Photo Credit: thedermblog.com
Jeffrey Benabio, MD, is helping to elevate dermatology’s profile, making it one of the most connected and digitally savvy specialties out there. A practicing dermatologist, Benabio also serves as the Physician Director of Innovation and Transformation at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. As such, he spends a good deal of time working to promote telehealth initiatives, social networking for doctors, and digital healthcare delivery. In the future, individuals who are able to take a selfie of a mole and email it to their doctor for real-time analysis will owe a big thank you to Benabio, who is also the voice behind The Digital Doctor, a popular blog that educates patients about health and wellness.
Benabio connected with Beauty in the Bag over email (after all, what else would you expect form the Digital Doctor?) to discuss his skin care philosophies as well as how telemedicine will change the way dermatologists see patients just like you in the not-too-distant future.
What are the three worst things we do to our skin?
We don’t adequately protect it from the sun’s damaging rays. Although people are generally better about applying sunscreen today than they were years ago, we still have lots of room for improvement. We know that sun exposure and sunburns, in particular, can lead to both premature skin aging (wrinkles) and skin cancer and that regular use of sunscreen is related to a reduced risk for skin aging and skin cancer. To keep your skin healthy, you must protect it. And that means for most people applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 daily. It also means being sun smart by covering up with clothing, hats and sunglasses and seeking shade when outdoors.
We also don’t moisturize enough. With winter approaching, it’s particularly important to get in the habit of using moisturizing body washes and moisturizing lotions. When temperatures drop, there is less humidity in the air, which causes any moisture on exposed skin to quickly evaporate. Whipping winds and blasting heaters exacerbate your already parched skin, leading to uncomfortable, dry, chapped, cracked skin. First, stop using bar soap which strips oils off of your skin, leading to dry skin. Instead, use a moisturizing body wash such as Dove Men +Care’s body washes that have micro moisture technology to lock in moisture and keep skin feeling and looking healthy. Also, try to apply moisturizer to hands as often as possible, especially after hand washing. Cover up with hats, scarves, and gloves when outdoors, and try eating more omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon and walnuts which can help keep your skin fight off dryness.
We pick, poke, prod, and pluck with abandon. Although tempting, it’s never a good idea to pop a pimple. Most people apply too much pressure which pushes the bacteria into the skin, worsening an already unsightly blemish. It’s not uncommon for the skin to become red, inflamed, and tender. Picking and prodding also leads to scarring and dark marks that can take months or years to fade.
What is your go-to product line?
I always recommend Dove products to all my patients – the brand is known and trusted in dermatology communities for cleansing, moisturizing, and care. For the guys, I tell them to use Dove Men+Care products, which are specifically formulated for men’s skin across personal wash, deodorants, face care and hair care. For example, in the summer I suggest men use the Dove Men+Care Hydrate+ Face Lotion. It not only offers advanced protection for dry skin, but it also contains a broad spectrum SPF 15. It’s fast absorbing, non-greasy, and has a light, fresh scent, unlike other products with high levels of perfume which can irritate skin. Check out dovemencare.com for more information.
If there was one thing you would recommend to stave off wrinkling and premature aging, what would it be, and why?
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Most people highly underestimate the importance of quality sleep. We know that lack of sleep is related to many health issues and is critically important for your skin’s health. Sleep is a strong anti-inflammatory, so it can help with inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. It also helps your skin look less dry, wrinkly, and puffy. That’s why when you’re tired, your face shows it: Your eyes are puffier than usual, and those fine lines don’t look so fine anymore. Chronic sleep deprivation can leave your skin looking and feeling dry, dull, and wrinkly. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a host of medical problems including weight gain, memory problems, and headaches to name a few. Sleep isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
Tell us how you see telemedicine affecting the way dermatologists treat patients.
It will be an additional way that patients can “see” their doctor for help. It is becoming increasingly common for patients to send photos by email to their dermatologist; it’s an easy and convenient way for patients to get answers to their skin questions. Teledermatology is also used between primary care physicians and dermatologists. In that instance, the primary care physician can send a photo to a dermatologist when they have a question about a rash or a growth. Getting a response right away from a dermatologist helps make primary care physicians even better at taking care of their patients. With the use of technology, there will be fewer barriers between physicians and patients.
Is your passion technology, skin care or both?
Both. I’m fortunate to practice medicine at a time when more people than ever have health insurance, when technology is better than ever at helping us care for people, and when patients are more informed than ever before about their health and healthcare. I’m always looking at technology as a means to make us better physicians and to enhance the relationship that doctors have with patients.
What do you predict will be the next big thing in dermatology?
Apps that accurately diagnosis skin cancer and other skin conditions, including rashes. We’re close to doing so today, and this will transform dermatology.
All smiles are not created equal, but a bright, white grin can and should be high on everyone’s list of must-haves. It takes years off your looks and leaves a great lasting impression to everyone you meet.First and foremost, the health of your mouth should be top priority.
TOP TIPS FOR A HEALTHY MOUTH
- Visit your dentist regularly. For most people, checkups and cleanings are recommended twice a year so dental issues can be caught early when treatment is still manageable.
- Use a soft toothbrush. Dentists usually recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes because they effectively clean teeth without aggravating sensitive teeth or gums.
