Did you know skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in America? There are more cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year in American than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. Fortunately, if caught early, most skin cancers can be treated in the office and have little risk of spreading beyond the skin. If allowed to grow larger, however, skin cancer can lead to significant deformity of the skin, larger surgical scars, and even the risk of metastasis and death. The number one thing you can do to prevent skin cancer is to protect you skin from damaging ultraviolet sunrays. When outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves and pants as much as possible. When you canâ€™t use clothing or hats, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater and reapply every 2 hours while outside. Check your own skin regularly and look for irregular moles that stand out as different from your other moles, moles that grow quickly or are changing in shape, color or size, or wounds that donâ€™t heal. If you have any suspicious spots, see a dermatologist sooner rather than later.
Archive for September, 2012
One of the most frequent questions I get is how to treat or prevent skin wrinkling. While some wrinkling of the skin is inevitable with aging, what you do to your skin does make a difference. The basis of any skin care program is sun protection. Sun damages the skinâ€™s collagen leading to wrinkling. Using a wide-brimmed hat and broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 30 or higher will reduce sun damage to the skin and collagen. Products called retinoids such as Renova and Retin-A can be used daily to build collagen and even skin tone. These products can be prescribed by a dermatologist and purchased for as little as about $30 per month, much cheaper than many expensive, less effective over â€“the-counter products. Sun protection and retinoids are aimed a preventing wrinkling. In office dermatologic procedures like Botox, Juvederm filler, and laser or chemical peels can be used to rejuvenate and refresh your skinâ€™s appearance.
With back to school upon us, many teenagers are conscious about acne. While acne is common in young people with up to 90% of teenagers affected, adults can also suffer from acne. Mild acne can be treated with over the counter products. Look for products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. I generally recommend washes rather than leave-on treatments because both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be very drying to skin. If these products donâ€™t work for you or you have more involved or scarring acne, see a dermatologist. It is important to treat scaring acne early to reduce long-term damage. As a dermatologist, I have many prescription medications that can improve even difficult acne. While there isnâ€™t strong data linking foods to acne, a healthy balanced diet is a good idea. Avoiding high sugar, highly processed foods likely will reduce inflammation in the body including in the skin.
Dry skin is one of the most common skin problems. This is particularly true in Idaho were we have very low environmental humidity. Dry skin can cause itching, flaking, red or ashy skin leading to discomfort and unattractive appearance. You can help prevent and treat dry skin. First, avoid long, hot showers or baths that can dry skin. Only use soap on dirty areas, as it can be quite drying, stripping the skin of its natural moisturizers. In fact, using gentle liquid skin cleansers only to dirty areas can reduce dryness. Moisturize dry skin immediately after you finish bathing or showering. Damp skin absorbs moisturizers better than dry skin. Creams and ointments work better than lotions at moisturizing skin. The thicker the product, the better the moisturizing. You donâ€™t have to spend a lot of money to get a good moisturizer. Over the counter moisturizers like CeraVe cream or Cetaphil cream are good choices. If you have a dry spot that wonâ€™t go away despite moisturizing, have it checked by your dermatologist.