Posts for: October, 2019
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. In fact, every year, over three million Americans are diagnosed with basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Fortunately, most skin cancers are highly treatable when detected early. Here at Applegarth Dermatology in La Porte and Valparaiso, IN, Dr. William Applegarth and his team offer skin cancer screenings and treatment. Read on to learn some of the most ways that you can fortify yourself from developing this dangerous condition.
Know Your Skin Cancer Risk
Skin cancer can happen to anyone, but some people are at a greater risk due to factors like hair, eye, and skin tone, number of existing moles, family history of melanoma, and being prone to sunburn. Dermatologists recommend that if you have moles, check them on a regular basis and schedule an appointment for a check-up if you notice any changes like:
- A mole that changes size or color
- Asymmetrical shape or uneven borders
- Brand new moles
- Bleeding or crusty moles
If you're in a high-risk group for skin cancer or have any suspicious-looking moles, you may need to receive regular screenings.
Skin Cancer Prevention
The most important thing you can do to lower your risk of skin cancer is to avoid excessive UV exposure from the sun, and wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen if you're going to be out in the sun for a few hours (especially during the peak hours of 10 AM-4 PM). Additionally, tanning beds are not safer than natural sun exposure, so they should be avoided as well.
Remember to reapply your sunscreen on a regular basis, especially if you go swimming or are sweating. You should also wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy or overcast days. You may not feel the sun's UV rays as intensely as on warm and sunny days, but they're still there and can harm your skin.
Find a Dermatologist in Valparaiso and La Porte, IN
For more information about skin cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Dial (219) 548-0360 for our Valparaiso office, or (219) 362-0161 for our La Porte location.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.
What Causes Melanoma?
The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.
Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:
- Fair skin
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood
- Family history of melanoma
- More than 50 moles on the skin
- Several freckles
- Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily
Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
- An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade
Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.
Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.
Acne is the most common of all skin disorders, affecting almost everyone at some point in their lives. While most people outgrow acne in their late teens or early twenties, many are affected into adulthood or even experience late onset acne. Although the exact cause of adult acne is unknown, possible causes include stress, cosmetics and hormones.
How Can I Treat Adult Acne?
Not only is chronic adult acne frustrating, but it can also have long-lasting effects on the self-esteem and confidence of those suffering from it. To combat blemishes, follow a few basic guidelines to improve your skin's condition.
- Avoid the urge to pick or squeeze pimples. Aggravating your acne will only increase inflammation, delay the healing process and lead to scarring.
- Follow a daily skincare regimen to remove oils, make up, and sweat from the surface of your skin.
- When wearing make-up, only use oil-free cosmetics.
- Avoid over-washing your skin, as this can make your acne worse.
- Wash gently with a mild facial cleanser once or twice a day. Be cautious of harsh cleansing products that lead to dry, irritated skin.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit exposure to sun and excess cold.
Fortunately, the physical and emotional effects of acne can be reversed with proper treatment. While adult acne can be persistent, an individualized treatment plan from our office can help you reduce blemishes, prevent scarring and eliminate your acne. With diligent home care and help from your dermatologist, your acne can be significantly improved, allowing you to regain your confidence!
The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can really take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may actually indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10 percent of all skin conditions, affecting a large number of older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be effectively treated with proper diagnosis from a dermatologist.
Mirror on Health
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by changes in the nails, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes and anemia. That’s why it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes in your nails.
Basic Nail Care
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but with basic nail care, you can help keep your fingernails and toenails looking and feeling great. Here’s how:
Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from building up under the nail.
Cut fingernails and toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and trauma.
Avoid tight-fitting footwear.
Apply an anti-fungal foot powder daily or when needed.
Avoid biting and picking fingernails, as infectious organisms can be transferred between the fingers and mouth.
Wear gloves to protect your fingernails when doing yard work or cleaning house to protect the nails from harsh chemicals and trauma.
When in doubt about self-treatment for nail problems, visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care.
Always notify a dermatologist of nail irregularities, such as swelling, pain or change in shape or color of the nail. Remember, your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, and a dermatologist can help determine the appropriate treatment for any of your nail problems.