- Floss daily. Recent studies find that the bacteria commonly found on the teeth and gums has been shown to be in the bloodstream of patients with strokes, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Scrape your tongue often. It will improve your breath and help prevent periodontal problems like plaque build-up, cavities, and gum issues.
“White, straight, and longer upper teeth are more youthful looking,” says NYC-based top cosmetic dentist, Dr. Marc Lowenberg of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor. Though the color of your teeth don’t affect their health, stained or yellowed teeth can look unsightly and make you appear older than you are. To keep them from darkening, avoid intensely colored staining foods and drinks. Popular offenders are coffee, tea, red wine, soda, blueberries, and tobacco.
“It’s an amazing feeling to make people look better and younger simply by changing their smile,” says Dr. Lowenberg. His philosophy is definitely not a one-size-fits-all practice. “What looks good in one person’s mouth will not look good in someone else’s mouth. It’s essential to create a smile that’s just right for each individual.”
With Dr. Lowenberg’s expert tips you’ll be proud to grin and bare it:
- At-Home Whitening: Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips are a great option for at-home whitening on a budget. The bleach within the strips remains in contact with the tooth enamel long enough to deliver noticeable results. Whitening strips combined with daily use of a whitening toothpaste are an affordable alternative to maintaining a bright smile.
- In-Office Whitening: Power bleaching combined with custom take home trays made by your dentist is the most effective way to bleach your teeth. We use Zoom which requires three 15-minute cycles with another added if necessary. The effectiveness of a bleaching agent is based on two factors. 1) The percentage of hydrogen peroxide (the active bleaching agent) and 2) how well the bleaching agent remains isolated on the teeth. The reason why in-office whitening is the most effective is because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is very high, and the bleach remains isolated on the teeth very well for an ample amount of time. The bleaching trays are meant to boost the in-office treatment as well as maintain the effectiveness.
- Porcelain Veneers: Veneers can re-create perfect, natural-looking teeth in just two visits (spaced a week apart), and cannot only straighten the teeth but can also change the color and shape of the teeth. At the first visit, the tooth enamel is slightly roughened to prepare it for the veneers. At the second visit, the temporaries are removed and the customized porcelain veneers are bonded or glued onto the teeth, completing the transformation of your smile.
- Invisalign: Most adults who want to correct their crowded teeth aren’t wearing braces, making Invisalign very popular among adults. Invisalign is basically clear retainers (that are changed every two weeks) that slowly move the teeth into the correct position.
Photo Credit: laurenharris
Walk the streets of Manhattan at any time of the day or night and you are bound to see a handful of men and women clutching a colorful yoga mat that’s rolled neatly and tightly under their arms as they dash through town in search of a fix. For these devotees, a day without yoga is not an option. These yogis are oh-so-dedicated and will travel near and far to strike the perfect asana whether downward-facing dog, warrior pose or a handstand with the City’s top yoga gurus.
Lauren Harris is one of most sought out members of this elite group of yogis. Known as the “best handstand teacher ever,” Harris is a former attorney who offers classes throughout Manhattan at various A-list studios, as well as private lessons. Harris’s encouraging hands-on approach is designed to make students fall in love with the practice of yoga.
She sat down with Beauty in the Bag to discuss her love of all things yoga, why and how she choose this path, and how to find the perfect yoga style.
How did you become interested in yoga?
I went to a yoga class with a girlfriend while in Austin, Texas for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. The class was great and I was inspired by what the other students were able to do with their bodies. I also found it physically challenging and interesting so as soon as I returned home from the trip I went out in search of more yoga classes. I’ve been practicing regularly ever since!
Can anyone practice yoga?
Yes. The beauty of the practice is that there really is yoga for everyone, and everyone who desires can practice yoga. There are many different styles of yoga, so I would encourage new students to keep an open mind until they find the class that is right for them. There are also classes that cater to students with specific needs, i.e. prenatal yoga and yoga for seniors. For students working with injuries or with physical limitations, I would recommend calling the studio ahead of time to have the studio recommend the appropriate teacher and/or class.
What are the main body benefits of this practice?
There are so many! I think one of the most important is keeping the spine long, mobile and healthy. Many students benefit from the physical stretching of tight muscles, which can help prevent injury. Yoga can be very strengthening as well. Body awareness and confidence is also a big plus.
How does yoga help the mind?
A lot of us deal with a lot of “chatter” in our heads. I have found that while I’m practicing I’m able to “get out of my head” – or quiet my mind. It can be unbelievably stress-reducing in that way! Many yogis find the practice to be incredibly relaxing, especially when combined with meditation.
Tell us about your other healthy habits.
I live in Manhattan and as much as possible I walk wherever I go. I eat a healthy, mostly vegan diet and drink lots of water. I have two children so it can be a challenge – but I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love yoga and I love sharing the practice with others. I am so grateful that students enjoy my classes and trust me to teach them. I get giddy with excitement when a student hits a new pose for the first time in my class. And every once in a while, a student will approach me after class and tell me how much they needed my class(es), how its helped them get through hard times and/or how much better they feel after having practiced with me. That is so incredibly rewarding – I love my job!