Younger-Looking Skin

Tips for Younger-Looking Skin for Seniors

Despite what hundreds of infomercials would have you believe, there is no fountain of youth for skin. No pill or lotion will erase 20 years from your face overnight.

While you can’t stop or even slow down the internal aging process, to some extent you can control external factors that affect premature aging. Protecting your skin from the sun and quitting smoking are a good start.

Once you’ve noticed the signs of aging, you can take some steps to minimize them.


Combating fine lines and wrinkles

By our 40s and 50s, our skin has lost firmness, spring and moisture. We see fine lines and wrinkles.

Pale skin tends to wrinkle earlier than dark skin. People with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. When lines develop in dark skin, the lines tend to be deeper.

What causes wrinkles?

  • Constant muscle movement. Lines and wrinkles may be deep in areas with lots of muscle movement, such as on the forehead or around the mouth.
  • Sun, tanning beds and sun lamps. Lying outdoors in the sun, using a tanning bed or sun lamp, and even just being outdoors without sunscreen can cause wrinkles. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes many people to see wrinkles and fine lines before they reach their 40s and 50s.
  • Smoking. People who smoke expose their skin to toxins that accelerate the aging of their skin. Repeated puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips. Frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in one’s eyes can cause noticeable crow’s feet.

What you can do at home?

The following are simple measures that you can take to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Use moisturizer developed especially for the face. This plumps up fine lines, which makes them less noticeable. Moisturizer is the secret ingredient in many anti-aging products that promise fewer wrinkles.
  • Wear sunscreen every day–even on overcast days. This helps to protect your skin from further damage. Apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. For best results, you should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Repair skin at night. Gently wash your face every night and then apply a product that contains retinol, followed by a good facial moisturizer. The retinol can stimulate the skin to make collagen, and the moisturizer seals in water.
  • Stop smoking. Many people notice significant improvements after they stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthful diet. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthful foods can lead to healthier skin. Be sure to include some protein in your diet. Our skin is made of protein, so some protein is necessary for healthy skin.

What your doctor can do

At-home versions of chemical peels and microdermabrasion are on the market, but the active ingredients in these at-home treatments are much less potent than you would find at your dermatologist’s office.

Similarly, women who see results with over-the-counter cosmetics usually have very fine lines that sit near the surface of the skin. Non-prescription products generally work by sloughing off the outermost layer of skin or hydrating the skin to plump it. Wrinkles return when you stop using the product.

Thanks to ongoing research, dermatologists offer several treatments that can diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and even deep lines. These treatments include:

    • Prescription-strength wrinkle creams, serums and lotions, such as:


Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Reducing age spots

“Age spot” refers to various spots and bumps that appear on the skin with age. Some of these spots and bumps are harmless. Others can be a sign of skin cancer.

Most age spots develop on skin that has been badly damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Age spots also appear on people who use tanning beds and sun lamps. The cause of one type of age spot, seborrheic keratosis (SK), is not known. Some studies suggest that sun exposure plays a role.

What you can do at home

Sometimes what appears to be an age spot is actually melanoma or another type of skin cancer. With early detection and proper treatment, skin cancer has a high cure rate. That’s why it’s important to get any age spots checked by a dermatologist.

If your skin shows plenty of sun damage, using an over-the-counter product to diminish age spots may not be wise. It can delay diagnosis of a skin cancer. If your dermatologist gives you the OK, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Apply sunscreen every day to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. You will not see results from a treatment for age spots if you do not protect your skin from UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Look at the list of ingredients on a fade cream or similar product. Some fade creams and bleaching treatments are available without a prescription. They generally contain hydroquinone. Other products that may help fade age spots are called skin brighteners, lighteners or whiteners. These products usually contain soy, licorice, or kojic acid.
    Prescription-strength products tend to be more effective than products you can buy without a prescription, even if the ingredient list looks similar.
  • Products from outside the United States may contain an inaccurate list of ingredients. Some imported products contain mercury; others include high-potency steroids. While illegal, these products do find their way into the United States. Using a product that contains a high-potency steroid can cause paper-thin skin, acne and stretch marks. Some imported products contain much higher levels of hydroquinone than currently allowed in the United States. These high levels can irritate the skin and cause visible, light-colored halos to appear on the treated skin. To avoid buying imported products, it’s best to purchase them directly through a dermatologist.

What your doctor can do

Many patients say they do not see the results they want from products available without a prescription. Dermatologists offer the following treatments for those age spots that people often call “liver spots” or “sun spots”:

  • Bleaching treatments (prescription strength)
  • Chemical peeling
  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion
  • Laser skin resurfacing

More detail about some of these procedures is available here .

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Treating more-advanced signs of aging

Using the latest advances, dermatologists successfully treat wrinkles, lax skin, age spots, spider veins and more. All cosmetic procedures, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels, should be performed by a board certified physician or under the doctor’s direct supervision. This greatly reduces the risk of complications.

Here are some of the services a dermatologist can provide:

Laser treatments/photorejuvenation. Light energy delivered by BroadBand Light (BBL) technology gently heats the upper layers of the skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas stimulates the skin cells to generate new collagen. This process helps restore the skin to its natural stage. The photothermal energy also targets and eliminates many of the fine vessels that cause redness and the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented lesions.

Using different wavelengths and filters, a dermatologist can treat a broad range of skin conditions caused by skin aging and sun exposure, including:

  • Pigmented lesions
  • Skin firming
  • Vascular conditions
  • Skin resurfacing
  • Wrinkle reduction

Botox. BOTOX® Cosmetic is a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily smooth moderate to severe frown lines between the brows in people ages 18 to 65. It is the only treatment of its type approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A Botox treatment lasts about 10 minutes and involves a few tiny injections. Within days, you’ll see a noticeable improvement in frown lines between the brows. Results vary, but the improvement can last up to 4 months.

BOTOX Cosmetic is a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, which reduces the activity of the muscles that have caused those frown lines between the brows to form over time.

Fillers. Fillers like JUVÉDERM®, Restylane® and Restylane Lyft® are injected into the skin to restore volume to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth. Fillers offer natural-looking results by restoring your skin’s fullness.

They are composed of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps provide fullness and elasticity. Over time, skin loses hyaluronic acid. As it diminishes, skin loses volume, increasing the chances of wrinkles and folds to appear.

Juvéderm is intended to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and “nasolabial folds” (laugh lines). It is the only filler FDA-approved to last up to one year with only one treatment. Like Juvéderm, Restylane is well tolerated, nonsurgical, and long lasting (usually around six months). Restylane Lyft has larger gel particles and is intended to be injected deeper within the skin.

Chemical peels. “Chemical peel” is a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. They improve fine wrinkles, small scars, and overall complexion. Peels range from gentle treatments to those that produce dramatic results. Different types include:

  • Glycolic peel: A superficial chemical peel. Immediate results include tightness and improved feel of the skin. Over time pores shrink, brown lesions fade, and the overall texture of the skin improves.
  • Vitalize peel: A slightly more intense chemical peel that offers faster results.
  • TCA peel: These peels can vary in intensity from very mild to very dramatic results. Benefits include wrinkle and scar reduction, decreasing the signs of sun damage and improving pore size and complexion.
  • Jessner’s peel: Designed to remove superficial layers of skin, it also tends to decrease oil production and open clogged pores.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin Tips for Seniors

If you are 50 or older, a yearly full-body skin cancer examination by a dermatologist could save your life. The risk of developing skin cancer appears to increase significantly around 50. With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for skin cancer averages 95 percent.

Learn more about skin cancer and other skin conditions.

  • Is it a mole or melanoma?– How to tell the difference between different marks on your skin and what to do if they look suspicious.
  • How to perform skin self-exams – Follow these steps to check your skin for signs of sun damage. Early detection is crucial to treating any kind of skin condition.
  • Dry, itchy skin and rashes – As we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier. Find out how to keep skin hydrated and effectively treat conditions like psoriasis and rosacea.

Is it a mole or melanoma?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a mark on your skin is a mole, an age spot, or a sign of a more serious condition. Here are some ways to tell the difference and what to do if you spot something suspicious.

