does this mean for you? If something hyperpigmented on your skin is worsening, I would advise you to see a board-certified dermatologist. Furthermore, I would practice good skin care, which includes daily sunscreen use, especially on the face, neck, chest, and hands. These are common areas where patients come in seeking laser and cosmetic help for sun damage. Many people think that patients with darker skin types do not need daily sunscreen. However, that’s not the case – we all do! 

We know that the sun eats up our collagen, which you can see in the searchable “truck driver skin” reference. We also know that many of us do not wear enough sunscreen in our day-to-day. As a dermatologist I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing sunscreen daily but remember – wearing sunscreen does NOT mean that your skin will not tan or darken when in the sun. Using extra protection like wearing a hat and seeking shade when outdoors, particularly if you are worried about hyperpigmentation, is key. These practices are also necessary post procedures, such as after surgery or laser treatments. If you have a benign skin condition that appears hyperpigmented, regardless of the location, you want to ensure that there is minimal contact with the sun as it will only darken the area.

Typically, hyperpigmentation in and of itself is NOT symptomatic. However, if it is due to a skin infection, it may be itchy or painful. If the cause is pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer), it can bleed, enlarge, and crust. Just because something is not symptomatic, does not necessarily mean it cannot be concerning, so always check with your dermatologist. If you’re in need of finding a provider, utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a medical expert who understands the care that your skin needs.

Next up, let’s address another common concern I encounter with my patients daily. One is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, an old rash, post-surgical scars, or any other procedure that created temporary inflammation. For these patients, I review good skin care and treatment options using medications that help even out the skin tone. These can come with side effects, so it is prudent to inform your dermatologist of what medications you have tried as well as the concentrations of each. Those steps are advised to ensure efforts are not duplicated and can be treated most efficiently. Many times, patients are eager to start laser treatment to lighten spots quickly. We have many laser options available, but one must remember that being aggressive with laser treatment, (which causes inflammation), can exacerbate the hyperpigmentation. Our skin is the extremely delicate and takes time to heal, so it’s always worth remembering that results will are not immediate. Due to the sensitivity of our skin, I often use a synergistic approach using all the tools we have available, like medications, lasers, and comprehensive skin care, to optimize our time and effort.

Hyperpigmentation can affect anyone, regardless of skin color. Have you ever seen someone with a scratch that healed and left a brown spot? That is hyperpigmentation. Or an acne lesion that has gone away but left a brown spot?  This is another example of hyperpigmentation. Being in the sun will darken the pigment in the skin, so be aware of that! For additional ways to receive Vitamin D beyond that sunshine, try out foods and supplements fortified with the necessary Vitamin D. In the meantime, when you are outside, make sure you spend time in the sun safely.

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Best Practices on Skin Care for Babies

As a Board-certified Pediatric Dermatologist, I am frequently asked the top recommended ways to care for a baby’s skin. This is absolutely one of my favorite questions to answer, especially with September being Baby Safety Month! Caring for baby skin requires incredibly gentle care, while their skin is maturing. Most people do not know that there are developmental and structural changes that occur within the skin as a baby grows. It takes anywhere from 1 to 4 years for a newborn baby’s skin to fully develop after birth. During this time, it is especially important to choose the safest and most gentle products formulated for babies. Let’s take a deeper dive and uncover the leading recommendations on how to best care for your baby’s skin.


Bathing requires the use of a gentle body wash along with tepid water. You never want to accidentally burn the skin of a young baby during bath time from the faucet water. You want to first check with parts of your body that are more sensitive to heat, such as your inner wrist or elbow. It’s also important not to keep babies in the bath for very long. Usually a 3-to-5-minute bath is sufficient in most cases. Young babies are particularly at risk for hypothermia (or low temperatures) if left in water for too long. An additional best practice is to avoid harsh soaps due to their alkaline pH, which wreaks havoc on the skin. An overall great gentle bath wash that meets those needs is the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Tip-to-Toe Fragrance-Free Wash!


Moisturization is extremely important to replenish lost water and natural oils needed by our skin during the bathing process. I recommend that following a short bath, apply a gentle moisturizer that contains safe ingredients. Ingredients to avoid in your baby’s moisturizer include: parabens, fragrances, dyes, lanolin, formaldehyde, and other sensitizing agents. If your baby has sensitive or eczema prone skin, reach for a cream or ointment-based moisturizer over a lotion. This skin type will likely require more support. My absolute favorite is Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly. It comes in a large size that is affordable.

