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By Three Rivers Dermatology
February 22, 2021
Tags: Acne  

Breakouts always seem to rear their head at the worst of times: right before an important business meeting, senior photos, or that special date. While our Pittsburgh, PA, dermatologists understand that the occasional pimple may not be a cause for concern, there are also countless teens and adults who are having trouble getting their acne under control.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent those dreaded breakouts,

  • Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser that contains acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
  • Be gentle whenever you are applying cleansers, lotions or moisturizers to your skin. You may think scrubbing your face will get skin cleaner, but it will only exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Make sure you are drinking enough water. The Institute of Medicine recommends 13 cups of water for men and at least 9 cups for women.
  • Make sure you are also getting your beauty rest and sleeping anywhere from 7-9 hours a night. Getting good, quality sleep every day can reduce inflammation and improve skin problems.
  • Quit smoking, as smoking has the ability to lead to deep, cystic types of acne that are incredibly painful and can last for months.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol has the ability to affect hormone levels, which can be particularly problematic for women whose acne symptoms are due to hormones (e.g. women who often experience breakouts around their menstrual cycle)
  • Make sure to wash your face and body immediately after sweating or working out.
  • Only use makeup and hair products that are “non-comedogenic”, meaning that they won’t clog pores.
  • Wash pillowcases regularly and make sure to disinfect your cell phone regularly throughout the week, as germs can easily spread from your pillow or phone to your face.

When should I seek professional treatment for acne?

Is it time to see one of our Pittsburgh, PA, dermatologists for your acne? It might be if:

  • Your skin isn’t responding to lifestyle changes and home care
  • You are dealing with severe, cystic acne
  • You are dealing with painful acne
  • Your over-the-counter treatments aren’t working anymore
  • Your acne is affecting your self-esteem, appearance, and quality of life

If you are having trouble treating your acne with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments, then you may want to sit down and talk with our Pittsburgh, PA, dermatologists about more effective solutions. Call Three Rivers Dermatology at (412) 262-4911 to schedule an evaluation.

By Three Rivers Dermatology
December 30, 2020
Tags: Eczema  

Is your always skin red and itchy? There's a good chance you may have something called eczema. It's a skin condition that irritates your skin, making it appear like you have a rash. Your skin becomes unbearably itchy and dry. If you think you have eczema, a Pittsburgh dermatologist like Dr. Damon McClain and Dr. Susannah Berke can help you treat it. Read on to learn more about eczema and how to relieve your symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Eczema?

If you have eczema, you may experience one or more symptoms. Eczema causes:

  • itchiness
  • dry and inflamed skin
  • rough or scaly areas on your skin
  • tiny bumps that ooze when you scratch them
  • raw or swollen skin

Is Eczema Contagious?

Fortunately, eczema isn't contagious. People who suffer from this annoying skin condition have it because of a combination of genetics and environmental factors, allergens, and other things that irritate the skin. Sometimes food allergies cause eczema.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Eczema?

If you have eczema, dermatologists like Dr. Damon McClain and Dr. Susannah Berke can help you find relief. Your treatment will vary according to your unique circumstances. Dermatologists typically prescribe oral medication, topical treatments, or phototherapy.

Oral medicines may include antibiotics or antihistamines. Topical treatments are creams that decrease itchiness and dryness. Other topical treatments eliminate the infection from the skin. A Pittsburgh dermatologist may even prescribe phototherapy. This method uses ultraviolet light to reduce skin inflammation.

How Can You Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups at Home?

If you have eczema, you can even find ways to alleviate your symptoms at home. For example, use mild soaps and other products to avoid drying out and irritating your skin. Use creams and ointments to moisturize your skin since lotions aren't as effective. Consider using a humidifier in your home to help keep your skin more moisturized.

Schedule Your Appointment

Do you live in Pittsburgh and need a dermatologist to help you relieve your eczema? Dr. Damon McClain and Dr. Susannah Berke provide a wide array of dermatology services to help you overcome the pain and itchiness associated with this skin condition. Schedule your appointment by giving us a call at 412-262-4911.

By Three Rivers Dermatology
June 19, 2020
Tags: Warts  

Most cases of common warts resolve themselves without treatment, but this might take one year or more, and fresh warts might develop in the surrounding area. In this light, some individuals opt to have their warts professionally treated when home remedies fail and their warts are spreading, bothersome, or becoming an aesthetic concern.

Here at Three Rivers Dermatology in Coraopolis or Pittsburg PA practice, our dermatologists employ proven treatments to get rid of pesky warts. The treatment goals include destroying the wart and stimulating an immune system reaction to combat the virus. It’s crucial to note though that treatment might take several weeks or months, and that there’s still a small chance of the wart recurring.

How Your Dermatologist Can Get Rid of Your Warts

Your Dermatologist Pittsburgh PA practice may recommend one of these treatments depending on your symptoms, where your warts are located, pain tolerance, and your personal preferences.

