March Madness: Why This Month Is Tough On Skin & What You Can Do

You’ve probably noticed that March is a notoriously tough month for your skin, especially if you have a pre-existing skin condition like rosacea or eczema. With the changing weather and those lingering cold, dry days, your skin needs extra special care to continue looking its best. Let’s talk about how Travis Shaw, MD can take your skin from mad to fab!


What Causes Acne?

Did you know that living an active, outdoor lifestyle can cause frequent breakouts? This is due to increased sweating and exposure to the elements. So in March, as the weather gets nicer and we take our exercise outside, acne flare ups are common! Luckily, there’s nothing wrong with spending time outdoors and acne treatment doesn’t require staying inside! Here at Travis Shaw, MD, we provide a range of FDA-approved treatment options for dealing with acne and scarring. Our treatments are fast, effective, and long-lasting!

Treatments for Acne

Our first treatment option for acne are chemical peel treatments. Here we apply mild acids to the skin. These safe, exfoliating agents cause the upper layer of skin to peel off. As the old, scarred layer peels off, new skin emerges leading to a smoother and clearer complexion.

There are three common variations of peels: Superficial, Medium, and Deep. Travis Shaw, MD uses superficial peels for mild treatments and deep, penetrating peels for more severe conditions. Our HydraFacial cleans, hydrates, and protects the skin. HydraFacials work by first cleansing your skin through gentle exfoliation, then removing debris bacteria from your pores, and finally protecting your skin through antioxidants.


Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face. It may also produce small, red, puss-filled bumps. These signs and symptoms may flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. Rosacea can be mistaken for acne, other skin problems, or natural ruddiness. Rosacea can affect anyone, but it’s most common in middle-aged women who have light skin. There’s no cure for rosacea, but treatment can control and reduce the signs and symptoms.


Additional Symptoms of Rosacea

Besides facial redness and red bumps, symptoms of rosacea can include:

  • Eye problems. Many people with rosacea also experience dry, irritated, swollen eyes and red, swollen eyelids. This is known as ocular rosacea. In some people, the eye symptoms precede the skin symptoms.
  • Enlarged nose. Over time, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous. This occurs more often in men than in women.

What Causes Rosacea?

Many Rosacea sufferers begin to avoid the things that trigger their symptoms. The National Rosacea Society surveyed 1,066 sufferers and the most common triggers were:

  • Sun exposure
  • Emotional stress
  • Hot weather
  • Wind
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol consumption

Treatments for Rosacea

Here at Travis Shaw, MD, we have seen our rosacea patients see improvements when using an exfoliating cleanser, oil control pads, dual action scrub, Daily Power Defense, Rozatrol, Wrinkle & Texture, Growth Factor Serum, complexion mask, instant pore refiner, and SPF Primer or Broad Spectrum. We have also seen success with stimulator peels, HydraFacial deluxe with blue light therapy and Rozatrol booster, CBD microchanneling, and microneedling with PRP.


Melasma is a common skin disorder that affects up to 33% of the population. If you have melasma, you’re likely experiencing light brown, dark brown and/or blue-gray patches on your skin. They can appear as flat patches or freckle-like spots and usually appear on your cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and forearms. It can also appear on your back or any other area of your skin that is often exposed to sun.

Melasma is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy” because it affects 15 – 50% of pregnant women. The spots typically darken and lighten over time, and they often get worse in the summer and better in the winter as exposure to sunlight tends to darken the affected areas.

Melasma can be long-lasting, affecting your skin’s appearance for three months or more. Some people have melasma for years or their entire lives. Other people may have melasma for just a short time, such as during pregnancy.

What Causes Melasma?

There are two main causes of melasma: radiation, whether ultraviolet, visible light, or infrared (heat) light; and hormones. Ultraviolet and infrared radiation from the sun are key in making melasma worse. Other possible causes of melasma include:

  • Antiseizure medications
  • Contraceptive therapy (birth control)
  • Estrogen/Diethylstilbestrol
  • Genetics: About 33% to 50% of people with melasma have reported that someone else in the family has it. The majority of identical twins both have melasma.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • LED Screens
  • Pregnancy: It is unclear why “the mask of pregnancy” happens to pregnant women. However, experts theorize that the increased levels of estrogen, progesterone and the melanocyte-stimulating hormones during the third trimester of pregnancy play a role.
  • Hormones
  • Makeup
  • Phototoxic drugs (medicines that make you sensitive to sunlight): These include some antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics, retinoids, hypoglycaemics, antipsychotics, targeted therapies and some other drugs.
  • Skincare products: A product that irritates your skin in general will likely make your melasma worse.
  • Soaps: Some scented soaps are thought to cause or worse melasma
  • Tanning beds: The UV light produced by tanning beds damages your skin just as bad as the UV light from the sun, and sometimes worse.

How to Treat Melasma

Melasma is hard to treat. To determine a treatment plan, your healthcare provider will have to first figure out what’s possibly causing the melasma. Is it sunlight? Your birth control? Genetics? Your soap? Unfortunately, there is no definitive treatment that will make melasma completely disappear. At this time, there is no way to remove dermal pigment. Chemical peels and lasers may cause the surface layers of skin to die, cause post-procedure hyperpigmentation, and cause hypertrophic scars. They can be safely used with topical medications, but only by specialists who have experience treating melasma.

At Travis Shaw, MD, we have seen fantastic results from using a ZO Brightening program. We will put you on a regimen of ZO Refissa Tretinoin Cream, Pigment Control Crème, Pigment Blending Crème, Exfoliating Polish, Complexion Renewal Pads, Gentle Cleanser, Growth Factor Serum, ZO Smart Tone SPF (tinted) and ZO Primer SPF (tinted).

We have also had success in lightening melasma pigment with chemical peels and light- based procedures such as non-ablative fractionated lasers and low fluenced Q-switched lasers.


Eczema is a skin condition that causes inflammation and irritation. According to Medical News Today, eczema affects almost 32% of people in the United States at some point in their lives. With eczema, the affected area will itch and usually develop a rash. In adults, eczema tends to pop up on the face, creases of knees and elbows, nape of the neck and on the hands, although it can occur on any part of the body. In infants, eczema mainly appears on the face and scalp.

What Causes Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is a mystery, but a popular thought is that eczema is an overreacting response to an irritant by the body’s immune system. Genetics appear to play a role as well. Although it may look otherwise, eczema is not contagious. There are environmental factors which may be linked to the development of eczema, such as allergens, certain foods, extreme temperatures, and stress.

Treatments for Eczema

Keeping your skin moist helps with the dry skin and itchiness caused by eczema. At Travis Shaw, MD, we recommend applying lotions and creams to the affected areas after bathing to help retain moisture. Over-the-counter topical corticosteroid creams and ointments can alleviate the itchiness as well. Antihistamines can help at night to guard against scratching, as they tend to make you drowsy. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the eczema occurs along with a bacterial skin infection. At Travis Shaw, MD, we have seen excellent results from using hydrating cream, exfoliating polish, and Growth Factor Serum by ZO Skin Health.

Want to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy this spring? Text or call us to schedule your consultation today at (804)-775-4559.