Category: Itching (Page 1 of 2)

Don’t Bug Me!

Summer skin care concerns are dramatically different than cold weather problems! So, I will begin to discuss the common things that BUG us in hot weather. Let’s start with insect bites. Future blogs will cover sun protection, poison ivy and common skin infections.

How do you know it’s a bite that’s bugging you? There are several tips. The first clue is that you have several very similar small red round bumps present on your skin. These are usually clustered. They often have a central punctum or a tiny crust. They are always very itchy and are mostly on exposed skin.

How should I treat bug bites? Prescription topical corticosteroids turn off the itch in 24 hours, and the bite is gone in 48 hours. Lidex gel is my favorite, used twice daily on the bites. Also avoid heat, which makes anything itchy worse. Cooling menthol or other anti-itch lotions can give temporary relief too.

How should I prevent insect bites? Avoiding their habitat is the best policy! If you can’t do this, use clothing to cover up. Repellants are available, like “Off” spray, but there are eco-friendly ones that work well too—look in the Kid’s section of your department store. Finally, you may wish to try Thiamine, a B vitamin, taken orally every day can discourage the bugs from biting you.

COMING SOON: What can I do to protect from the powerful summer sun?

Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50 is a very popular effective block from EPIONCE. It is great for everyday use, or can be used for outings. Use on face, neck and backs of hands and wrists is especially important to prevent aging changes as well as sunburn.

We will explore this subject in more depth in my next BLOG. You can call 866-374-6623 to order EPIONCE PRODUCTS. TELL THEM YOU FOLLOW DR SMITH, AND THEY WILL GIVE YOU FREE SHIPPING!

Steven A. Smith, MD, Dermatology
Psalms 103 Healing Benefits

Summer Skin Tips


Hot sweaty weather can flare acne bumps and cause break outs. The sun can help! Get some cautious mid day rays of the sun—just 10- 20 minutes per day (depending on how dark your complexion is) directly on the face (protect the eyes). The ultraviolet kills surface bacteria and enhances vitamin D production for healthier skin. Also cleansing better and more often helps sweat induced acne (athletes need this all year round). LYTIC GEL CLEANSER by Epionce is the most thorough and also the most gentle facial cleanser that I have found—by far! Use my technique to wash your face for best results and best economy: dry face (no water prior to gel cleanser—even if makeup is on), lightly wet your hands, put one pump of LYTIC GEL CLEANSER into one damp palm and rub together with the other damp palm to get a light lather, then rub into the face firmly with continual circular and sweeping motions, do this vigorously for ONE FULL MINUTE, rinse vigorously with a wet washcloth. This gets all the dirt, grease and dead skin cells off without traumatic exfoliation techniques. Do this cleansing once to three times daily, depending on how oily and/or sweaty your complexion is. Get this from and get the FREE shipping # from my website.


We are bothered by bites only to the degree we are allergic to the saliva of the particular bug. For mild reactions producing itch and red bumps, try cold packs and 1% hydrocortisone (OTC) cream every hour until better. Avoiding hot environments will help also. For larger, more aggressive red swollen reactions, see a doctor who can prescribe a cortisone topical that is 100 times stronger than OTC. My favorite is Lidex gel three times a day. This kills the bite in 24 hr or less.


Plant allergies are due to surface exposure of invisible plant oils onto the skin. Then after a few hours to a few days the red intensely itchy bumps and blisters begin to appear. Without cortisone to calm the inflammation this can take weeks to resolve, and severe cases can end up in the hospital. Again, ice packs and 1% hydrocortisone (OTC) cream applied every hour until better treat milder cases. Avoiding hot environments and plant re exposure are vital also, as well as avoiding harsh chemicals—bleach, alcohol, betadine and even calamine. For more severe cases, especially on face or genitals, see your doctor for prescription cortisone—pills, shots and/or topicals (like Lidex gel, see above). Finally, if you know you are allergic to poison ivy, or a variety of other poison plants, learn to identify the culprits and avoid them. If you sense you have gotten exposed, run inside your home ASAP, drop your clothes in the washing machine and get in the shower ASAP! Take an extended water shower first, rubbing and scrubbing your entire body thoroughly. Immediately after this use soap to do a thorough scrubbing. If you get the invisible plant substance off your skin within 1-2 hours of exposure, the allergic reaction will be very mild or nonexistent. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl at night and Zyrtec during the day can also help.

I hope you and your skin thoroughly enjoy this summer!

Steven A. Smith, MD, Dermatology
Psalms 103 Healing Benefits

How To Treat Itchy, Dry Skin and Eczema

A lot of people have these conditions and think they just have dry skin. However, ECZEMA and ATOPIC DERMATITIS are in a family of allergic mediated conditions called atopy. Sometimes rhinitis(hay fever) or asthma can be present also. The immune system is activated which results in inflammation. That’s what causes the itch and scratch. Sometimes the skin cracks and lets bacteria in which results in staph infection. This will cause major worsening manifested by scabs, drainage, pustules and crusting. Itching and scratching gets a lot worse also.

Here are my recommendations:

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