Say Goodbye to Your Oily Scalp

Say Goodbye to Your Oily Scalp

An oily scalp can create a multitude of issues, from chronic itchiness to dull, dry hair. The good news is that when you successfully treat an oily scalp, you eliminate these other problems as well. How can you say goodbye to an oily scalp and hello to healthier skin and hair? 

Dr. Sapna Palep, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, has advice on how to manage and treat an oily scalp. We offer comprehensive cosmetic and medical dermatological treatments, using the least invasive methods possible to achieve natural, beautiful results. Our team of physicians can help you reach your aesthetic goals or address your health concerns in our SOHO, Tribeca, and Uptown offices. From lifestyle changes, to over-the-counter products and medical treatments, Dr. Palep explains below how you can keep your scalp and hair looking and feeling their absolute best. 

Causes of an Oily Scalp

Everyone has some oil on their scalp. Oil is necessary to keep the skin moisturized and the hair hydrated. Our sebaceous glands are responsible for producing the oil our hair and skin need. In some cases, these glands can start to produce too much oil. Why do some people have an oily scalp and others don’t? Here are a few reasons

  • Hormonal fluctuations 
  • Stress (which can lead to a hormone imbalance)
  • Acne on the face or other areas of the body 
  • Other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis 
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) 
  • Higher levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) 
  • Genetics

If your hair is dry while your scalp is oily, it could be due to washing your hair too often or using the wrong products on your hair. Some skin conditions can also lead to dry hair despite excess oil production.

Symptoms of an Oily Scalp 

You may have an oily scalp if you have any of the following symptoms: 

  • Pimples or ingrown hairs on the scalp
  • Hair that looks oily or waxy even after washing
  • An itchy scalp, often accompanied by white flaking
  • The appearance of a skin condition, like eczema
  • A feeling that your hair is never fully clean

If you are unsure whether your symptoms are due to excess oil, an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists in NYC can help you know for sure. Your dermatologist can also diagnose and treat other skin conditions that might be contributing to the excess oil production. 

An Oily Scalp and Hair Loss

Some people suffer another troublesome symptom with an oily scalp: hair loss. While oil does not cause hair loss by itself, it can exacerbate a condition that might already exist. Excess oil clogs the hair follicles, making it difficult for new hair to grow. In addition, the oil buildup can trap other pore-clogging substances like dirt, buildup of hair products, and dandruff flaking. 

Higher amounts of DHT can also lead to hair loss. Since these increased levels can also increase oil in the scalp, individuals may find they are dealing with a twofold problem of hair loss and an oily scalp at the same time. This issue is most common in men over 50, but it can also occur in women. 

Reducing the Oil Production

There are some steps you can take to reduce oil production to improve the appearance of your scalp and hair. Dr. Palep suggests oral medicines like spironolactone for women. Spironolactone can decrease androgens which in turn decreases oil production. A healthy diet that doesn’t induce hormones can also help manage oil production. Dr. Palep also encourages patients to decrease stress levels, which in turn reduces cortisol levels, which can lead to a decrease in oil production. 

How to Treat an Oily Scalp

The good news is there are ways to treat an oily scalp. First, Dr. Palep recommends avoiding oil to treat an oily scalp. This is something that is often done, and it usually makes things worse.  

You can wash your scalp more often. If you don’t want to dry out the rest of the hair, protect the ends by applying conditioner after you shampoo. Do not put conditioner on the scalp itself, however. Apply it to the hair starting a few centimeters away from the scalp. 

Brushing the scalp regularly increases blood circulation, which increases nutrient delivery to the hair overall. This will promote growth and improve the appearance of the hair.  

There are also products you can purchase over the counter that will help control oil production and associated problems. For example, Dr. Palep says antifungal shampoos help tremendously with preventing and treating the dandruff that results from an excessively oily scalp. She also recommends avoiding greasy or sticky products like styling gels, mousse, and hairspray.

Other good options include ketoconazole shampoo or shampoos with small amounts of salicylic acid. Shampoos with coal tar or tea tree oil can also be a good choice as long as the formulations are not in an oil base. One good example is Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo. Neutrogena anti-residue shampoo is also an effective product, according to Dr. Palep.

No matter which type of shampoo you choose, Dr. Palep cautions against using the product anywhere but the scalp. These cleansers are not designed for the hair or other areas of the body. When used according to manufacturer instructions, all can help minimize oil production and maximize the health of your skin and the quality of your hair. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Dermatologist in New York City Today

The scalp is just one area that can experience excessive oil production. If you are dealing with this concern on the scalp, face, or another area of the body, a board-certified dermatologist can help. Contact Spring Street Dermatology in New York City today to schedule your assessment at our SOHO, Tribeca, or Uptown office.

