X's Q & A

Q&A: What can I do without insurance for my monthly bout with acne, a sabaceous cyst, and pimples inside my ears?

Ask your family doctor to prescribe tetracycline,500 mg twice per day, an oral antibiotic which is very inexpensive. Then get a 10% benzoyl peroxide gel and use it once per day (you can buy this is drugstores or get ClearSkin 10% Gel at This is the least expensive method I know of. You could also browse thru the acne medications available at (my web site) at There is the "Complete Anti-Acne Kit" which could help quite a bit, yet the severity of what you describe may make an oral antibiotic necessary to get a really good response.

Q&A: Could I be getting acne breakouts after taking Septra DS for ten mouths because of tolerance or because I started taking Flax oil?

It could be either. I don't know enough about flax seed oil. ALthough I am not a closed-minded doctor, I am skeptical of remedies such as flax seed oil for anything because even if it helps one thing, it could harm another and remains quite untested. I would recommend going off of the flax seed oil and giving it 6 weeks. Bacterial resistance does sometimes occur in treatment of acne. If it doesn't improve after discontinuing the oil, call your doctor and discuss the fact that the medication is not working as well as it used to.

Q&A: What can I consider beyond electrolysis and using tweezers to remove light facial hair that keeps coming back?

By light do you mean light colored or light in density? Light colored hair does poorly with lasers, not that it is impossible but it isn't ideal. If the hair is darker than your skin tone than it will be possible. The thinner and lighter colored the hairs, the more difficult a good result from laser will be. Laser hair removal when performed properly results in minimal redness of a few hours, if that. You should be able to apply makeup immediately after. I would recommend you also look into Vaniqa, a new prescription cream which retards hair growth.

Q&A: What is the best way to get rid of acne scars and now hair on my face?

3 of the best choices for the acne scars would be laser resurfacing with either a carbon dioxide or an erbium yag laser, surgically removing the scars and then having a more superficial laser such as photorejuvenation, mild peels or microdermabrasion, or having treatments with the Cool Touch Laser. You need to find a laser specialist and aesthetic dermatologist. I would go to the American Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine website and they have listing of their members in all geographic locations. Your hair, if dark, would best be removed by a laser as well (unfortunately a different one than we use for scars). The most expensive option is laser resuracing which would probably run more than $2500 for a full face. Most of these solutions for scarring will probably run into the $1000 range. But it would be better to consult with an experienced aesthetic dermatologist and laser surgeon to determine what it best for you. Good luck!

Q&A: Do I have Male Pattern Baldness or something else if I am losing my hair but my hair line is not receding?

Most experts agree that "strawberry marks" otherwise known as hemangiomas, resolve spontaneously by ages 5-7. However, they can also grow considerably before they start to regress (go away). In your son's case, the proximity to the eye is the most worrisome aspect, because if it grew large enough, it could obstruct his vision. If it were to start growing, I would seek out a pediatric dermatologist. If it doesn't grow and you just wait, it will go away. Often you can tell if they are starting to go away because portions of the area turns a light greyish color. Laser treatments have been shown to hasten their reabsorption. Be sure if you want to look into this possiblity that you deal only with someone who is experienced with hemangiomas in the pediatric age group.

Q&A: Is hair transplant a good option for a person losing hair?

I am not a big fan of hair transplants, although there are many people who are happy with them. As a female you would want to seek out somebody who could do very small or single hair transplants. The main disadvantage of transplants is that they are costly and you have to keep having more, becuase you will keep losing more hair. If you have some and then you stop, your scalp will look very strange as it won't be a natural hair pattern of loss. So once you do it, you can't go back and you will need continual transplants. If your hair is that thin, you could consider a hairpiece. They have some human hair ones that are very real looking. Also, I would recommend seeing a dermatologist to determine the cause of the hair loss. It may be partially reversible if due to a medical condition.

Q&A: How do I treat a dry, flaky, red rash around my mouth and corners of my nose?

You have what sounds like perioral dermatitis, a condition around the mouth that is like a cross between a rash and acne. It usually needs a topical or oral antibiotic to improve, although it is not contagious and we don't really know what causes it. A short (like 3-4 week) course of oral Tetracycline usually works well.

Q&A: What do you recommend to lighten my dark African-American skin to deal with acne spots?

Stick with a hydroquinone containing product. There are numerous over the counter brands which contain 2% hydroquinone. Ask the pharmacist for suggestions of brand names and use it twice a day. You can buy a product called Lightening Gel which contains 2% hydroquinone as well as polyhydroxy acid at (click on Lightening under Skin Store). It can take weeks to months to achieve improvement so give it some time!

Q&A: What procedures will remove the discolored skin and hair on the chest and breast?

I would get laser hair removal if I were you. The only way this wouldn't work would be if the hair were very light or very fine. As long as the hair is darker than your skin one it will work. In addition, it should improve your pigmentation problems. The main drawback of laser treatments are that you need multiple treatments and they can get expensive. Make sure that you go to a reputable DOCTOR and not some salon to have this done.

Q&A: Should I continue topical treatments or consider laser hair removal to deal with chronic razor bumps from shaving?

I would go with laser treatment. It is the easiest and fastest. BUT make sure the folks you go to are very experienced with african american skin, or seek out someone with a 1064 laser, as these are less likely to cause problems. Nothing is forever, so you may need occasional maintenance treatments to keep it away, but it works wonderfully for what you have. Find a doctor who does laser at Costs vary widely, but I recommend you go to a physician with a good reputation, even if he/she is not the one actually doing the procedure. You may pay a little more for it, but you are much less likely to have problems than if you go to a laser hair removal salon that says they have a doctor but one is never there!

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