The Vitamin D Debate

One of the most common questions we hear from our Frederick Dermatology patients is, “If I wear sunscreen every day will I become vitamin D deficient?”

Our answer to this is always “no,” but let’s explore the practicalities of that answer.

Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins that we as humans can produce ourselves. It has been nicknamed “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun (UV light) stimulates its production. Vitamin D has been linked to the prevention of cancer, heart attacks, osteoporosis, immune system dysfunction, high blood pressure, and even falls in the elderly. But many of these claims may be overstated, according to a recently published article in The Lancet.

Although it is true that vitamin D plays an important role in prevention of some of these conditions in those with low levels of vitamin D, there is still debate on whether supplementation in healthy individuals yields the same results.

It is true that our bodies produce vitamin D in response to UV exposure, but the amount needed for this production is only about 15 minutes of midday sun. Too much UV exposure can actually destroy the vitamin. In addition, many cases have shown that, despite UV exposure, people can still be vitamin D deficient. The elderly have a decreased ability to produce vitamin D and may require supplementation even if they are sun worshipers. Darker-skinned individuals may also need supplementation, especially if living in northern climates.

Deficiency is not related to sun exposure or lack thereof. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies’ Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU (International Units) a day for people between the ages of 1 and 70, and 800 IU a day for people ages 70 and older. If you are deficient, then you will likely need doses much higher than this. Dietary sources include oily fish, milk, and vitamin D-fortified foods such as cereal and orange juice.

If you are concerned about vitamin D deficiency, then have your primary care physician draw your vitamin D levels. Overexposure to UV will only result in skin cancer and is not a cure for vitamin D deficiency.

Give your FAT the COLD shoulder

CoolScupting Now Available in Frederick, MD!

At our Frederick dermatology practice, patients trust the team for the latest in cosmetic medicine.

An innovative way to reduce the fat around your waist is by undergoing a treatment known as CoolSculpting® by ZELTIQ®. CoolSculpting requires no downtime and, better yet, involves no cutting of the skin.

Reduce Fat in JUST ONE Day!

This FDA-approved treatment involves non-invasive cooling of fat to reduce the number of fat cells without damaging other tissues. Over a period of 1 to 4 months after treatment, patients can expect a noticeable, natural-looking reduction in fat.

Most often, we target lower belly fat, bra fat, “saddle bags” and love handles.  The treatment has become equally popular among men and women.  During a treatment, we place an applicator over a bulge of fat.  The applicator draws the bulge between two cooling panels.  Most patients read or watch a movie and relax in our private room during the procedure.

Make a CoolSculpting Appointment at Frederick Dermatology

Nobody loves love handles. If you have them, and they bother you, CoolSculpting could be the treatment for you! Call Frederick Dermatology to Make a CoolSculpting Appointment today: 301.662.6755.

Kiss Those Lip Lines Goodbye!

Frustrated by your upper lip lines? You’re not alone. It’s one of the most common concerns patients have.

What causes lip lines? Well, there are several factors. As you’d expect, sun plays a big role. Chronic ultraviolet exposure to the area weakens collagen. Smokers, whether current or past, have more lip lines. And unavoidable use of the mouth muscles (such as for speaking and eating) produces chronic creasing of the skin. Prevention, of course, involves daily sunscreen use, not smoking, and avoiding unnecessary pursing of the lips, as with daily use of drinking straws.

But, if you already have your lines, you’re in luck because there are good options for treating them. One of the most effective strategies for reducing lip lines is laser resurfacing. At Frederick Dermatology Associates, we use and study the most advanced laser systems. In this case, we often reach for our fractional lasers. These may be non-ablative (non-invasive) or ablative (superficially wounding).Typically lip lines do best with the ablative lasers, which require about a week of healing, but the results can be rewarding and dramatic. Future treatments are sometimes necessary.

We now offer microneedling, which enhances rejuvenation results and is very safe for the client because there is much less epidermal damage. The automatic vibrating function of the Dermapen increases the effectiveness of treatment by increasing absorption of products, while reducing pain and discomfort. Dermapen is just as effective as treatments such as Fraxel, IPL, Laser Resurfacing, and Chemical Peels. The most amazing benefit is that Dermapen’s pricing is a fraction of the leading alternatives.

Another great option for lip lines is fillers. Most often we place hyaluronic acid fillers into these lines. We often use JUVÉDERM® for this purpose, but lately we’ve been using more and more of the breakthrough filler BELOTERO BALANCE®. BELOTERO sometimes allows us to inject even more superficially for more blurring of lines. If the fillers are not injected into the lines themselves, then they are placed delicately into the body of the lip for more overall support. Don’t worry! Lip injections should not make you look like a duck, but instead they blend naturally into your appearance. Great filler work makes one look better, not treated.