Diaper Care

The diaper region is a very tricky area to care for as nearly any healthy baby skin can develop a diaper rash. This region often has prolonged contact time to urine and feces that is harsh on newborn skin. The contact on the immature skin from these harsh elements will change the local pH and result in the possible breakdown of the skin, leading to the beginning of a diaper rash (appearing as pink to bright red skin). To minimize the risk of this, the first, and most important step is to do frequent diaper changes throughout the day and night. As any parent or caregiver knows this could be a difficult feat. Diapers with a wetness indicator strip can be very helpful here. This will prompt parents and caregivers to quickly change a wet diaper and avoid prolonged irritation of the skin. If a diaper rash is severe, I often recommend temporarily discontinuing diaper wipes and switching to a soft cotton swab with water to gently cleanse the area when needed. After that step, applying a barrier cream is a must! If you see small red bumps (especially those with white pus-filled tops), scaling, peeling, raw broken, or swollen skin, it’s time to visit your baby’s pediatrician or pediatric dermatologist. If that arises, your baby’s diaper rash could have potential complications, such as a yeast infection, and require prescription medications as a cure.

Eczema/ Sensitive Skin

For babies with sensitive, allergic prone skin, I recommend products with the base ingredient of petroleum which helps provide the occlusion and reinforcement for a proper skin barrier function. My absolute favorite is Vaseline Healing Jelly Baby, which is triple-purified and helpful for protecting chafed red skin. It is my favorite because it is also hypo-allergenic and contains no irritants. The Vaseline mini travel size or Healing Jelly Stick are great for travel and for to-go the diaper bag. Waterproofing your baby’s skin with the best occlusive agent out there is also easy to do as you can find them at your local drug store or online.

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What is Psoriasis? Causes, Frequency and Treatment for Patients

To the untrained eye, Psoriasis may resemble other skin conditions, such as eczema, Seborrheic Dermatitis, or even certain skin cancers. Although numerous skin conditions may cause dryness, itchiness, and skin patches, Psoriasis is a condition that has its own characteristics, causes, and treatments. Let’s break down what exactly is Psoriasis, how we can differentiate it from other skin conditions, and how we can treat Psoriasis with budget-friendly products.

Psoriasis, which comes from the Greek meaning ‘itchy condition,’ is an immune-mediated skin condition that occasionally causes itchy skin. People with Psoriasis have overactive immune systems that speed up the production and overgrowth of skin cells. The overproduction ultimately results in a build-up of skin cells on the face, body, and scalp. This is how the characteristic signs of skin patches and bumps are formed.

Although the exact mechanism behind this immune overstimulation is yet to be identified, we do know the key features of Psoriasis. This skin condition is genetic and can occur in both males and females. Stress, smoking, hormonal changes, and allergies can all trigger acute flares of Psoriasis. Symptoms usually start to develop in the late teens, between the ages of 15 – 20, but Psoriasis can arise at any age. Psoriasis is not confined to one skin type, tone, or texture, and people of all skin colors can be diagnosed with Psoriasis.

Now that we know the basics of Psoriasis, let’s take a look at how skin changes may manifest. There are 5 types of Psoriasis and as mentioned, changes can arise on the face, body, or scalp. The most common type is known as Plaque Psoriasis, which creates inflamed red patches and plaques. These plaques are usually covered with scales and mostly appear on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp. Other types of Psoriasis may appear anywhere on the body, even on the nails, feet, and eyelids.

Skin patches, plaques, and scales may vary in color and shape, and may manifest uniquely on different skin tones. For example, people with darker skin tones most commonly have dark brown or purplish-gray patches, while lighter skin tones usually have pink or red patches.

Similar plaque colors, raised skin texture, appearance of skin bumps, and crusty patches are reasons why Psoriasis and skin cancer are sometimes confounded. As subtypes exist in both Psoriasis and skin cancer, making the correct diagnosis between these two skin conditions is paramount.

