Do you have a mole? Chances are good that you have few of them, actually. The average person has around 30-40 moles, and while moles are usually nothing to worry about it is important to be able to spot any changes that could be warning signs of skin cancer. That’s why you should perform self-exams every month to check the state of your moles. Just because they could be harmless doesn’t mean you should ignore them.
A mole that develops after the age of 30, a mole that bleeds or a changing mole could be a sign of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. This is why it’s important to check your moles regularly. When found early, melanoma is highly treatable. When it comes to pinpointing melanoma your dermatologist may teach you about the ABCDE's of skin cancer:
Asymmetry: If you were to draw a line down the middle of a mole both sides would be completely symmetrical; however, an asymmetrical mole could be a sign of melanoma.
Border: Melanoma is more likely to produce growths that have jagged or poorly defined edges.
Color: Healthy moles are usually a single color, while melanoma will often contain different colors or dark spots.
Diameter: Most healthy moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. If you notice that one or more moles are getting bigger you should speak to your dermatologist.
Evolution: Moles stay relatively the same over time; therefore, if you notice any changes to the size, color, shape, or texture then it’s time to consult with a skincare professional.
Of course, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer to be on the lookout for. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas often present as waxy-looking pale bumps on the skin, often on the head or neck, while squamous cells feel like firm nodules that may be smooth at first but become scaly.
Even if you aren’t noticing changes in your moles it’s still a good idea to schedule a skin cancer screening with your dermatologist once a year. Those at an increased risk for skin cancer may want to discuss coming in more often for exams. This exam is non invasive and could just save your life. If you’ve never had a skin cancer screening before it’s high time that you scheduled one.
Do you have itchy, scaly rashes? If so, you could have eczema, a common skin condition that could be effectively treated by your dermatologist. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and it can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to harsh chemicals. Dry skin can also affect your skin’s ability to form a barrier to allergens, which can lead to eczema. Another common cause of eczema is genetics. If someone in your family suffers from eczema, it increases your chances of developing eczema as well. Immune system problems can also cause eczema.
Both adults and children can develop eczema, however, children are most often affected, especially before they reach the age of five. Eczema develops into a chronic skin condition, with intermittent flare-ups. These flare-ups can often be accompanied by hay fever or asthma.
There are many common signs and symptoms of eczema, including:
- Reddish-brown patches on your feet, hands, ankles, knees, chest, elbows, face, and scalp
- Chronic, severe itching which often worsens at night
- Inflamed, raw, red, sensitive, and swollen skin
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin patches on various areas of your body
- Bumps appearing on your skin which drain fluid and crust over later
For mild cases of eczema, there are a few simple home remedies you can try, including:
- Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications
- Smoothing calamine or other anti-itch lotion over your skin
- Applying moisturizer when you take a shower
- Applying cool, wet dressings and bandages to affected areas
- Taking a warm baking soda or oatmeal bath
- Placing a humidifier in your home to moisten dry air
- Wearing breathable, cool, cotton clothing
For moderate to severe cases of eczema, you should visit your dermatologist. There are several effective professional treatments your dermatologist may recommend, such as:
- Prescription-strength oral and topical medications to stop itching
- Antibiotic medications to eliminate any underlying infection
- Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain
- Corticosteroid dressings to reduce inflammation
- Natural light or ultraviolet therapy to reduce or eliminate skin patches
You don’t have to suffer with eczema when relief is just a phone call away. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eczema by calling your dermatologist today!
We all would like to find that magical solution that would keep us looking young forever. Of course, while we certainly haven’t found the Fountain of Youth just yet, advancements in cosmetic dermatology are coming impressively close. If you are looking for a fast, simple, and non-invasive way to smooth away facial lines and wrinkles, talk with our dermatologist about whether Botox could give you the results you want.
What is Botox?
Botox is a purified, medical-grade neurotoxin that is injected directly into muscle groups of the face. When Botox is injected into the muscles, it reduces the brain-sent signals that cause the muscles to contract. As a result, this cosmetic treatment prevents muscle contractions, thus temporarily reducing the appearance of dynamic lines and wrinkles.
Botox can be used to smooth away wrinkles between the brows, on the foreheads, around the eyes (crow’s feet), and the mouth (“laugh lines”). In fact, any lines or wrinkles that are accentuated when you frown or smile can often be treated with Botox.
What is it like to get Botox treatment?
Botox is non-invasive and doesn’t require surgery or other aggressive techniques. It only takes our skin doctor a couple of minutes to administer Botox, and these thin needles are well-tolerated by our patients.
Additionally, there is absolutely no downtime associated with receiving Botox, allowing many patients to come in for treatment and return right back to work and their daily routine immediately after. It only takes about 10 minutes to administer Botox and side effects are minimal.
What kind of results should I expect with Botox?
You won’t see results immediately, as it will take the body time to respond to treatment. Most people will see results within 3-4 days and results can last anywhere from 4-6 months. If you’re happy with your results and wish they would last longer, then you can talk with your cosmetic dermatologist about how often you should come in for maintenance treatments.
Whether you have questions about receiving Botox treatment or if you want to find out if you are the ideal candidate for treatment, don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist’s office today to schedule a consultation.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.
What Causes Melanoma?
The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.
Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:
- Fair skin
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood
- Family history of melanoma
- More than 50 moles on the skin
- Several freckles
- Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily
Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
- An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade
Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.
Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.
The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can really take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may actually indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10 percent of all skin conditions, affecting a large number of older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be effectively treated with proper diagnosis from a dermatologist.
Mirror on Health
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by changes in the nails, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes and anemia. That’s why it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes in your nails.
Basic Nail Care
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but with basic nail care, you can help keep your fingernails and toenails looking and feeling great. Here’s how:
Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from building up under the nail.
Cut fingernails and toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and trauma.
Avoid tight-fitting footwear.
Apply an anti-fungal foot powder daily or when needed.
Avoid biting and picking fingernails, as infectious organisms can be transferred between the fingers and mouth.
Wear gloves to protect your fingernails when doing yard work or cleaning house to protect the nails from harsh chemicals and trauma.
When in doubt about self-treatment for nail problems, visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care.
Always notify a dermatologist of nail irregularities, such as swelling, pain or change in shape or color of the nail. Remember, your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, and a dermatologist can help determine the appropriate treatment for any of your nail problems.
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