This Is What’s Happening to Your Skin During Your Period

Tatiana Bido , Special Projects Editor

Whether your menstrual cycles run like clockwork or you’re constantly surprised every month when your period arrives, the telltale signs of nature’s monthly gift are hard to miss. One of those signs is the way in which your skin changes on the days leading up to and following your cycle. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening and what you can do about it.

Here’s What’s Happening With Your Hormones
Your monthly cycle begins on the first day of your period. During this time, although it may feel like your hormone levels are spiking, but they’re actually not. “Your skin is affected by the hormone shifts that happen during your entire menstrual cycle, but during your actual period, all your hormones are at relatively low levels,” says Santa Monica, CA, dermatologist Karyn Grossman, MD. Your levels of progesterone and estrogen drop, which contribute to the overwhelming emotional feelings that come with your period. Estrogen also stimulates skin-smoothing collagen and oils, which means when levels are low, your skin can feel drier and lines and wrinkles can appear more prominent.

According to Eagan, MN, dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, keeping your skin hydrated is the key to healthier skin during your period. “Hydration is probably the most important thing you can do for your skin during this time,” he says. “For this step I recommend three separate things: a gentle, nondrying cleanser; a moisturizing lotion rich in lipids and ceramides, which are the essential building blocks of the skin barrier; and an ammonium lactate–containing cream or lotion that acts as the humectant, the factor that holds the water in the skin.”  Continue reading This Is What’s Happening to Your Skin During Your Period

Spotlight on: Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD – The Dermatologist

Dr. Charles CrutchfieldIn dermatology, we are fortunate to have many insightful practitioners and great teachers and mentors. Some are bright stars in our special universe–others unsung heroes. All of these colleagues have much to share, from wisdom to humor to insights into dermatology and life. This column allows us to gain insight from these practitioners and learn more about them.

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Medical School and a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Continue reading Spotlight on: Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD – The Dermatologist

WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”

“Dr. Crutchfield featured on WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Good Question: What Doesn’t A SPF Number Tell Us?

Jun 12, 2007 10:41 pm US/Central(WCCO)

As much as we enjoy the outdoors, parents know we have to protect our kids and our skin from the sun. That often means slapping on the lotion with the highest SPF. That stands for sun protection factor, but many of us don’t use it, which is why skin cancer cases are on the rise.

“I see lots of sun damage,” said Dr. Charles Crutchfield, a dermatologist in Eagan, Minn. “Anytime you get darkening of the skin you’re promoting skin cancer, aging and all the things you don’t want.”

The sun exposure that matters most is that we get as kids.

“I have a 4- and 6-year-old and they spend basically the entire day outside,” said one woman at a Minneapolis swimming pool.

That’s why nearly 80 percent of our sun exposure occurs before age 21.

“The cruel hoax is by the time you’re smart enough or wise enough to sun protect it’s almost too late,” said Crutchfield.

So what do we need to know about sunscreen?

“I wear 35,” said one Twin Cities man.

That number refers to the sun protection factor and how long the sunscreen will protect us beyond our skin’s built in protection. For example, if it normally takes 10 minutes for our skin to burn without sun block, an SPF 15 would theoretically protect us 15 times longer or 150 minutes. However, the SPF number only refers to one type of the sun’s rays.

“The SPF is how much it blocks the ultraviolet B rays,” said Crutchfield. “B stands for burn.”

However, we also need to block the sun’s UVA rays.

“You can think of ‘A’ as in aging, wrinkles, damage to skin, skin cancer,” he said. “You need protection from both of those. That’s actually probably as important, if not more important, than the SPF number.”

The FDA is pushing to add the UVA rating to sunscreen bottles. New rules about that should be out in the next few weeks. Here are some other sunscreen tips:

• Regardless of what the label says, sunscreens won’t protect us all day. We should reapply every one to two hours.

• There’s really no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. The FDA doesn’t even recognize that term.

• It takes 20 minutes for sunscreen to become active on our skin, so we need to put it on before we go outside.

• Sunscreen does expire. The chemicals break down and lose their protective ability, so replace any sunscreen you have had for more than a year.

Continue reading WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”

Dr. Crutchfield, III credits parents for his stellar career


By James L. Stroud, Jr. 

Contributing Writer


In Minnesota, when someone says the name Dr. Crutchfield, most people — especially African Americans from Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas — assume they mean the legendary obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, Jr., a doctor known for the delivery of at least 10,000 Minnesota babies in the Land of 10,000 Lakes over the last 45 years.

