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Skin Cancer Awareness month

May 29th, 2018

HAPPY PLACE


YUM

Skin Cancer Awareness month is coming to an end and another Don’t Fry Day has passed. Shielding your skin from the sun, however, is a year-round project here in LA. I cannot emphasize to you enough how important it is to wear a hat, sunscreen and get regular exams. Even though younger people may not notice any problems before their 50’s, these problems do accelerate as we get older especially in those with any Celtic heritage. That being said my patients are of all ethnicities and skin types. Many people who think their “Mediterranean” skin will protect them seem to forget that their heritage may have other skin types that make them more susceptible to skin cancer. Even people with Asian and African-American backgrounds can get skin cancer. It is very common in those with HIspanic backgrounds as well. In ethnic skin types, I see these cancers being missed until they’ve gotten to a substantial size. I’ve caught quite a few melanomas on routine exam even though these patients had no prior history, no other skin cancers and normal exams in the past.

I have not been as active on this blog for many months but hope to get back into it. I’ve been more active on my Twitter account @drshim_derm which I never thought would be enjoyable but I’ve found some great people to follow. I only started that to follow my kid’s classroom not realizing it would be my practice’s main source of social media. I hope you can follow me there as well! I plan to post at least once to twice a month here as well though! I’ll have to find weird moments to do it, like at 4 in in the morning. This I think, is becoming my new normal. I’m only awake now because I’ve been worried sick that my cat got eaten by a coyote while we were out of town. We looked everywhere for her this afternoon, but alas, she came out of nowhere at 3 in the morning to welcome us back and now cannot stop talking to me!

We paid a visit to San Francisco where I lived way back when. My kids really did not want to go, but I was touched that one of my girls edited my photo. I guess she had a good time! I highly recommend a trek out to the Sutro baths where there is a new parking lot and visitor’s center, have this incredibly awesome Little Gem salad at Sutro’s in the lower level of the Cliff House. Make a trek for ice cream at Swenson’s and if you have energy, take a walk at Tennessee Valley trail in Marin, a flat, but 1 hour long walk each way. The hike is too long for most elementary school kids (I think I’ve turned my kids off from hiking, even longer than Runyon) but I did see quite a few people out with their kids. The path is mainly, but not entirely paved, and not too far from the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley where I recommend you sit in a booth in the bar area.

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Treatment for brown spots known as seborrheic keratoses (SK’s or “barnacles”)

February 4th, 2018

Eskata is a new treatment for brown spots which appears novel, yet tedious. It is a 40% hydrogen peroxide pen used for removing brown spots. It was only studied mainly in Caucasians and takes a long time in the office. It will end up being a more expensive treatment that what I currently offer which involves many different methods which I customize to your brown spots. If you’re interested in removing your brown spots, please come in for a consult to show them to me and we can discuss how we can remove them for you safely and effectively before next summer! Here is a link to a detailed article from the NY Times:
New York Times Article on Eskata and brown spots

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Time for laser hair removal?

November 28th, 2017

Fall and winter are the ideal times to get laser hair removal because you won’t be exposing the areas to the sun. Usually you’ll start to see prolonged and reduced hair removal by month 3, but depending on the patient it can take 5-7 or more treatments to see a substantial reduction. Hair will be less dense, thinner, softer, and hopefully a lot will be gone. It depends on your genetics. Armpit and bikini hair goes away very easily, whereas peach-fuzz type hair on the sides of the face or upper lip can be more stubborn. Men can get hair removal too-back, chest, shoulders, ears. Only grey and blonde hairs generally do not respond. Underlying hormone issues, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, can also make regrowth more stubborn. How painful is it? Armpits and face-not so painful at all. Bikini hair and men’s backs tend to be the most sensitive, but we can prescribe numbing cream for this after your first consult. We generally perform this on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, but can perform it on other days with special arrangements.

