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The male-staffed center is an offshoot of K Street’s Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. By Melissa Romero
W for Men is an offshoot of Dr. Tina Alster's Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. Monday marks the opening of the world's first dermatology clinic devoted to men's treatments. Photograph courtesy of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery.

First a women-focused steakhouse in DC, and now a dermatology center just for men. 

Monday marks of the opening of W Men, the world’s first clinical practice dedicated to men’s dermatology and advanced cosmetic treatments. The practice joins Dr. Tina Alster’s Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery on K Street and will be led by Dr. Terrence Keaney.

“What we’re doing is giving men a comfortable atmosphere in which to undergo treatments,” says Alster, the founding director of the institute. “The main thing is to make it simple and private, but also innovative and state of the art.”

The idea to open the male-friendly practice began a year ago, while Keaney was training with Alster. “He noted the fact that there weren’t that many male patients,” she says, adding that on average about 15 percent of her own patients are men. “In some ways, when men come in, they’re happy with the services, but it’s like walking into the gauntlet. All of our doctors and nurses are female. Men just know this is more of a female atmosphere.”

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Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 02/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Researchers have discovered a virus that attacks the formation of zits. By Melissa Romero
Researchers have discovered a virus on our skin that attacks acne-forming bacteria. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Pubescent teens, rejoice. Soon you may never again have to worry about that pesky zit oh-so-conveniently emerging right before homecoming.

You can thank researchers at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh, who may have discovered the newest weapon against acne: a virus that’s already found on our skin whose sole job is to kill the formation of pimples. Don’t worry—the viruses, called P. acnes phages, are harmless to us, but can be lethal to propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that lives in our pores and causes those pesky outbreaks.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 09/26/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum explains what goes on during a skin exam and the warning signs that may put you at risk for skin cancer. By Melissa Romero
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum of Melanoma Research Alliance says you should get a skin exam at least once a year. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Regardless of whether we follow it, the rule of thumb is that you should get a checkup from your primary doctor once every year. But there’s one equally important annual appointment that often gets tossed to the side: an exam with a dermatologist.

Every hour, one person in the United States dies from melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer and has one of the fastest growing incidence rates in the world. With statistics as scary as those, it’s a wonder more people don’t get their skin checked regularly.

Dr. Marnie Nussbaum of the DC-based Melanoma Research Alliance says that while any time of year is a good time to get a skin exam, she often sees a rise in cases after summer—thanks to those glowing, but dangerous, tans and painful sunburns. Read on for warning signs to look out for and what to expect at your next skin exam.

Does everyone need to see a dermatologist annually?

Absolutely everyone should see a dermatologist at least once a year—unless they notice anything new or any change in size, shape, or bleeding. Also, if they have a history of skin cancer, [their visits] may be more frequent.

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Posted at 10:40 AM/ET, 09/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Three local dermatologists give advice for preventing and minimizing the appearance of scars from acne, scabs, surgery, and stretch marks. By Erin Keane Scott
Have a nasty scar that you can't get rid of? Sometimes a chemical peel can minimize the appearance of scars by promoting collagen production. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We’ve all got one—that spot on your knee from the time you fell out of a tree when you were ten, or the stripe on your finger earned while making Thanksgiving dinner. But while scars can tell a story, there are some you’d probably rather not have around, such as stretch marks, acne, and surgical scars.

So why do we have them, and why do they have to be so ugly? “A scar is the product of the natural healing process that occurs as a response to any trauma or injury to the skin,” says Dr. Agnes Chang of Integrated Dermatology of K Street.

When the collagen in the upper layers of the skin is disrupted, cells called macrophages come in and remove the trash and debris, and then other cells called fibroblasts swoop in to replace the damaged collagen, creating the scar.

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Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 09/12/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Whether your complexion is dry or oily, it’s important to look for the right ingredients in your cleanser and moisturizer. By Maya Rhodan
The type of ingredients to look for in skincare products depends on your type of skin. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Most skin-care routines are pretty standard: Wash your face twice a day and moisturize. But is the effort you put in to keep your skin at its healthiest the most beneficial for your skin type?

Everyone’s skin is different, so it’s important to find products that are formulated for your specific complexion. Using the wrong products can do more harm than good, increasing chances of developing pesky skin issues such as dryness and acne. We reached out to dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi of Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery for recommendations of the best cleansing products and ingredients for various types of skin.

On your next trip to the drugstore, especially now that the seasons are gearing up for a change, keep these tips in mind before you make a purchase.