But in 1994 another Dr. Crutchfield arrived on the scene in Eagan, Minnesota. He too goes by the name of Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, but he is known as the third (III) and is the son of Dr. Crutchfield, Jr, who he calls Dad.

Dr. Crutchfield, III is a board-certified dermatologist, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and medical director of his own Crutchfield Dermatology Clinic in Eagan, MN. He is a native Minnesotan, born in Minneapolis and raised in the Highland Park area of St. Paul the oldest of five siblings, attending Highland Park and Minnehaha Academy high schools.

After high school, Crutchfield, III attended Carlton College in Northfield, MN, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He later graduated from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine with both a master’s degree in molecular biology and a doctoral degree (M.D.) in medicine. His post-graduate medical training included one year at the Gundersen Clinic and a three-year dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor, even as a child,” says Crutchfield, who had a double dose of direct and indirect parental influence on his choice of becoming a doctor. Evidence of that influence is proudly framed in his Eagan, Minnesota office.

It’s a picture of his father (Charles, Jr.) and his mother (Susan) after both had just graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1963. Dr. Crutchfield, III was three years young in the arms of his father, smiling with a stethoscope on his ears listening to his dad’s heartbeat. The proud parents were dressed in their caps and gowns.

Crutchfield, III’s mother, Susan Ellis-Crutchfield, made Minnesota history as the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Minnesota Medical School and the youngest person ever to do so at age 22.

Crutchfield, III is very proud of his family’s legacy and says that his parents blessed him with healthy seeds of thought. Most memorable to him is his parents not asking if he or his siblings were going to college; they asked where they were going to college. “That made a huge difference,” says Crutchfield, III, along with seeing a decorated waste basket covered with logos of different colleges and universities in their home to give them a daily reminder that they were heading to an institution of higher learning someday.

Dr. Crutchfield, III specializes in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, skin cancer and ethnic skin diseases, and to date he says that his current client database totals over 46,000 people. As clinical professor of dermatology at the U of M, teaching medical students, residents, and other clinical physicians, Dr. Crutchfield is a regular speaker at many statewide and national medical conferences.

He is a regular skin expert guest on several radio and television programs including CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. With a staff of 41 people, Dr. Crutchfield, III is the official dermatologist for both the Minnesota Vikings football and Minnesota Twins baseball teams.

Asked what a professional sports team needs with a board-certified dermatologist, Crutchfield explains, “There are always skin concerns, anything from sunburn to changing moles. Athletes get fungal and viral infections all of the time. Certain athletes slide and skin their legs up real bad and need attention so that it doesn’t get infected. All humans will have skin conditions and need a dermatologist, including athletes.”

Asked if the rising use of Botox has increased his patient load, Crutchfield says, “I have two businesses within my practice. There is the medical practice and the other is cosmetic. One is a need and the other is a want.”

Although appointments are out as far as four to six months for both the medical and the cosmetic practices, Crutchfield says that every day there are three emergency slots for those new or regular patients needing immediate attention.

Dr. Crutchfield, III has received many awards and national recognitions such as the “Karis” humanitarian award from the Mayo Clinic, the “Editor’s Award” from the Dermatology Nurses Association, and the “Gold Triangle Award” from the American Academy of Dermatology. In recent months he has been featured as an expert in Essence Magazine (November 2011 issue) and selected by Black Enterprise, Minnesota Monthly, and Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazines as a top doctor.

When asked how Black Enterprise magazine came up with the ranking system nationwide, Dr. Crutchfield, III replied, “I asked them and they said they conducted a systematic survey of hospitals and clinics around the country. They asked them the question, ‘If you or a family member had a skin condition, who would you send them to?’ It was compiled from all 50 states, and there you have it.

“I can’t take the credit alone,” Crutchfield adds. “It’s my team of 41 staff members. I just lead the team.” According to Crutchfield, III, his top doctors and heroes are his mother and father.

While courting his wife Laurie, who works as the clinic’s director of financial affairs and website adviser, they watched Eyes on the Prize narrated by Julian Bond. In addition to being a wholesome dating experience, the series that chronicled the civil rights struggles in America helped Dr. Crutchfield, III realize that we stand on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for African Americans like him to have a better opportunity to succeed.

For more information about Crutchfield Dermatology, visit them on the Internet at or call 651-209-3600. 

James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader responses to

Communities, doctors and drug companies can help reduce healthcare disparities

Charles CrutchfieldBy Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD


Last week in this column we discussed how individuals and their families can help reduce healthcare disparities by developing and executing Personal Health Plans (PHPs). This week we look at other players who can contribute to this effort


Community programs

For individuals without immediate family willing to participate, the community can help. Local community centers and other organizations like the YMCA and YWCA and even religious organizations and churches have done a great job in the past, and they should continue to develop and refine support programs to assist those in need to follow their PHPs.

