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.
- Sores in the mouth and nose (mucous membrane sores)
- Hair loss, sometimes caused by discoid lesions
- Purple spots (due to broken blood vessels) on the legs
Cold sores are highly contagious, so it is possible to get a cold sore from,
- Kissing an infected person
- Sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass as an infected person
- Oral sex
Before a blister even develops, you may notice burning, tingling, pain, or itching around the affected area of the lip. If this is your first time dealing with a cold sore, it is common for the first outbreak to be the worst. In this case, you may develop a fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms.
When it comes to treating a cold sore, you can find simple over-the-counter creams that help to ease symptoms. If you deal with severe cold sore outbreaks you may wish to talk with your dermatologist about a prescription antiviral medication, that can help to reduce the length of your outbreak and reduce symptom severity.
Cold sores and canker sores can often be mistaken for each other, but they are not the same. First, cold sores usually develop on the lips while canker sore cause painful sores to develop in the mouth. Secondly, cold sores are due to a virus while we still don’t know exactly what causes canker sores.
How is molluscum contagiosum contracted?
You may be wondering how your child contracted this poxvirus. There are several ways to transmit this viral infection: skin-to-skin contact, sharing items such as towels or clothes, sexual transmission (in adults), and scratching your own lesions (this can lead to further spreading of the papules).
It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to develop symptoms after exposure. Once a child or person has molluscum contagiosum they typically aren’t infected again in the future.
How is this condition diagnosed?
If you notice any bumps on your child that persist for days, you must consult your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. A simple dermatoscopy (a painless, non-invasive procedure that allows your dermatologist to examine a skin lesion or growth) can determine whether the papule is due to molluscum contagiosum. If MC is not suspected, your dermatologist may biopsy the bump for further evaluation.
How is molluscum contagiosum treated?
Since this is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment option. In fact, the body simply needs time to fight the virus. Your dermatologist may just tell you to wait until the infection runs its course and clears up on its own.
If the papules are widespread and affecting your teen’s appearance and self-esteem, then you may wish to talk with a dermatologist about ways to get rid of the spots. Cryotherapy or certain creams may be recommended to treat and get rid of these spots.
If you are living with others, it’s important to avoid sharing any clothing or towels with the infected child or person. Make sure that your child does not scratch the bumps, which can lead to further spreading of the infection.
If your child is dealing with a rash, raised bumps, or any skin problems and you’re not sure what’s going on, it’s best to talk with a qualified dermatologist who can easily diagnose the issue and provide you with effective solutions for how to treat it.
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.
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