Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.
What Causes Melanoma?
The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.
Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:
- Fair skin
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood
- Family history of melanoma
- More than 50 moles on the skin
- Several freckles
- Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily
Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
- An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade
Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.
Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.
Acne is the most common of all skin disorders, affecting almost everyone at some point in their lives. While most people outgrow acne in their late teens or early twenties, many are affected into adulthood or even experience late onset acne. Although the exact cause of adult acne is unknown, possible causes include stress, cosmetics and hormones.
How Can I Treat Adult Acne?
Not only is chronic adult acne frustrating, but it can also have long-lasting effects on the self-esteem and confidence of those suffering from it. To combat blemishes, follow a few basic guidelines to improve your skin's condition.
- Avoid the urge to pick or squeeze pimples. Aggravating your acne will only increase inflammation, delay the healing process and lead to scarring.
- Follow a daily skincare regimen to remove oils, make up, and sweat from the surface of your skin.
- When wearing make-up, only use oil-free cosmetics.
- Avoid over-washing your skin, as this can make your acne worse.
- Wash gently with a mild facial cleanser once or twice a day. Be cautious of harsh cleansing products that lead to dry, irritated skin.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit exposure to sun and excess cold.
Fortunately, the physical and emotional effects of acne can be reversed with proper treatment. While adult acne can be persistent, an individualized treatment plan from our office can help you reduce blemishes, prevent scarring and eliminate your acne. With diligent home care and help from your dermatologist, your acne can be significantly improved, allowing you to regain your confidence!
The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can really take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may actually indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10 percent of all skin conditions, affecting a large number of older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be effectively treated with proper diagnosis from a dermatologist.
Mirror on Health
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by changes in the nails, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes and anemia. That’s why it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes in your nails.
Basic Nail Care
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but with basic nail care, you can help keep your fingernails and toenails looking and feeling great. Here’s how:
Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from building up under the nail.
Cut fingernails and toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and trauma.
Avoid tight-fitting footwear.
Apply an anti-fungal foot powder daily or when needed.
Avoid biting and picking fingernails, as infectious organisms can be transferred between the fingers and mouth.
Wear gloves to protect your fingernails when doing yard work or cleaning house to protect the nails from harsh chemicals and trauma.
When in doubt about self-treatment for nail problems, visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care.
Always notify a dermatologist of nail irregularities, such as swelling, pain or change in shape or color of the nail. Remember, your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, and a dermatologist can help determine the appropriate treatment for any of your nail problems.
If you’re bothered by fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring or an uneven skin tone, or if you are looking for a simple way to rejuvenate your skin, chemical peels may be a good option for you.
A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure performed by your dermatologist. This in-office treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove damaged outer layers of skin, erasing imperfections and improving skin tone and texture. As the old, outer layer of skin is exfoliated and removed, it stimulates the growth of new, healthy skin cells that are smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
This time-tested, non-invasive procedure is quick—in most cases less than an hour—and yields fast results. It can drastically improve the appearance of skin marked by wrinkles, scars and other signs of aging or sun damage.
Chemical peels can improve the appearance of:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin pigmentation
- Acne scarring
- Sun-damaged skin
- Age spots
Chemical peels can be applied to many parts of the body including the face, neck, chest and hands and are available in several different strengths. Our office can help you determine the type of chemical used depending on your skin type and desired results. The best candidate for a chemical peel is a person with fair skin and light hair, although darker skin types can also achieve good results depending on their specific problem and treatment goals.
How many treatments are necessary depends on the severity of skin damage and the patient’s goals. With each treatment, scarring and other imperfections typically diminish more and more.
At your dermatologist's office, we can help you achieve your most radiant, youthful skin. Visit to learn more about cosmetic dermatology and to find out if you are a candidate for chemical peels.
The telltale signs of aging skin—wrinkles, puffy eyes, age spots—may start to appear as we grow older. We can’t fight the aging process, but we can take steps now to help reduce and prevent wrinkles from appearing prematurely.
Many factors can contribute to the onset of wrinkles, which are frequently produced by years of unprotected sun exposure in combination with each person’s unique genetic predisposition. Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, is less capable of retaining moisture and is slower to heal. All of these contribute to the development of wrinkles and sagging skin.
How Can I Slow the Progression of Wrinkles?
Daily skincare and proper sun protection are important factors in slowing the aging process, diminishing fine lines and minimizing wrinkles.
- Take your vitamins. Many vitamins are good for the skin. Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant found in citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, can help reduce the appearance of sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen. Protecting yourself from sun exposure can help prevent the progression of fine lines. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 to protect against harmful UV rays.
- Moisturize. Dry skin causes the skin to look dull and aged. To prevent dry skin, apply moisturizer every day.
- Get your beauty sleep. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Keep your skin looking and feeling young by getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit harmful UVA rays and are never 'safe' alternatives to the sun.
- Take care of your hands. Our hands are often the first part of our body to reveal signs of aging, as they are the most used and exposed parts of the body. Protect the hands by wearing gloves, moisturizing and applying sunscreen.
- Quit smoking. Smoking may damage more than your lungs—it causes skin aging and wrinkles around the mouth.
Like it or not, wrinkles are a natural part of aging. Even the most diligent skincare regimen or the most expensive wrinkle cream won’t totally eliminate your fine lines. You can significantly reduce the appearance of your wrinkles, however. Start taking care of your skin now, embrace your age and love the skin you’re in!
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