Finally, we recommend routine skin care that fosters healthy lip skin. We are happy to discuss which antioxidants, retinols, peels, and sunscreens can best protect and restore your lips.


Why Annual Skin Exams Are so Important

examAn annual visit to your dermatologist can help to detect skin cancer in its earliest stages and increase the likelihood for survival.  Statistics say that every hour in the United States someone dies from melanoma, an estimated 9,710 people by the end of the year. With statistics this alarming, it is crucial for patients to visit their dermatologist once a year to make sure that any freckles, moles, or other marks haven’t changed, as these changes can indicate skin cancer.

Summer sun and skin care can be enemies. Some everyday behaviors can contribute to risk factors associated with developing skin cancer.

  • A single sunburn resulting in blistering or peeling can double your risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Use of tanning beds increases melanoma risk by 75%.
  • Not wearing sunscreen and spending more than 10 minutes in the sun increases the likelihood you will develop a sunburn.

Annual skin exams performed by a dermatologist can detect precancerous spots in areas that are difficult to examine on your own. Here’s a few tips for how to prepare for your skin exam and what to expect:

  • Remove nail polish from fingers and toes. It is possible for skin cancer to grow underneath nails or in the nail beds. Also, these areas are prone to skin infection, which is something else dermatologists check for during a skin exam.
  • Note any changes in birth marks, moles, or freckles that you have. You must be an advocate for your own skin, and let the dermatologist know of any areas that may have you worried.
  • Be prepared to undress completely. This is uncomfortable for many patients, but is a very important element in a thorough skin exam.
  • The exam should last roughly 15-20 minutes.
  • Your dermatologist will inquire about family history and skin cancer, what type of medications you are prescribed, your skin care regimen and sunscreen use, and your history with tanning beds and spray tans.
  • It is possible that if your doctor discovers any questionable spots or lesion on the skin, a biopsy will be taken. A biopsy is a sample of tissue that is sent to a lab and tested for cancer. Biopsies are taken under local anesthetic. This procedure is a diagnostic tool, not a treatment, and if cancer is discovered it will be removed at a separate appointment.

For more information on what to expect at a full skin examination, or cosmetic dermatology services offered at  Frederick Dermatology Associates contact us 301-662-6755 today and schedule a consultation . We look forward to serving you.

What is Brilliant distinctions?

Brilliant Distinctions® by Allergan® is a rewards program that allows patients to earn points from various cosmetic injectable treatments and skin care product purchases that can be redeemed for coupons offering discounts at future appointments. There are many ways to earn points with Brilliant Distinctions®: BOTOX®Cosmetic injections (scheduled minimally three months apart), JUVÉDERM® XC treatments, LATISSE® eyelash thickening and growth kits. Allergan is offering double points for a limited time, its a great time to sign up if you are not already a member.

Contact our office to schedule your appointment or for more information.


May is melanoma awareness month, are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is an extremely common condition, occurring due to the abnormal growth of skin cells. Most often, skin cancer occurs in patients who have been greatly exposed to sunlight. There are three main types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, although it is fortunately rare. Any noticeable skin abnormalities a patient experiences should be examined by a dermatologist.

Let’s take at closer look at some major risk factors of skin cancer.

Top Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Overexposure to sun. Patients who spend a great deal of time in the sun are especially at risk for skin cancer, especially if sunscreen is not being used. Despite what many people think, indoor tanning also puts skin at risk for cancer. Tanning beds and booths, which are still especially popular among teenagers, expose skin to an excessive amount of  unsafe UV radiation!

  1. Family history. If a member of your family has had skin cancer, then you may have a predisposition to getting skin cancer yourself.
  2. Fair skin. Although anyone can get skin cancer, people with fair skin are at an increased risk for skin cancer. Having less pigmentation in the skin means that there will be less protection from UV radiation.
  3. A personal history of severe sunburns. At some point in their lives, most people will experience some kind of sunburn. However, having a series of blistering, painful sunburns as either a child, teenager, or adult can significantly increase one’s chances for skin cancer later on.

When it comes to diagnosing skin cancer, your dermatologist will first evaluate changes in your skin, and run tests that can confirm the diagnosis and its severity.  Once a positive skin cancer diagnosis is made, your dermatologist can design an effective treatment plan.

If you have any questions or concerns about skin cancer and its treatment, contact us today   to schedule a consultation.  Our office is located in Frederick, Maryland. We can be reached at 301-662-6755 We look forward to hearing from you!