This brings us to the next point. How can medical professionals diagnose Psoriasis? Along with conducting a thorough assessment of a patient’s family history, Board Certified Dermatologists also examine the skin, scalp, and nails for characteristic changes, signs, or noticeable patchiness. If the results are inconclusive, a small skin sample, known as a biopsy, will be taken for further investigation –- under a microscope.

Let’s say the results came back as positive for Psoriasis. What do we do now? Although the diagnosis may seem overwhelming to most, the good news is many types of Psoriasis can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications and ointments after treating the more severe stage with your dermatologist.

This skin condition can improve with skin products and ointments that hydrate and moisturize the skin. Emollients help trap the moisture inside the skin and they reduce the appearance of dry scales and patches. For example, the Vaseline Clinical Care Dry Hands Rescue is a great option for treating dry and rough skin on the hands and fingers. For larger skin areas, you can go for the Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream, which moisturizes extremely dry skin and protects the skin barrier. Along with hydrating skin products, reducing everyday stress, and maintaining a well-balanced diet can work to in minimizing acute flares of Psoriasis.

But as with any other skin condition, your optimal treatment regimen may be unique and different from most. It’s always best to consult with your Dermatologist and to create a treatment plan that works best for your specific skin condition and skincare needs. If you’re in need of finding a dermatologist, utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a provider who understands the care that your skin needs.

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Yes You Are Brown and You Still Need Sunscreen

If we were to list the best way to take a selfie, I am sure one of the top requests would be in the natural sun. Unfortunately, the natural lighting combined with the sun’s glow gives melanated skin tones, making the Instagram feed a permanent post. 

The sun is nature’s best highlight, but it can also be our skin’s biggest enemy if we do not take the necessary steps to provide protection. Unfortunately, despite what we were told as melanated people, natural skin can only protect us for so long. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of skin aging is due to sun exposure. So one protector is that sunscreen needs to be used in the summer and throughout the year.

Sunscreen is often marketed in the summer because more Americans are prone to spend more time outdoors. However, a survey found that close to 60% of Americans do not mark summer by date but by the temperature rise. Regardless of temperature, sunscreen protects from the sun’s rays year-round. According to Yale Scientific, sunscreen works to block and absorb UV radiation by using both physical and chemical components.  

As melanated people, we need to actively prevent sunburn and be aware of what sunburn looks like on our skin—your risk of melanoma doubles after suffering from 5 or more sunburns. Research recommends sunscreen with SPF 30 and above every 90 minutes while outside. Sunscreen with hats, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing will be the most effective. 

Recently, more sunscreen products have been created to help melanated skin. As a child, you may have run into an issue if the sunscreen does not properly soak into your skin and potentially turn skin purple or leave a white residue. However, looking for a lightweight sunscreen that possibly doubles as a moisturizer will help not get that sunscreen overcast. 

Now is the time to start adding sunscreen or other UV ray blockers into your daily skincare and morning routine. Below are tips that can help:

  1. Look for skin products that have SPF already, including many face primers and moisturizers that double as SPF protection. 
  2. Keep sunscreen readily available if spending a day outside; a small tube in your bag or car can help throughout the day.
  3. Sunscreen alone cannot do it all. Be sure to wear sunglasses, hats, and clothing to protect from sun rays.
  4. After getting a sunburn, take measures to heal that skin area.
  5. Be sure to talk to a dermatologist to understand your skin and the needed SPF for your body.

Melanated skin deserves protection, and we no longer have to wonder about what sunburn looks like and feels like on our skin. Thanks to Vaseline x HUEDs database “See My Skin,” photos of different skin conditions such as cancer and eczema are available for review. See My Skin is a dermatologist-backed platform created, so those with melanated skin no longer have to wonder about their skin conditions.

Keeping your skin covered, sunscreen, hats, shades, and platforms like See My Skin are ways to ensure lasting healthy skin. Also, find a dermatologist who knows your skin needs under the directory at HUED. Summer is here, and so is sun safety.

