X's Q & A

Q&A: What can I do for harsh scars left from severe acne from my teenage years?

Thank you for your question.  It would be helpful to know your age and some other medical history but from the information provided there are technologies such as the eMatrix or Fractional CO2 that would help.  Much also depends on the type of acne scar you have. The best thing to do would be to consult a doctor who is well versed in laser technologies as they would have several options available to you and can explain the benefits of each one.

Q&A: What should I do about a mole that has changed size?

Moles come in many different varieties.  A mole that changes in size, color or dimension or a mole that "just doesn't look right" is cause for concern.  The best thing to do is have a trained eye examine the mole for irregularities.  Then a determination can be made as to whether a biopsy is needed.  If not, it can still be removed if its appearance bothers you.  The cost depends on the size of the mole which will be measured at the time of the appointment..  I hope this answers your question!

Q&A: What can I do about extremely dry hands and palms that split open and bleed?

Hi Bill and thank you for your question.  Cracked, dry skin is definitely a common problem, especially in the winter.  Determining the cause of the issue is often helpful in finding an adequate solution.  It would be helpful to know, for example, if your job or any activities you do on a regular basis involve water.  This can exacerbate the problem and prolong the healing time.  Since it's been going on for so long I think the best thing to do is consult a doctor who will be able to make the proper recommendations.
It is definitely treatable though and usually involves a regimen of ointments/gloves and sometimes anti-fungal or antibiotic agents as well.  If you can't see a doctor for whatever reason, try using straight up vaseline overnight with gloves on for several nights.  This will help the symptoms but my guess is there may be an instigating factor that needs to be addressed to "cure" the problem.  I hope this helps.

Q&A: What can I do to help with horrible dark circles under my eyes?

Dear Joe..................thanks so very much for submitting your question regarding dark circles under the eyes. This can be a very challenging issue as dark circles may represent different things in different individuals..........for example, sometimes it is simply a shadow effect from fat pockets in the lower eyelids, whereas other times it may be true pigmentation.
The first recommendation is to see an eyelid surgery specialist who can assess your specific situation. Ultimately, whatever recommendation, if any, may only be of partial help as it has been my experience in the last 25 years that this type of issue is a difficult one to fully resolve.
Thank you again...............good luck!

Q&A: Something bit me on my left arm, swollen and painful, what should I do?

Thank you for your question.
Where were you when you were bitten? How large is the area where the swelling occurred? It is red? Have you had other symptoms such as fever or feeling unwell? Does it itch?
From the information provided, it is hard to discern the problem. You might try benadryl to reduce the inflammation.
Monitor it if you have no other symptoms. If it changes and becomes more painful or swollen, or if you develop other symptoms, see your primary care provider or visit an urgent care center.

Q&A: Could I have shingles if I have sores on my arms, stomach and thighs that leave scars when they heal?

Sorry, Nancy, this doesn't sound like any simple, obvious diagnosis or solution. Did you see a dermatologist that said they never saw anything like this? I would advise seeing a dermatologist and getting a biopsy to help to make a diagnosis. If the first doctor you saw was a dermatologist, see a different one who is willing to try to find out what it is. Shingles usually comes in one line and doesn't cross over body parts (eg one arm, one side of the abdomen, one leg). Also, it is only rarely chronic and unless your immune system is severely compromised, it would be very unlikely to keep making new lesions over more than a couple of weeks. If your doctor cannot recommend a dermatologist in your area, find one by logging on to and go to their find a dermatologist section. Good luck!

Q&A: What can I do about a rash that extends from my nipples across my breast and secretes a clear discharge?

I am not sure what you have but I would get it evaluated a soon as possible. Breast rashes on the nipple area can be serious, even a sign of breast cancer. I am sorry I am not familiar with the health care facilities in your area. See if there is a Washington State Health Care advisor or hotline. Many states have assistance programs for health care. Also call your church or a nearby church as clergy often have ways of advising people how to obtain free or reduced health care. Good luck!

Q&A: Should I be concerned and seek immediate treatment for a rash of very small bright read spots below my rib cage and upper legs?

Hmmm, obviously you have been looking in some medical textbooks to come up with the term petechiae? What we worry about most with these, which describe small bright red macules (not palpable or feelable or raised spots) which do not blanch (don't turn white when you press on them) are a lack of blood platelets, which are tiny components in blood that aid in clotting. These seal up "holes" in blood vessels so that a decrease in them could cause some of the blood cells to "squirt" out causing small blood spots. I wouldn't get overly alarmed, and it may be due to a valsalva maneuver (straining down while holding your breathe)- do not do this while you - you need to exhale or inhale when you tighten your muscles. I think routine bloodwork in January and mentioning it to your doctor at that time is sufficient. If you were to notice any other unexplained systems, then a visit would be in order.

Q&A: My nose has been peeling constantly for months now, no matter how much i put moisturizer on it, if it continues to peel... should i see my doctor or what might it be?

I think you should see a dermatologist. Skin peeling for months is unlikely to be just dry skin. It is possible that you have sun damage there that needs to be treated and the skin isn't normal enough to repair itself, so at a minimum I would have it evaluated.

Q&A: I have these small blisters on my fingers that itch and ooze a clear liquid and then dry up and become scaly. Where does it come from, how do you get it and is it curable?

Dear Denette, Although I can't make a diagnosis for sure by your description, it sounds like you have dyshidrotic eczema. It used to be believed that this was due to abnormal sweating and that the blisters were due to retained sweat but now we know that this isn't the case. However, we don't know what causes it. It can be made worse by everything that can make regular ecema worse such as harsh chemicals, too much washing/drying of the hands, sweat, etc. It is usually treated with potent topical steroids (For a description of these see my website at, click on skintopics and go to the section on psoriasis, topical treatments). In the past 6 months a new ointment called Tacrolimus (brand name Protopic) has become available which has helped many people with this condition. To say it is uncurable is a little harsh, but it does tend to be chronic which means it waxes and wanes over time. I am not aware of research being done on this topic, although that does not mean there isn't any.

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