Category: blog

Tips About Lyme Disease Prevention You Should Know

lyme-diseaseIt’s finally summer in most parts of North America and while that is usually cause for celebration it comes with an aftertaste of caution. Lyme disease has been in the media frequently with celebrities like Avril Lavigne coming forward with their experiences with the disease. Most people aren’t even aware of what Lyme disease is and how to prevent it, so we’re going to take care of that right now.

Lyme disease is caused by little insects known as ticks, or deer ticks specifically, that bore their way into your skin to suck your blood. While it’s possible to contract the disease any time of year most cases crop up in the summer when people spend more time outdoors:

This year 97 percent of blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, survived the Connecticut winter and are hungry for blood as temperatures warm.

These arachnids transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease and are likely thriving in your backyard, according to Connecticut Chief Entomologist Kirby Stafford.

About 3,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported in the state each year, the state Department of Public Health reports, but Stafford says that most cases aren’t reported. The true number is closer to 35,000, he estimates. “Under-reporting is more likely to occur in highly endemic [widespread] areas, whereas over-reporting is more likely to occur in non-endemic areas,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Connecticut is definitely a highly endemic area. In 2015, more than 2,500 Lyme disease cases were reported statewide, with infection rates the highest in Windham, New London and Middlesex counties. Nationally, 96 percent of Lyme cases occur in just 14 states, including Connecticut.

People can and do catch Lyme disease year-round in the state, but most cases occur in June and July, when people spend more time outdoors. During the summer season, young, or nymphal, deer ticks, so small they are difficult to detect, are out in force.

But you can protect yourself by knowing more about ticks and how they spread disease.

  1. Ticks love kids.

A study of Lyme infection in Connecticut found that nearly half the offending tick bites happened while the victim was playing outside, making children the group most at risk for Lyme disease.


All six of the tips described are important to understand. While we don’t want you to stop playing outside with your family and pets, we want you to be safe when you do it. As mentioned, not all instances of Lyme disease are apparent by a skin rash so you need to be careful.

Establish a routine when you come in from being outside so that your kids, and you, get used to checking for ticks and removing the little suckers immediately if you find them on your body. Check your pets too: shave their hair down in the summer if you have to.

Being proactive is what we should all strive for in as many situations as possible. You’ve worked hard to get your skin the way you want it. Don’t let it go to waste.


The Grossest Skin Tag You’ll See Today

yuckSeeing gross things on the internet is nothing new. There’s a strange fascination that comes from watching someone pop a huge pimple or something like that on video for the entire world to see. Surely most people wouldn’t do something like that, but there’s an odd sense of kinship with those who do.

When you think of things that are gross you think of slimy, wet and sometimes green. However, not all things that are disgusting look like that. There are things that grow on your own body, quite naturally, that can be considered gross. It all depends on your personal threshold of grossness.

Take skin tags, for example. Skin tags are little bits of flesh that like to grow in moist areas of your body. This means you’ll find them in places like your armpits, your groin, your neck and even sometimes in the folds of your eyelids. They’re generally small, growing no larger than 3mm in diameter and are easy to remove. They are usually benign, but if you are concerned you should probably get it checked out.

You don’t want to end up like this guy:

WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE Dr. Sandra Lee was filmed cutting away the gruesome mass of skin – up to eight years after it first developed on the man’s side.

This is the revolting moment Dr. Pimple Popper removed an enormous ‘skin tag’ that resembled a BRAIN from a patient’s side.

The dermatologist, whose real name is Dr. Sandra Lee , was filmed cutting away the gruesome mass of skin up to eight years after it first developed.

In the footage , the patient can be heard telling the doctor that he eventually decided to get the growth removed after his wife nagged him to do so.

Dr. Lee then jokes with him in a bid to make him less anxious about the procedure , telling him: “I think you’re a little sad to have this go away.”

In order to remove the apparent skin tag, the medic firstly injects fluid around the base of it to ensure that the area is numb.

She then picks up a pair of surgical scissors and chops off the growth, before stemming the flow of blood from the wound with a piece of gauze.

At the end of the footage, Dr. Lee cuts into the brain-like tumour [sic] itself – with difficulty – to reveal a large amount of fat and tissue inside it.