Seeing Red: Best Treatments for a Sunburn

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Summer means time outdoors, but it can also mean painful sunburns if we aren’t careful with our skin. While the best defense for a sunburn is a good offense (don’t let your skin burn in the first place), burns can and do happen throughout the summer months. 

Sunburns can be painful, making it difficult to wear certain clothing and even interfering with your sleep at night. Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City has tips on how to relieve the discomfort and aid the healing process. 

Sunburn Treatment Tips 

Dr. Birnbaum offers a few products and strategies to alleviate a sunburn: 

  • Cool yourself down! Use ice packs or take a cool swim or shower to help dissipate some of the heat from the skin and help relieve pain.  
  • Calm down the inflammation. If safe for you to do so, consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or aspirin. Consider applying aloe vera or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream which both have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Hydrate! When our skin burns, water is drawn to the skin’s surface. It is important to replenish our stores in our body to avoid dehydration.
  • Moisturize with a water-based lotion. This will help restore our skin barrier as it heals itself.
  • Protect your sunburned skin from further damage. Seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing while exposed to UV radiation.

If you develop blisters from your sunburn, Dr. Birnbaum cautions that you should never pop the blisters. This can make you more vulnerable to infection. If you develop extensive blisters, or experience fever or chills, consult your board-certified dermatologist for evaluation and additional treatment recommendations. 

Sunburn, Skin Cancer, and Wrinkles 

While sunburns do get better over time, damage has been done to the skin that cannot be reversed. Regular sun exposure can lead to unwanted side effects like an increased risk for skin cancer. All three types of skin cancer, including basal cell, squamous cell, and the deadly melanoma, can be the result of sun exposure.

The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that just five sunburns over a lifetime can double your odds of developing melanoma. Around 196,060 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2020 alone and an estimated 6,850 will die from the disease this year. While non-melanoma skin cancers are not as deadly, they are much more common and take the lives of as many as 5,400 people every month. To learn more about sunburns and skin cancer, visit

Sun-Kissed = Early Aging 

Premature aging is another byproduct of too much time in the sun. UV exposure breaks down collagen, an essential protein within the dermal structure that gives skin its smooth, supple appearance in our youth. Over time, our bodies produce less collagen, which leads to skin laxity and the formation of wrinkles. Since UV rays accelerate collagen breakdown, they also speed up the aging process – exponentially in some cases. 

In addition, those powerful rays lead to pigmentation issues, including brown spots that are often referred to as liver spots or age spots. Over time, the skin can take on a leathery texture, which signifies the tissue has become significantly more frail and subject to bruising. The combination of these effects can lead you to look much older than you feel and sometimes older than you really are. 

Sunburn Prevention: The Best Defense 

It bears repeating – the best defense against sun damage is a good offense. Aggressive, consistent sun protection is the most effective way to reduce your risk for skin cancer and ward off unwanted signs of early aging. 

Some of the best steps you can take to protect your skin and prevent sun damage include: 

  • Avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when UV rays are at their most potent
  • Seeking shade whenever possible while outdoors, especially during the middle of the day
  • Applying sunscreen daily, paying special attention to the ears, lips, and backs of the hands
  • Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Using an SPF 30 daily and a higher SPF for longer times outdoors or if you have fair skin
  • Reapplying sunscreen if you are out for an extended period, if you get wet, or you perspire heavily
  • Wearing protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, and a hat with a broad brim
  • Wearing sunglasses with UV protection 

It is also critical to examine your skin regularly for any new moles or changes to current moles. If you see any, schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist for further assessment. It is also important to have annual skin checks with your dermatologist as early detection is essential to ensuring successful and thorough treatment of any type of skin cancer.

Save Your Skin Today

At Spring Street Dermatology in New York, New York, our goal is to keep you looking and feeling your best throughout life. Healthy skin is beautiful skin, and we have the treatments necessary to ensure your skin is in top condition. If you have experienced sun damage, our targeted treatments can help reverse the damage and restore your youthful appearance. 

Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you take your skin to the next level.  

To schedule a dermatology consultation with Spring Street Dermatology to treat any existing sunburns, or to learn more about how to prevent early aging from sun exposure, feel free to contact us using our online contact form.


Turning Back the Clock – For Women Only!

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It is no secret that women have it harder.  First, we get monthly periods well before we need them. Then, we go through pregnancy with its hormone spikes, body stretching, and delivering an entire human being out of a tiny opening.  Just as we are trying to bounce back, menopause strikes to slow us down. The body region hit the hardest is, of course, the female genitourinary system.