Moles

Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few. Adults with light skin may have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles. You should not be overly worried about your moles, but remember that few benign moles develop after 30 years of age.

A mole on your body has these traits:

  • One color – Often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned or colorless
  • Round in shape
  • Flat or slightly raised
  • Looks the same from month to month

Your moles may not look alike. Even on the same person, moles can differ in size, shape or color. Moles can have hair. Some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin. They develop on the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles and palms and even under the nails.

Melanoma

Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can grow in or near a mole. If it’s caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured. The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole or a new mole on your skin. Checking your skin regularly can help you find melanoma early.

Melanoma is considered the most lethal form of skin cancer because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. If you see a mole or new spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, see a dermatologist immediately.

A – Asymmetry . One half is unlike the other half.

B – Border . An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C – Color . Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black; is sometimes red, white or blue.

D – Diameter . Melanomas are usually greater than the size of a pencil eraser when diagnosed, but some may be smaller.

E – Evolving . A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

Non-melanoma skin cancers

More than two million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that’s just in the United States . Besides melanoma, there are two other common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It most often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and arms. You will find BCCs on other parts of the body as well.

BCC often grows slowly. It may look like a:

  • Reddish patch of dry skin that won’t heal
  • Flesh-colored (or pink, red or brown) pearl-shaped lump
  • Scar that feels waxy — may be skin-colored, white or yellow

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a very common type of skin cancer. It often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as an ear, face, bald scalp, neck or arm. But it can appear elsewhere. Too much sun is often the cause, but it is not the only one. SCC can appear on skin that was badly burned, had lots of radiation (such as x-rays) or was exposed to strong chemicals.

SCC often has a reddish color. Without treatment, it can grow deeply. If this happens, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. This can be deadly. SCC often looks like a:

  • Hard (scaly or crusty) reddish bump, patch or pearl-shaped growth
  • Open sore that itches and bleeds; it can heal and return
  • Scaly patch on the lip; skin on the lip can get thick

If it is caught early and properly treated, skin cancer can be cured. A dermatologist selects treatment after considering the type of skin cancer, where it appears on the body, whether it’s aggressive, the stage of the cancer and the patient’s health.

Actinic Keratoses

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are dry, scaly, rough-textured patches or lesions that form on the outermost layer of the skin after years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, such as sunlight. These lesions typically range in color from skin-toned to reddish brown and in size from that of a pinhead to larger than a quarter. Occasionally, a lesion grows to resemble an animal horn and is called a “cutaneous horn.”

It is important that anyone with AKs be under a dermatologist’s care. AKs are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer and have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Anyone who develops AKs has extensive sun-damaged skin. This makes one more susceptible to other forms of skin cancer, including melanoma.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


How to perform skin self-exams

Early detection is key when it comes to skin cancer. You can help protect yourself with regular at-home body inspections. Here’s how:

  • Schedule regular inspections. Check all of your moles every six months, especially if you have a lot of them or have a personal or family history of skin cancer. See a dermatologist once a year for a routine full-body check.
  • Be familiar with your moles, including their location, size and color.
  • Look for new or changing moles. It’s normal to develop new moles into your early 20s, but not beyond. Pay attention to any new growths or moles that have changed in size, color or shape.
  • Take photos. If you have many moles, keeping up with potential changes is difficult. One way to remedy that is to take photos during your 6-month inspections. Save and date them on a computer and review as needed. You may find a “scary” mole that has always been there or find out that it actually is new.
  • Beware of pink or black. Normal moles and other benign skin growths typically are varying shades of tan to brown. Melanomas may be black or less commonly pink, while other skin cancers tend to be pink and often are scaly. See your dermatologist if you notice a pink or black lesion.
  • Check “hidden” spots. Many people forget to check areas they can’t see easily. Be sure to check the soles of your feet and genital area. Ask a partner or friend to look over your back. Get a hairdresser to inspect your scalp. Skin cancers can appear even in areas where the sun doesn’t shine.

Dry, itchy skin and rashes

Many older people suffer from dry skin, often on their lower legs, elbows and lower arms. The skin becomes dry when it loses too much water or oil. Anyone can get dry skin, but as we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier.

Because older people have thinner skin, scratching dry patches can cause bleeding that can lead to infection. Some medicines make the skin itchier. The itching can be bad enough to cause sleep problems.

By our 40s, many people need to use a good moisturizer every day. Lotions, creams, or ointments can soothe dry, itchy skin. They should be used every day. Try taking fewer baths and using milder soap to help your dry skin. Warm water is better than hot water for your skin. Some people find that a humidifier helps. If your skin is very dry and itchy, see your doctor.

Rashes

Rashes are generally caused by skin irritation, which can have many causes. A rash is generally a minor problem that may go away with home treatment. In some cases a rash does not go away or the skin may become so irritated that medical care is needed.

In adults, rashes are often caused by contact with a substance that irritates the skin. The rash usually starts within 48 hours after contact. You may experience mild redness of the skin or a rash of small red bumps. A more severe reaction may cause swelling, redness and larger blisters.

Common causes include poisonous plants; soaps, detergents, shampoos or cosmetics; jewelry or fabrics; new tools, appliances or other objects; and latex.

Psoriasis

Psoriasisis a long-lasting disease that develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body doesn’t shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear. It is not contagious.

Psoriasis can begin at any age. By age 40, most people who will get psoriasis, about 75%, have psoriasis. Another common time for psoriasis to begin is between 50 and 60 years of age.
What you see and feel depends on the type of psoriasis you have:

  • Plaque: Causes thick patches of skin that are covered with silvery-white scale.
  • Guttate: Causes small spots that can show up all over the skin.
  • Pustular: Causes pus-filled bumps that usually appear on the foot or hand.
  • Inverse: Develops in areas where skin touches skin, such as the armpit.
  • Erythrodermic: Can cause the skin to look like it is badly burned.

Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis. Some people see their skin completely clear.

Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find a treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.

  • Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis. Some effective products include Cutar Emulsion and Tarsum shampoo.
  • Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
  • Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis

Discussing your treatment options with a dermatologist will help determine which is right for you.

Rosacea

Rosaceais a common skin disease that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest and back can be red all the time.

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea:Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels
  • Papulopustular rosacea:Redness, swelling and acne-like breakouts
  • Phymatous rosacea:Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture
  • Ocular rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen and person may have what looks like a stye  

While there is no cure for rosacea, treatment can help relieve symptoms. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.

Treatment for the skin includes:

  • Medicine that is applied to the rosacea
  • Sunscreen (Wearing it every day can help prevent flare-ups.)
  • An emollient to help repair the skin
  • Lasers and other light treatments
  • Antibiotics (applied to the skin and pills)

Dermatologists can remove the thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face with:

  • Lasers
  • Dermabrasion (procedure that removes skin)
  • Electrocautery (procedure that sends electric current into the skin to treat it)

When rosacea affects the eyes, a dermatologist may give you instructions for washing the eyelids several times a day and a prescription for eye medicine. 

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Skincare 101

Skincare Tips for Seniors

Now is the time to lay back and enjoy life. Whether your days consist of a game of golf, walks with your spouse, gardening, or taking the grandchildren to the park, you likely spend a good portion of your days out in the Tennessee sun. Taking good care of your skin and practicing healthy skincare habits can keep your skin looking youthful at any age and could help prevent more serious skin problems down the road.

The following sections give some practical advice on how you can take care of your skin on a daily basis.

  • Protecting yourself from the sun – Tips on sunscreen use and what to wear if you’ll be spending time outdoors during the day. Learn what SPF stands for (and what number you should use) and how to read the UV index.
  • How to perform skin self-exams – Follow these steps to check your skin for signs of sun damage. Early detection is crucial to treating any kind of skin condition.

Protecting yourself from the sun

If your kids are outdoors all the time, that means you’re outdoors all the time. Whether you’re on a beach vacation or keeping an eye on them in the backyard, you should protect your skin at all times. In addition to keeping your skin healthy, being vigilant when you are in the sun is the best thing you can do to prevent skin disease and premature aging.

