Posts for category: Skin Care
What's the most frequent cancer among Americans? It's skin cancer, according to the CDC, and although common, this potentially deadly malignancy can be cured if treated early. At Hecker Dermatology Group in Tamarac and Pompano Beach, FL, your board-certified skin doctors teach their patients to recognize possible signs of skin cancer, particularly in moles. Drs. David and Melanie Hecker know that knowledge truly is power, and in the case of skin cancer, it can save lives.
How do we develop skin cancer?
Experts at the Cleveland Clinic maintain that ultra-violet radiation from the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds, leads to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on the skin. Other predisposing factors are:
- Being fair-skinned
- Severe and/or frequent sunburns at an early age
Of the three kinds of skin cancers (squamous cell and basal cell being the other types), malignant melanoma is the most insidious and dangerous. It spreads rapidly to other areas of the skin and to major body organs. As with all skin cancers, cure rates soar when lesions are detected in their earliest stages.
Watching your moles
Each year, all people over the age of 40 should have a comprehensive skin examination with their dermatologist. However, eyes-on inspection begins at home, it is important that all patients regularly check for possible skin cancer signs and other changes once a month.
In particular, moles require due diligence. These small, round to oval spots of deep pigmentation may change into skin cancer. Moles, or nevi, often cluster in groups, and a cancerous or pre-cancerous mole may stand out from its neighbors. This is called the Ugly Duckling Sign.
Additionally, moles may exhibit other potentially dangerous deviations over time. The American Academy of Dermatology formulated the ABCDEs of mole inspection to help patients recognize and report changes that they may observe.
- A stands for asymmetry. If one half of a mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or texture, be sure to show it to Dr. Hecker as soon as possible.
- B means border. If a mole is healthy, its edges will be smooth and not scalloped or notched.
- C stands for color. Healthy moles are one color throughout—typically brown or black. Varying shades of color indicate pre-cancer or cancer.
- D means diameter. If a mole is very large (> 6 millimeters) or grows with time, show it to your skin doctor.
- E stands for evolving. Healthy moles look the same in size, color, and texture for years. If you have a mole which darkens, itches, bleeds, or otherwise changes in appearance, see your dermatologist for a skin exam.
At Hecker Dermatology Group, our professional team offers a wide range of medical and aesthetic skin services to help you keep your skin at its healthiest. Learn more about self-examination by calling for a consultation with one of our physicians today! Our number is (954) 783-2323.
Mole Removal: What to Expect
Worried about that mole? A mole is a dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Simply thinking about having a skin mole removed might send shivers down your spine, but sometimes it’s necessary for your health. For example, if a biopsy is cancerous, removing the mole can help to stop any cancer from growing more. But many individuals also have moles removed for cosmetic reasons.
What Causes Moles?
Skin moles occur in all races and skin colors. Some individuals are born with moles. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person's life. New moles appearing after age 35 may require medical evaluation, and possible biopsy. Some moles appear later in life. Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of skin moles. People with high levels of exposure to UV light tend to have more moles. However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas.
How Is It Done?
Mole removal is a simple kind of surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely choose one of two ways: surgical shave or surgical excision. Surgical shave is done more often on small skin moles. After numbing the area, your healthcare provider will use a blade to shave off the mole and some tissue underneath it. Stitches aren’t usually required. During the surgical excision procedure, your doctor will numb the area. He or she will use a circular blade or scalpel to cut out the mole and some skin around it. The doctor will then stitch the skin closed.
Can a Mole Grow Back?
There's a small chance that a mole can grow back after mole surgery, although there's no way to predict whether this will happen. It's important to understand that no surgery has a 100 percent cure rate. Some mole cells may remain in the skin and may recur in the same area. Some skin moles are more aggressive than others and need closer follow-up and additional treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
Risks of mole removal methods include infection, rare anesthetic allergy, and very rare nerve damage. Follow your doctor's instructions to care for the wound until it heals. This means keeping it covered, clean and moist. The area may bleed a little when you get home, especially if you take medications that thin your blood. It's always prudent to choose a doctor with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will lower the risks associated with this procedure.
