Posts for category: Skin Conditions
Over 9,000 people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every day in the United States according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition to taking precautions to protect yourself from harmful UV ray exposure from the sun and tanning beds, monitoring any changes to existing moles or new growths is an important factor in skin cancer prevention. Dr. Marc Meulener, a dermatologist in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ, recommends performing self-checks and scheduling regular skin cancer screenings to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Get Your Moles Checked in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ
Moles are very common and generally harmless, however, changes to the size, shape, color, or texture of an existing mole or new growths should be examined to be on the safe side. In rare cases, an abnormal or atypical mole can be a signal of melanoma risk. Like most forms of cancer, skin cancer is most treatable when diagnosed early, especially with melanoma.
What You Need to Know About Your Moles
Q: What is a mole?
A: Moles are benign growths of melanocytes, the cells responsible for pigmentation in the skin. They are usually black or brown in color and can be flat or raised from the skin, and develop almost anywhere on the body. They are typically round or oval in shape, and can vary in size from small to very large.
Q: What causes moles?
A: Moles form when melanocytes develop in a cluster. Most people have dozens of moles, and they usually appear in childhood and young adulthood. In most cases, they are normal and benign growths and not a cause for concern.
Q: Can moles become cancerous?
A: In rare cases, abnormal and atypical moles can become cancerous over time, or indicate an elevated risk for melanoma. But in most cases moles are benign and not a sign of cancer.
Q: Should I get my mole removed?
A: If you are worried about a mole, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for a consultation. Look out for changes to the size, shape, texture, color, and borders, or if you notice new growths at any time. The dermatologist will thoroughly inspect the mole and order a skin biopsy if the cells look suspicious and remove the mole as a precaution.
Find a Dermatologist in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ
For more information about skin cancer prevention and treatment and what to look out for, contact Choice Dermatology to schedule an appointment today by calling (908) 766-7546 for Basking Ridge, or (908) 355-0112 for Elizabeth.
Find out how this pigmented skin condition is treated.
Are you or someone you love dealing with vitiligo? The Mayo Clinic reports that there are more than 200,000 new cases of vitiligo each year in the US alone. Vitiligo is a chronic disease where the melanin, which gives your skin its pigment, either dies or the body stops producing it. As a result, there are white patches of skin all over the body. So, you may be wondering how this condition occurs or how you can treat it. This is when it’s important to turn to your dermatologist.
What causes vitiligo?
Unfortunately, researchers still do not know why some people develop vitiligo. It may be the result of an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks the melanocytes in the skin. Some researchers also believe that something as simple as a sunburn or even emotional stress could cause vitiligo; however, the cause is still unknown.
Who is at risk for developing vitiligo?
Even though this condition can appear at any time in a person’s life it more commonly occurs in your 20's. It affects both men and women of all races; however, vitiligo is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Those with autoimmune disorders are often more likely to develop vitiligo than those who do not have an autoimmune disorder. Genetics may also play a role; however, parents with vitiligo won’t necessarily pass this condition onto their child.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
Vitiligo is characterized by large white patches of skin, which may appear anywhere on the body. These patches most commonly appear on the face, hands, feet, arms, and other sun-exposed areas. Sometimes the white patches will spread over time. How quickly the patches spread will vary from person to person; however, sometimes the patches won’t spread at all.
How is vitiligo treated?
It’s important to turn to a dermatologist that you trust if you think you or a family member is dealing with vitiligo. During your consultation, your doctor will examine your skin to determine how widespread and numerous the patches are so that we have a better idea what type of treatment will be the most effective.
We will also go through your medical history and ask you questions about your condition. Treatment for vitiligo, like most skin disorders, will not work overnight. In fact, there is often a trial-and-error period to try and find the best treatment option.
The most common types of vitiligo treatment include medication, light therapies, and surgery, all of which are designed to restore pigmentation back into the skin.
Prescribed medications may be applied topically or taken orally. Certain UVA/UVB light therapy treatments may also improve your condition. Skin grafting surgery may be recommended, in which your dermatologist will remove skin from another area of the body and apply it over the patches to hide them and even out skin tone.
Your dermatologist can also recommend a full-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin when going outside, as well as any counseling and support you may need. If you or someone you love is looking for vitiligo treatment, contact your dermatologist today.
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
Does your face sometimes appear extremely red and flushing? While a slight blush is certainly nice, if the blush is severe or widespread you may be dealing a common condition known as rosacea. People with rosacea often liken their redness to looking like they are sunburned even though they are not, and the redness often appears across the nose and cheeks but can spread to the forehead, as well.
Along with redness those with rosacea may also experience:
- Stinging or burning
- Hard bumps that look similar to acne
- Visible blood vessels
- Thicker skin (in more advanced cases)
Rosacea is more common in women than men, as well as those over 30 years old. Rosacea is characterized by flare-ups of redness that may go away and then come back when in contact with certain triggers. Common rosacea triggers include:
- Heat or cold
- Spicy foods
- Certain skincare products
- Certain medications
It’s important to note when you experience triggers to figure out what might be causing your flare-ups so you can avoid them whenever possible.
There are no over-the-counter medications designed to treat rosacea, so the only way to get the proper treatment you need to get your symptoms under control is to see a dermatologist. There are certain prescription medications that may be prescribed to lessen your symptoms. These medications include:
- Certain drugs and topical medications that reduce redness
- Oral antibiotics (to kill the bacteria responsible for inflammation)
- Isotretinoin (for severe and unresponsive rosacea cases)
In some cases, your skin doctor may also recommend laser therapy to reduce redness and the appearance of blood vessels. Common laser therapies for rosacea include dermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy.
Along with medication and laser therapy it’s important to be gentle with your skin and to always wear sunscreen before going outside. Choose a sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection and has an SPF of at least 30. Even on cloudy or windy days you should apply sunscreen. Also be aware of certain products and makeup that could also be causing flare-ups. There is also makeup on the market that can conceal redness.
If you think that your redness may be the result of rosacea isn’t it time you got answers? Schedule a consultation with our trusted dermatologist today.
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.