What's the scoop on diet and acne?

One of the most frequent questions I get in my practice as a dermatologist from my patients is about whether or not what someone eats is causing their acne.  Interestingly, the dermatologic community's thoughts on this issue have gone back and forth over the past few decades.  Today, there appears to be increasing scientific evidence that diet may play a role in exacerbating acne.

It was once thought that, because those with acne often have oily skin, eating oily, greasy foods might make acne worse.  This gave rise to the commonly-held belief that eating chocolate or pizza will cause acne to flare.  Flawed studies conducted decades ago seemed to support this, until better studies done more recently put this to rest; eating fat does not cause acne.

Acne is caused by genetic and hormonal factors. Usually, one’s diet does not cause acne, but may contribute to its severity. This is still somewhat controversial, and more research needs to be done to elucidate exactly which dietary factors make acne worse and how modifying one’s diet can be helpful.

Read More

Are All Melanomas Dangerous?

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment-producing cells of the body, called melanocytes.  It is a relatively common malignancy; 1/54 Canadian men and 1/74 women are expected to develop melanoma in their lifetimes.  So it is unfortunately all too often that I find myself in the position of telling a patient of mine that they have been diagnosed with melanoma.  Understandably, most people are shocked and terribly upset by this news.  They've read that melanomas are the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and indeed they are.  What I think is not as well represented in the media is that the vast majority of melanomas are not fatal.  In fact, most carry an excellent prognosis.

Read More

Myths & facts about tanning beds

Despite overwhelming evidence of their carcinogenicity, tanning beds remain popular, particularly among young people.  The American Academy of Dermatology, the Canadian Dermatology Association, and skin cancer advocacy groups such as the Skin Cancer Foundation have long been advocating for restrictions on tanning beds.  In Canada, most provinces have introduced legislation over the past few years banning the use of tanning beds in minors.  Unfortunately, we have a long way to go in terms of educating the public about the dangers of indoor tanning.

Read More

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).  

Read More