These organizations can also assist in healthcare access by organizing transportation to eliminate barriers to getting to medical appointments. For organizations with available resources, they can also offer supportive nutritional and female african american nurse with family patientsfitness programs. Organizations that have made similar commitments are already reaping dividends for their members and the community at-large.


Physicians and medical schools

Physicians and medical schools must continue to emphasize and develop better preventive care programs rather that the “repairative medicine” emphasized in the past.  While most have done a fine job promoting preventive medicine, it’s time to promote the development of a formal PHP, in writing, for all patients to follow for good health.

The PHP should be in a format that is easily retrieved and reviewed. The medical community should develop a gentle and friendly monitoring system to assist patients in following their PHPs and to help overcome barriers that prevent patients from doing so. Government funding could be available to help defray the cost of these monitoring systems.

Finally, the PHP should contain an advance directive. These are instructions and what kind of medical care you would want to receive if you were unable to communicate. Some advanced directives also designate a person to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated. Physicians should make sure all PHPs contain an advanced directive. An inordinate amount of money is spent in the last year of life as a result of not having an advanced directive. This will go a long way in improving the quality of care for all.


Pharmaceutical companies

Pharmaceutical companies can help narrow the disparity gap by offering medicines at reasonable prices. Nobody has even tried to defend why a pill costs five times more in the Unites States than the same pill costs in other countries.

As the government is the largest purchaser of prescription medicines, it should use that buying power to insist on discounts for volume purchases and pass that on to the consumer. For the same reason giant retailers like Walmart get the best volume pricing from supwpliers, the government should be paying the lowest possible retail prices for medicines. Any reduction in the cost of medicines directly reduces healthcare disparities.


Increasing access to physicians

And patients need access to their physician, which is becoming an increasing problem. While legislation alone cannot guarantee meaningful access to a person’s doctor of choice — a critical element to successfully maintained health — our elected officials have a growing impact on whether patients have that access.

Funding to attract doctors to underserved areas, funding for transportation for those in need to travel to or be visited by their doctor, and legislating access for the widest pool of physicians are immediate and direct means to reducing healthcare disparities and improving overall health.


Next week: How insurance companies, elected officials and the media can also help reduce health disparities.

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD is a board certified dermatologist and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also has a private practice in Eagan, MN. He has been selected as one of the top 10 dermatologists in the U.S. by Black Enterprise magazine and one of the top 21 African American physicians in the U.S. by the Atlanta Post. Dr. Crutchfield is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians,

Dr. Crutchfield in Mpls St. Paul Magazine

Dr. CrutchfieldAsk a Derm

by Taylor Selcke

Dr. Charles Crutchfield of Crutchfield Dermatology in Eagan shares his advice on seeking treatment for those pesky skin problems.


What patient problems do you commonly treat?

Our clinic sees a wide range of issues pertaining to skin, hair, and nails. In addition to medical concerns, our skin and medi-spa performs a comprehensive range of aesthetic medical treatments to improve appearance, especially in the areas of the face, neck, and hands and in addressing cellulite.

Why should a patient use caution when thinking about seeking skin care–related treatment outside of a traditional dermatology office?

The difference could realistically mean the difference between healthy, quality results and years of difficulty and discomfort. A dermatology clinic should be visited any time a patient has a concern that requires treatments or medicines regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The most important consideration for any aesthetic treatment is the expertise and experience of the person performing it, not the advertised price.

How can patients avoid trips to the dermatologist’s office in the first place?

I am a major proponent of sunscreen as one of the most effective ways to protect skin. I also recommend quality moisturizers, especially in the dry months, and quality minerals for individuals who wear makeup.

Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

The Weather Channel

The weather is getting warmer and another Jersey Shore spinoff show is in the works. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to work on your tan.

Of course, if you’re among the one million Americans who frequent tanning salons each day, the winter probably didn’t stop you from reaching that ideal level of tan. Continue reading Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

Ten ways to add 10 years to your life

1) Get an annual physical examination. 

Make sure it is from a doctor you are familiar with, and try to maintain continuity of care by scheduling an examination with the same doctor every year. The examination should include the standard blood tests for your age including, but not limited to, the evaluation of blood sugar, thyroid and cholesterol.

Your physical examination should also evaluate blood pressure, weight, listen to your heart and lungs, and include a full skin exam. Women, specifically, should schedule a Pap smear and mammogram, if appropriate. Men, specifically, should have an age-appropriate prostate evaluation.