Stay connected to us on Instagram @HUEDCO

Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Melanoma Detection and Skincare Advice

Skin health is important to prioritize year-round, but with May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to share vital information on Melanoma, prevention, early detection, and ways to seek help and proper care with a board-certified dermatologist.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that arises when melanin-pigment making cells (melanocytes) grow abnormally. This form of skin cancer is most common on the trunk and extremities but can also be found in hidden places like the scalp and bottom of the foot. Melanoma may arise within an existing mole or on a normal appearing area of the skin. They can rarely develop inside the body wherever melanocytes can be found, such as the back of the eye on the retina. 

Who is affected by it?

I want you to know that melanoma does not discriminate, and it may affect anyone regardless of their age or race. The average age of diagnosis is 65 but it may be found in younger people under 30. This type of skin cancer is 20 times more common in Caucasians versus in Black and Hispanic communities. However, many patients with skin of color tend to be diagnosed later when their melanoma may be more advanced. The risk of melanoma is greater in someone who has a history of multiple severe sunburns or tanning bed use and those with a first degree relative with a history of melanoma.

How dangerous is it and what are the signs?

Melanoma can be dangerous and life threatening when it is found later, which means it has gone deeper in the skin and possibly started to spread beyond the skin’s surface. Although it accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers diagnosed in the US, melanoma causes most deaths from skin cancer. What makes melanoma so dangerous is that it can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs inside the body. It is estimated that one person dies of melanoma every hour each day. 

A melanoma typically does not have any symptoms in the early stages, but if left untreated, it may grow and cause problems such as pain, bleeding, and ulcers. Signs of a melanoma can include an abnormal appearing mole or growth that has changed over time or a new lesion that doesn’t look like any of the other spots on the skin. I call this the “ugly duckling” sign. Although rare, some melanomas may look like warts or skin tags. 

Signs to help you detect a melanoma are called the ABC’s of melanoma which are:

  1. Asymmetry: one half doesn’t match the other half
  2. Border: edges are irregular or scalloped
  3. Color: more than one color per spot
  4. Diameter: larger than a pencil eraser
  5. Evolution: changes in color, shape or size over time

A normal mole should ideally be smaller than a pencil eraser with smooth edges and just one color. It should stay the same shape, size, and color over your lifetime. Melanomas don’t always follow these rules, so you should ask your doctor about it if you have a spot of concern.

How do you treat melanoma?

Most melanomas are cured by surgery where the site of the melanoma and a small margin of normal skin is excised, and then the skin is stitched together. However, if melanoma is thicker or has spread to other body sites, it may require additional treatments like removal of the lymph nodes, radiation, and chemotherapy. When melanomas are more advanced dermatologists may partner with other physicians such as a surgical oncologist, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist. 

How do you prevent melanoma?

Melanoma prevention starts with sun protection. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun and radiation from tanning beds are the leading causes of damage that lead to melanoma. Therefore, it is very important to reduce the risk of sunburn and getting a tan when you are outdoors for extended periods of time.

Melanoma prevention tips:

  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater on exposed areas like the face, neck, and ears daily. 
  • Avoid the use of devices that emit harmful rays like gel nail curing devices and tanning beds. 
  • Apply sunscreen to the body 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and remember to reapply after 2 hours or after sweating or toweling off your skin. 
  • Wear a hat and sun protective clothing with special sun blocking fabric.
  • Have an annual skin cancer screening with a board-certified. 
  • Do a monthly self-skin exam to look for new or changing spots. 

I hope you find this information as part of your skin health journey. As an additional step of prevention and general care for your skin, I recommend booking a visit with a dermatologist in your area using Vaseline x HUED’s database HERE

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Why You Should Get Tested for Celiac Disease

When it comes to our day to day, some aspects of life often seem to be unavoidable. It comes to many modern-day can diets that look like our gluten intake. It is estimated that we ingest around 5-20 grams of foods and grains that contain gluten daily.  

Even some of our lip care products contain gluten, and in recent years, more products have been distancing themselves from the ingredient. However, individuals may not know their discomfort after eating gluten is a celiac disease with all this consumption.

According to research published National Library of Medicine, “Gluten is the main storage protein of wheat grains. Gluten is a complex mixture of hundreds of related but distinct proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin.” Therefore, we find gluten very heavily in whole wheat, barley, and rye which can cause inflammation known as celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an inflammatory causing the autoimmune disease which impacts around 1in 5 of the US population. Ingesting gluten disrupts the small intestine lining and can cause issues such as diarrhea, weight loss, and even discomfort. If celiac goes untreated, an individual can encounter severe health impacts such as mouth ulcers or infertility. 

