What is an irregular or atypical mole?
Medically referred to as dysplastic nevi, these irregular moles are benign but having them could put you at an increased risk for developing melanoma over your lifetime. These moles can develop anywhere on the body but are most often found on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Since these moles vary greatly in appearance it’s important to monitor your moles regularly so you can recognize when unusual changes are occurring and call your dermatologist.
What does an irregular mole look like?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) offers a simple ABCDE guideline to follow to be able to spot unusual or suspicious changes in a mole. Here’s what the ABCDEs stand for:
Asymmetry: when the halves of the moles don’t match each other in shape or appearance this could be a sign of a cancerous mole
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you have any concerns about a mole don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist to have it checked out. The sooner melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are detected and removed the better. Of course, everyone can benefit from visiting a dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. You should also be performing self-exams once a month to keep track of your moles.
If you have an irregular mole or a mole that’s changing in appearance, it’s best to play it safe and schedule an evaluation with a dermatologist who can examine the mole to make sure it hasn’t turned cancerous.
Here are some of the top ways a dermatologist may treat facial scarring:
Sometimes, simply injecting collagen or other substances into indented areas of the skin can help to plump up the scar so that it’s more level with the rest of your face. While it won’t make the scar go away it can make it more noticeable. Since results from injectables are temporary, you’ll need to talk with your dermatologist about how often you should come in for treatment.
During a chemical peel, your dermatologist will apply a chemical to the surface of the skin to remove the outermost and often most damaged layer. This can target and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and even scarring. Since chemical peels can be tailored to you and your needs, it may even be a good option for someone who is dealing with deeper scarring.
This is another option for those dealing with deeper facial scarring. Like chemical peels, dermabrasion also removes the outermost layer of skin with a special device or brush. This system is so powerful it may even get rid of superficial scars while also reducing the appearance of more severe scars.
This option has become a popular way to treat a wide range of skin imperfections including facial scarring because it can often provide similar results to dermabrasion but with more advanced and precise technology. However, this option may not be ideal for individuals with darker skin or those who are prone to keloid scars.
If you are interested in treatment options that could lessen the appearance of your scars, a dermatologist is the best specialist to speak to about your options. Call your dermatologist today to learn more.
What are spider veins?
These small raised, swollen, and twisted blood vessels are often red, purple, or blue and are easily seen through the skin. Spider veins most commonly appear on the legs and face.
Are there any symptoms of spider veins?
Both spider and varicose veins often don’t produce any symptoms; however, some people may experience swelling, aching, burning, tingling, or cramping of the legs.
What causes spider veins?
There are a variety of reasons why spider veins may develop including,
- Jobs that require standing for long periods (e.g. nursing)
- Birth control pills
- Medical history of blood clots
Besides the causes above, age and gender also play a role. More women than men develop spider veins. The likelihood of developing spider veins as you age also increases. It’s believed that anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent of adults have spider veins.
What can I do to treat spider veins?
There are many different ways in which a dermatologist can treat spider veins including,
- Recommending support stockings: They can reduce any pain or discomfort associated with spider veins
- Altering your lifestyle: this includes losing weight if necessary, taking care of your skin, and increasing physical activity (which can sometimes help spider veins)
- Sclerotherapy: a common procedure used to remove unsightly spider veins. By injecting saline solution into the vein, the vein will disappear over the next couple of weeks
Dealing with spider veins? Want to get spider vein-free legs that you can wait to show off? If so, it’s the perfect time to turn to your dermatologist to discuss ways of getting rid of your spider veins.
Pick the right moisturizer: Not all moisturizers are created equal but it’s important to quench your skin, particularly if it’s dry. Therefore, when you purchase a moisturizer look for one that contains lanolin or petroleum. These agents help to lock in moisture.
Other helpful ingredients to be on the lookout for include urea or lactic acid, which helps the skin hold water. However, those with eczema or sensitive skin may experience some stinging when applying products that contain lactic acid or urea.
Skip hot, steaming shower: While a hot shower after a long day might sound like heaven, it definitely won’t be for your skin. Hot water strips your skin of that much-needed moisture. The same goes for when you wash for face. Use warm water instead of hot and don’t linger in the shower.
Shave less frequently: Shaving can certainly be rough on skin, particularly if it is already dry. Therefore, it might be best to shave less frequently, if you can get away with it. On the days you do need to shave be sure to be generous with your shaving cream and to stick with warm, and not hot, water.
Use a humidifier: If you notice that your skin experiences more intense dryness during the winter months, then it might be time to invest in a humidifier. This household product can help add moisture back into the air, so your environment doesn’t suck all the healthy moisture from your skin.
Consider prescription medications: If you are suffering from extremely dry skin, then commercial moisturizers and other local drugstore skincare products just won’t cut it. You need to see your dermatologist for a topical prescription. We can prescribe corticosteroids and other medications that can help relieve the annoying itching and redness you experience with seriously dry skin. If over-the-counter products aren’t helping, talk to your dermatologist.
When to See a Dermatologist
It might seem strange to see a dermatologist for dry skin, but if your dry skin is severe, making you feel miserable and uncomfortable, or not responding to at-home treatments then it may be worth turning to a dermatologist for more effective treatment options.
Don’t let dry skin get you down this season when there are so many ways to get it under control. Remember that if dry skin and other issues are impacting your health, appearance, and confidence, a dermatologist can be the ideal doctor to help you feel better fast.
How is vitiligo treated?
There is currently no cure for vitiligo but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to target and add pigment back into these depigmented patches of skin. Some of these treatment options include:
UVB Light Therapy
This is one of the oldest and most commonly used treatment options for vitiligo, which exposes areas of the body to light therapy multiple times a week. This narrow-band light therapy works by triggering the production of melanocytes, a skin cell responsible for producing pigmentation in the skin.
Various topical creams can repigment the skin. Your dermatologist will look at the size and location of your vitiligo patches to determine the best topical medications for the job. Common topical medications include corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, calcipotriene, and depigmentation medications.
Steroids are topical anti-inflammatories that can slow vitiligo and allow the body to produce more melanocytes. It can take up to a month to start seeing results. When steroids aren’t the ideal option, which is particularly common if a patient has patches of vitiligo in more sensitive areas such as the genitals or lips, your dermatologist may recommend calcineurin inhibitors.
If the majority of your body contains vitiligo patches, the best option may be to lighten the rest of your skin to reduce the appearance of these depigmented patches. This can be done with a topical depigmentation medication or light therapy. Medications are often recommended in conjunction with light therapy, but if light therapy isn’t being used then your dermatologist may recommend two or more medications to be used at the same time.
You don’t have to deal with vitiligo alone. A dermatologist can be the best medical specialist for helping you treat and manage your vitiligo symptoms. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation, call your dermatologist today.
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