Posts for category: Skin Care
Most moles are normal, but sun exposure, genetics, and other factors can work to turn a normal mole into an abnormal, even cancerous mole. It’s important to know what to look for in abnormal moles. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole can even protect you from skin cancer.
Moles are caused by skin cells known as melanocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for determining skin color. Melanocytes can clump together, causing a mole to form.
So, when should you worry about a mole?
Abnormal Moles Typically Are:
- Large, usually over 6 millimeters in diameter
- Irregularly shaped, usually with ragged borders
- Asymmetrical, usually not uniform in shape
In Addition, You Need to Watch Out for Moles That Are:
- Itching, burning, or painful
- Bleeding or oozing
- Recurring after being previously removed
You should perform a self-check of your moles regularly, looking for any of the signs and symptoms listed above. In fact, pay attention to any mole that has changed in size, color, height, or shape.
You should also visit your dermatologist regularly, especially if you are at a high risk for skin cancer. People who are at a higher risk of skin cancer:
- Burn easily
- Have fair skin, light hair, and light eyes
- Have a family history of skin cancer
When you visit your dermatologist, your doctor may want to biopsy the mole to check for abnormalities. This means taking a sample of tissue or removing the mole entirely. This can be done several ways, including:
Shaving the mole if the mole is small; this option doesn’t require sutures.
Removal of the mole with an instrument, if the mole is large; this option requires a few sutures.
MOHS micrographic surgery, which removes the mole one layer at a time, and the tissue is examined under a microscope.
Remember to protect yourself against skin damage and skin cancer by always wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 15, or 30 if you are out in the sun for an extended period. Use a higher SPF of 50 and above if you are at high risk for skin cancer.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole, and mole removal options, talk with your dermatologist. Call today.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your skin safe and protected.
Summertime means more fun in the sun while keeping your skin protected during beach days, outdoor runs, and backyard BBQs. Luckily, it’s not all that challenging to keep your skin safe—all it takes is a little know-how. If you have concerns about your skin, you notice changes in a mole or you’re simply looking for the best sunscreen for your skin type, a dermatologist can help.
Apply Sunscreen Daily
Whether the weather is sunny or rainy, you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect against the sun’s damaging UV rays. You’ll want a broad-spectrum sunscreen that states that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply an ample amount of sunscreen (with at least an SPF of 15) to your face and body about 20-30 minutes before going outdoors. Make sure to reapply every two hours (but you may need to reapply sooner if you go swimming or are sweating).
Seek Shade When Outdoors
The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am – 4 pm. While it’s best to avoid being outdoors for any length of time, we also get that you may wish to lie by the pool or at the beach, and you shouldn’t be deprived. In this case, make sure to not only lather on the sunscreen (and keep reapplying) but also stay in the shade. You can sit outside but do so under an umbrella that can block some of the sun’s rays.
Wear a Hat
While wearing sunscreen is necessary for protecting your skin from the sun, it’s also essential that you wear the proper gear. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the garden, walking around the neighborhood, or even chilling on the beach will keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your face, ears, and neck from getting burned.
Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses
The skin around your eyes is incredibly thin and delicate, so you also want to ensure that it’s not getting damaged by the sun (these areas are particularly vulnerable). To block the sun’s rays from damaging your eyes and the skin around your eyes, make sure that you are wearing sunglasses when you’re outdoors. Find sunglasses with lenses that truly block UV rays. It’s worth the investment.
A dermatologist is an ideal specialist for all of your skincare needs, whether it’s time to schedule your annual skin cancer screening or if you have other concerns.
Are you properly caring for your acne-prone skin?
While acne usually appears during puberty, adults well into their 50s can even develop acne. Acne is one of the most common skin problems, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans. Furthermore, the American Academy of Dermatology also reports that almost 85 percent of all people will experience acne. If you’re dealing with acne, then you are most likely looking for ways to get clearer skin. Along with visiting a dermatologist for medications and other treatment options, here are some helpful tips that could improve your acne from the comfort of home.
Avoid Over-Washing Your Face
At the first sign of a pimple, you might feel the need to scrub your face as clean as possible. However, over-washing can strip skin of the essential oils, making acne worse. Plus, acne washes contain strong chemicals which dry out the skin. Try this approach instead: wash acne twice a day with only a mild face wash and lukewarm water. This will help reduce irritation.
Only Use Oil-Free Products
Oil-free cleansers won’t cause acne or clog pores, so they are the best choice for anyone, particularly those prone to acne. When shopping for acne products, look for words like “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic.”
Limit Sun Exposure
The sun’s rays can dry out the skin and aggravate acne. Not to mention sunbathing can cause wrinkles and even skin cancer. If you are using prescription acne medications, you’ll most certainly want to avoid the sun (medicines often come with warning labels about sun exposure), as it can make you more sensitive to UV rays.
Don’t Pick or Touch Your Face
When you notice a pimple, your first inclination might be to pop or squeeze it; however, think twice before touching your skin. Our fingers and hands carry a lot of germs, which only get transferred to the skin. Plus, popping that pesky pimple could only push bacteria further into the skin, causing infection and scarring. Talk to your dermatologist about extractions.
Know Your Treatment Options
Suppose you aren’t happy with how your acne responds to over-the-counter treatments. In that case, a dermatologist has various options, from effective cleansers to hormonal treatments to extractions and antibiotics. We can get you on the road to clearer skin.
If you are having trouble clearing up acne on your own, then a dermatologist will be the ideal medical specialist to help you determine the cause of your acne and how to treat it effectively. If at-home care isn’t effective enough, call your dermatologist for a consultation.
Protect your skin against cancer and spot early warning signs.
Skin cancer remains one of the most prevalent cancers in the US; however, one of the biggest causes of skin cancer is also completely preventable: Exposure to UV light (both natural and artificial) can impact your likelihood of developing skin cancer at some point during your lifetime. While seeing a dermatologist once a year for a skin cancer screening is important, here are some tips that you can start following now to reduce your risk for skin cancer,
Apply Sunscreen Every Day
If you’re going to spend any time out in the sun you need to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and make sure to apply a generous amount (about 1 ounce of sunscreen for the entire body) at least 15 minutes before going outside.
Reapply Sunscreen Throughout the Day
If you’re going to go outside, the best bet is to always apply sunscreen, even if you’re just going for a drive (the sun’s rays can still reach your skin through car windows and the sunroof). Yes, the sun’s rays can even damage your skin on rainy, cloudy and snowy days! If you’re spending a considerable amount of time outdoors (e.g. playing sports or enjoying the beach) you will want to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or immediately after getting out of the water. The same rule applies if you’re sweating. You can never reapply too often!
Know the Best Times to Go Outside
The sun’s rays are most potent between the hours of 10 am-3 pm. This means that you are more likely to get sunburned during these hours (it can take less than 15 minutes to get sunburned). So, if you spend hours outside you can only imagine just how bad this can be on your skin. Limit time in the sun during these hours, or at the very least use an umbrella or seek the shade if you must be outside.
Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
The only way to catch skin cancer early when it’s treatable is by performing self-exams on your body at least once a month. Make sure that you are checking every area of your body, from your scalp to between your toes. After all, while skin cancer most often develops in areas exposed to the sun, this isn’t always the case.
When examining growths and moles you should look for changes in,
Healthy moles stay relatively the same over time, so if you notice any changes that have you concerned then it’s time to schedule a skin cancer evaluation with a dermatologist.
With summer just around the corner, it’s important that you protect your skin from cancer and sun-related damage. If you’ve never gotten a skin cancer screening, it’s a simple, painless checkup performed by a dermatologist, and it shouldn’t be missed.
While there isn’t one treatment that may work best for you (everyone’s skin responds differently to various treatments), a dermatologist can talk to you about multiple ways to improve the appearance of your acne scars. The type of treatment and the results you’ll get will depend on your skin type as well as the severity of your scarring. While no one treatment will get rid of your scars completely, these treatments below (alone or in combination with other treatment options) may provide you with the results you’ll looking for.
Wear Sunscreen Daily
It’s important that everyone apply sunscreen every day to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun, but this is particularly important if you have acne scars. This is a simple habit to adopt that can reduce the contrast between the scars and your skin tone.
Consider Dermal Fillers
While most people think of dermal fillers as a purely cosmetic treatment designed to plump up areas of the skin that have lost volume due to age, dermal fillers can also plump up scarred skin to reduce the appearance of indentations left by these scars. Of course, results are only temporary, so you will need to turn to your dermatologist for follow-up treatments in order to maintain results.
Get Laser Resurfacing
Another popular treatment option that a dermatologist can offer you is laser resurfacing. Laser technology has come a long way, particularly in the field of dermatology. The powerful lasers used can treat everything from sagging skin and wrinkles to hyperpigmentation. This same treatment can also reduce the appearance of acne and other superficial scars. This is a great alternative to dermabrasion, which is a better option for those with more severe acne scars as well as those with darker skin.
Another popular cosmetic treatment, microneedling helps to stimulate collagen production to keep the skin firm and supple. It may also be a simple but effective way to improve the appearance of scars. Since results are subtle, you may need to undergo several treatments to see the results you want.
If you are living with acne scars and want to speak with a dermatologist about your treatment options, then call one today to schedule a consultation.