While skin conditions might seem to be superficial issues to some people, when you suffer from one, you realize they aren’t to be taken lightly. If there is a problem, it can stem from an internal issue. Unhealthy skin can be an indication you need to look deeper into the overall health of a person.
Having obvious issues, like eczema or redness, can erode your self-confidence and even your relationships with others. You can feel so down about your condition that you may inadvertently start shutting people out or failing to meet new people in the first place. But, in addition to that, it may signal that you need to make a change to improve your general well-being.
Contrary to what some people believe, you don’t necessarily have to live with skin conditions. There are many treatments available from dermatologists like Tim Ioannides. Ioannides has made it his mission to treat skin conditions to the best of his ability so people can spend less time focusing on their issues and more time creating the healthy lives they want.
Common Types of Skin Conditions
Ioannides has seen every kind of skin condition imaginable during his career as a dermatologist. But there are some common ones people seem to struggle with in particular.
“In dermatology, a lot of patients have psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis, and a variety of other inflammatory skin conditions,” he said.
Do you have a skin condition, but aren’t quite sure what to call it? Here is a quick rundown of some of the common culprits Ioannides sees and how you can identify them.
- Psoriasis: With psoriasis, your skin cells multiply at a faster than usual pace. That causes thick and bumpy patches of skins. These patches are generally red and have white scales on them. It can be mild or severe.
- Eczema: This is a broad name given to a group of skin conditions that result in itchy, red, and irritated skin. To make things more complicated, you can have more than one kind of eczema all at the same time. Some kinds of eczema are common, while others are quite rare.
- Atopic dermatitis: There is no ignoring this kind of skin inflammation – you’ll feel itchy, and your skin will be swollen, red, and even cracked. With this type, you may notice a clear fluid leaking from the inflammation. A type of eczema, atopic dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions in both children and adults.
- Rosacea: An auto-inflammatory skin condition that has periods of flare-ups, rosacea causes redness and pimples. It is most prominent on the cheeks, chin, lower part of the nose, and the forehead.
- Contact dermatitis: Another common form of eczema, this kind occurs when your skin touches a substance or allergen your body reacts to. You can end up with itchy, red skin. Most common on the hands, this type can also appear anywhere the offending substance touched. Some common substances that provoke this kind of reaction include bleach, foods, detergents, solvents, paints, soaps, fragrances, plants, and animal dander.
While it can help to narrow down what kind of skin condition you believe you have, you should see a qualified dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and to learn what steps you can take to help alleviate your condition.
While it isn’t always possible to cure a skin condition, dermatologists can help lessen the severity of many of them by giving you a proper diagnosis, providing any topical substances that might help with symptoms, adjusting your diet or supplement intake, and helping you discover what your triggers are so you can try to avoid them whenever possible.
One promising supplement that Ioannides has used to help many patients with skin conditions is adequate vitamin D supplementation.
Using Vitamin D Supplementation to Help Skin Conditions
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a crucial vitamin for your health. It can help your bones and teeth stay strong, and it supports your overall immune system health, as well as the health of your nervous system and brain.
We get some vitamin D from our food sources. The reason it is called the sunshine vitamin though is because your body produces its own vitamin D from cholesterol when sunlight hits your skin. It’s an amazing process, but sometimes people need some help because they don’t have enough vitamin D.
If our bodies can make our own vitamin D, how is it possible some people have deficient levels? There are several reasons for that, according to Ioannides.
- You don’t get enough vitamin D in your diet: Some people don’t eat enough of the foods that are high in vitamin D. Some vitamin D rich foods include salmon, tuna, trout, ham,
fortified milk, yogurt, fortified cereals, mushrooms, fortified orange juice, and
- You are overweight: Overweight people need more vitamin D, but they may not realize that.
- You don’t have year-round exposure to the sun: Those living closest to the equator have the most vitamin D exposure. In the U.S. in the winter months, most states don’t have access to enough sunlight to help people make adequate amounts of vitamin D.
- You use sunscreen often: Sunscreen can be a double-edged sword at times. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, it’s heavily recommended. It can provide protection against skin cancers and premature aging caused by the sun. But it also blocks your opportunity to make vitamin D. To ensure you have the chance to get enough vitamin D, you should aim for a minimum of 10 to 20 minutes of sunshine a day if you’re light-skinned and up to 90 minutes if you’re dark-skinned.
- You’re older: Age can impact your ability to make vitamin D.
- You spend most of your time inside: Some people don’t like being outside. Other people would rather do indoor activities such as gaming, watching television, sewing, and surfing on the computer.
- You have a condition that affects digestion: If you have conditions like Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, or ongoing pancreatitis that affect how you absorb food, you won’t absorb vitamin D as well. That can lead to a deficiency.
