Posts for category: Skin Health
Scars left behind from acne, surgery, chicken pox, burns or other injuries, especially when they appear on your face, can be disfiguring physically and emotionally.
Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, and most small scars fade over time to become nearly invisible. The larger and more severe the skin damage and the longer it takes to heal, however, the more prominent the scar will be. If the appearance of a scar bothers you, a visit to your dermatologist may be in order.
Today, dermatologists offer many cosmetic treatment options that can significantly reduce the appearance of large, raised scars. Although scars cannot be eliminated entirely, modern cosmetic techniques can significantly minimize their visibility for an improved appearance.
Leading cosmetic dermatology options include:
- Dermabrasion: A technique that involves removing the upper layer of the skin, allowing new skin to regenerate.
- Laser scar removal: Using a high-energy light, a dermatologist can remove or reshape disfigured scar tissue. Different types of laser scar removal are used for different types of scarring.
- Microdermabrasion: A non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that applies microscopic crystals. This gently exfoliates and smooths the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing younger, healthier looking skin.
- Chemical peels: Typically administered as a facial peel, this treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove and smooth the scarred outer layers of skin.
- Topical cream, gel or ointment: Special creams can be applied directly to a scar to soften the tissue and promote healing.
In some cases, more than one treatment, or a combination of procedures, may be recommended to attain your optimal results. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment for your specific goals and degree of scarring.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your scars, visit your dermatologist. Most scarring is highly treatable by an expert. We can assess the scar, review treatment options, and help you select the most effective therapy for significantly reducing your scars’ visibility.
Skin cancer is one the most common of all cancer types, which occurs when malignant cells are found in the outer layers of your skin. More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States. Although the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise, most cases could be prevented by limiting the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Skin cancers fall into two major categories: melanoma and non-melanoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal and most commonly appears after the age of 40 in the form of lesions on the head or neck area, which may increase in size or bleed easily.
- Squamous cell carcinoma generally develops in people over 50 with sun-damaged skin. This is the most common form of non-melanoma cancer. These growths appear as flat and red, becoming raised, scaly patches.
- Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, often occurring on the back in men and the legs in women. Risk increases with age, and the average age of detection is between 45-50 years old. It usually appears as a dark flat or raised area on the skin, and is often irregular in shape. Left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.
First step: prevention
The good news is that with early detection and treatment, non-melanoma cancers can be cured in over 99% of the cases, and melanoma is readily detectable and usually curable if treated early.
To start protecting your skin, limit sun exposure by seeking shade and always wearing sunscreen, even during the winter months. When possible, wear hats and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. UV exposure is one of the biggest contributors to skin cancer, which includes tanning booths. People with fair skin, several moles or freckles, or a family history of skin cancer are also at an increased risk for developing skin cancers.
Early detection and self-exams can save your life
Many types of skin cancer grow slowly, while some melanomas can appear very quickly. Detected in its early stages, skin cancer is very treatable. Use a mirror to examine unreachable parts of your body or ask a family member or friend to assist you. Check your moles regularly for any changes in appearance or sensitivity.
Skin cancer may be one of the most common types of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable and curable. Take steps now to protect your skin, and visit your dermatologist for regular exams and to have any unusual findings checked.