Women experience vaginal itching, dryness, irritation, poor lubrication, pain during intercourse, urinary incontinence, and stretching of tissues.  This complex of symptoms is now called the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM). However, many of these same issues can occur before menopause due to childbirth, breast feeding, or after cancer treatment.

Vaginal health has a tremendous impact on quality of life – physically, psychologically, and sexually.  It can affect comfort, confidence, and romantic relationships.

Treatment options have traditionally been limited to hormone therapies and invasive surgical procedures, both of which carry undesirable risks and side effects. In recent years, minimally invasive laser treatments previously used to treat various gynecologic diseases have been found to also be effective for vaginal rejuvenation.

The most exciting device in this arena is the Juliet by Cutera.  Juliet is an erbium laser that takes 20 minutes to revitalize both the internal and external vaginal tissue.  The process involves 2 passes: The first delivers micro columns of laser energy that stimulate regeneration of collagen and elastin, strengthening the structure of the inner vaginal wall.  The second pass delivers gentle heat to improve vaginal tone and flexibility. There is minimal discomfort and little downtime. A series of 3 treatments at 4 week intervals with yearly touch ups is recommended.

Various studies published in medical journals have shown significant improvement in symptoms of GSM and suggest that vaginal erbium laser may be a safe and effective treatment for this indication. Women who have had Juliet treatments report life changing improvements in lubrication, sexual discomfort, vaginal firmness and tone, leakage of urine when sneezing/ coughing or laughing, labial tightening, and external skin appearance.

With Juliet, offered at Spring Street Dermatology’s New York office, women now have an alternative to taking hormones or having surgery when it comes to turning back the vaginal clock! And, don’t worry – nobody has to know about it! To learn more about Juliet by Cutera, visit

Your Guide to Pregnancy Acne

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Pregnancy is supposed to be a magical time full of hope and wonder.   For some people, it is also full of pimples and cysts. Hormone changes responsible for creating a human being can also activate pathways that cause breakouts.  In some cases, women suffered from acne previously but were controlled on medications that needed to be discontinued. Other times, breakouts happen to people who never had acne.  Either way, pregnancy acne is no fun and here’s how to handle it.


  1. Make sure your skincare is not part of the problem.

Skincare really matters.  Many women embark on the journey to motherhood understandably wanting to be as chemical free as possible.  This means they eliminate their good ole Cetaphil moisturizer and purchase natural products that contain oils, waxes, or shea butter.  Unfortunately, these ingredients are often pore clogging and can cause or worsen breakouts. When choosing cleansers and moisturizers, be careful to select non-comedogenic and oil free products.


  1. What, and what not, to use.

During pregnancy, the typical acne treatments containing retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are best avoided.  Products that contain alpha hydroxy acids and sulfur based are considered safe and effective.

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring antibacterial that also has keratolytic, comedolytic and antioxidant activity.  This means it kills acne causing p. Acnes bacteria on the skin surface. In addition, it loosens skin cells so they don’t clog pores, reduces inflammation, and decreases hyperpigmentation.

Glycolic acid is another naturally occurring alpha hydroxyl acid derived from sugarcane.  It works by speeding up the process of exfoliating dead skin cells and eliminating excess oil.  This helps reduce pimple causing clogged pores and encourages new, fresh skin cells to come to the surface.  

Sulfur based products have antimicrobial effects and are effective in drying out excess oil.  While they are effective, most preparations have a strong, unpleasant scent that limits use in pregnant women who are hypersensitive to stinky smells.


  1. Get in with a dermatologist sooner rather than later.

If you are suffering from pregnancy acne, your dermatologist should be your best friend. First of all, there are forms of folliculitis that can mimic acne.  Early diagnosis and proper management can save a lot of frustration. Also, dermatologists offer face saving extractions, cortisone injections, and if necessary, pregnancy safe prescriptions and procedures to help your acne.  

An extraction procedure is a medical grade facial, where a dermatologist uses a sterile tool called a comedone extractor to remove clogged pores.  Since clogged pores turn into pimples, it is beneficial to eliminate them!

Cystic pimples begin underground, can be painful, and often leave marks behind.  Fortunately, a tiny dose of liquid cortisone can be injected into cysts to decrease the inflammation and shrink them quickly.  Cortisone shots contain a minute amount of dilute cortisone. Since there is very limited systemic absorption, it is considered a safe option throughout pregnancy and while nursing.

Other pregnancy safe procedures include blue light facials, microdermabrasion, and glycolic acid peels.  If prescriptions are necessary, there are options such as topical and oral antibiotics as well as prescription strength azelaic acid.