Comprehensive sun protection includes:

  • Avoiding deliberate tanning, including use of indoor tanning devices that emit UV rays.
  • Staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wearing protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, when outdoors during the day.
  • Applying sunscreen year-round. Sunscreen should be broad spectrum (offers UVA and UVB protection) and have an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors to all skin that will be exposed. It should be reapplied after sweating or being in water. Many moisturizers and cosmetics include sunscreen, but most are only SPF 15.

Learn more about protecting yourself from the sun:

  • What does SPF stand for? – How sunscreens are rated and what number you should use.
  • How to read the UV Index – The UV Index is issued daily to advise you on the sun’s strength in your region. Learn why it’s important to know the UV Index for your area and where to find it.

What does SPF stand for?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product’s ability to deflect the sun’s burning rays (UVB).

So how did they come up with those numbers? The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.

For example, let’s say you apply a sunscreen that is rated SPF 2. If it would normally take you 10 minutes to turn red under sun exposure without any sunscreen, it would take 20 minutes for your skin to turn red with SPF 2. With SPF 15 sunscreen it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes.

Even with this protection, sunscreen breaks down and rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied approximately every two hours.

Dermatologists strongly recommend using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater year-round for all skin types. This will help protect against sunburn, premature aging (e.g., age spots and wrinkles) and skin cancer.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


How to read the UV Index

If you want to get a better idea how much time you can spend in the sun on a given day, you can take a look at the UV Index. The UV Index is issued daily to advise you on the strength of the sun’s ultraviolet rays in your region.

Some newspapers print the index along with the weather forecast. The Weather Channel or your local TV news stations may also mention the index when they broadcast the weather report. You can check the UV Index for your area here by typing in your zip code.

The UV Index uses a numerical scale to rate the strength of the sun’s UV exposure level. The higher the UV Index level, the greater the strength of the sun’s UV rays—and the faster you can burn.

In winter, reflection off snow can nearly double UV strength. Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

Exposure
Category

Index Number

Sun Protection Messages

LOW

1-2

You can safely enjoy being outside. Wear sunglasses on bright days. If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen SPF 30+ .

MODERATE

3-5

Take precautions if you will be outside, such as wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen SPF 30+ .

Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

HIGH

6-7

Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen SPF 30+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical.

Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

VERY HIGH

8-10

Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.

EXTREME

11+

Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.

Make a habit of checking the index so you’ll know how much sun protection you’ll need each day.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


How to perform skin self-exams

Early detection is key when it comes to skin cancer. You can help protect yourself with regular at-home body inspections. Here’s how:

  • Schedule regular inspections. Check all of your moles every six months, especially if you have a lot of them or have a personal or family history of skin cancer. See a dermatologist once a year for a routine full-body check.
  • Be familiar with your moles, including their location, size and color.
  • Look for new or changing moles. It’s normal to develop new moles into your early 20s, but not beyond. Pay attention to any new growths or moles that have changed in size, color or shape.
  • Take photos. If you have many moles, keeping up with potential changes is difficult. One way to remedy that is to take photos during your 6-month inspections. Save and date them on a computer and review as needed. You may find a “scary” mole that has always been there or find out that it actually is new.
  • Beware of pink or black. Normal moles and other benign skin growths typically are varying shades of tan to brown. Melanomas may be black or less commonly pink, while other skin cancers tend to be pink and often scaly. See your dermatologist if you notice a pink or black lesion.
  • Check “hidden” spots. Many people forget to check areas they can’t see easily. Be sure to check the soles of your feet and genital area. Ask a partner or friend to look over your back. Get a hairdresser to inspect your scalp. Skin cancers can appear even in areas where the sun doesn’t shine.

Healthy Skin

You take your children to regular doctor’s check-ups, physicals and dental appointments, but when was the last time they saw a dermatologist? Healthy skin is just as important as healthy bones, eyes and teeth.

It’s important for kids to get in the habit of caring for their skin. You can help by making sure they use sunscreen and keeping an eye out for these conditions:

  • Birthmarks, moles and warts – Marks on your child’s skin can be any number of things. This section will help you tell the difference.
  • Rashes, eczema and psoriasis – Rashes are common in children, but they could be a sign of a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis.
  • Acne – The plague of many teenagers, acne can be treated effectively to minimize breakouts and embarrassment.

Birthmarks, moles and warts

Birthmarks

Birthmarks are areas of discolored skin that are on a baby’s body at birth or that show up within a few months after delivery. More than 80 percent of babies have some kind of birthmark. Some endure for life, while others fade away over time. Most birthmarks fall into one of two categories: vascular or pigmented.

Vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels that have accumulated below the surface of the skin. They range in color from pink to red to bluish, depending on the depth of the blood vessels.

Pigmented birthmarks — usually brown, gray, bluish, or black — result from an abnormal development of pigment cells.

Birthmarks come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, and they can show up anywhere on the body.

Most birthmarks are harmless. Many go away on their own after a few years. However, each year about 40,000 U.S. children have birthmarks that need medical attention. Potential problems include port-wine stains near the eye and cheek, birthmarks on the lower spine and groups of six or more café au lait spots.

Some of these conditions may require removal. If a birthmark isn’t disfiguring or causing physical problems, your baby’s doctor may suggest that it’s best to leave it alone.

Moles

Moles on a young child’s skin are generally nothing to worry about. It is normal for new moles to appear during childhood and adolescence. Moles will grow as the child grows. Some moles will darken, and others will lighten. These changes are expected in children and are seldom a sign of melanoma — a type of skin cancer that can begin in a mole.

Melanoma is rare in young children and most moles are harmless, but there are a few types that should be examined by a dermatologist just to be sure. Mole types include:

Common : Also referred to as a beauty mark, a common mole is harmless. Most moles that develop on a child’s skin are common moles. If a mole looks different from the others, itches or bleeds, the mole should be examined by a dermatologist.

Congenital : Is when a child is born with a mole. They are considered a type of birthmark. Some look like common moles, while others resemble bruises. When a child has a giant congenital mole, it should be examined by a dermatologist. The risk of developing melanoma is greatest during the first 10 years of life and especially high during the first 5 years.

Dysplastic : Dysplastic moles have one or more of these traits:

  • asymmetrical (if folded in half, the sides would not match)
  • an irregular border
  • more than one color in the mole
  • a diameter that exceeds 6 millimeters (about the diameter of a pencil eraser)

If your child has dysplastic moles, he should have routine skin exams after puberty.

Spitz nevus : A Spitz nevus often is a pink, raised, dome-shaped lesion. It also can contain variable colors such as red, black and brown. The mole may bleed or have an opening that oozes. It resembles melanoma so closely that it is not possible for a dermatologist to look at a Spitz nevus on the skin and tell whether or not it is a melanoma. A dermatologist will be able to determine the difference by examining a bit of the tissue under a microscope.

Molluscum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin disease caused by a virus that spreads easily from person to person.

Often the only sign of molluscum is pink or flesh-colored bumps that can appear anywhere on the skin. Most people get about 10 to 20 bumps. If someone has a weakened immune system, many bumps often appear. People who have AIDS can have 100 or more bumps.

People can get molluscum by sharing towels and clothing. Wrestlers and gymnasts may get it from touching infected mats. Skin-to-skin contact also spreads the virus. Whenever you can see the bumps on the skin, molluscum contagiosum is contagious.

Dermatologists often recommend treatment for molluscum contagiosum . Treatment helps to prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of the body, spreading to other people or growing out of control in people with a weakened immune system.

The treatment your dermatologist prescribes will depend on age, health, where the bumps appear and other considerations. For a young child, treatment can have unwanted side effects and may not be best.

Treatments that a dermatologist can perform in the office to treat molluscum contagiosum include:

  • Cryosurgery : The dermatologist freezes the bumps with liquid nitrogen.
  • Curettage : The dermatologist may use a small tool called a curette to scrape the bumps from the skin.
  • Laser surgery : A dermatologist uses a laser to target and destroy the bumps. This can be an effective treatment for people who have a weakened immune system.
  • Topical (applied to the skin) therapy : Your dermatologist can apply various acids and blistering solutions to destroy the bumps. These work by destroying the top layers of the skin.

Medicines your dermatologist may prescribe for use at home include Imiquimod, a strong medicine that is applied to the bumps and helps the immune system fight the virus, and retinoid or antiviral medicine applied to the skin.

