Archive for category: BLOG

Spray tans are great – Just don’t inhale

Categories: BLOG

photo courtesy of

Tanning booths are a known source of deadly, potent cancer causing UV damage. I commend my patients when they give up the tanning booth and try spray tanning instead. However, new research shows that inhaling spray tan chemicals may also pose a danger to one’s health.

The UK’s Daily Mail (6/13, Bates, Borland) reports, “Spray tans, used by many as a safer alternative to sunbeds, may create serious health problems including cancer, scientists warned last night.”  “Those seeking a bronzed skin tone without exposing themselves to harmful radiation could instead be at risk from the main ingredient in sprays, which is potentially harmful if inhaled. The substance – known as dihydroxyacetone, or DHA – enters the lungs and is then absorbed into the bloodstream where it could damage DNA and cause tumours,” according to Lynn Goldman, MD, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University.

So, the main message that I want to impart to my patients:

  • Continue to avoid tanning booths
  • When getting a spray tan, hold your breath during the 30 seconds when they are spraying near your face and upper body

With these simple tips, you can achieve the bronzed beautiful glow safely.

Cracked heels?

Categories: BLOG

photo courtesy of discovery health journal

Cracked heels are such a frustrating problem —  many of my patients are bothered significantly by this issue, particularly during summer sandal season.

Cracked heels may be associated with psoriasis, dry skin/ eczema, and occasionally fungus.

I suggest a simple regimen:

  • Shower or soak your feet in warm water for 5 minutes
  • Pat the feet dry
  • Apply aquaphor or vaseline to the areas and massage in for 2 minutes
  • Cover and sleep with white cotton socks

This regimen helps a majority of my patients. If after 2 weeks of doing this, it does not help, make an appointment with your dermatologist– you may have resistant psoriasis or fungus.


Is it safe to apply steroid medication to my open skin?

Categories: BLOG

Photo courtesy of

This year has been a bad year for allergy flares in Minnesota.  Because of our warm winter, there are more circulating allergens in the air. This results in flares of allergies, asthma, and of course eczema and skin rashes.

Often, patients come to me after seeing several other physicians. By the time they come to my office, their hands, feet, and other places that are prone to eczema are in bad shape. I constantly see patients with very painful cracks and areas of open skin.

If indeed the rash is an eczema or psoriasis type of eruption, my patients are concerned that applying topical steroids to their skin will be deleterious.

Actually, dermatologists and scientists wondered about this as well.

Scientific studies show that topical steroids applied to the cracks and fissures of open skin actually speed up healing!

This is because the open/ cracked skin is actually the result of all the inflammation due to the eczema/ psoriasis. The topical steroid clears up the inflammation, thus allowing the skin to repair itself.

Conversely, I typically do not recommend bacitracin or neosporin for prolonged periods of time to open skin, as they can commonly lead to an allergy.


Do I need a separate eye cream?

Categories: BLOG

photo courtesy of

A common question among my patients is “What product do you recommend for the eye area Dr Tareen?”  Cosmetic companies have perpetuated a myth through the years that all individuals need to invest in a separate product for the eyes.  Typically, these eye creams, serums, and gels are miniscule and have elaborate packaging. They also have exorbitant price tags.  Lets explore:  Do you really need a separate product for the skin around the eyes?

The skin around the eye is thinner than the rest of the skin on the face. This makes it more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Furthermore, the skin around the eyes has few sebaceous glands (oil producing glands) and thus is more dry than other facial skin.

Why you do not need a separate eye cream:
You should already be utilizing a good regimen, incorporating antioxidants/peptides/growth factors and retinoids. Gentle emolliant creams also help to seal in the properties of these active ingredients and give hydration. If you are already utilizing a great regimen, there is no need to purchase yet another expensive product for the eye area. For the eye area, I typically instruct my patients to use their products slightly less frequently until the eye skin gets acclimated. I use the analogy of a marathon: you do not decide to run a marathon and then accomplish the task all in one day, in fact, if you do, it is harmful to your bones and joints.  Instead, gradually building up tolerance is the safest and most effective way- both with a marathon, and with the delicate eye area.

You may need a separate eye cream if:

  • You have dark circles or hyperpigmentation confined to the eye area: Discoloration may develop due to allergies and chronic rubbing, genetic predisposition, or thin skin. In this case, a prescription strength lightening product may help.
  • You have puffy eyes or fluid accumulation: In this case, several eye creams contain caffeine, which helps to constrict dilated blood vessels.  Green tea can also lead to some constriction, while soothing this gentle area.

Overall, a good skin care regimen can be effectively used for the eye area as well. After all, don’t you want all of your skin to look great?

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