So, we’ve established that vitamin D is crucial for your body and why some people may be deficient. But how can you tell if you’re deficient? Well, if you’re in a room with one or two other people, odds are one of you will be deficient. Some studies have shown that almost half of all adults in the U.S. have some level of deficiency. That figure is even higher for darker-skinned people.
It can be hard to calculate how much vitamin D you’re taking in unless you keep a food chart and log your time outside when the sun is high enough in the sky to give you the rays you need. For that reason, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with common deficiency signs. And you should keep in mind that deficiency isn’t well defined. Most major medical sources don’t agree on the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D.
Here are some of the common deficiency signs:
- Getting sick frequently: Colds and flu that strike often can be a telltale sign of deficiency. That’s because vitamin D can bolster your immune system. If you’re low on vitamin D, your body won’t be able to fight off those minor illnesses as well.
- Feeling tired a lot: This symptom can be caused by a lot of conditions, so if you experience this, it might not be linked to your vitamin D level. But if you notice it in conjunction with other symptoms, you may want to have your vitamin D blood level tested.
- Back pain: Low vitamin D levels can cause back pain, and sometimes that pain can be quite severe.
- Depression: Again, depression can be caused by many things. But it has been linked to low levels of vitamin D in studies.
- Slow–healing wounds: If you have an injury or wound that is taking a long time to heal, your vitamin D levels may be responsible.
- Hair loss: Although this isn’t a smoking gun all by itself, in conjunction with other symptoms, you might suspect a vitamin D deficiency if you notice hair loss developing.
Even those who don’t show a vitamin D deficiency may benefit from taking additional vitamin D. It isn’t a magic bullet for every person, but it’s a great supplement that many people don’t seem to get enough of so it’s important to be mindful of your levels.
Ioannides’ Recommendation Regarding Vitamin D
Ioannides has long been a champion of vitamin D when it comes to treating skin conditions because he has seen the remarkable difference it has made for his patients.
“First of all, I tell everyone to take vitamin D. I think it is very important,” he said.
He also recommends that people get 10 to 15 minutes of sun each day. That minimal amount of time in the sun won’t hurt their skin, and it can do wonders for the body and mind.
“I think that this not only helps the body produce vitamin D but has other positive benefits. The evidence for this is tenuous to some, but it has made a remarkable difference in my life,” Ioannides said.
For people with skin conditions, Ioannides recommends a sizable dose of vitamin D – more than what the RDA would be.
“I generally prescribe 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day for patients with this,” he said.
That dose has helped his patients get the results they are looking for. After two or three months, his patients who had intractable psoriasis or eczema often had a complete resolution of their symptoms. That was a life-changing experience for those patients who had been used to living with a skin condition that was a nuisance, uncomfortable, and sometimes damaging to their self-esteem.
It’s also a cheap treatment that’s readily available. Vitamin D supplements can be found in drugstores and supermarkets throughout the country so they are widely available even to those living in rural areas. A month’s supply costs just a few dollars, making it a more affordable alternative than many other options. Plus, vitamin D supplementation is regarded as being highly safe for patients.
More About Dr. Tim Ioannides
For more than 15 years, Ioannides has been practicing on the Treasure Coast, a region in Florida that sits on the state’s Atlantic coast. He founded Treasure Coast Dermatology, a practice that strives to be proactive rather than reactive when dealing with a person’s medical care. Prevention really sometimes is the best cure, and at Treasure Coast, they look at the patient as more than just another number.
They provide careful, individualized attention for each one. Such attention to detail is greatly appreciated by patients who sometimes feel as if a doctor doesn’t have the time or patience for their questions and concerns. Ioannides prides himself on his great relations with his clients.
The practice has come a long way since its early days, growing from a single location to a thriving practice that is comprised of five locations in the Martin, Port St. Lucie, and Indian River counties.
Ioannides is more interested in the medical side of dermatology rather than the cosmetic side of it. He would rather tackle a medical issue than cater to those looking to hold onto their youthful looks with Botox and other procedures.
He would rather spend his time and energy saving lives from removing and treating skin cancers or moles that may someday progress to skin cancer. He also loves to treat various skin ailments, like psoriasis, that can solve a problem for the patient and improve their quality of life.
Ioannides’ background includes a medical degree from University of Miami School of Medicine, an internship at the University of Florida School of Medicine Health Science Center, and a residency with the University of Miami School of Medicine in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
American Board of Dermatology certified, Ioannides is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Mohs Surgery, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. In addition, he belongs to the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery and the American Medical Association.
To help shape the future of dermatology and give guidance to those hoping to practice it, he serves as a Voluntary Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He is happy to impart his wisdom to those studying to carry the torch in his field.