Warts

Children and teens are more prone to getting a wart virus than adults. In children, warts often go away without treatment. A dermatologist should treat warts that hurt, bother the child, or quickly multiply.

Viruses called human papillomavirus (HPV) cause warts. It is easier to catch a virus that causes warts when you have a cut or scrape on your skin. This explains why so many children get warts.

There are a few different types of warts. The type is determined by where it grows on the body and what it looks like.

Common warts grow most often on the fingers, around the nails and on the backs of the hands. They are more common where skin was broken, such as from biting fingernails or picking at hangnails. Most often they feel like rough bumps and can have black dots that look like seeds.

Foot (or plantar) warts grow most often on the soles (plantar surface) of the feet. They can grow in clusters and often are flat or grow inward because walking creates pressure.

Flat warts can occur anywhere, but children usually get them on the face. They are smaller and smoother than other warts and tend to grow in large numbers — 20 to 100 at a time.

Filiform warts look like long threads or thin fingers that stick out. They often grow on the face around the mouth, eyes and nose. They also often grow quickly.

While most warts are harmless, you should see a dermatologist if your child’s warts don’t go away, if they hurt, or if there are a lot of them. A dermatologist may use one of the following treatments:

  • Cantharidin : A dermatologist may treat a wart in the office by “painting” it with cantharidin. Cantharidin causes a blister to form under the wart. In a week or so, you can return to the office and the dermatologist will clip away the dead wart.
  • Cryotherapy : For common warts in older children, cryotherapy (freezing) is the most common treatment. This treatment is not too painful. It can cause dark spots in people who have dark skin. It is common to need repeat treatments.
  • Electrosurgery and curettage : Electrosurgery (burning) is a good treatment for common warts, filiform warts and foot warts. Curettage involves scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. These two procedures often are used together. The dermatologist may remove the wart by scraping it off before or after electrosurgery.
  • Excision : The doctor may cut out the wart (excision).

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Rashes, eczema and psoriasis

Rashes

Rashes are generally caused by skin irritation, which can have many causes. A rash is generally a minor problem that may go away with home treatment. In some cases a rash does not go away or the skin may become so irritated that medical care is needed.

Diaper rash, cradle cap and a host of other conditions are common in newborns. If you suspect that your child has more than a simple skin irritation, it is best to see a doctor.

Though uncommon, some childhood rashes have serious or even life-threatening causes. Many rashes can look the same, making it difficult to know the exact diagnosis. Whenever you have a concern, see your doctor immediately.

Eczema

Eczema is a common skin disease in children. Children often get it during their first year of life. Dry and scaly patches often appear on the scalp, forehead and cheeks. Eczema is often itchy and can be so intense the child can’t sleep.

When eczema begins in infants, you’ll see a rash that appears suddenly and makes the skin dry, scaly and itchy. The skin can bubble up, then ooze and weep fluid. Babies rarely get eczema in the diaper area because the skin there stays too moist.

In children ages 2 until puberty, eczema usually starts as a rash that begins in the creases of elbows or knees. Other common places for the rash to appear are the neck, wrists, ankles and/or crease between the buttocks and legs. You’ll also see itchy, scaly patches where the rash appeared.

Eczema can be a long-lasting condition, but treatment and good skin care can alleviate much of the discomfort.

A treatment plan often includes medicine, skin care and lifestyle changes. Skin care and lifestyle changes can help prevent flare-ups.

A dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs. Medicine and other therapies will be prescribed as needed to:

  • Control itching
  • Reduce skin inflammation (redness and swelling)
  • Clear infection
  • Loosen and remove scaly lesions
  • Reduce new lesions from forming

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a long-lasting disease that develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body doesn’t shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear. It is not contagious.

Psoriasis can begin at any age, but most people get psoriasis between ages 15 and 30. Infants and young children are more likely to get inverse psoriasis and guttate psoriasis.

Types of psoriasis include:

  • Plaque : Causes thick patches of skin that are covered with silvery-white scale.
  • Guttate : Causes small spots that can show up all over the skin.
  • Pustular : Causes pus-filled bumps that usually appear on the foot or hand.
  • Inverse : Develops in areas where skin touches skin, such as the armpit.
  • Erythrodermic : Can cause the skin to look like it is badly burned.

Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis. Some people see their skin completely clear.

Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.

  • Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis. Some effective products include Cutar Emulsion and Tarsum shampoo.
  • Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
  • Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis

Discussing your child’s treatment options with a dermatologist will help determine which is right for you.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Acne

Your teen may feel like the only one at school with bad acne, but that’s not the case. Acne is the most common skin problem in the United States –about 40 to 50 million Americans have it at any one time. The condition can lead to low self-esteem, but the good news is that most acne can be treated effectively.

Cause

Acne appears when a pore begins to get clogged with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make a lot of sebum, oil that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore.

Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin also get inside the clogged pore. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.

Treatment Options

At-home treatment: Many people can treat mild acne with products that you can buy without a prescription. A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin over time, but not overnight. At-home treatment requires 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, treatment must continue to prevent breakouts.

For more severe acne, an over-the-counter product may not work. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:

Acne treatment that you apply to the skin : Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic or even salicylic acid. Vanoxide is an example of an effective topical treatment. Your dermatologist will determine what you need.

Acne treatment that works throughout the body : Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary for red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. A dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

  • Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation)
  • Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones
  • Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all causes of acne)

Procedures that treat acne : Dermatologists may treat acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

  • Lasers and other light therapies: These devices reduce the bacteria that lead to acne.
  • Chemical peels: Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat two types of acne — blackheads and papules.
  • Acne removal: Your dermatologist may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Skincare 101

Skincare Tips for Children

Kids spend a lot of time playing outdoors. That means they get a lot of exposure to the sun and are prone to bug bites. There’s no reason to keep kids indoors all day long—just follow these precautions.

Initiate early sun-protection behaviors, including:

  • The regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Select a sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide if your child is prone to skin irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Seek shade when appropriate, and remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Bugs are another problem with playing outdoors. The most common bug bites are from fleas, mosquitoes, wasps or bees. Ticks are abundant in woods and forests or areas with deer trails.

Some bug bites can cause bacterial infections, such as impetigo, a superficial infection of the skin characterized by yellow, crusted, well-defined lesions. Impetigo is highly contagious and can be rapidly spread among children. Treatment includes the use of topical or oral antibiotics.

To avoid bug bites, apply an insect repellent with the ingredients permethrin or the chemical DEET. Repellents containing permethrin should only be applied to clothing. Permethrin has a residual effect through several washings and provides longer protection.

Repellents containing DEET should have less than 10 percent concentration if applying to children. They should not be applied to babies younger than two months old.

Younger-Looking Skin

Tips for Younger-Looking Skin for Men

Why don’t you ever see a man in an Oil of Olay commercial? We know as well as you do that men don’t always welcome the thought that wrinkles and age spots make them look more “distinguished.” (If that were true, you wouldn’t see any Just For Men commercials either.)

While you can’t stop or even slow down the internal aging process, to some extent you can control external factors that affect premature aging. Protecting your skin from the sun and quitting smoking are a good start.

Once you’ve noticed the signs of aging, you can take some steps to minimize them.



Combating fine lines and wrinkles

By our 40s and 50s, our skin has lost firmness, spring and moisture. We see fine lines and wrinkles.

Pale skin tends to wrinkle earlier than dark skin. People with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. When lines develop in dark skin, the lines tend to be deeper.

What causes wrinkles?

  • Constant muscle movement. Lines and wrinkles may be deep in areas with lots of muscle movement, such as on the forehead or around the mouth.
  • Sun, tanning beds and sun lamps. Lying outdoors in the sun, using a tanning bed or sun lamp, and even just being outdoors without sunscreen can cause wrinkles. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes many people to see wrinkles and fine lines before they reach their 40s and 50s.
  • Smoking. People who smoke expose their skin to toxins that accelerate the aging of their skin. Repeated puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips. Frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in one’s eyes can cause noticeable crow’s feet.

