What does a dermatologist do?
Dermatologists are doctors with added training that allows them to diagnose and treat disease of the skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. Dermatologists treat skin cancers, moles, warts, fungal infections, psoriasis, acne, dry skin, contact dermatitis and other skin conditions and perform cosmetic procedures. Dermatologists are also surgeons to prevent or provide early control of disease and improve how the skin looks.
What happens during a full body skin check?
A complete skin exam at our clinic is a visual inspection of your skin. A full skin screening of your body is recommended. A gown is provided for privacy. The complete skin exam takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. If no suspicious lesions are found during your exam, yearly skin exams will usually be recommended. If suspicious lesions are found, the physician will typically recommend a biopsy to rule out skin cancer. This procedure can be performed here in the office, usually at the time of your skin exam.
How do I protect myself from the sun?
How much sunscreen should I use?
- Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including lips.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses if possible.
- Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, increasing risk of sunburn.
- Protect children from sun exposure.
- Get vitamin D through vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
- Avoid tanning beds.
Most people use too little sunscreen and apply too infrequently. Approximately one ounce (a shot glass full or a large adult handful) is recommended for an average sized adult to cover the entire body. This means that a typical 3-6 ounce bottle of sunscreen should last for only 3-6 applications. Apply ample amounts of sunscreen every 2 hours even if you are not sweating or swimming. Finally, even the best sunscreen is far from perfect in protection, so combine it with protective hats and other clothing. Avoid the peak UV hours between 10A.M. – 4P.M.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
The Providers at CDSS try to keep abreast of the health and safety implications of sunscreens. It can be a challenge to sort through the information widely available on the internet and in newspapers and discover what is validated by reputable research. Our current recommendations are to apply sunscreen generously prior to sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours.
How Can I diagnose myself with Skin Cancer?
Periodic self-examinations aid in recognition of any new or developing lesion. Make sure to look at your entire body every month or two. Watch for changes in the number, size, shape and color of pigmented areas. Warning signs to look for include changes in the surface of a mole; scaliness, oozing, bleeding or the appearance of a new bump; spread of a pigment from the border of a mole into the surrounding skin; change in sensation (i.e., itchiness, tenderness, pain). Refer to the ABCDE’s of Skin cancer/Melanoma detection:
One half is unlike the other half.
Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
Varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue.
While Melanoma’s are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
Consult a dermatologist promptly if any changes are observed.
Is skin cancer inherited?
Often we are looking at family members who have also inherited factors that increase baseline risk, like fair skin and a tendency to sunburn. Family members are likely to share environmental risk factors as well: outdoor activities, vacations to the beach, and a shared value for "wearing" a tan. If we develop skin cancers like our parents, it is likely that it’s because we inherited their skin type, and have taken on their habits as well.
There is an increased risk of skin cancer in first degree relatives of patients who have had Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma.