Posts for category: Skin Care
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
May 24, 2021
When was the last time you saw a dermatologist? We’re pretty sure most people don’t know or perhaps have never stepped foot inside a dermatologist’s office; however, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than two people die every hour in the US from skin cancer. This is why everyone needs to visit their dermatologist for regular skin exams and skin cancer screenings.
What should I expect from a skin cancer screening?
There is nothing uncomfortable, painful, or invasive about a skin cancer screening. This can be a relief to know and may even make someone more likely to come in for the screening they need. A skin cancer screening involves a simple, non-invasive visual examination that is performed by a qualified dermatologist. Your skin doctor will examine all growths, moles, and birthmarks to check for any changes in shape, color, size, or texture that could be warning signs of cancer.
Just as with any health screening, a skin cancer screening can help your dermatologist detect skin cancer during the very early stages when it’s highly treatable. If your dermatologist does detect a suspicious growth, they may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy simply means that your dermatologist will remove a small amount of tissue from the area to test for cancer cells.
Who should get a skin cancer screening?
Everyone can benefit from a skin cancer screening; however, certain risk factors can increase your odds of developing skin cancer over your lifetime. It’s important to know your risk level so you can talk with your dermatologist about how often you should come in for screenings. Those at increased risk may need to come in more than once a year. These risk factors include,
- Being fair-skinned
- Having blonde or red hair
- Light eyes
- Skin that burns or freckles easily
- A history of sunburns
- Family history of skin cancer
- Extensive sun exposure (e.g. working outdoors)
If it’s been more than a year since your last skin cancer screening you must schedule your exam with a dermatologist as soon as possible. While wearing sunscreen and protecting your skin from the sun can certainly help, it’s still necessary to see a dermatologist at least once a year.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
May 06, 2021
From coming in contact with poison ivy to dealing with a high dose of stress, there are many reasons a rash might appear. Most of the time, a rash will go away on its own without treatment; however, it’s also important to recognize when a rash may warrant turning to a dermatologist for treatment.
What causes rashes?
There are so many reasons why a rash may surface. Rashes may be the result of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, or it could be caused by an allergy. Common causes of a rash include,
- Atopic or contact dermatitis
- Pityriasis rosea
- Insect bites and stings
- Poison ivy, oak, or sumac
- Diaper rash
- Lichen planus
- Allergy to a drug/medication
How do I treat a rash?
Most rashes are mild, self-limiting, and can be treated on your own without having to turn to a doctor. Some ways to ease a rash and promote faster healing is by,
- Using only gentle cleansers and soaps that do not contain harsh chemicals or fragrances
- Avoiding hot water and only using lukewarm or cold water
- Being gentle when cleansing, bathing, and handling the skin
- Not covering the rash (let it breathe)
- Using only unscented products
- Applying calamine lotion to control itching
- Using hydrocortisone cream to reduce itchiness, swelling, and redness
- Not scratching the rash, as this can lead to an infection
When should I see a dermatologist about my rash?
It’s important to recognize when a rash probably requires medical attention. You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if,
- The rash is widespread and takes over most of your body (this could be a sign of an allergic reaction, which requires immediate attention)
- The rash is spreading quickly and suddenly
- Your rash is accompanied by a fever (this is often a sign of serious infection)
- The rash is painful or contains blisters
- There are signs of infection such as oozing, crusting, or skin that’s warm to the touch
Dealing with a rash that is painful or causing your concern? If in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist. We can discuss your symptoms over the phone and determine whether you should come in for a consultation.
By Steven M Weissman MD PLLC
February 19, 2021
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
December 18, 2020
Tags: Lichen Planus
Lichen 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
- 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.
As kids, we dealt with that notoriously itchy rash caused by chickenpox. Unfortunately, as we get older, the same virus that caused our childhood chickenpox can also cause shingles. If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, then that same virus is lying dormant within the body. This means that at some point during your lifetime, the virus does have the ability to reactivate, causing a painful, blistering rash on the stomach and sides. This is known as shingles.
Think You Have Shingles?
If you notice a blister-like rash developing on one side of the body it’s possible that you could have shingles. If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see a doctor.
Those over the age of 60 years old as well as those with chronic conditions such as diabetes are more at risk for complications related to shingles, so you must seek immediate dermatology care from a qualified doctor. A dermatologist can also rule out other possible conditions or infections.
For the antiviral medication to be most effective, you must see a doctor right away if you think you have shingles. The most common types of antiviral medications used to treat shingles include acyclovir and valacyclovir. These antivirals can speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
There are also simple home remedies that you can use to ease discomfort associated with the rash. Some of these remedies include:
- Applying cold compresses to the rash
- Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath
- Wearing light, loose-fitted clothing that won’t rub against the rash
- Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
- Managing stress effectively and finding ways to help you relax
- Eating healthy, balanced meals
- Getting good quality sleep every night
The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine that can protect you against this infection. If you are over the age of 50, you could benefit from the shingles vaccine so ask your doctor. The vaccine can protect you from shingle for up to five years.
If you are worried that you might have shingles, or if you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should get the shingles vaccine, a qualified dermatologist will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the custom dermatology treatment you need to ease your symptoms.