If you’re brave, you can watch the video and see the entire process from start to finish. If you aren’t so brave that’s okay too. The entire thing is pretty gross and it’s a good testament as to what can happen if you leave skin tags for too long.

It’s not the prettiest thing to watch and it’s recommended to not be eating or even at work while you look at it.

We like to think the skin tags grew like that out of loneliness. What do you think?

Do You Know About These 4 Skin Conditions?

skin-conditionsOur skin is constantly renewing itself. We shed skin cells every day and every day new ones grow in their place. Have you ever watched a cut heal? It’s kind of cool to monitor it as the cut decreases in size and how the new skin is red and soft. Over time, depending on where the skin is, you’ll find that it’ll toughen up once more. It’s kind of amazing what our skin can do when we put it through such difficult tasks each day.

But that’s not the only time our skin grows:

It’s natural for your skin to sprout new bumps and blemishes over the years. The common growths described here can usually be left alone—and some should be. If you’d rather have them removed, it’s critical to do it the safest way and to go to the right professional.

Today, family doctors and aestheticians (people who administer facials, peels, and other skin treatments) advertise this type of care, sometimes offering to do it with powerful lasers. Even health care clinics at Walgreens offer to snip off skin tags.

But “you should never get anything removed from your skin without seeing a dermatologist first,” says Jessica Krant, M.D., a dermatologist and member of Consumer Reports’ medical advisory board. The American Academy of Dermatology agrees, and warns people about nondermatologists removing growths.

One major reason: Cancerous growths can resemble benign ones. And research has found that people who aren’t dermatologists often miss them. “These practitioners aren’t trained in dermatology,” says Lauren Ploch, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “In some cases, they may have only taken a weekend course. I worry that they’ll miss something or treat it inappropriately.” When family doctors do refer people to a dermatologist for an evaluation of a suspicious mark, it’s often found to be benign.


You’ve likely heard about skin tags, little bumps and lumps of flesh that grow from the folds of our neck and such, but have you ever heard about Epidermoid Cysts, Seborrheic Keratoses and Dermatofibromas (read here:

Now that you’ve read that article you can answer yes to that question. You’re now more informed about these four common skin conditions and even educated on what to do about them. The conditions mentioned are very harmless, in most cases. More often than not these issues become a major problem when they get infected. That means you should leave them alone and not poke and prod them. Not only can an infection be nasty stuff, it could also lead to scarring.

All four of the skin disorders mentioned in the article present themselves in the form of bumps and lumps. That’s why it’s important to give your body a scan with your eyes and hands once a month, if not more frequently, to make sure you aren’t currently suffering from these issues.

They can be removed safely and often painlessly. Luckily as well, your insurance may cover the cost of getting these bits of unsightly flesh removed.

Which is something everyone likes to hear.


Skin Problem? Get Off The Phone And See A Doctor!

doctorYou’re a busy person and you probably can’t always make time to do a lot of your errands in person. Online services for tasks like shopping, getting information about a vehicle or chatting with a service representative instead of being on hold for three hours are quickly become the preferred method of contact. Some malls are shutting down completely because people just aren’t shopping at a physical location any more. While this can be a blessing for the busy person, there are some services you should only consider in-person.

When it comes to your health, you should always physically visit your health care provider. There are some instances when calling a medical help line may be useful, such as when you’re a first time parent and you’re paranoid about every sound your child makes.


Be cautious, however, of online telemedicine companies if you have a skin condition. Many skin conditions are defined by what they look like, exactly, instead of general descriptions. Unless you work in the field of health care you may be unable to accurately describe what your concern is, and you’ll need to count on the person you’re speaking with to ask the right questions. This can be disastrous:

Researchers posing as patients with skin problems sought help from 16 online telemedicine companies—with unsettling results.

Some of the online doctors misdiagnosed syphilis, herpes and skin cancer, and some prescribed medications without asking key questions about patients’ medical histories or warning of adverse effects, the researchers found. Two sites linked users with doctors located overseas who aren’t licensed to practice where the patients were located, as required by state law.

“The services failed to ask simple, relevant questions of patients about their symptoms, leading them to repeatedly miss important diagnoses,” said Jack Resneck, a dermatologist with the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study, published online in JAMA Dermatology on Sunday.

Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School who wasn’t involved with the current study, said it “identifies a number of egregious quality issues that raise significant concern.”

He added that studies have identified quality issues with in-person visits as well, and that because many dermatologists don’t accept Medicaid, the online visits, which generally cost $35 to $95, may be all that some patients can afford.

Direct-to-consumer telemedicine services have exploded in recent years, with more than one million virtual medical visits expected this year, according to the American Telemedicine Association, a trade group. Many insurers cover the services and promote them as a convenient and low-cost way for plan members to get care.

But some physician groups are concerned that the services are eroding doctor-patient relationships, lowering the quality of care and further fragmenting the health-care system.


While it is pointed out that even face-to-face visits can have reduced quality, the fact that you are seeing a qualified physician who is physically looking at your condition should be comforting. You should never underestimate the importance of meeting your health care provider in person and developing a doctor-patient relationship with them.

It can be frustrating to wait for an appointment and specialists are sometimes few and far between, but you can rest assured that the wait is worth it because you will be receiving appropriate care. Don’t trust your health to someone you’ve never even met, no matter how easy it sounds.



Are You Sun Smart?

safe-tanningAs human beings we love the sun. That warm, burning globe that brings us light, warm weather and a wicked tan can do more than make you look good. In Western society we place high value on having a ‘healthy glow’; enough that many people will pay to sit in a bed of lightbulbs to get it.

But are you being safe? Skin cancer is more prevalent than ever and the leading cause is too much sun-worshipping.

As young people we tend to ignore the advice our parents give us in favour of what our friends are doing. We also forget things like putting on sunscreen before we go outside because we’re dying to get that bronzed skin that we see celebrities sporting on television. Even if you do remember the sunscreen you need to make sure that you’re using the right product. There are a lot of different options on the market and it’s better to play it safe, says Teen Vogue:

In a perfect wellness world, there would be a college course devoted to skincare with a midterm exam on sunscreen. Because every year, when the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreens guide drops, we always learn something new.

That’s happening today, with the debut of the EWG’s 10th annual guide, which famously lists the organization’s picks for best and worst sunscreens. They review hundreds of products, scanning the label for clean and not-so clean ingredients (such as known hormone disruptors and allergens), and give each product a toxicity rating, with a score of 1 being the best.

Because nobody wants to unknowingly put crap on their skin — or stay indoors all summer, we chatted with EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder about the key things you should know about sun protection right now. —Additional reporting by Rachel Lapidos

Here are 10 things you might be surprised to know about sunscreen — but totally should — and non-toxic EWG product picks:

  1. You’re probably not putting enough sunscreen on.
    Mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are typically thicker in appearance, so people often think they are putting on enough when they’re actually not. Pay closer attention when using these sunscreens to ensure you’re properly covered. The Skin Cancer Foundation says 1 ounce (get out your shot glass), every two hours. You should drain half a bottle on a long beach day.
  2. Look out for oxybenzone.
    It’s a very common ultraviolet filtering ingredient used in many sunscreens, but it’s also a hormone disruptor and an allergen, says Lunder. EWG found it in 70{d37354aaad759975ec124ada39953ac966a67b9395d680228aae703217594375} of non-mineral sunscreens they evaluated this year. You might want to reach for sun protection with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (both minerals), which are considered safer sunscreen ingredients.


We have one body. Science is not advanced enough to replace our entire physical body if we ruin it. You’ve probably heard your parents or family members remind you that you only live once and that you need to take care of yourself. As we age we also gain more responsibility for our actions. Even if “growing up” is not high on your list, when it comes to your skin and taking care if it you should do everything in your power to do it right.


Common Skin Growths And What To Do About Them

skin-growthsHave you ever really paid attention to what is on your skin? Do you have moles and freckles that give your face character? Or maybe you’ve noticed that there’s something new growing on your skin and you aren’t quite sure what to do about it.

Our skin is constantly shedding cells and renewing itself. This is why a beautician, or your mom, will tell you to exfoliate at least once a week when you shower. You don’t want a buildup of dead cells hanging out on your arm which will clog your pores and give you the worst body-acne you’ve seen since you were fifteen.

