If you develop alopecia you may want to point a finger at your genetics. In fact, both parents have the ability to pass down alopecia to their children. So, if you have a family member with alopecia areata then you may be more likely to develop this condition at some point during your lifetime. Of course, genetics isn’t the only factor that plays a role in whether or not you develop alopecia. There are other deciding factors, as well.
As we mentioned above, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body attacks the hair follicles, causing them to slow or even halt hair growth. There are different kinds of alopecia and people experience different symptom severities. Some people may notice hair regrowth in a few months while others may not. Again, you must have a dermatologist that you can turn to for answers.
While there is no cure, there are treatment options out there that can help stimulate hair growth and reduce the immune system response. The type and severity of your alopecia, along with your age and the severity of your hair loss will play major roles in what types of treatment options are best for you. This is something that a skincare professional can discuss with you during your consultation.
- Topical or injectable corticosteroids
- Minoxidil solution (applied to the scalp to regrow hair)
- Anthralin cream
- Oral steroids
- Immunomodulatory medications
- Topical immunotherapy
It's very important to routinely examine your skin and to be aware of the possible warning signs that something may be wrong. This is especially the case if you have been exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays without protection, and more so if you are part of a higher risk group for developing skin cancer.
The best thing you can do is to let your Pompano Beach, and Tamarac, FL, dermatologists know of any worrying spots and visit them regularly so they can closely monitor any changes to your skin. For more information reach out to Dr. Melanie Hecker and Dr. David Hecker of Hecker Dermatology Group.
Risk Factors to Consider
One of the most common causes of skin cancer is overexposure to UV rays, as these can mutate the DNA of your skin cells, which can lead to uncontrolled growth. So although skin cancer can affect anyone, you are more at risk if your skin is lighter in color, or if it freckles or burns easily. But factors such as age, and your personal and familial history with skin cancer also play a big role.
What to Look For
Skin cancer commonly develops in the areas of your body more often exposed to the sun, so it's these you will want to keep a closer eye on for changes. The most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, can develop anywhere. A handy guide to know whether a spot on your skin is cause for concern is using the "ABCDE" method for determining possibly unhealthy moles and freckles. A is for asymmetrical, B for the border, and C, color, as healthy spots are generally symmetrical, have fairly even borders, and don't have more than one color to them. D is for diameter, which means that healthy spots should not be larger than about a quarter of an inch. E stands for evolution, thus you should be wary of any changes to the spot's different traits.
Skin Cancer Care in Pompano Beach, and Tamarac, FL
There's a lot you can do to ward against damaging UV rays such as avoiding tanning beds, using sunscreen when you'll be outside, and avoiding exposure during peak sun hours. Using the strategies mentioned above you can also remain on the lookout for unhealthy spots, but they don't cover every aspect of skin cancer.
Regular visits to your dermatologist are the best way to keep on top of any suspicious spots, and of course, treat them as early as possible. Book an appointment today with Dr. Melanie Hecker and Dr. David Hecker of Hecker Dermatology Group in Pompano Beach, and Tamarac, FL, by dialing (954) 783-2323.
What should I expect from a skin cancer screening?
There is nothing uncomfortable, painful, or invasive about a skin cancer screening. This can be a relief to know and may even make someone more likely to come in for the screening they need. A skin cancer screening involves a simple, non-invasive visual examination that is performed by a qualified dermatologist. Your skin doctor will examine all growths, moles, and birthmarks to check for any changes in shape, color, size, or texture that could be warning signs of cancer.
Just as with any health screening, a skin cancer screening can help your dermatologist detect skin cancer during the very early stages when it’s highly treatable. If your dermatologist does detect a suspicious growth, they may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy simply means that your dermatologist will remove a small amount of tissue from the area to test for cancer cells.
Who should get a skin cancer screening?
Everyone can benefit from a skin cancer screening; however, certain risk factors can increase your odds of developing skin cancer over your lifetime. It’s important to know your risk level so you can talk with your dermatologist about how often you should come in for screenings. Those at increased risk may need to come in more than once a year. These risk factors include,
- Being fair-skinned
- Having blonde or red hair
- Light eyes
- Skin that burns or freckles easily
- A history of sunburns
- Family history of skin cancer
- Extensive sun exposure (e.g. working outdoors)
What causes rashes?
There are so many reasons why a rash may surface. Rashes may be the result of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, or it could be caused by an allergy. Common causes of a rash include,
- Atopic or contact dermatitis
- Pityriasis rosea
- Insect bites and stings
- Poison ivy, oak, or sumac
- Diaper rash
- Lichen planus
- Allergy to a drug/medication
Most rashes are mild, self-limiting, and can be treated on your own without having to turn to a doctor. Some ways to ease a rash and promote faster healing is by,
- Using only gentle cleansers and soaps that do not contain harsh chemicals or fragrances
- Avoiding hot water and only using lukewarm or cold water
- Being gentle when cleansing, bathing, and handling the skin
- Not covering the rash (let it breathe)
- Using only unscented products
- Applying calamine lotion to control itching
- Using hydrocortisone cream to reduce itchiness, swelling, and redness
- Not scratching the rash, as this can lead to an infection
It’s important to recognize when a rash probably requires medical attention. You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if,
- The rash is widespread and takes over most of your body (this could be a sign of an allergic reaction, which requires immediate attention)
- The rash is spreading quickly and suddenly
- Your rash is accompanied by a fever (this is often a sign of serious infection)
- The rash is painful or contains blisters
- There are signs of infection such as oozing, crusting, or skin that’s warm to the touch
It’s important to follow these tips to treat bedsores,
- Immediately take the pressure off the area
- Apply dressings to the area to cover the wound
- Make sure to clean and dress the wound daily to prevent infection
A dermatologist can easily remove damaged or dead tissue and prescribe medications such as antibiotics to treat any infection that may be present. Your doctor will need to closely monitor bed sores to make sure it is responding to treatment and isn’t getting worse. If you or a loved one is dealing with bedsores, call your physician immediately.
How do you prevent bedsores?
Even though they are called bedsores, these ulcers can develop in any part of the body in which a lot of pressure is being placed. Therefore, people who are sitting or lying down for long periods, as well as those who are wheelchair-bound, are more at risk for developing bedsores. The person must be checked every day for redness and early signs of bedsores so the problem can be treated right away.
Some ways to reduce your risk for developing bedsores include,
- Moving or at least changing position every 2-3 hours
- Using additional pads or cushions in your bed or wheelchair to help take the pressure off certain areas of the body that are prone to bedsores
- Making sure that you get adequate and proper nutrition to assist in healing
- Properly care for and clean the skin every day
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