It is essential to know that celiac disease is caused by eating gluten, mainly in people with two types of genes, DQ2 and DQ8. In addition, the reaction to gluten spurs can also impact the body later in life, so an individual may not see inflammation until adulthood. These reasons make it imperative to monitor responses to gluten products over time. Below are the side effects of celiac disease and obtaining an official diagnosis from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Signs of Celiac Disease:

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Constipation 
  • Chronic diarrhea 
  • Bloating 

These are some signs that celiac disease may be present in the body. If you are experiencing these symptoms and have other autoimmune disorders, seek a doctor. In addition, if there is a history of celiac disease in your family, it is beneficial to be tested twice a year to see if any change has occurred. These tests can range from blood tests to endoscopy and potentially eating gluten products over a few weeks.

Because of the inflammation, some individuals opt to be gluten-free without a celiac diagnosis. As concerns grow, more food choices are available that are gluten-free, but we still have some work regarding the accessibility of those food choices. Please visit the HUED directory to find a primary care provider or specialist to navigate a gluten-free diet and celiac disease.

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Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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The Quality Skincare You Deserve

Skin is our largest organ. It plays a vital role in our overall health by functioning as a protective barrier between our bodies and harmful elements in the outside world, such as bacteria, viruses, yeast, parasites, pollution, and ultraviolet (UV) light damage. Any skin problem, whether a rash, growth, or disease process, affects your skin’s ability to function correctly and negatively impacts overall health, economic viability, social life, and self-esteem. It is important to remember that having healthy skin is a right, not a privilege.

The population of the United States is becoming increasingly diverse; however, diversity in the healthcare workforce does not mirror this demographic shift. The lack of diversity in our healthcare workforce is problematic at many levels. Insights have shown that having a doctor who looks like you can result in better communication, improved access and compliance with treatment, and ultimately a better outcome. While that isn’t always the option or necessary, it’s equally important that physicians understand the cultural differences needs of patients. When developing treatments to address the unique concerns of patients with skin of color, it’s also essential to have a diverse group of researchers that represent the audience. Lastly, clinical trials must include patients with skin of color to help provide invaluable information for the development of future treatments. 

The skin of color and textured hair has unique characteristics that require the cultural competency of healthcare practitioner in skin and hair care practices for successful outcomes. Yet, according to a 2012 report, 47 % of dermatologists felt that their medical training didn’t adequately prepare them to treat melanin-rich skin, and a 2008 study found that only 12.2% of dermatology training programs had a rotation in which residents gained specific experience in treating patients with skin of color. 

While there are several efforts to address the gaps of representation for skin of color, like Vaseline’s See My Skin, there is still work. For example, within the US, 12% of the population is African American, while only 3% of the board-certified dermatologists in the US are African American. In addition, for the Hispanic community, only 4.2% of dermatologists are of Hispanic origin compared with 16.3% in the general US population.

Having more Black and Hispanic Dermatologists is crucial; however, understanding specific cultural needs should be a must for all dermatologists and healthcare physicians. This begins with a commitment to recruit and retain minority academic faculty, confronting institutional racism, and providing leadership opportunities throughout the medical, educational system. While there is still work to be done, the ASDS (American Society of Dermatologic Surgery) has established a DEI workgroup and Rise Up Mentorship program to match current dermatology residents with practicing mentors who look like them. 

This lack of diversity impacts every level of training, from having teachers in medical school that represent a diverse group of people – this includes advisors and mentors, who guide and supports the Dermatology residency application process and career trajectory. In addition, fewer dermatologists in positions of influence in the exam room, the lab, and the boardroom negatively impact the development and implementation of products and treatments to serve people of color. 

While we know there is a lot of work to help close the gap in skin equity, how can you, as a patient, ensure you get the quality care you deserve? 