What you can do at home

The following are easy measures that you can take to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Use moisturizer developed especially for the face. This plumps up fine lines, which makes them less noticeable. Moisturizer is the secret ingredient in many anti-aging products that promise fewer wrinkles.
  • Wear sunscreen every day–even on overcast days. This helps to protect your skin from further damage. Apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. For best results, you should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Repair skin at night. Gently wash your face every night and then apply a product that contains retinol, followed by a good facial moisturizer. The retinol can stimulate the skin to make collagen, and the moisturizer seals in water.
  • Stop smoking. Many people notice significant improvements after they stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthful diet. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthful foods can lead to healthier skin. Be sure to include some protein in your diet. Our skin is made of protein, so some protein is necessary for healthy skin.

What your doctor can do

At-home versions of chemical peels and microdermabrasion are on the market, but the active ingredients in these at-home treatments are much less potent than you would find at your dermatologist’s office.

Similarly, women who see results with over-the-counter cosmetics usually have very fine lines that sit near the surface of the skin. Non-prescription products generally work by sloughing off the outermost layer of skin or hydrating the skin to plump it. Wrinkles return when you stop using the product.

Thanks to ongoing research, dermatologists offer several treatments that can diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and even deep lines. These treatments include:

    • Prescription-strength wrinkle creams, serums and lotions, such as:

  • Botulinum rejuvenation (BOTOX®)
  • Chemical peel
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion
  • Fillers
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Radiofrequency skin tightening

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Reducing age spots

“Age spot” refers to various spots and bumps that appear on the skin with age. Some of these spots and bumps are harmless. Others can be a sign of skin cancer.

Most age spots develop on skin that has been badly damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Age spots also appear on people who use tanning beds and sun lamps. The cause of one type of age spot, seborrheic keratosis (SK), is not known. Some studies suggest that sun exposure plays a role.

What you can do at home

Sometimes what appears to be an age spot is actually melanoma or another type of skin cancer. With early detection and proper treatment, skin cancer has a high cure rate. That’s why it’s important to get any age spots checked by a dermatologist.

If your skin shows plenty of sun damage, using an over-the-counter product to diminish age spots may not be wise. It can delay diagnosis of a skin cancer. If your dermatologist gives you the OK, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Apply sunscreen every day to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. You will not see results from a treatment for age spots if you do not protect your skin from UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Look at the list of ingredients on a fade cream or similar product. Some fade creams and bleaching treatments are available without a prescription. They generally contain hydroquinone. Other products that may help fade age spots are called skin brighteners, lighteners or whiteners. These products usually contain soy, licorice or kojic acid.
    Prescription-strength products tend to be more effective than products you can buy without a prescription, even if the ingredient list looks similar.
  • Products from outside the United States may contain an inaccurate list of ingredients. Some imported products contain mercury; others include high-potency steroids. While illegal, these products do find their way into the United States . Using a product that contains a high-potency steroid can cause paper-thin skin, acne and stretch marks. Some imported products contain much higher levels of hydroquinone than currently allowed in the United States . These high levels can irritate the skin and cause visible, light-colored halos to appear on the treated skin. To avoid buying imported products, it’s best to purchase products directly through a dermatologist.

What your doctor can do

Many patients say they do not see the results they want from products available without a prescription. Dermatologists offer the following treatments for those age spots that people often call “liver spots” or “sun spots”:

  • Bleaching treatments (prescription strength)
  • Chemical peeling
  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion
  • Laser skin resurfacing

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Treating more-advanced signs of aging

Using the latest advances, dermatologists successfully treat wrinkles, lax skin, age spots, spider veins and more. All cosmetic procedures, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels, should be performed by a board certified physician or under the doctor’s direct supervision. This greatly reduces the risk of complications.

Here are some of the services a dermatologist can provide:

Laser treatments/photorejuvenation. Light energy delivered by BroadBand Light (BBL) technology gently heats the upper layers of the skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas stimulates the skin cells to generate new collagen. This process helps restore the skin to its natural stage. The photothermal energy also targets and eliminates many of the fine vessels that cause redness and the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented lesions.

Using different wavelengths and filters, a dermatologist can treat a broad range of skin conditions caused by skin aging and sun exposure, including:

  • Pigmented lesions
  • Skin firming
  • Vascular conditions
  • Skin resurfacing
  • Wrinkle reduction

Botox. BOTOX® Cosmetic is a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily smooth moderate to severe frown lines between the brows in people ages 18 to 65. It is the only treatment of its type approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A Botox treatment lasts about 10 minutes and involves a few tiny injections. Within days, you’ll notice an improvement in frown lines between the brows. Results vary, but they can last up to 4 months.

BOTOX Cosmetic is a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, which reduces the activity of the muscles that have caused those frown lines between the brows to form over time.

Fillers. Fillers like JUVÉDERM®, Restylane® and Restylane Lyft® are injected into the skin to restore volume to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth. Fillers offer natural-looking results by restoring your skin’s fullness.

They are composed of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps provide fullness and elasticity. Over time, skin loses hyaluronic acid. As it diminishes, skin loses volume, increasing the chances that wrinkles and folds will appear.

Juvéderm is intended to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and “nasolabial folds” (laugh lines). It is the only FDA-approved filler that lasts up to one year with only one treatment. Like Juvéderm, Restylane is well tolerated, nonsurgical and long lasting (usually around six months). Restylane Lyft has larger gel particles and is intended to be injected deeper within the skin.

Chemical peels. “Chemical peel” is a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. They improve fine wrinkles, small scars and overall complexion. Peels range from gentle treatments to producing dramatic results. Different types include:

  • Glycolic peel: A superficial chemical peel. Immediate results include tightness and improved feel of the skin. Over time pores shrink, brown lesions fade, and the overall texture of the skin improves.
  • Vitalize peel: A slightly more intense chemical peel that offers faster results.
  • TCA peel: These peels can vary in intensity from very mild to very dramatic results. Benefits include wrinkle and scar reduction, decreasing the signs of sun damage and improving pore size and complexion.
  • Jessner’s peel: Designed to remove superficial layers of skin, it also tends to decrease oil production and open clogged pores.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin Tips for Men

Cancer certainly is a threat to healthy skin, but it’s not the only one. Learn more about the different marks you may find on your skin, what that itchy patch could be and how to keep acne at bay. It might be an understatement to say that men can be reluctant to visit the doctor, but these sections will give some tips on knowing when it’s time to see the dermatologist.

  • Is it a mole or melanoma? – How to tell the difference between different marks on your skin and what to do if they look suspicious.
  • Rashes and itchy skin – What to do when Gold Bond isn’t enough. That rash could be a sign of a skin condition such as psoriasis, rosacea, jock itch or athlete’s foot.
  • Adult acne – Unfortunately, it’s more common than anyone would like. The good thing is that you don’t have to live with the breakouts.

Is it a mole or melanoma?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a mark on your skin is a mole, an age spot or a sign of a more serious condition. Here are some ways to tell the difference and what to do if you spot something suspicious.

Moles
Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few. Adults with light skin may have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles. You should not be overly worried about your moles, but remember that few benign moles develop after 30 years of age.

A mole on your body has these traits:

  • One color – Often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned or colorless
  • Round in shape
  • Flat or slightly raised
  • Looks the same from month to month

Your moles may not look alike. Even on the same person, moles can differ in size, shape or color. Moles can have hair. Some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin. They develop on the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles and palms and even under the nails.

Melanoma
Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can grow in or near a mole. If it’s caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured. The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole or a new mole on your skin. Checking your skin regularly can help you find melanoma early.

Melanoma is considered the most lethal form of skin cancer because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. If you see a mole or new spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, see a dermatologist immediately.

A – Asymmetry . One half is unlike the other half.

B – Border . An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C – Color . Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black; is sometimes red, white or blue.

D – Diameter . Melanomas are usually greater than the size of a pencil eraser when diagnosed, but some may be smaller.

E – Evolving . A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

Non-melanoma skin cancers
More than 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that’s just in the United States . Besides melanoma, there are two other common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It most often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and arms. You will find BCCs on other parts of the body, too.