Prescription-Strength Peeling Medications

These potent wart pharmaceuticals contain stronger concentrations of salicylic acid and function by getting rid of warts in layers. Studies have found that these medications become more effective when used alongside freezing or cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy or Freezing

This is performed in your dermatologist Pittsburgh PA office and entails the application of liquid nitrogen to the warts. It functions by triggering blisters to form around and under the warts. These blisters will them be sloughed off after a week or two. This entire process may be repeated several times to ensure complete removal of the warts. Likewise, it can help stimulate the immune system to combat viral warts.

More Potent Peeling Acids

If cryotherapy or salicylic acid doesn’t work, your dermatologist might try TCA or trichloroacetic acid. This procedure involves shaving the wart’s surface and applying the TCA solution. Repeat treatments are needed every one to two weeks.


This is a minor surgical procedure that entails your dermatologist cutting off or excising the wart.

Laser Therapy

Laser treatment makes use of pulse-dye laser for cauterizing or burning off the wart’s tiny blood vessels. Eventually, the infected tissue will die and the warts will fall off.

Tired of Your Warts? We Can Help

Dial (412) 262-4911 to book an evaluation with your dermatologist here at Three Rivers Dermatology in our Coraopolis and Pittsburgh PA office.

By Three Rivers Dermatology
February 20, 2020
Tags: Shingles  

Recently, your friend was diagnosed with shingles. You know her skin was blistered and very painful, and you wonder how it happened. At Three Rivers Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA, your dermatologists, Dr. Damon McClain and Dr. Susannah Berke, accurately diagnose and treat this all too common viral infection, giving patients the relief they deserve. They also educate patients on what to watch for and how to prevent shingles.

Shingles' start in childhood

Remember when you went through chickenpox as a child? You had a fever and uncomfortable pustules all over your body. The illness is caused by the highly contagious varicella-zoster virus. This microbe lies dormant for many years, even decades. Later in life, it can express itself again as shingles.

The symptoms of shingles

When your dermatologists see shingles in their Pittsburgh, PA, office, it usually looks like an angry red, blistering rash on one side of the body. Locations include the face, neck, shoulder, or hip. Accompanying symptoms are itching, fever, chills, and fatigue. The pain from the rash is substantial and can last up to four weeks. Some people experience lingering nerve pain for months to years.

As days go on, the oozing blisters scab over, and the person is no longer contagious. As long as you cover the rash with clothing the chances of transmitting it to others are very low.

Treating shingles

Dr. McClain or Dr. Berke typically prescribe an oral antiviral medication to limit the rash and control symptoms. The skin doctor may advise steroidal cream, calamine lotion, or oatmeal baths to increase comfort.

The best treatment for shingles is prevention. If possible, receive the shingles vaccine. Additionally, if you know someone who has shingles or chickenpox, avoid contact with their bodily fluids (saliva, mucus, or active lesions). Practice good hand washing. See your physician at the first signs of an outbreak. Some individuals notice a tingling, burning sensation on their skin before the rash develops.

Also, keep your immune system strong. The elderly, pregnant women, and those who are immunosuppressed due to cancer treatment, HIV infection, or other circumstances develop shingles more easily and have the most complications.

Learn more about shingles

At Three Rivers Dermatology, Dr. McClain and Dr. Berke provide outstanding skincare for patients of all ages. If you'd like more information about shingles, please contact our Pittsburgh office at (412) 262-4911.

By Three Rivers Dermatology
November 04, 2019

Find out how to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Overexposure to the sun can cause damage to the skin and can increase your risk for skin cancer. The problem is that its effects aren’t skin canceralways visible until it’s too late. Our Pittsburgh, PA, dermatologists Drs. Damon McClain and Susannah Berke want every patient to know how to protect their skin and reduce their skin cancer risk by following these helpful and simple rules.

Wear Sunscreen Daily

Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside. You should also reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately following swimming or sweating. The sunscreen you buy should be a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen (this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30.

Stay in the Shade

The sun’s rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. That means that you are more likely to get sunburned during these hours. While sunscreen can go a long way to protecting your skin, it’s also a good idea to avoid direct sunlight during these hours.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and using tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk for developing melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Every time you use a tanning bed your skin cancer risk increases (you don’t even have to get burned in order to increase your risk).

Wear Protective Clothing

While sunscreen is by far the most important thing you can do to protect your skin it’s also a good idea to wear clothing that reduces your exposure, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for a while. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and clothing with tightly woven fabrics that sunlight can’t penetrate as easily.

Keep an Eye on Your Skin

To protect your skin from cancers when you’re at risk, you must set aside a few minutes each day to check your skin. Look for moles or growths that are changing shape, color, size, or becoming asymmetrical. Any mole that appears to be bleeding or becomes itchy should be checked by your dermatologist.

Get Skin Cancer Screenings

Even if your risk for skin cancer is rather low everyone can still benefit from visiting their Pittsburgh, PA, skin doctor at least once a year for a thorough skin cancer screening. This exam allows our dermatologist to check every part of your body, from your scalp to between your toes, to look for growths, mole changes or lesions that could be signs of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.

When was the last time you turned to your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening? If the answer is “never” or if it’s been more than a year then it’s time to call Three Rivers Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA at (412) 262-4911 to schedule your checkup.

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