Resources offered by Vaseline and HUED’s partnership allow people of color to connect with physicians trained to provide you with optimal care. Please visit the physician finder tool to search for a dermatologist near you. If you are in the North Carolina area, you can also book an appointment at my practice, Skin Wellness Dermatology. Once you have chosen a Dermatologist, consider using Vaseline’s guide to prepare you for your dermatologist visit


  2. Shen MJ et al. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2018 Feb;5(1):117-140.
  3. Kirch  DG, Nivet  M.  Increasing diversity and inclusion in medical school to improve the health of all.  J Healthc Manag. 2013;58(5):311-313.
  4. Bodenheimer  T, Sinsky  C.  From triple to quadruple aim: care of the patient requires consideration of the provider.  Ann Fam Med. 2014;12(6):573-576. 

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Eczema 101

Our skin is the largest organ we have, and it is so essential that we provide the best care for it. Some may experience irritation or other symptoms like itchiness, rashes, or scaly patches. Skin irritation can often result from different skin conditions, but one I want to highlight today is Eczema. 

Eczema is a common condition in children and adults, so I have created a little cheat sheet to help provide more information on what it is, how to care for eczema-prone skin and a list of things to avoid. 

  • What is eczema?
    Eczema is not a specific diagnosis as it refers to multiple conditions that may cause the skin to be inflamed (red, itchy, and scaly). There are many types of eczema, but atopic dermatitis, also referred to as atopic eczema or skin asthma, is one of the most common. Atopic dermatitis (AD) tends to be a chronic skin condition that flares up periodically, usually with patches of inflamed and pruritic (itchy) skin that are easily irritated.

    Although it can occur at any age, it most commonly starts manifesting in children under 5. It may coexist with other allergic conditions (e.g., atopic triad), including hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma. The exact cause of AD is unknown, but multiple factors that could contribute are family history and environmental triggers. AD patients have skin barrier dysfunction, where there are gaps in the outermost layer of skin that allows water to escape resulting in dryness. This may also allow for increased entry of germs and irritants, which triggers an exaggerated immune response and inflammation in the skin. 
  • Can eczema be treated?

Although eczema cannot be cured, it can be controlled. The mainstay of treatment is proper skincare with daily moisturization to restore and maintain the skin barrier. A tremendous moisturizing lotion is Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair is an excellent moisturizing lotion because it has a unique blend of humectants that help draw water into the skin. The formula includes micro-droplets of Vaseline Original Healing Jelly, which helps prevent water from evaporating by adding a protective layer of occlusion. 

It is also important to avoid triggers when feasible. For more severe cases, patients may benefit from seeking medical advice and treatment from a licensed dermatologist or physician who can prescribe appropriate creams or medication based on their specific needs. 

  • Are there any at-home remedies?

Coconut oil can help hydrate the skin, although I wouldn’t recommend it as a solo moisturizer. It is best to use virgin or cold-pressed formals free of irritants. This has antimicrobial properties, which help reduce the risk of bacterial infections. Another plant-based oil I would recommend that can be helpful to use for eczema is sunflower oil. It helps with the skin’s barrier function, increases hydration, and decreases inflammation. It is always best to apply these oils twice daily, one of those times being while the skill is still wet shortly after the shower. 

  • What flags indicate a patient will have to see a dermatologist?

As I shared above and can’t stress enough, always consult with a healthcare provider who has experience diagnosing and managing eczema. If the eczema flares are moderate to severe or very frequent despite implementing a regular bathing and moisturizing routine and using over-the-counter creams. In that case, a patient should consider seeing a dermatologist for medical treatment. A dermatologist and sometimes an allergist can help identify possible triggers by doing a series of critical allergy tests for trigger avoidance. Any signs of skin infection also warrant prompt evaluation, which can include increased redness, oozing, tenderness, and crusting. 

  • What is the best way to add moisture to the skin?

The most effective way to add moisture to the skin is to moisturize immediately after a shower (usually within 3 minutes) to trap all the water in and seal the skin barrier. A great option would be the one I suggested above, the Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair, which was awarded the National Eczema Seal of Acceptance. This formula is unscented (this is important as fragrance is a common irritant), and it contains a unique blend of humectants and occlusives. Some people with more severe dryness or eczema can also benefit immensely from layering an ointment on top of the moisturizer lotion for extra protection of the skin barrier and hydration. An all-time favorite ointment is the Vaseline Original Healing Jelly. It is excellent because petrolatum is the most hypoallergenic ingredient; it is non-irritating and non-comedogenic. 