BCC often grows slowly. It may look like a:

  • Reddish patch of dry skin that won’t heal
  • Flesh-colored (or pink, red or brown) pearl-shaped lump
  • Scar that feels waxy — may be skin-colored, white or yellow

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a very common type of skin cancer. It often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as an ear, face, bald scalp, neck or arm. But it can appear elsewhere. Too much sun is often the cause, but it is not the only one. SCC can appear on skin that was badly burned, had lots of radiation (such as x-rays) or was exposed to strong chemicals.

SCC often has a reddish color. Without treatment, it can grow deeply. If this happens, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. This can be deadly. SCC often looks like a:

  • Hard (scaly or crusty) reddish bump, patch or pearl-shaped growth
  • Open sore that itches and bleeds; it can heal and return
  • Scaly patch on the lip; skin on the lip can get thick

If it is caught early and properly treated, skin cancer can be cured. A dermatologist selects treatment after considering the type of skin cancer, where it appears on the body, whether it’s aggressive, the stage of the cancer and the patient’s health.

Actinic Keratoses
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are dry, scaly, rough-textured patches or lesions that form on the outermost layer of the skin after years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, such as sunlight. These lesions typically range in color from skin-toned to reddish brown and in size from that of a pinhead to larger than a quarter. Occasionally, a lesion grows to resemble an animal horn and is called a “cutaneous horn.”

It is important that anyone with AKs be under a dermatologist’s care. AKs are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer and have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Anyone who develops AKs has extensive sun-damaged skin. This makes one more susceptible to other forms of skin cancer, including melanoma.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Rashes and itchy skin

Dry skin is common and can occur at any age for many reasons. Using a moisturizer often helps repair dry skin. If it doesn’t, or if dry skin develops into a rash, you may need a dermatologist’s help to get relief. Here is more information about rashes and other “itchy skin” conditions—psoriasis, rosacea, jock itch and athlete’s foot.

Rashes
Rashes are generally caused by skin irritation, which can have many causes. A rash is generally a minor problem that may go away with home treatment. In some cases a rash does not go away or the skin may become so irritated that medical care is needed.

In adults, rashes are often caused by contact with a substance that irritates the skin. The rash usually starts within 48 hours after contact. You may experience mild redness of the skin or a rash of small red bumps. A more severe reaction may cause swelling, redness and larger blisters.

Common causes include poisonous plants; soaps, detergents, shampoos or cosmetics; jewelry or fabrics; new tools, appliances or other objects; and latex.

A rash could be a sign of a chronic skin problem, such as psoriasis.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a long-lasting disease that develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body doesn’t shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear. It is not contagious.

What you see and feel depends on the type of psoriasis you have:

  • Plaque : Causes thick patches of skin that are covered with silvery-white scale.
  • Guttate : Causes small spots that can show up all over the skin.
  • Pustular : Causes pus-filled bumps that usually appear on the foot or hand.
  • Inverse : Develops in areas where skin touches skin, such as the armpit.
  • Erythrodermic : Can cause the skin to look like it is badly burned.

Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis. Some people see their skin completely clear.

Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find a treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.

  • Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis. Some effective products include Cutar Emulsion and Tarsum shampoo.
  • Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
  • Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasi

Discussing your treatment options with a dermatologist will help determine which is right for you.

Rosacea
Rosacea is a common skin disease that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest and back can be red all the time.

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea : Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels
  • Papulopustular rosacea : Redness, swelling and acne-like breakouts
  • Phymatous rosacea : Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture
  • Ocular rosacea : Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen and person may have what looks like a stye   

While there is no cure for rosacea, treatment can help relieve symptoms. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.

Treatment for the skin includes:

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Medicine that is applied to the rosacea
  • Sunscreen (wearing it every day can help prevent flare-ups)
  • An emollient to help repair the skin
  • Lasers and other light treatments
  • Antibiotics (applied to the skin and pills by mouth)

Dermatologists can remove the thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face with:

  • Lasers
  • Dermabrasion (procedure that removes skin)
  • Electrocautery (procedure that sends electric current into the skin to treat it)

When rosacea affects the eyes, a dermatologist may give you instructions for washing the eyelids several times a day and a prescription for eye medicine. 

Jock Itch and Athlete’s Foot
Jock itch is an infection of the groin area caused by fungus. It occurs mostly in adult men and adolescent boys. The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in warm, moist areas. Jock itch can be triggered by friction from clothes and prolonged wetness in the groin area (such as from sweating).

Athlete’s foot is an infection of the feet caused by fungus. Athlete’s foot may last for a short or long time and may come back after treatment.

The most common symptom is cracked, flaking, peeling skin between the toes. The affected area is usually red and itchy. You may feel burning or stinging, and there may be blisters, oozing or crusting. In addition to the toes, the symptoms can also occur on the heels, palms and between the fingers.

Your risk for getting athlete’s foot increases if you wear closed shoes, especially if they are plastic-lined; keep your feet wet for prolonged periods of time; sweat a lot; and develop a minor skin or nail injury.

Jock itch and athlete’s foot usually respond to self-care within a couple of weeks.

  • Keep the skin clean and dry.
  • Don’t wear clothing or shoes that rub and irritate the area.
  • Wear clean, cotton socks and change as often as necessary to keep feet dry.
  • Apply topical over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole or tolnaftate. Triple Paste AF is a powerful antifungal.

Severe infections, frequently recurring infections or infections lasting longer than two weeks may require further treatment by your doctor. Stronger prescription medications or oral antifungals may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed to treat bacterial infections that occur in addition to the fungus (for example, from scratching the area).

Source: American Academy of Dermatology and the National Center for Biotechnology Information


Adult acne

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States . And it’s not just for teens anymore. Adult acne can be particularly frustrating because treatment that worked so well during your teen years is often ineffective. It also takes longer to resolve in adults than in teenagers.

Types
Women are more susceptible to the two types of adult acne, but men also suffer from it.

Acne that doesn’t clear by your mid-20s is called persistent acne . It often causes deep-seated, tender, inflamed pimples and nodules. Persistent acne tends to form on the lower face, predominately around the mouth, on the chin and along the jawline.

Adults also develop late-onset acne. People who have not had acne for years can suddenly see deep-seated, inflamed pimples and nodules. Even those who have never had acne can get it later in life. Adult-onset acne generally forms on the chin, jawline and around the mouth. Lesions can appear on the chest and back.

Why Now?
Regardless of age, acne develops when excess sebum (an oil that our bodies produce to naturally moisturize the skin), skin cells and bacteria accumulate. Researchers have discovered several factors that can trigger this in adults: fluctuating hormones, taking certain medications, stress, a family history of acne and certain products used on the face or skin.

Treatment Options
Most cases of adult acne can be controlled effectively. Often combination therapy (the use of two or more treatments), a dermatologist’s help and a bit of patience are required.

At-home treatment: Many people can treat mild acne with products that you can buy without a prescription. A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin over time, not overnight. At-home treatment requires 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent breakouts.

If you have a lot of acne, cysts or nodules, an over-the-counter product may not work. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:

Acne treatment that you apply to the skin: Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic or even salicylic acid. Vanoxide and Obagi Tretinoin are examples of two effective topical treatments. Your dermatologist will determine what you need.

Acne treatment that works throughout the body: Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

  • Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation)
  • Medicine that works on hormones
  • Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all causes of acne)

Procedures that treat acne: Your dermatologist may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

  • Lasers and other light therapies: These devices reduce the bacteria that lead to acne.
  • Chemical peels: Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat two types of acne — blackheads and papules.
  • Acne removal: Your dermatologist may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, your dermatologist may inject the cyst with medicine.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Skincare 101

Skincare Tips for Men

While more and more men are using sun protection while they work and play outdoors, too many aren’t. Skin cancer is a threat that can be prevented. By protecting your skin from the sun, you may lower your chances of skin cancer and premature aging.

The sun’s rays, also called ultraviolet or UV rays, damage the skin. The short-term results of unprotected exposure to UV rays are sunburn and tanning. In the long run, unprotected exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer.

