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.
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
How Can Your Dermatologist Help You with Acne Treatment?
There’s no such thing as a one-treatment fits all when it comes to taking care of acne. When you come in for your consultation in Staten Island, Dr. Patricia McCormack will customize your acne procedure so you can get the best out of your treatment.
How A Dermatologist Diagnoses Acne
Acne is one of the most common dermatological conditions. It typically affects the face, chest, neck, and shoulders, but can affect other areas. Most people who get acne are between the ages of 12 and 25, though sometimes it those who are older.
When Staten Island acne sufferers visit Dr. McCormack, she will discuss your medical history and examine your skin to make sure the condition is acne and not some other skin issue. Once acne has been diagnosed, she will grade the acne into one of the following categories:
- Grade one: A few papules and comedones are present
- Grade two: Papules and a few pustules are present
- Grade three: Papules, pustules, and a few nodules are present.
- Grade four: Nodules and cysts are present.
There are many effective treatments for acne. Dr. McCormack will prescribe a treatment that is suitable for the specific grade of your condition. Many of the most popular products contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Although these substances clear the skin, this does not happen overnight. You will usually need to continue your treatment daily for up to eight weeks to clear your skin and prevent new breakouts.
Acne can have a big impact on your self-esteem. In the long term, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Don’t let pimples ruin your life. Contact call Dr. McCormack at her Staten Island office on (718) 698-1616, at her Linden office on (908) 925-8877 and at her Point Pleasant Beach office on (732) 295-1331 to schedule a consultation and get ready to say hello to a new, smoother complexion and a more confident you.