If you have not had a general medical examination in the past one year, it is time. Ask your doctor how often you should schedule future examinations. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about planning to evaluate your hearing, vision and dental health.


2) Keep total cholesterol below 200. 

This can be achieved with diet, exercise, and/or, if necessary, prescription medications. Have your doctor review your ratio of HDL/LDL cholesterol with you, too.


3) Keep blood pressure below 125/75. 

Your doctor may even recommend a slightly different number. This can be done with diet, exercise, and/or, if necessary, prescription medications.


4) Keep blood sugar below 100. 

This can be done with diet, exercise, and/or, if necessary, prescription medications.

5) Keep weight less than 20% of average of your height. 

For most men, this means keeping weight under 200 pounds, and for most women under 170 pounds. Your doctor can give you the exact weight figure most appropriate for you.


6) Exercise at least 20 minutes per day four to five times per week. 

The benefits of regular exercise are that it reduces cholesterol, improves arthritis, reduces gouts, prevents heart disease, helps diabetes, promotes circulation, improves energy and improves mental ability.


7) Do not drink or use drugs while driving, fishing, swimming, or boating.  


8) Do not smoke. 

This is probably the worst health habit that leads to more preventable health problems than any other single item.


9) Do not keep guns accessible to those who will misuse them.  

This especially means loaded guns that could lead to the death of children, grandchildren, spouses, or relatives. If guns are kept in the house, keep them unloaded and ammunition in a separate place or keep them in a secure safe.


10. Practice safe driving habits. 

Wear seatbelts at all times in the car, no matter what speed you are going, and do not take them off until the car is at a dead stop. Never text and drive.


Charles E. Crutchfield II, MD, is a graduate of University of Minnesota Medical School and has been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist for 35 years in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He has been the president of numerous organizations, has served as assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and has won numerous lifetime achievement and community service awards.  

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a practicing dermatologist in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (Crutchfield Dermatology). He is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine and is a professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.


Why should anyone care about warts?


By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD 


Warts are rough surface bumps that can occur mainly on the hands and feet but may occur anywhere on the body. Warts can be very tender, painful, can get infected, and are transmissible. Some warts can be associated with a certain type of reproductive cancer. Because this is an infectious disease with other healthcare ramifications, most warts should be treated. Discuss treatment options with your doctor.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus. There are over 100 subtypes of the human papilloma virus. Some subtypes, such as those that cause genital and cervical warts, can be associated with a higher rate of cancerous transformation. Warts are an infection spread by contact with the wart or surfaces harboring the virus (shower floors, for example).


How common are warts?

Warts are exceedingly common. There are at least seven types of warts including common warts, flat warts, plantar (foot) warts, mosaic warts (large clusters), periungual warts, and genital warts.


How are warts diagnosed?

Warts can be diagnosed by their rough surface and small tiny black dots within them, which represent tiny blood vessels with clots. Warts can also be diagnosed via biopsy.


Can warts be prevented?

Warts can be prevented. Warts are transmitted by contact, especially in the areas of small cracks in the skin. Wear foot protection like flip-flops around common showering areas. Treat the warts on your hands to prevent their spread when touching others. There’s also a new vaccine for the prevention of warts associated with cervical cancer.


How are warts treated?

Warts are notoriously difficult to treat. In order to treat warts, doctors must recruit your own immune system to do a better job at detecting cells infected with the wart virus. There is nothing a doctor can directly do to get rid of warts. The key is to irritate the area where the warts are so the viral proteins are exposed, and the patient’s immune system can do a better job recognizing and attacking infected cells.

In fact, a significant amount of normal skin around a wart has the viral infection present. The key is to expose the viral proteins to stimulate the immune system. This can be done by freezing, lasers, immune stimulators, or topical preparations.

The list of things to treat warts is a mile long, and that means nothing works exceptionally well. In our clinic, we use a combination of salicylic acid in a special cream with laser and/or freezing treatments.


Action steps 

Always wear foot protection in common showering areas and athletic venues.

Treat your hand warts so they don’t spread to other people when touching.

If you are a woman, discuss with your physician the appropriateness of the HPV vaccine.

Try over-the-counter remedies first — many can be successful. Ask your pharmacist for help.

If warts are not responding or spreading, consult your physician.


Remember, warts are very difficult to treat. Treatment success is dependent on your immune system waking up and getting rid of the infected cells. Sometimes patience, discomfort and several treatments are necessary for success.


Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a practicing dermatologist in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (Crutchfield Dermatology). He is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine and is a professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.