Follow these guidelines whenever you are in the sun:

  • If you can, stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
  • If you have to be out in the sun, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to protect your skin. Wear shirts made from tightly woven cloth, like long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. If the clothing fits loosely, you will feel cooler. Special sun-protective clothes are available.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. Sun exposure increases your risk of getting cataracts.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to help protect your face, neck and ears from the sun. The best hat to wear in the sun has a brim that’s at least 6 inches all around. Baseball caps and similar hats don’t protect your ears and neck.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Clouds don’t protect your skin from sun damage. Use at least the amount of a shot glass and rub it in well. Put the sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Put the sunscreen everywhere the sun’s rays might touch you, including your forehead and face, your ears, the back of your neck and any bald parts on the top of your head. Some sunscreen products are “drip-free.” You can try those products on your face if that’s a problem for you.

Younger-Looking Skin

Tips for Younger-Looking Skin for Women

Despite what hundreds of infomercials would have you believe, there is no fountain of youth for skin. No pill or lotion will erase 20 years from your face overnight.

While you can’t stop or even slow down the internal aging process, to some extent you can control external factors that affect premature aging. Protecting your skin from the sun and quitting smoking are a good start.

Once you’ve noticed the signs of aging, you can take some steps to minimize them.


Combating fine lines and wrinkles

By our 40s and 50s, our skin has lost firmness, spring and moisture. We see fine lines and wrinkles.

Pale skin tends to wrinkle earlier than dark skin. People with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. When lines develop in dark skin, the lines tend to be deeper.

What causes wrinkles?

  • Constant muscle movement. Lines and wrinkles may be deep in areas with lots of muscle movement, such as on the forehead or around the mouth.
  • Sun, tanning beds and sun lamps. Lying outdoors in the sun, using a tanning bed or sun lamp, and even just being outdoors without sunscreen can cause wrinkles. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes many people to see wrinkles and fine lines before they reach their 40s and 50s.
  • Smoking. People who smoke expose their skin to toxins that accelerate the aging of their skin. Repeated puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips. Frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in one’s eyes can cause noticeable crow’s feet.

What you can do at home?

The following are easy measures that you can take to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Use moisturizer developed especially for the face. This plumps up fine lines, which makes them less noticeable. Moisturizer is the secret ingredient in many anti-aging products that promise fewer wrinkles.
  • Wear sunscreen every day–even on overcast days. This helps to protect your skin from further damage. Apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. For best results, you should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Repair skin at night. Gently wash your face every night and then apply a product that contains retinol, followed by a good facial moisturizer. The retinol can stimulate the skin to make collagen, and the moisturizer seals in water.
  • Stop smoking. Many people notice significant improvements after they stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthful diet. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthful foods can lead to healthier skin. Be sure to include some protein in your diet. Our skin is made of protein, so some protein is necessary for healthy skin.

What your doctor can do

At-home versions of chemical peels and microdermabrasion are on the market, but the active ingredients in these at-home treatments are much less potent than you would find at your dermatologist’s office.

Similarly, women who see results with over-the-counter cosmetics usually have very fine lines that sit near the surface of the skin. Non-prescription products generally work by sloughing off the outermost layer of skin or hydrating the skin to plump it. Wrinkles return when you stop using the product.

Thanks to ongoing research, dermatologists offer several treatments that can diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and even deep lines. These treatments include:

    • Prescription-strength wrinkle creams, serums and lotions, such as:

  • Botulinum rejuvenation (BOTOX®)
  • Chemical peel
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion
  • Fillers
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Radiofrequency skin tightening

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Reducing age spots

“Age spot” refers to various spots and bumps that appear on the skin with age. Some of these spots and bumps are harmless. Others can be a sign of skin cancer.

Most age spots develop on skin that has been badly damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Age spots also appear on people who use tanning beds and sun lamps. The cause of one type of age spot, seborrheic keratosis (SK), is not known. Some studies suggest that sun exposure plays a role.

What you can do at home

Sometimes what appears to be an age spot is actually melanoma or another type of skin cancer. With early detection and proper treatment, skin cancer has a high cure rate. That’s why it’s important to get any age spots checked by a dermatologist.

If your skin shows plenty of sun damage, using an over-the-counter product to diminish age spots may not be wise. It can delay diagnosis of a skin cancer. If your dermatologist gives you the OK, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Apply sunscreen every day to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. You will not see results from a treatment for age spots if you do not protect your skin from UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection.
  • Look at the list of ingredients on a fade cream or similar product. Some fade creams and bleaching treatments are available without a prescription. They generally contain hydroquinone. Other products that may help fade age spots are called skin brighteners, lighteners or whiteners. These products usually contain soy, licorice, or kojic acid.
    Prescription-strength products tend to be more effective than products you can buy without a prescription, even if the ingredient list looks similar.
  • Products from outside the United States may contain an inaccurate list of ingredients. Some imported products contain mercury; others include high-potency steroids. While illegal, these products do find their way into the United States . Using a product that contains a high-potency steroid can cause paper-thin skin, acne and stretch marks. Some imported products contain much higher levels of hydroquinone than currently allowed in the United States. These high levels can irritate the skin and cause visible, light-colored halos to appear on the treated skin. To avoid buying imported products, it’s best to purchase products directly from a dermatologist.

What your doctor can do

Many patients say they do not see the results they want from products available without a prescription. Dermatologists offer the following treatments for those age spots that people often call “liver spots” or “sun spots”:

  • Bleaching treatments (prescription strength)
  • Chemical peeling
  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion
  • Laser skin resurfacing

More detail about some of these procedures is available here .

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Treating more-advanced signs of aging

Using the latest advances, dermatologists successfully treat wrinkles, lax skin, age spots, spider veins and more. All cosmetic procedures, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels, should be performed by a board certified physician or under the doctor’s direct supervision. This greatly reduces the risk of complications.

Here are some of the services a dermatologist can provide:

Laser treatments/photorejuvenation. Light energy delivered by BroadBand Light (BBL) technology gently heats the upper layers of the skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas stimulates the skin cells to generate new collagen. This process helps restore the skin to its natural stage. The photothermal energy also targets and eliminates many of the fine vessels that cause redness and the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented lesions.

Using different wavelengths and filters, a dermatologist can treat a broad range of skin conditions caused by skin aging and sun exposure, including:

  • Pigmented lesions
  • Skin firming
  • Vascular conditions
  • Skin resurfacing
  • Wrinkle reduction

Botox. BOTOX® Cosmetic is a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can smooth moderate to severe frown lines between the brows temporarily in people ages 18 to 65. It is the only treatment of its type approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A Botox treatment lasts about 10 minutes and involves a few tiny injections. Within days you’ll see a noticeable improvement in frown lines between the brows. Results vary, but they can last up to 4 months.

BOTOX Cosmetic is a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, which reduces the activity of the muscles that have caused those frown lines between the brows to form over time.

Fillers. Fillers like JUVÉDERM®, Restylane® and Restylane Lyft® are injected into the skin to restore volume to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth. Fillers offer natural-looking results by restoring your skin’s fullness.

They are composed of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps provide fullness and elasticity. Over time, skin loses hyaluronic acid. As it diminishes, skin loses volume, increasing the chances of wrinkles and folds to appear.

Juvéderm is intended to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and “nasolabial folds” (laugh lines). It is the only filler FDA-approved to last up to one year with only one treatment. Like Juvéderm, Restylane is well tolerated, nonsurgical, and long lasting (usually around six months). Restylane Lyft has larger gel particles and is intended to be injected deeper within the skin.

Chemical peels. “Chemical peel” is a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. They improve fine wrinkles, small scars and overall complexion. Peels range from gentle treatments to those that produce dramatic results. Different types include:

  • Glycolic peel: A superficial chemical peel. Immediate results include tightness and improved feel of the skin. Over time pores shrink, brown lesions fade and the overall texture of the skin improves.
  • Vitalize peel: A slightly more intense chemical peel that offers faster results.
  • TCA peel: These peels can vary in intensity from very mild to very dramatic results. Benefits include wrinkle and scar reduction, decreasing the signs of sun damage and improving pore size and complexion.
  • Jessner’s peel: Designed to remove superficial layers of skin, it also tends to decrease oil production and open clogged pores.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin Tips for Women

The key to great-looking skin is keeping it healthy. You’ve heard that drinking eight glasses a day will do wonders. It can’t hurt, but there’s a lot more to healthy skin than hydration. Learn more about how to keep your skin as healthy as possible.