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Are you wearing your hat these days? And the Two Degrees of Dr. Richard Bennett and Elisabeth Shim

September 13th, 2017

Kudos to Dominic Purcell for showing how it is done:
This is how it's done

A little over a year ago, Dr. Bennett was mentioned twice in the international news, the Daily Mail UK, for his work with two actors on network TV. They wanted to show everyone how skin cancer is so common. Today I found out I took care of a teacher at our daughters’ school over a decade ago. How’s that for Back to School Night? I even found a basal cell cancer on Santa Claus! (OK I can’t tell you the details on this one, but trust me, it’s true!) Everyone in LA is 1 or 2 steps removed from our office, I think. It’s better than Kevin Bacon! But Kevin can win this contest if we all make better use of our hats, zinc oxide-based sunscreens and our local dermatologist to screen us for precancers before they need us.

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Beware of the BBQ

July 14th, 2017

Did you know that aerosol sunscreens are flammable? It’s tempting to use them in the hot summer but they can lead to serious burns. If you do use one realize that they are also harmful to inhale. Always check for water resistance also, since it gets hot in the summer, some sunscreens do not have the ability to protect well after sweating or swimming. As you already know, I have a bias towards zinc oxide suncreens, such as the one from my company Verdure. In any case, sprays can be useful for hairy areas and for quick protection. Realize though that your skin is absorbing all of those chemicals through the skin, both the sunscreen ingredients as well as the inactive ingredients.

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Enjoy the summer

June 26th, 2017

Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay, Abacos, Bahamas


Navigating the Sea of Abaco

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Verdure Sunscreen achieves 2 great honors

June 24th, 2017

We are happy to announce that Verdure Matte Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+ not only won the Best of Suncare 2017 Award from the aesthetician journal Les Nouvelle Esthetique & Spa Magazine, it was also named as a Best Beach and Sport Sunscreen by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer watchdog group well known to devotees of cosmetic safety. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/

You can order from verdureskin.com or stop by our vendors distributing our sunscreen listed on our website. Again, DO NOT order from Amazon at this time. You could be getting fake product. Our line has been copied in India and South Korea unfortunately!

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Change in staff

June 2nd, 2017

Thank you for your understanding as we go through a staff transition. I’ve been lucky to work with such fine people over the years and I’m sad to see them go. As you know, I mentor many post-graduates who go on to graduate school or go through life changes. We are welcoming Kristy and Rachel (once again, splitting the USC and UCLA difference to make everyone happy), Michael into the lab who will replace my long-time loyal lab technician Scott, and various other people into the office. Please be patient with them, and me, as we go through this transition. It is always a bit stressful for all of us until everyone gets comfortable and into their groove. We are excited to have them in the office, but I’ll sorely miss Clara, Julia and Scott, my A-Team! The wait times are also challenging since I’ll be out of the office a bit in June and July, not to mention a new health plan I joined. Hang in there!

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Practice what you preach

April 4th, 2017

I’m not perfect when it comes to sun protection myself, but I’m trying to set a good example for you. Thank you for your patience waiting for an appointment. It has been a very busy year, many patients are having to wait a little longer to see me. If you have a true emergency, we can try to fit you in but we appreciate your understanding. If you have not been to the Cayman Islands, I highly recommend it if you like to snorkel. It’s a very safe country with great food, very family-friendly with lots to do and the people are lovely.

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So the compliments keep coming…

March 23rd, 2017

I keep getting told that “you look good ” “you changed your hair”. No, but thank you! My brows are lifted! I must’ve really needed that laser eye lift!

It was a pleasant surprise to get an update on my review paper of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma which was published 7 years ago. It has been cited by 135 other articles! Ask me how we can prevent this situation. It is not common but unfortunately, there are at least a few people with it every year. It’s very rare that women get them, but last year I did see the second woman of my career that had a SCC spread to her lymph nodes. The first patient I had met was mismanaged by a medical group in town and had her tumor treated numerous times without cure. She couldn’t talk or swallow by the time she met me. It was too late. The second lady had let the tumor grow too long and just had some bad luck.

Typically, the average SCC that spreads to the lymph nodes in my practice is an older white male who has had previous treatment of the lesion with radiation or liquid nitrogen. Size of the tumor, aggressive pathology, a delay of treatment and location on the upper half of the head or back of the hand are higher risk factors in my experience, and is backed up by research.

There are ways of avoiding this situation! Mainly, wear a hat and a zinc oxide-based sunblock such as Verdure. Get frequent exams and examine your own skin by looking and feeling. Talk to me about options for treating precancers that we can’t even see or may be too numerous to treat. And most of all, don’t delay seeking help.

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