Take charge of your health today. Regular self-skin examinations and annual skin examinations by a doctor help people find early skin cancers. If you need a mole check, find a dermatologist near you and schedule your annual skin cancer screening.A simple skin cancer screening could save your life.
Discover helpful acne-fighting tips and trick to achieve clearer skin.
You’re trying to find the right way to get your acne under control, right? Well, there are certainly so many options out there that it can be a bit daunting. First and foremost, if you are just starting to deal with acne then you may want to tackle the issue from the comfort of your own home before turning to a dermatologist for help.
At-Home Treatment Options
The first line of defense is usually to try an over-the-counter acne cleanser or topical cream that contains an active ingredient such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s important to be patient when it comes to seeing results. No acne product will work overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks of consistent use before you start to notice results from commercial acne products, so don’t give up on a product too soon.
Other tips to follow include:
- Cleaning your smartphone with disinfectant wipes at lease once a day (imagine just how much bacteria your phone picks up everyday).
- Washing your face twice a day, once in the morning and at night before bedtime, and immediately after sweating.
- Being gentle with your skin. Harsh scrubs and being aggressive won’t get rid of acne; it will actually just make it worse.
- Using cosmetic products that won’t clog pores (look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil free”)
- Leaving acne alone (do not pick acne or try to extract it yourself, as this can lead to scarring)
- Washing pillowcases regularly to get rid of pore-clogging bacteria
When to See a Dermatologist
If you are having trouble getting your acne under control after weeks of trial and error, or if your acne is severe and painful then it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with more effective strategies for getting rid of your acne. After all, there are different things that can cause acne and it’s important that your skin doctor figures out what’s causing your acne so that they can create the right treatment plan for you.
Dermatologist-Approved Acne Treatment Options
Depending on what’s causing your breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend these treatment options:
- Topical treatment: Prescription-strength cleansers, ointments, and creams containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids can target and eliminate acne.
- Topical or oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
- Oral contraceptives: If you are dealing with breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle then hormonal fluctuations could be causing your acne. There are certain types of birth control pills that have been FDA approved to fight acne.
- Isotretinoin: More commonly referred to as Accutane, this powerful oral medication is used for those dealing with severe cystic acne that can lead to deep scarring. This is often recommended when other treatment options haven’t been effective.
Have questions about getting your acne under control? Then it’s time to consult with a dermatologist.
Brown spots and skin discoloration are frequent complaints for many people. The most common form of irregular pigmentation is hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Some people have abnormal skin pigmentation from a young age, and for others it is brought on later in life by sun damage or injury to the skin. Individuals of all ages, ethnicities and skin types can be affected, although those with darker skin tones are more prone to develop it.
Hyperpigmentation usually appears as brown spots and dark patches on the face, chest, arms and hands. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Sun exposure, acne, genetics and hormonal changes can trigger or worsen irregular pigmentation.
Not all pigmentation problems can be avoided, but you can follow preventive measures to control and reduce dark spots from forming. It is especially important to use adequate sunscreen, manage your acne and discontinue the use of any oral medications that may be contributing to the problem.
How Can I Combat Hyperpigmentation?
The good news is that skin hyperpigmentation isn’t dangerous, and proper treatment can help rejuvenate troubling patches on the skin. There are many treatments at your dermatologist’s disposal, ranging from topical creams and dermabrasion to chemical peels and laser procedures. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and problem.
Although a frustrating condition, your skin complexion can be improved and corrected. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.
What is Psoriasis?
Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!
The Background on Psoriasis
While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.
Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:
- Skin infections
- Skin injuries
- Heavy stress
- Regular tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides
Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:
- Steroid cream
- Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
- Ultraviolet therapy
- Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
- Methotrexate (only for serious cases)
Need Relief? Give Us a Call!
You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!