  • Is it a mole or melanoma? – How to tell the difference between different marks on your skin and what to do if they look suspicious.
  • Rashes and itchy skin – What to do when a moisturizer isn’t enough. That rash could be a sign of a skin condition such as psoriasis or rosacea.
  • Adult acne – Unfortunately, it’s more common than anyone would like. The good thing is that you don’t have to live with the breakouts.

Is it a mole or melanoma?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a mark on your skin is a mole, an age spot or a sign of a more serious condition. Here are some ways to tell the difference and what to do if you spot something suspicious.

Moles
Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few. Adults with light skin may have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles. You should not be overly worried about your moles, but remember that few benign moles develop after 30 years of age.

A mole on your body has these traits:

  • One color – Often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned or colorless
  • Round in shape
  • Flat or slightly raised
  • Looks the same from month to month

Your moles may not look alike. Even in the same person, moles can differ in size, shape or color. Moles can have hair. Some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin. They develop on the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles and palms and even under the nails.

Melanoma
Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can grow in or near a mole. If it’s caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured. The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole or a new mole on your skin. Checking your skin regularly can help you find melanoma early.

Melanoma is considered the most lethal form of skin cancer because it can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs. If you see a mole or new spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, see a dermatologist immediately.

A – Asymmetry . One half is unlike the other half.

B – Border . An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C – Color . Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black; is sometimes red, white or blue.

D – Diameter . Melanomas are usually greater than the size of a pencil eraser when diagnosed, but some may be smaller.

E – Evolving . A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

Non-melanoma skin cancers
More than two million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that’s just in the United States . Besides melanoma, there are two other common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It most often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and arms. You will find BCCs on other parts of the body, too.

BCC often grows slowly. It may look like a:

  • Reddish patch of dry skin that won’t heal
  • Flesh-colored (or pink, red or brown) pearl-shaped lump
  • Scar that feels waxy — may be skin-colored, white or yellow

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a very common type of skin cancer. It often appears on skin that gets a lot of sun, such as an ear, face, bald scalp, neck or arm. But it can appear elsewhere. Too much sun is often the cause, but it is not the only one. SCC can appear on skin that was badly burned, had lots of radiation (such as x-rays) or was exposed to strong chemicals.

SCC often has a reddish color. Without treatment, it can grow deeply. If this happens, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. This can be deadly. SCC often looks like a:

  • Hard (scaly or crusty) reddish bump, patch or pearl-shaped growth
  • Open sore that itches and bleeds; it can heal and return
  • Scaly patch on the lip; skin on the lip can get thick

If it is caught early and properly treated, skin cancer can be cured. A dermatologist selects treatment after considering the type of skin cancer, where it appears on the body, whether it’s aggressive, the stage of the cancer and the patient’s health.

Actinic Keratoses
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are dry, scaly, rough-textured patches or lesions that form on the outermost layer of the skin after years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, such as sunlight. These lesions typically range in color from skin-toned to reddish brown and in size from that of a pinhead to larger than a quarter. Occasionally, a lesion grows to resemble an animal horn and is called a “cutaneous horn.”

It is important that anyone with AKs be under a dermatologist’s care. AKs are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer and have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Anyone who develops AKs has extensive sun-damaged skin. This makes one more susceptible to other forms of skin cancer, including melanoma.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Rashes and itchy skin

Dry skin is common and can occur at any age for many reasons. Using a moisturizer often helps repair dry skin. If it doesn’t, or if dry skin develops into a rash, you may need a dermatologist’s help to get relief. Here is more information about rashes and other “itchy skin” conditions—psoriasis and rosacea.

Rashes
Rashes are generally caused by skin irritation, which can have many causes. A rash is generally a minor problem that may go away with home treatment. In some cases a rash does not go away or the skin may become so irritated that medical care is needed.

In adults, rashes are often caused by contact with a substance that irritates the skin. The rash usually starts within 48 hours after contact. You may experience mild redness of the skin or a rash of small red bumps. A more severe reaction may cause swelling, redness and larger blisters.

Common causes include poisonous plants; soaps, detergents, shampoos or other cosmetics ; jewelry or fabrics; new tools, appliances or other objects; and latex.

A rash could be a sign of a chronic skin problem, such as psoriasis.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a long-lasting disease that develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks.

The body doesn’t shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear. It is not contagious.

What you see and feel depends on the type of psoriasis you have:

  • Plaque : Causes thick patches of skin that are covered with silvery-white scale.
  • Guttate : Causes small spots that can show up all over the skin.
  • Pustular : Causes pus-filled bumps that usually appear on the foot or hand.
  • Inverse : Develops in areas where skin touches skin, such as the armpit.
  • Erythrodermic : Can cause the skin to look like it is badly burned.

Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis. Some people see their skin completely clear.

Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find a treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks and possible side effects.

  • Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis. Some effective products include Cutar Emulsion and Tarsum shampoo.
  • Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
  • Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasi

Discussing your treatment options with a dermatologist will help determine which is right for you.

Rosacea
Rosacea is a common skin disease that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest and back can be red all the time.

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea : Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels
  • Papulopustular rosacea : Redness, swelling and acne-like breakouts
  • Phymatous rosacea : Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture
  • Ocular rosacea : Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen and person may have what looks like a stye   

While there is no cure for rosacea, treatment can help relieve symptoms. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.

Treatment for the skin includes:

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Medicine that is applied to the rosacea
  • Sunscreen (wearing it every day can help prevent flare-ups)
  • An emollient to help repair the skin
  • Lasers and other light treatments
  • Antibiotics (applied to the skin and pills by mouth)

Dermatologists can remove the thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face with:

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Lasers
  • Dermabrasion (procedure that removes skin)
  • Electrocautery (procedure that sends electric current into the skin to treat it)

When rosacea affects the eyes, a dermatologist may give you instructions for washing the eyelids several times a day and a prescription for eye medicine. 

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Adult acne

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States . And it’s not just for teens anymore. A growing number of women have acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Adult acne can be particularly frustrating because treatment that worked so well during your teen years is often ineffective. It also takes longer to resolve in adults than in teenagers.

Types
Acne that doesn’t clear by your mid-20s is called persistent acne . Often causing deep-seated, tender, inflamed pimples and nodules, this type of acne is more common in women. Persistent acne tends to form on the lower face, predominately around the mouth, on the chin and along the jawline.

Adults also develop late-onset acne . Again, women are more susceptible. People who have not had acne for years can suddenly see deep-seated, inflamed pimples and nodules. Even those who have never had acne can get it later in life. For some women, acne becomes a problem during menopause. Adult-onset acne generally forms on the chin, jawline and around the mouth. Lesions can appear on the chest and back.

Why Now?
Regardless of age, acne develops when excess sebum (an oil that our bodies produce to naturally moisturize the skin), skin cells and bacteria accumulate. Researchers have discovered several factors that can trigger this in adults: fluctuating hormones, discontinuing birth control pills, taking certain medications, stress, a family history of acne and certain products used on the face or skin.

Treatment Options
Most cases of adult acne can be controlled effectively. Surprisingly, many women never seek treatment because they don’t believe it’s available. Often combination therapy (the use of two or more treatments), a dermatologist’s help and a bit of patience are required.

At-home treatment: Many people can treat mild acne with non-prescription products. A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin over time, but not overnight. At-home treatment requires 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent breakouts.

If you have a lot of acne, cysts or nodules, an over-the-counter product may not work. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:

Acne treatment that you apply to the skin : There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic or even salicylic acid. Vanoxide and Obagi Tretinoin are examples of two effective topical treatments. Your dermatologist will determine what you need.

Acne treatment that works throughout the body : Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

  • Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation)
  • Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones
  • Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all causes of acne)

Procedures that treat acne : Your dermatologist may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

  • Lasers and other light therapies: These devices reduce the bacteria that lead to acne.
  • Chemical peels: Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat two types of acne — blackheads and papules.
  • Acne removal: Your dermatologist may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, your dermatologist may inject the cyst with medicine.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology