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.
Noticing a suspicious mole?
When was the last time you put on sunscreen? If you didn’t say this morning or yesterday then we might have a problem. Apart from turning to your dermatologist once a year for skin cancer screenings, there are definitely things you can be doing every day to reduce your risk for skin cancer during your lifetime. One of them is to check your own skin regularly to look for new or changing moles that could be signs of melanoma.
“See Something, Say Something”
Here’s what to look for when performing your own skin check,
New moles: By the age of 30, you should already have all the moles that you’re going to have. So, if you notice any new moles or growths cropping up where there was nothing before, it might be time to have a dermatologist check it out.
Oddly shaped moles: Healthy moles are asymmetrical, which means that you could draw an imaginary line down the mole and both halves would look identical. Asymmetrical moles are more likely to be precancerous or cancerous, so it’s a good idea to have them checked out by a skin care professional.
Moles without borders: Healthy moles have a clearly defined border or outline while moles that are cancerous are more likely to have an irregular or poorly defined border. If your mole doesn’t have a clearly defined shape, it’s time to see your dermatologist.
Moles with multiple colors: While healthy moles will range in color from skin-colored to nearly black, it’s important that your moles are one color. If you notice a mole that contains multiple colors, particularly one, pink or blue, schedule an immediate evaluation with your skin doctor.
Moles that change: Moles should stay relatively the same over time, which also means that you probably shouldn’t notice them much; however, if a mole hurts, is red or swollen, crusts over, bleeds or oozes, these are also signs of a problem.
Even if everything looks great, you should still schedule an annual skin cancer screening with your dermatologist just to play it safe. After all, skin cancer is one of the leading cancers in the US. These annual screenings offer early detection of skin cancer, which also means a swifter treatment and a higher cure rate. Call your dermatologist today to make sure you don’t miss out on your annual skin cancer screening.
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.
When should you turn to a dermatologist?
Minor skin, hair or nail issues may be treated by your general physician; however, they won’t have the same expertise and knowledge as a dermatologist. After all, a dermatologist is a medical specialist who understands the complex inner workings and function of the hair, skin and nails. This also means more knowledgeable, well-rounded care. Here are just some of the top benefits of turning to a dermatologist.
They Can Help You Get Acne Under Control
Acne is certainly not an easy thing to treat and sometimes over-the-counter options just aren’t enough. Luckily, a dermatologist understands the different causes of acne and can provide the proper treatment based on whether your acne is due to hormones, bacteria or inflammation. A dermatologist can also prescribe stronger oral and topical medications, as well as other therapies and treatments options to improve your acne-prone skin.
They Can Detect Skin Cancer Early
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that must be detected early. The best way to detect both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer is through annual skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist. They are painless and only take a couple of minutes. A screening simply involves examining your skin from head to toe, checking for any suspicious growths or moles that may require further testing.
They Can Treat Hair Loss
Skin isn’t the only thing that dermatologists are experts in, they also know hair and nails. So if you are dealing with hair loss you may want to turn to a dermatologist for answers. After all, hair loss can be distressing and nothing is more important than figuring out what’s causing hair loss so you know how to treat it. Everything from hormones to heredity to certain medical conditions can be to blame, and a dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss and provide a variety of treatment options.
Provide Recommendations and Advice
We all know that when it comes to caring for skin, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Everything from acne and sun damage to wrinkles and eczema can impact the health and appearance of your skin and a dermatologist can provide recommendations and tips customized to fit your needs and skincare goals.
If you are dealing with any injuries, conditions or issues that are impacting the health of your skin, hair or nails, a dermatologist is going to be the ideal medical professional to turn to. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Get the treatment you deserve to get your issues under control.