My Blog
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
February 19, 2021
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Dermatologist   Mole  
When To See a Dermatologist for a Mole
Worried that all those years of sunbathing have caught up with you? Do you have a family history of skin cancer? If so, these might be reasons to turn to a dermatologist every year for skin cancer screenings. These dermatology screenings can help us catch cancerous lesions early on when they are highly treatable. Of course, you should also be performing your own monthly examinations, checking your skin from head to scalp, to look for skin cancer. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for,

Remember Your ABCDEs

This easy-to-remember acronym will help you spot those signs of skin cancer whenever you examine moles yourself. This is what it stands for,
  • A is for asymmetry: A healthy mole will be perfectly circular and symmetrical. If you find that half of the mole is shaped differently from the other half, this could be a sign of pre-cancerous growth.
  • B is for a border: A healthy mole will have a clearly defined border. If the mole has a jagged or an even or poorly defined border, it’s time to visit your dermatologist.
  • C is for color: A healthy mole will remain a singular color throughout your life. If the mole changes color or develops multiple colors this could be a sign of skin cancer.
  • D is for diameter: A healthy mole is typically smaller than a pencil eraser (under 5mm). Moles over 5mm, or larger than a pencil eraser, may be cause for concern. Large moles warrant seeing a dermatologist.
  • E is for evolving: A healthy mole will remain the same over the course of your lifetime. So, if you notice it changing at all then it’s worth having a dermatologist look at it.
Lookout for These Moles, Too

Along with remembering your ABCDEs, it’s also a good idea to look for,
  • New moles: Just because you develop a new mole doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cancerous; however, if you start noticing any new moles developing past the age of 20 (particularly on the face, neck, shoulder, or other sun-exposed areas), this warrants an evaluation with a skincare professional.
  • Troublesome moles: Do you have a mole that bleeds, itches, crusts over, or is painful or tender? If so, the mole should be checked out.
If you have a growth that has you concerned, a skin doctor can easily examine and biopsy the growth to determine if it’s cancerous. If it is, we offer a variety of treatment options that can remove the cancerous growth and help you get back to living your life.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
February 10, 2021
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Lupus  
LupusLupus is an autoimmune disorder that leads to widespread inflammation and pain. Lupus can affect multiple systems and organs in the body, but the skin tends to be one of the most common organs affected by this chronic disease. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, around two-thirds of people with lupus will experience some kind of lupus-related skin issue. Some people are dealing with cutaneous lupus only, while others are dealing with cutaneous lupus along with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (the most common form of lupus).
 
Skin lupus can produce these skin problems,
 
A butterfly rash: This “malar” rash is a classic symptom of lupus. This purplish-red rash spreads over the bridge of the nose to the cheeks and looks similar in shape to a butterfly. A butterfly rash may look similar to a very bad flush or it may even be scaly, in more severe cases. Some people may mistake this for rosacea.
 
Rashes and sores: It’s also common for lesions and red, inflamed patches of scaly skin to develop with lupus. These rashes and sores are usually found on the face, scalp, ears, or other sun-exposed areas. While these sores typically aren’t painful, they can cause scarring (especially if they develop on the scalp). This is why it’s important to see a dermatologist if you are dealing with a recurring or persistent rash or sore.
 
Subacute cutaneous lesions: These small, scaly papules are caused by UV light. Unlike discoid lesions, which can cause scarring, subacute cutaneous lesions will not scar. These lesions are typically red and circular and develop on areas of the skin most often exposed to the sun.
 
Other symptoms associated with lupus include,
  • Sores in the mouth and nose (mucous membrane sores)
  • Hair loss, sometimes caused by discoid lesions
  • Purple spots (due to broken blood vessels) on the legs
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with cutaneous lupus or SLE, or you are experiencing a butterfly rash or other symptoms of lupus, you must visit your dermatologist as soon as possible for an evaluation. A dermatologist can easily identify lupus and provide you with solutions to help you get symptoms under control.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
January 26, 2021
Category: Skin Condition
Cold sores are small, painful blisters that develop on the lips and around the mouth. These sores are caused by a viral infection known as herpes simplex. More specifically, Herpes Simplex Type 1 is typically the cause of cold sores. This condition is very common, affecting around 67% of the global population. Here’s what you should know about cold sores, including how to treat them when they surface.
 
How did I get cold sores?

Cold sores are highly contagious, so it is possible to get a cold sore from,
  • Kissing an infected person
  • Sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass as an infected person
  • Oral sex
While the herpes simplex virus is typically considered a sexually transmitted disease when it comes to cold sores many cases of HSV1 are passed between family members. If you have a parent or grandparent who has cold sores who has also kissed you or shared food and drink items with you, then chances are good that you got your cold sore from them.
 
What are the symptoms of a cold sore?

Before a blister even develops, you may notice burning, tingling, pain, or itching around the affected area of the lip. If this is your first time dealing with a cold sore, it is common for the first outbreak to be the worst. In this case, you may develop a fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms.
 
