Blue lagoon

The Benefits of the Blue Lagoon

Blue lagoon

If you haven’t been to Iceland yet, chances are you know at least a dozen people who have taken the short flight to Reykjavik and spent a few days among the volcanoes, glaciers and geysers.

Last year more than 2 million tourists went to the Island of Fire and Ice with many of them taking a mineral bath in the iconic Blue Lagoon. I hate to be a lemming, but I wanted to see what drove so many to this sparsely populated island and learn first-hand about the dermatologic potential of Iceland’s most famous destination.

I was surprised to discover that the Blue Lagoon is not one of Mother Nature’s best works, but a beautiful man-made spa utilizing naturally occurring geothermal energy in the form of super heated water extracted from a mile below the earth’s surface. It is an ingenious re-use of the excess water from an adjacent power plant. The water is a mix of fresh and seawater and, according to the spa website, the unique algae plants and high concentration of silica directly benefit the skin. They claim the anti-bacterial effects of silica improve psoriasis and eczema and that the mineral water prevents premature aging.

I had to try it, so we booked a day at the Blue Lagoon Retreat, touted as a “transformative journey into volcanic earth.” It’s definitely a transformative setting, with canals and pools of beautiful blue-white water snaking through volcanic cliffs, overlooking mountains and a starkly spectacular landscape. The experience is soothing and relaxing. Once I was able to pull myself out of the warm water I performed the signature “ritual” using scrubs of lava sand and salt, a cleansing silica mask and moisturizing algae oil. It was a sublime end to a memorable day.

Effects of Blue Lagoon Water

According to Icelandic dermatologist Jenna Huld Eysteinsdottir, research on the effects of the Blue Lagoon’s algae and silica on skin cells showed an increase in the genes that prevent skin aging. These were “in vitro” laboratory studies, however, and I am not aware of any that looked at actual patients. Additionally, there is a great deal of evidence that silica, the star ingredient in Blue Lagoon’s skin care line, is vital for healthy joints, skin, nails, teeth and bones. While it is less clear that applying large amounts of silica on the skin will result in reversal of aging, this pure white mineral is very effective in the absorption of oil and can have a positive role in masks for those with acne, eczema and psoriasis. It’s found in many cosmetic products because it improves the appearance of lines and pores, but as far as I know, only temporarily.

Seeking more “in vivo” evidence of the Blue Lagoon’s claims, I looked around at the Icelanders’ skin. With a population of a little more than 300,000 in a sea of tourists, spotting a native Icelander is almost as challenging as identifying one of the elves that are central to the Icelandic sagas and identity. There is no question though that most natives have exceptionally healthy skin – unlined and evenly pigmented. Lack of sunlight may play a role, however, as they live at a latitude with only 5 hours of daylight in winter.

Is the Blue Lagoon Worth it?

So, what’s the upshot? After a few hours of soaking and scrubbing in the ethereal waters of the Blue Lagoon I felt absolutely fantastic and renewed.  From a dermatologist’s perspective there is not yet enough science to support its skin anti-aging claims, but I would still recommend the experience, if only for the restorative powers to one’s psyche. There will be undoubtedly more data on the horizon, and I will be on the lookout. In the meantime, if you have the chance, check the Blue Lagoon out for yourself.

 

Takk Fyrir!

 

Skincare Tips for Diabetes Patients

5 Skin Tips for People with Diabetes

According to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report there are 30.3 million people with diabetes (9.4% of the US population) including 23.1 million people who are diagnosed and 7.2 million people (23.8%) undiagnosed.

Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to skin infections, especially on the feet and on the skin of the ear. More than 75% of patients with diabetes will have skin lesions. The most common is xerosis or dryness. Dry skin affects 50% of those with type 1 diabetes. Keratosis pilaris, or rough spots on the sides of arms affect about 10% of patients. Itching of the skin, especially on the torso, is very common.

Also occurring are smooth yellow plaques on the front of the shins called Necrobiosis lipoidica. These lesions are usually painless and are 3 times as likely to occur in women than in men. They can be treated with topical creams as well as oral medications that improve circulation, such as low-dose aspirin, pentoxifylline, dipyridamole and nicotimamide.

70% of diabetic men over 60 will develop diabetic dermopathy or shin spots. Over time these become dark depressions in the skin.

Skincare Tips for Diabetes Patients

So how does one prevent or treat these irritations caused by diabetes? Besides keeping your diabetes under control, here are some tips you can follow for skin care.

  1. Moisturize daily with an unscented emollient such as Cerave, Cetaphil or Uradin 10 lotion. Apply when skin is still damp- within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath or shower.
  2. Use a moisturizing, fragrance-free cleanser such as Dove soap. Oatmeal baths can also help reduce itching.
  3. Thoroughly dry skin folds such as underneath the breasts or between toes. Trapped moisture is a breeding ground for yeast and fungal infections.
  4. Check your feet daily for sores or cuts and treat with a topical antibiotic and bandage. Seek medical attention for any sores that have not healed or are red, swollen, hot or draining pus.
  5. Don’t cut cuticles around your nails as this can lead to infection.

Note that not all-natural health and beauty products are 100% natural. Many include fragrance and other ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. Be sure to read the labels.

If you are concerned about your skin or whether you have diabetes, consult a physician.

Contact us with questions and to book your appointment.

Why Rosy Cheeks are Not Always a Good Thing

Rosy cheeks are seen as a sign of a good thing when considering a beautiful blush, or a good workout.

Permanent redness, however, is evidence a of chronic skin disorder called rosacea.  

Rosacea is very common and yet many people don’t know they have it.  Worst of all it can spread if left untreated — from the nose and cheeks to the ears, eyes, forehead and chin — even to the shoulders and back. It can be disfiguring when accompanied by pimples and thickened skin.

Rosacea is divided by dermatologists into four Subtypes:

Subtype 1:  FACIAL REDNESS – persistent flushing and visible blood vessels.

Subtype 2:  BUMPS AND PIMPLES – often seen with facial redness.

Subtype 3:  SKIN THICKENING – usually around the nose.

Subtype 4:  EYE IRRITATION – watery or red eyes with swollen, irritated eyelids.

Researchers are still trying to discover what causes rosacea. While there is currently no cure we do know that by treating the dilated blood vessels associated with rosacea it can be effectively managed. Recent advances in technology make this possible.

Treatment

Laser therapy has the unique ability to selectively target and treat these dilated blood vessels without adversely affecting the surrounding tissue. The most effective laser available for rosacea is VBeam Perfecta. A course of three or four treatments, each a month apart, can usually achieve very effective results with all subtypes. Even the scarring from acne rosacea can be removed.

During VBeam Perfecta treatment, the mild discomfort associated with all laser procedures, similar to a snapping rubber band on the skin, is countered by a cooling stream of air directed at the area. This cooling also helps to prevent temporary bruising, an unwanted side effect of earlier laser technology. Light pink patches may appear that last for approximately a day. VBeam Perfecta is so safe and effective that it has been fully approved by the FDA for the treatment of infants.

The aesthetic improvements from laser treatments can be dramatic.

Rosacea Subtype 1 – Facial Redness

A course of three or four treatments scheduled a month apart can usually achieve very effective results with all subtypes. Even the scarring from acne rosacea can be removed.

 

With the availability of VBeam Perfecta there is no longer a need to suffer the psychological side effects, such as depression and low self-esteem, which affect many victims of Rosacea. This advanced laser can also greatly improve many other unsightly conditions including angiomas, port wine stains, stretch marks, stubborn warts, bruises and sun damage on the neck and chest.

Contact us with questions or to schedule your appointment.

Call us at 301-652-8081.