  • Are there any do’s and don’t people should keep in mind?

We tend to think we need to try anything and everything to combat skin concerns we are facing but please DON’T. Instead, I recommend consulting a licensed dermatologist, but until that appointment, here are some DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind.  

  • DO avoid common triggers. 
  • DO moisturize your skin daily, even when you have no symptoms. Use a scent-free cream or ointment, best applied just after bathing while skin is still damp.
  • DO use hypoallergenic products when possible.
  • DO use mild soaps and lukewarm (not hot water)
  • DO wash clothing and linens in fragrance-free soap; double rinse when possible.
  • DO keep your fingernails short.
  • Do not bathe more than once a day or take prolonged hot showers or baths 
  • Do not pick or scratch your skin; instead, gently pad, rub or tap and apply creams as needed 
  • Do not just moisturize when you feel symptoms are worse, do it daily

Please note that this information is for educational purposes and awareness around Eczema. It should not be used as a formal diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms, I recommend using Vaseline x HUED’s derm finder tool to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in your area HERE.

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The Uniqueness of Melanin-Rich Skin and How This Impacts Creating a Personalized Skin Care Routine for Black and Brown Skin

I believe that the uniqueness of melanin-rich skin lies in the variety of hues, traditions, and stories that it carries. The differences that make us unique are something that I celebrate and educate my patients about as a dermatologist and my daughters about as a mother. Cultural influences in how we care for our skin play a huge role in the routines that we have today, and that education often starts at home. 

It is so important to understand our skin’s moisture barrier so that we can choose the right skincare to support & strengthen it. The stratum corneum (the top layer of our skin) is constantly balancing moisture & hydration, defense & protection, and this evolves as we age. Our job is to support it. Our understanding of ethnic and racial differences in the skin barrier that impact the skin is limited and ethnic and racial categories are often not well defined in studies but there are unique considerations in Black skin.

Dry skin & itch in Melanin-rich Skin| Dry skin and itch appear to impact Black patients more and there is a greater incidence and burden of disease with conditions like eczema (specifically Atopic Dermatitis). Generalized dry skin appears to be more common amongst Black patients in studies, and this is important to address because of the cultural stigma it has within our community. Dry skin can be more visible on the background of melanin-rich skin creating an appearance often referred to as ‘ashy skin’ and this is a common concern. Addressing dry skin and itch starts with gentle cleansing. Using a no-soap, milky, or lotion cleanser is one way to ensure that the cleansing process is as gentle as possible. How you cleanse, however, is also important. Avoiding use of harsh cleansing accessories like loofahs or scrubs and avoiding hot, lengthy showers can be helpful if you are dealing with dry and itchy skin. An important step after cleansing is to leave the skin damp so that your moisturizer can take advantage of the water left on the skin for a hydration boost.

Ceramides in Melanin-rich skin| Ceramides play an important role in skin hydration and skin barrier function. Studies have consistently shown that ceramide levels in Black skin are lower than that of other groups. Lower ceramide levels are often associated with decreased skin hydration and increased dryness. Consistent moisturization and selection of the right moisturizer can be impactful for these changes. Moisturizers come in various types (emollients, humectants, occlusives, etc) and various consistencies (creams, lotions, butter, etc) see Moisturizers for Various Skin Types for an explanation of types of moisturizers. For those with dry skin, I recommend applying an emollient moisturizer such as Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion to damp skin. This lotion is unscented and features lipids, humectant glycerin, as well as microdroplets of Vaseline to heal extra dry skin in as little as 5 days. Vaseline Intensive Care Eczema Calming Cream is a great option for those prone to dryness, itch, and eczema because it also has 1% colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient that has consistently been shown to help reduce itch and irritation on the skin. Adding a layer of Vaseline Original Healing Jelly to areas that are very more vulnerable to dryness such as the elbows, knees, and ankles is a nice bonus because the occlusive nature of the jelly will help to prevent the skin form losing hydration in these areas.

Understanding and celebrating the uniqueness of our skin and knowing how to care for it can be incredibly empowering especially when that knowledge is shared through generations. When selecting skin care for you skin, remember to consider the gentle cleansing and moisturizing tips above to help support your skin’s moisture barrier. 

Reference : PMID: 34491028

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