The cold sore itself may look like a cluster of blisters or an inflamed, open sore. Eventually, the blister will scab over and go away, usually in about two weeks.
 
How can I treat a cold sore?

When it comes to treating a cold sore, you can find simple over-the-counter creams that help to ease symptoms. If you deal with severe cold sore outbreaks you may wish to talk with your dermatologist about a prescription antiviral medication, that can help to reduce the length of your outbreak and reduce symptom severity.
 
Are cold sores and canker sores the same thing?

Cold sores and canker sores can often be mistaken for each other, but they are not the same. First, cold sores usually develop on the lips while canker sore cause painful sores to develop in the mouth. Secondly, cold sores are due to a virus while we still don’t know exactly what causes canker sores.
 
If you are dealing with cold sores your dermatologist can provide you with both over-the-counter and prescription options, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you have questions about cold sores, call your dermatologist today.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
January 12, 2021
Category: Skin Condition
Molluscum ContagiosumMolluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that most commonly affects children under 10 years old, that causes hard, raised red bumps known as papules to develop on the skin. These papules usually develop in clusters on the armpits, groins, or back of the knees, but can develop just about anywhere on the body. If you suspect that your child might have molluscum contagiosum here’s what you should know,

How is molluscum contagiosum contracted?

You may be wondering how your child contracted this poxvirus. There are several ways to transmit this viral infection: skin-to-skin contact, sharing items such as towels or clothes, sexual transmission (in adults), and scratching your own lesions (this can lead to further spreading of the papules).

It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to develop symptoms after exposure. Once a child or person has molluscum contagiosum they typically aren’t infected again in the future.

How is this condition diagnosed?

If you notice any bumps on your child that persist for days, you must consult your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. A simple dermatoscopy (a painless, non-invasive procedure that allows your dermatologist to examine a skin lesion or growth) can determine whether the papule is due to molluscum contagiosum. If MC is not suspected, your dermatologist may biopsy the bump for further evaluation.

How is molluscum contagiosum treated?

Since this is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment option. In fact, the body simply needs time to fight the virus. Your dermatologist may just tell you to wait until the infection runs its course and clears up on its own.

If the papules are widespread and affecting your teen’s appearance and self-esteem, then you may wish to talk with a dermatologist about ways to get rid of the spots. Cryotherapy or certain creams may be recommended to treat and get rid of these spots.

If you are living with others, it’s important to avoid sharing any clothing or towels with the infected child or person. Make sure that your child does not scratch the bumps, which can lead to further spreading of the infection.

If your child is dealing with a rash, raised bumps, or any skin problems and you’re not sure what’s going on, it’s best to talk with a qualified dermatologist who can easily diagnose the issue and provide you with effective solutions for how to treat it.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
December 18, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Lichen Planus  
Lichen PlanusLichen planus is an autoimmune disorder that attacks both the skin and mucous membranes inside the mouth. This chronic condition causes flat, itchy reddish-purple bumps to develop on the skin (mostly the wrists, ankles, and forearm) and white, painful sores to develop within the mouth and sometimes the genitals. This condition cannot be spread from person to person and mild itching and other symptoms are often managed through simple home care; however, if you are dealing with severe symptoms it’s important to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

What causes lichen planus?

Lichen planus is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. In fact, it typically appears when the immune system starts attacking the skin or mucous membrane. Certain things can trigger it including:
  • Certain OTC pain medications (e.g. ibuprofen)
  • Medications used for arthritis, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Viral infections
  • Certain allergens
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Certain chemicals or metals
Those with autoimmune disorders may also be more likely to develop lichen planus. The good news though is that this condition is not dangerous.

Should I see a dermatologist?

If you have developed a purple rash or bumps that resemble lichen planus it’s worth it to pay a visit to your dermatologist to find out what’s going on, especially if you notice any unusual bumps on the genitals.

To determine that you do have lichen planus, we will need to biopsy some skin cells to diagnose lichen planus and to also determine whether it’s being caused by an underlying infection or an allergen. From there, further testing may be needed.

How is lichen planus treated?

So, you found out from your dermatologist that you have lichen planus. Now what? In some cases, this condition may just go away on its own; however, it’s important to recognize that there is no cure for lichen planus but there are ways to help alleviate certain symptoms such as burning or pain. Common treatment options that your dermatologist can recommend or prescribe include,
  • Antihistamines: To help with itching
  • Corticosteroid creams: To reduce inflammation and redness
  • Oral or injectable steroids: This treatment is more effective for persistent, recurring, or more severe bumps
  • Photochemotherapy: Light therapy can be effective for treating oral lichen planus
Dealing with dark itchy bumps that have you wondering whether you could be dealing with lichen planus or another skin disorder? If so, a dermatologist will easily be able to diagnose your skin condition, usually through a simple physical exam. If you are experiencing symptoms of lichen planus, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist today.




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