Instead of poking and prodding at yourself whenever you notice something new and weird, you’re usually better off just leaving it alone. But, you should know that these skin growths are actually usually pretty benign, at least, according to the Washington Post. Here’s a snippet from their recent article:

Dermatofibromas: These round, hard, reddish-brown bumps may have a dimpled center. They most often crop up on legs or arms, and they can develop after an insect bite or a shaving cut. Safe removal: Your best bet is to leave them alone. “Removal often yields a worse mark,” says Bruce Robinson, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an AAD spokesman. If a fibroma is in a sensitive area or causes itching or bleeding, a dermatologist can remove it surgically. It can’t be shaved, snipped or erased with a laser. Will insurance pay? Maybe, but only if it’s very big or changes shape and looks suspicious.

Epidermoid cysts: These skin-colored lumps are most common on the face, neck, back and trunk. Some become infected and rupture. Safe removal: Incision and drainage may be needed for an infected cyst. Once the infection has subsided, the cyst can be surgically removed. Will insurance pay? If it’s large, inflamed and painful.

Seborrheic keratoses: These are waxy black, brown or tan growths with small bumps that give them a wartlike surface. Safe removal: Cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesion and turn it crusty, causing it to fall off. Another option is cauterization (heating) with a surgical tool. Will insurance pay? If it’s inflamed, itchy or bleeding.

Skin tags: These stalks of skin tend to grow in high-friction areas such as the underarm and neck. About half of American adults have a skin tag. Safe removal: They can be shaved or snipped off by a dermatologist and cauterized to stop bleeding if necessary. Avoid over-the-counter treatments with claims that they will dissolve skin tags. Because they kill off skin cells, “you could harm the area around the tag, which could lead to increased scarring,” says Lauren Ploch, a dermatologist in New Orleans. Will insurance pay? Possibly, if a tag is irritated, red or bleeding, or if it looks suspicious.


Of course, there are times when you might be concerned that your new mole might be cancerous because it just keeps growing and changing shape. In that instance, you need to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to get yourself checked out. If you have these kinds of concerns don’t try to remove things yourself.

You could also try something like Wart & Mole Vanish (review is here: if you feel like a growth is normal. The truth is, a large percentage of them usually are.

Now that you’ve learned about four common skin issues and what to do about them, don’t you just feel better? Sure, they have scary names like dermatofibromas, epidermoid cysts and seborrheic keratoses, but now if you hear them you’ll know what they refer to. That’s already better than most people.

Fox News: Fear The Black Salve!

Black salve: a dangerous product!

Black salve: a dangerous product!

Everyone wants a cure for cancer, right? Makes sense to us. And when it comes to something like skin cancer, the supposed “cures” may seem all the more important. What this leaves, however, is the potential for scams, rip offs and just fake products.

The issue here, of course, is that unlike skin tags (which are annoying, but safe), skin cancer can be absolutely deadly! This is something you talk to your doctor extensively about! It’s not something you “search around a bit for some herbal remedies”-for. That’s ridiculous, friends. But apparently, it’s a thing that has recently occurred with a product called black salve:


Utah researchers surveyed black salve users and found that most did not talk to a doctor before trying the product – which is on a U.S. Food and Drug Administration list of “fake ‘cancer cures’ consumers should avoid” – nor were they aware of its harmful effects.

Black salve refers to products containing zinc chloride and sanguinarine, both corrosive ingredients that can severely damage skin, the study team writes in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The salve is widely available online, touted as a way to eliminate skin cancers. It does scour off top layers of skin, giving the appearance that a lesion is gone. But, the authors explain, cancer remaining deeper in the skin may go unseen, and undiagnosed, until it becomes more advanced and potentially even life threatening.


That, my friends, is far scarier than any issue with skin tags, that’s for sure. Remember that your skin is a very sensitive issue: if you see strange marks, moles or dark spots on your skin, SEE A DOCTOR! In cases of skin cancer, the early bird does get cured. Fortunately, skin cancers tend to be some of the most curable out there, so getting a medical opinion quickly is the key to staying healthy.

Always research anything you’re putting on your skin. It’s what we do, and a hallmark of our readers. They’re staying informed!