What To Do If You're Allergic To The Sun...

Warm weather and sunshine have finally arrived in Toronto, and this time of year I am once again seeing patients with a common and frustrating rash...one that is caused by exposure to the sun.  If you have enjoyed one or two warm spring days outdoors, only to find that hours later you have developed an intensely itchy, uncomfortable red rash, you may have a sun allergy known as polymorphous light eruption (PMLE).  

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Are Self-Tanning Creams Safe?

Self-tanning creams are considered to be much safer than sun exposure. They contain an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA (no relationship to the DHA found in fish oils).  DHA is a sugar molecule that reacts with proteins in the very top layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) to bronze the skin. This bronzing effect is temporary and usually wears off in 7-10 days as the skin naturally sloughs off.

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Does Hydrocortisone Cause Skin Thinning?

Hydrocortisone is a class 7 steroid; the weakest group of topical steroids available. It would be very unlikely to cause skin thinning when used properly. Steroids are hormones that decrease inflammation in many ways, including by acting on the body’s immune cells. Steroids in ointments or creams have been safely used in the treatment of skin diseases since the 1950s.

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Fungal infections of the nails: Do over-the-counter products work?

Fungal infections of the nails (onychomycosis) typically do not get better with over-the-counter products. These products are generally effective in only a small percentage of people who use them.

The first step in approaching abnormal toenails is determining the cause of the problem.  Only about half of the time are toenail abnormalities a result of a nail fungal infection. 

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