Having oily skin means your body produces more oils than others, causing you to look just a tad too shiny. Those with oily skin should look for a cleanser that contains glycolic acid. “Glycolic acid is really effective at breaking down oil and rinsing it away,” says Tanzi. “It exfoliates, cuts through grease, and keeps pores clean.” She recommends a gel cleanser as opposed to a creamy or moisturizing formula, which will increase the amount of oils on your face.
Try: Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3 Percent Cleanser, available at Sephora.

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Posted at 01:10 PM/ET, 08/07/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Researchers find an association between chemicals found in cosmetics and diabetes. By Melissa Romero
Certain chemicals in common cosmetics are associated with an increased risk of diabetes in women. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user duh.denise.

Beauty really does come at a price, according to new research that’s found an association between personal care products and diabetes.

A team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have found that certain chemicals found in moisturizers, nail polish, soap, hairspray, and perfume may increase one’s chances of developing diabetes. The team analyzed health and nutrition data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that involved 2,350 women ages 20 to 80 to reach the results.

Phthalate metabolites, which act as a vinyl softener in plastics, are commonly used in beauty products, according to the American Chemistry Council. The researchers in this study tested phthalate concentration in the women’s urine.

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Posted at 04:40 PM/ET, 07/16/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plastic surgeon Dr. Paul G. Ruff shares his favorite do-it-yourself skin treatments. By Stephanie Early Green
For tired, dull skin, Dr. Paul G. Ruff of Ruff Plastic Surgery & RPS MedSpa says to combine salt, sugar, olive oil, and some cinnamon to create a cheap, at-home exfoliating scrub. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

In our current economy, it can be hard to make room in your budget for pricey facial treatments at the spa. So why not reach into your cupboard or garden and whip up your own beauty boosting facial remedies? We asked Dr. Paul G. Ruff of Ruff Plastic Surgery & RPS MedSpa to share a few of his favorite DIY skin treatments. 

Problem: tired, dull skin
Solution: exfoliation scrubs

If the summer sun is making your skin feel tired, try making a scrub to slough off the rough layers and reveal more youthful skin beneath. The basic ingredients that go into any at-home scrub, says Ruff, are sugar and sea salt. “The more granular the texture of the salt and/or sugar, the more aggressive the exfoliation,” he cautions, so be careful not to create a scrub that’s too rough if you have sensitive skin.

How to make it: Start with two tablespoons of salt and one tablespoon of sugar. Combine with a few drops of olive or coconut oil or honey to create a paste. You can also add essential oils to create a certain aroma or therapeutic benefit. To make your scrub extra hydrating, try adding plain yogurt or whole (not instant) oatmeal. For a sweet and spicy antioxidant boost, add one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon of dark cocoa and/or cinnamon. Apply the scrub in a gentle, circular motion for five to ten minutes, depending on the sensitivity of your skin and the coarseness of the scrub. Ruff recommends rinsing with warm water and following with a few drops of rosemary oil for “a truly luxurious experience.”

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 06/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Dermatologist Dr. Tina Alster says facials are great for relaxation, but can sometimes do more harm than good. By Melissa Romero
Are facials safe for everyone? It depends on your skin type and the esthetician's technique. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user InterContinental Hong Kong.

Facials often conjure thoughts of a relaxing day at the spa and skin as soft as a baby's behind. But facials can have their downsides, says Dr. Tina Alster of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. From estheticians who tend to poke and prod to the use of bacteria-creating steamers, the procedures can often do more harm than good to our skin. We asked Alster to give us the 411 on the treatment and tell us when it's time to skip a trip to the spa and head to a dermatologist.

What is the primary reason for getting a facial?

There tend to be two primary reasons. One is more of a general cleaning, relaxing, hydrating experience where people just like to pamper themselves. That might mean getting a facial seasonally to clean everything out, or maybe it's before a big event and you want to look hydrated and rested. The other aspect involves people who are starting to experience problems with their skin and aren't already plugged in with a dermatologist.

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Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 05/15/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Forget Proactiv—the solution to your skin woes may have been sitting in your spice rack all along. By Melissa Romero
In a new study, a mixture of thyme steeped in alcohol proved more effective in treating acne than standard creams or face washes. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user izik.

Is it time for thyme to be stocked in the skin-care aisle of CVS?

Possibly, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's spring conference in Dublin last week. Researchers tested the effect of thyme against acne-causing bacteria and found that the herb was a more effective treatment than standard anti-acne creams or face washes.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 04/18/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()