September is National Skin Care Awareness Month, and whether it’s finding a good moisturizer or removing an unsightly wart, the health of your skin is important. As summer comes to an end, it’s also critical to do self-checks on your skin to make sure any sun spots are not a sign of something more serious. That’s why seeing a dermatologist, like Karl Saardi, MD, is recommended at least once a year.
Saardi, a general dermatologist who joined The GW Medical Faculty Associates (GW MFA) in September 2020, treats patients for a variety of skin problems.
Q: Why did you choose to practice dermatology?
Saardi: I originally didn’t intend on becoming a dermatologist, but during my dermatology elective I immediately fell in love with the huge variety of conditions encountered, and [the task of] solving dozens of small problems each day held my attention. Working in an underserved area showed me how devastating skin conditions can be, and how sometimes patients can even end up in the intensive care unit. Ultimately, I applied to internal medicine, and threw my hat in the ring for a few of the combined internal medicine/dermatology residency programs. I was lucky enough to match at my first choice, the Washington Hospital Center, just up the street.
Q: What experiences and expertise do you hope to bring into your practice at GW?
Saardi: While I was a resident I did research on drug rashes and the skin problems that are seen in dialysis patients, and I’d like to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned to care for patients at the GW MFA. On a practical level, I hope to serve as the liaison for the dermatology department with GW Hospital by making sure all the patients we see have their skin issues addressed, either before discharge or shortly thereafter.
Q: What are some common conditions that you see with your patients?
Saardi: I’d say warts, acne, itchy rashes, and check-ups for skin cancer are probably the most common reasons patients come to the dermatology office. Because the skin is so visible, patients are incredibly grateful. One of my favorite parts of dermatology is being able to quickly figure out what is wrong and offer an effective treatment.
Q: For these conditions, what is a topical home-remedy that you would suggest? When should patients make an appointment?
Saardi: My favorite home remedy is duct tape for warts. Applying a small piece of duct tape to a wart and changing it every five to seven days can be a cheap, painless, and effective treatment, even more effective than the options we have in the office! Of course, if the wart doesn’t go away after a few tries, patients should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
Q: What advice would you give to people with a skin issue?
Saardi: I think there is a lot of information on the internet these days about common skin problems, and patients should always be careful about tips they see online. Always look for recommendations from board-certified dermatologists, and don’t wait too long to make an appointment! Most skin issues, even skin cancers, can be treated more easily if caught early.