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Five Top Triggers of a Herpes Outbreak


If you’re among the 80 percent of Americas who have the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), you know that an outbreak can be painful and embarrassing. Also known as a fever blister, the tell-tale mark of an HSV1 outbreak is a blister or cluster of blisters around the mouth. They can break open and ooze, forming painful sores and unsightly scabs. To help keep outbreaks at a minimum, New Jersey-based Metropolitan Dermatology recommends avoiding these common triggers:

  1. Stress: High levels or extended periods of stress are by far the top cause of HSV1 outbreaks. Stress prompts changes in the body’s internal chemistry, kicking up production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisone. This can do a real number on your immune system. Get plenty of exercise and sleep and make time for relaxing activities like yoga, walks in the park or outings with friends.
  2. Fever: When you have a fever, your body is under a higher level of physical stress. This, plus changes in the core body temperature, can trigger an outbreak – Thus the term “fever blister.”
  3. Unhealthy diet: Another knock to your immune system is a diet that’s lacking in essential nutrients. Make sure you eat a healthy diet that’s high in fiber, low in sugar and includes each of the basic food groups. If needed, take a high-quality multi-vitamin supplement.
  4. Environmental toxins: Another reason for making sure your body gets all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs is to fend off negative effects of toxic chemicals that enter our bodies via food, water and air daily. An accumulation of these chemicals in the fatty tissues can compromise your immune system. Your body will respond by detoxifying itself and if it doesn’t have the nutrients it needs, it can prompt an outbreak.
  5. Sun exposure: A study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that exposure to the sun’s UV rays can activate HSV1, but experts still are unsure how or why. Wear a high SPF moisturizer every day.

The bad news is that there is no cure for herpes. The good news is that symptoms are easily managed with medication, warm compresses and a healthy lifestyle. If you’re experiencing symptoms of herpes, visit your nearest Metropolitan Dermatology location in Clark, Kearny, Teaneck or Staten Island.

How Stress Affects Your Skin

Regular skincare services like chemical peels can help protect your complexion from the effects of stress.

Regular skincare services like chemical peels can help protect your complexion from the effects of stress.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the health effects of stress and teach successful coping strategies. It’s a great time to learn just how everyday stress can take its toll on your skin, say skincare specialists with New Jersey’s Metropolitan Dermatology.

Stress can be a primary trigger for various skin conditions including psoriasis, rosacea, fever blisters and cold sores in part because it saps your body’s immune system. Plus stress-induced habits can affect your skin’s look and health. For instance, frowning and furrowing your brow can contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. And rubbing, scratching or biting your fingers or lip can cause skin damage and make you all the more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Of utmost concern, studies have shown that chronic stress can increase your risk of developing skin cancer and can cause cancer cells to spread at a faster rate.

To help prevent stress from leaving its mark on your complexion, adopt and maintain a daily skincare regimen using high-quality products, including a high-SPF sunscreen. Get plenty of exercise and adequate rest each day. Learn to prioritize and delegate tasks and be adamant about taking time for yourself regularly.

Also, invest in taking care of your skin beyond your daily routine with customized services like chemical peels or microdermabrasion. And if stress already has marred your look, corrective services like IPL photofacials or Botox injections can help restore a youthful, rejuvenated look. Visit the Metropolitan Dermatology website to schedule a consultation.

Cold Weather Brings Cold Sores

Wintry weather can be a top trigger for cold sores.

Wintry weather can be a top trigger for cold sores.

Statistics show that up to 40 percent of Americans have experienced a cold store at some point. As temperatures continue to drop here in New Jersey, the risk rises.

Cold sores essentially are a type of herpes known as the herpes simplex virus-1, or HSV-1. Statistics from the US National Institutes of Health show that HSV-1 infects more than half of the nation’s population by the time they reach their 20s. Mayo Clinic research backs up that figure, estimating that upwards of 90 percent of Americans test positive for the virus, even if they’ve never experienced infection symptoms.

Also called fever blisters, cold sores manifest as fluid-filled lesions that appear on or around the lips. They’re highly contagious and there is no cure for the herpes virus. Once it enters your body, it’s there to stay. However, symptoms like cold sores can be prevented and managed.

Cold sores are most common during the winter months for multiple reasons:

  • Exposure to cold temperatures, as well as the significant temperature shifts experienced when moving in and out of warm buildings, can reactivate the HSV-1 virus and trigger a cold sore.
  • Harsh winds sap the moisture out of your lips, making them more prone to the virus.
  • Staying inside can lead to a drop in Vitamin D levels in the body, weakening its immune system.
  • Illnesses common during the colder months including colds, flus and bacterial infections, as well as the sheer stress of holiday goings on, can make the body more prone to a cold sore outbreak.
  • Inflammation that comes with conditions like chronic arthritis can jumpstart the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can suppress the immune system.
  • Cold weather always corresponds with a boost in tanning salon visits. Those artificial UV rays can irritate tissues around the mouth, making the skin more susceptible to a cold store outbreak.

If you’ve suffered a cold sore once, you run the chance of experiencing another. Keep your lips and facial skin moisturized and learn to better manage your stress. And, if you fee one coming on, head to your nearest Metropolitan Dermatology location in Clark, Kearny or Teaneck.

Cosmetic, Medical & Surgical Dermatology

Metropolitan Dermatology Locations

1075 Central Avenue
Clark, NJ 07066
Clark NJ location servicing Edison, Westfield, Elizabeth, Linden, Scotch Plains, & Cranford, NJ

757 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Teaneck NJ location servicing Hackensack, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Englewood, and Bergenfield, NJ.

703 Kearny Ave.
Kearny, NJ 07032
Kearny NJ location servicing Jersey City, Nutley, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, and Hoboken, NJ. *Formerly 752 Kearny

1324 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10301
Staten Island NY location servicing all of New York City!

3202 John F Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Jersey City, NJ location servicing Jersey City and Newark.

114 Lakeview Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
South Plainfield, NJ location servicing Plainfield and Edison.

449 60th St.
West New York, NJ 07093
West New York NJ location servicing Union City, Bayonne, North Bergen, Hoboken, & Secaucus NJ

469 Morris Ave. Ste 2
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
Elizabeth, NJ location servicing Elizabeth, Linden, Roselle Park and Hillside.

622 Boulevard
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
Kenilworth, NJ location servicing Springfield Township, Union, and Mountainside.