Pregnancy acne is unavoidable for some women.  However, it can be treated and improved safely by optimizing skin care, incorporating alpha hydroxy acids, and working with a trusted dermatologist in New York. To learn more, contact us at Spring Street Dermatology.

A Breakthrough in the Treatment of Acne Scarring

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Acne breakouts have a huge, negative impact on body image and self esteem.  Even after the pimples and cysts are gone, many patients are left with scarring that continues to affect their quality of life.  The good news is that technology continues to advance and the treatment of acne scars is safer and more effective than ever. Spring Street Dermatology in New York offers a wide variety of treatment options. With better lasers, microneedling, and the latest breakthrough: Secret RF (Radiofrequency) Microneedling, there is a treatment option for anyone.


Microneedling has become one of the mainstays of minimally invasive scar treatment.  It involves using fine needles to create numerous controlled, invisible puncture wounds called “micro-injuries” in the skin. These micro-injuries break up scar tissue and stimulate the body’s natural wound healing response to rebuild the tissue in a more organized (i.e. less scarred) fashion.  Now, the power of microneedling has been amplified with the addition of radiofrequency, revolutionizing how we treat acne scarring.  Radiofrequency is a type of energy that heats tissue and stimulates production of new collagen and elastin. When combined with microneedling, RF is directly delivered to the scarred, problem areas below the skin.


Cutera’s Secret RF is an FDA cleared RF microneedling device that utilizes 25 or 64 gold tip needles to create controlled micro-injuries and precisely deliver radiofrequency.  This device was designed to be totally customizable meaning: Your dermatologist determines the depth of needle penetration and the intensity of RF delivered based on your skin type, the treatment area, and the severity of scarring.  Since it is so customizable, it is safe in all skin types.

At Spring Street Dermatology in New York, patients numb for at least 40 minutes with a strong anesthetic called BLT (benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine) to ensure maximal comfort.  The treatment itself takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on the area to be treated.  Afterwards, skin is rinsed with saline and a healing moisturizer is applied.  Most patients report a warm, sunburn like feeling afterwards that dissipates within 4-5 hours.  By the next day, minimal redness, swelling, minute scabs and gridlines can be seen.  At this point, make up can adequately cover the healing process, which takes 1-2 weeks in most cases.  A series of treatments is recommended bases on the degree of scarring. To learn more about acne scar treatments, visit

Schedule an Acne Scar Treatment in New York

If you suffered with acne and are left with scars, Secret RF is the breakthrough you have been waiting for.   By combining the power of two modalities, microneedling and radiofrequency, this device delivers unprecedented results without compromising safety. To schedule a acne scar treatment consultation with one of our board-certified physicians, fill out our online contact form.

Baby Botox

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For most of us, somewhere between the ages of 25 and 35 is the sweet spot.   It is when the very first fine lines have begun to appear but have not yet had the chance to develop into full fledged, deep set wrinkles.  We used to notice these lines only when we made certain facial expressions. But now, we start to see them even when our faces are perfectly still – and we don’t like it one bit.  Enter: Baby Botox.


Our muscles of facial expression contract to make us raise our eyebrows, squint, scowl, purse our lips, and smile with our eyes.  Over the years, the muscles strengthen and cause the skin to crease. Creases turn into fine lines and then deepen into wrinkles. While age is a big factor, having an expressive face, sun exposure, smoking, and genetics all play a part in when and how much we will wrinkle.  The antidote – Botulinum Toxin is injected into muscles to relax them. And relaxed muscles no longer crease the skin, allowing fine lines to fade into the sunset.


In a person with faint lines and weaker muscles, we can utilize a relatively small dose of Botox to completely eliminate the lines.  Baby Botox leaves the skin appearing smooth, but more importantly, prevents wrinkles from setting in. Since the wrinkles were never allowed to appear in the first place, Baby Botox looks subtle and natural.  While typical Botox lasts only 3 months, people who start early usually enough get significantly more time out of their treatments.


Once a person has crossed over into more prominent musculature and deeper lines, Botox still works (phew!) – but more product must be used and more frequent injections are required.  However, if the deeper lines become etched in, then Botox alone will not do the trick. Additional treatments like fillers and lasers, along with Botox, may be necessary.


We are all getting older, what’s the alternative?  The bottom line is there is an individual choice to be made by every one of us – are we ok with having wrinkles or do we want to avoid them?   If you fall into the camp that believes the best wrinkle is the one you never get – then keep an eye out for your sweet spot, Baby Botox is here waiting. To learn more about Botox, visit

Schedule a Botox Injection Consultation in New York

If you are interested in scheduling a Botox injection treatment to treat fine lines and wrinkles on your face, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians in New York. Please call (646) 906-9614, or fill out our online contact form.