Posts for category: Skin Care
Remember Your ABCDEs
This easy-to-remember acronym will help you spot those signs of skin cancer whenever you examine moles yourself. This is what it stands for,
- A is for asymmetry: A healthy mole will be perfectly circular and symmetrical. If you find that half of the mole is shaped differently from the other half, this could be a sign of pre-cancerous growth.
- B is for a border: A healthy mole will have a clearly defined border. If the mole has a jagged or an even or poorly defined border, it’s time to visit your dermatologist.
- C is for color: A healthy mole will remain a singular color throughout your life. If the mole changes color or develops multiple colors this could be a sign of skin cancer.
- D is for diameter: A healthy mole is typically smaller than a pencil eraser (under 5mm). Moles over 5mm, or larger than a pencil eraser, may be cause for concern. Large moles warrant seeing a dermatologist.
- E is for evolving: A healthy mole will remain the same over the course of your lifetime. So, if you notice it changing at all then it’s worth having a dermatologist look at it.
Along with remembering your ABCDEs, it’s also a good idea to look for,
- New moles: Just because you develop a new mole doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cancerous; however, if you start noticing any new moles developing past the age of 20 (particularly on the face, neck, shoulder, or other sun-exposed areas), this warrants an evaluation with a skincare professional.
- Troublesome moles: Do you have a mole that bleeds, itches, crusts over, or is painful or tender? If so, the mole should be checked out.
Years of sun exposure can eventually lead to damaged skin. Areas of the skin that have sustained sun damage often appear dry in comparison to healthy skin and have more lines and wrinkles. There are steps you can take to prevent sun damage, such as applying sunscreen before going outdoors. For individuals with sun damage, there are dermatology treatments that can help. The experienced providers at Westgate Dermatology and Laser Center in Winston Salem, NC, can help with the treatment and prevention of sun damage.
Signs of Sun Damage
Sun damage can affect the skin in many ways. One sign of sun damage is the development of age spots, which are areas of skin with increased pigmentation. Some common signs of sun damage include:
- Skin that appears dry
- Uneven pigmentation
- Sunspots or age spots
- Lines, creases, and wrinkles
It is best to seek treatment if you have any of the signs of sun damage. One of the skilled providers at our office in Winston Salem, NC, can discuss treatment options with you for restoring the health of your skin.
Preventing Sun Damage
Some precautions can be taken to prevent sun damage. Protecting your skin from the sun can also help prevent skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer to affect adults in the U.S. Some tips for protecting your skin and preventing sun damage include:
- Avoiding exposure to the sun during peak hours, which are between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm
- Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days
- Wearing a hat and protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, in the sun
- Refraining from using tanning beds or sun lamps that give off UVA or UVB rays
- Wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes
Treatments for Sun Damage
It is always best to take precautions to protect your skin and prevent sun damage. However, dermatology treatments are available for helping minimize or reverse some of the visible signs of sun damage. Our knowledgeable dermatology team can recommend specific treatments to rejuvenate sun-damaged skin.
Protecting your skin when in the sun will help prevent sun damage. For more guidance on preventing sun damage or to learn about treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our providers by calling Westgate Dermatology and Laser Center in Winston Salem, NC, at (336) 768-1280. We also have offices in Thomasville, (336) 714-0238, and Kernersville, (336) 768-1280.
What causes lichen planus?
Lichen planus is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. In fact, it typically appears when the immune system starts attacking the skin or mucous membrane. Certain things can trigger it including:
- Certain OTC pain medications (e.g. ibuprofen)
- Medications used for arthritis, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease
- Hepatitis C
- Viral infections
- Certain allergens
- Certain chemicals or metals
Should I see a dermatologist?
If you have developed a purple rash or bumps that resemble lichen planus it’s worth it to pay a visit to your dermatologist to find out what’s going on, especially if you notice any unusual bumps on the genitals.
To determine that you do have lichen planus, we will need to biopsy some skin cells to diagnose lichen planus and to also determine whether it’s being caused by an underlying infection or an allergen. From there, further testing may be needed.
How is lichen planus treated?
So, you found out from your dermatologist that you have lichen planus. Now what? In some cases, this condition may just go away on its own; however, it’s important to recognize that there is no cure for lichen planus but there are ways to help alleviate certain symptoms such as burning or pain. Common treatment options that your dermatologist can recommend or prescribe include,
- Antihistamines: To help with itching
- Corticosteroid creams: To reduce inflammation and redness
- Oral or injectable steroids: This treatment is more effective for persistent, recurring, or more severe bumps
- Photochemotherapy: Light therapy can be effective for treating oral lichen planus
Think You Have Shingles?
If you notice a blister-like rash developing on one side of the body it’s possible that you could have shingles. If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see a doctor.
Those over the age of 60 years old as well as those with chronic conditions such as diabetes are more at risk for complications related to shingles, so you must seek immediate dermatology care from a qualified doctor. A dermatologist can also rule out other possible conditions or infections.
For the antiviral medication to be most effective, you must see a doctor right away if you think you have shingles. The most common types of antiviral medications used to treat shingles include acyclovir and valacyclovir. These antivirals can speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
- Applying cold compresses to the rash
- Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath
- Wearing light, loose-fitted clothing that won’t rub against the rash
- Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
- Managing stress effectively and finding ways to help you relax
- Eating healthy, balanced meals
- Getting good quality sleep every night
The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine that can protect you against this infection. If you are over the age of 50, you could benefit from the shingles vaccine so ask your doctor. The vaccine can protect you from shingle for up to five years.
If you are worried that you might have shingles, or if you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should get the shingles vaccine, a qualified dermatologist will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the custom dermatology treatment you need to ease your symptoms.
Here’s how to tell the difference between dandruff and dry scalp:
- Dandruff will produce large, oily flakes that are often yellow or white in appearance while the dry scalp is more likely to produce a lot of dry little flakes.
- Dandruff may cause a red, scaly scalp while someone with dry scalp is more likely to experience dry skin on other parts of their body
- The only symptom that both dandruff and dry scalp have in common is an itchy scalp
Other tips to prevent dandruff include:
- Wash your hair every day to reduce excess oil on the scalp
- Use a shampoo that contains coal tar, pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or tea tree oil (a natural alternative)
- Stay away from any har products that contain alcohols or bleach, as well as oily hair products that will only cause more oil to buildup on the scalp
- Find ways to effectively manage stress, which can trigger or exacerbate dandruff
- Get a small amount of sun exposure every day (just a couple of minutes), which could help get your symptoms under control (talk to your dermatologist before doing so, as excess sun exposure can be harmful)
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in vitamin B, zinc, and healthy fats