Posts for: September, 2022
A simple, painless skin cancer screening could just save your life.
Anyone who lives in Honolulu will tell you how much they love the warm, sunny weather. It really is glorious to get to enjoy a day surfing the waves or simply lying on the beach; however, those years spent in the sun could increase your risk for skin cancer, so it’s important that you are protecting your skin, too. One way to do that is by turning to our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists Dr. Erin Fuller, Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, and Dr. Sarah Grekin for routine skin cancer screenings.
How often should I get a skin cancer screening?
It’s important that everyone sees our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists at least once a year for a comprehensive skin check. These exams can help our team spot cancer early when it’s easily treatable. Those at high risk for skin cancer may want to talk to us about how often they should come in for screenings, as they may want to come in more than once a year.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
It’s important to recognize your risk for developing skin cancer over your lifetime. Risk factors for skin cancer include,
- History of severe sunburn
- History of using tanning beds
- Not using sunscreen
- Family history of skin cancer
- Fair skin and hair
- Extended periods spent out in the sun (e.g. gardening; construction worker)
- Being immunocompromised
What are the warning signs of skin cancer?
It’s important that along with visiting our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists for annual or biannual screenings that you also are examining your skin regularly. What should you be looking for when you perform self-skin cancer screenings? Look at all moles from head to toe. Check for asymmetry, irregular border, changes in color (or multiple colors), changes in size, or moles that look different in any way. Moles that itch, bleed, or are red should also be examined by our team.
Is it time you turned to our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists for a skin check? If it’s been more than a year since your last one, or you’ve never had one before, it’s time to call Dawson Dermatology at (808) 599-3780 to schedule yours. Schedule an appointment with Drs: Erin Fuller, Kevin Dawson, Douglas Chun, and Sarah Grekin today.
Most moles are normal, but sun exposure, genetics, and other factors can work to turn a normal mole into an abnormal, even cancerous mole. It’s important to know what to look for in abnormal moles. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole can even protect you from skin cancer.
Moles are caused by skin cells known as melanocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for determining skin color. Melanocytes can clump together, causing a mole to form.
So, when should you worry about a mole?
Abnormal Moles Typically Are:
- Large, usually over 6 millimeters in diameter
- Irregularly shaped, usually with ragged borders
- Asymmetrical, usually not uniform in shape
In Addition, You Need to Watch Out for Moles That Are:
- Itching, burning, or painful
- Bleeding or oozing
- Recurring after being previously removed
You should perform a self-check of your moles regularly, looking for any of the signs and symptoms listed above. In fact, pay attention to any mole that has changed in size, color, height, or shape.
You should also visit your dermatologist regularly, especially if you are at a high risk for skin cancer. People who are at a higher risk of skin cancer:
- Burn easily
- Have fair skin, light hair, and light eyes
- Have a family history of skin cancer
When you visit your dermatologist, your doctor may want to biopsy the mole to check for abnormalities. This means taking a sample of tissue or removing the mole entirely. This can be done several ways, including:
Shaving the mole if the mole is small; this option doesn’t require sutures.
Removal of the mole with an instrument, if the mole is large; this option requires a few sutures.
MOHS micrographic surgery, which removes the mole one layer at a time, and the tissue is examined under a microscope.
Remember to protect yourself against skin damage and skin cancer by always wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 15, or 30 if you are out in the sun for an extended period. Use a higher SPF of 50 and above if you are at high risk for skin cancer.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole, and mole removal options, talk with your dermatologist. Call today.
Are you dealing with psoriasis? Find out what can cause this skin disorder to flare up.
Studies show that “more than 8 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis”. Psoriasis is an immune-triggered chronic disease that causes the body to attack the body, causing skin cells to multiply rapidly and abnormally. This build-up leads to red, inflamed plaques. If you think you might have psoriasis, you should turn to our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists, Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Sarah Grekin, and Dr. Erin Fuller for a diagnosis and personalized treatment.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, causing raised, scaly red patches to develop on the body. This condition is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. People with psoriasis often deal with,
- Red, scaly and inflamed patches of skin (also referred to as plaques)
- Severely dry skin that may bleed or crack open
- Itching or burning on or around the plaques
What Causes Psoriasis?
While researchers are still trying to figure out what causes psoriasis, a person’s immune system and genes may play a role. Of course, certain things may trigger psoriasis symptoms to flare up,
- Skin injuries or infections
- Weather changes
- Certain prescription medications
How Do You Manage Psoriasis?
Here’s what you can do to help manage your condition,
- Eat a healthy diet, quit smoking, and avoid alcohol
- Take care of your skin and prevent injuries such as burns and cuts
- Pay attention to your joints and how they feel. See our dermatologists if you experience stiff or sore joints, particularly upon waking
- Apply sunscreen daily to prevent sunburns
- Do not scratch itchy plaques, as this will only make flare-ups worse
- Apply a cold compress to the areas to alleviate swelling and itching
- Figure out your triggers (e.g., stress; alcohol; cold weather) and avoid them
- Follow any medication and treatment plan prescribed by your doctor
Our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists will also create a customized treatment plan based on the symptoms you are experiencing and the type and severity of your psoriasis. Standard treatment options for psoriasis include,
- Topical and oral medications: Everything from corticosteroids and vitamin D to coal tar and retinoids may be recommended (some products are over-the-counter, such as coal tar shampoos, while others will need to be prescribed by a doctor)
- Phototherapy (aka light therapy): Some exposure to UVA or UVB light can be beneficial for plaques. Of course, you don’t want to spend too much time in the sun, as this can cause sunburns. Light therapy may be an excellent treatment option for children with psoriasis and those dealing with symptoms that appear in certain areas such as the scalp, groin, or knees.
- Oral and Injectable medications: Retinoids, cyclosporin, biologics, or methotrexate may also be prescribed for more severe and unresponsive forms of psoriasis. Our team will review your medical history before deciding if the medication is right for you.
If you want to sit down with our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists to map out your very own psoriasis treatment plan, call Dawson Dermatology at (808) 599-3780 today.
Are you wondering how you can protect yourself against skin cancer?
Research from the University of Hawaii reports that 10,000 people in Hawaii will be diagnosed with skin cancer every year. That’s why it’s essential to visit our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists, Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Sarah Grekin, and Dr. Erin Fuller once a year for a skin cancer screening. We also want to educate our patients on things they can start doing today to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.
Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?
While there is no foolproof way to prevent skin cancer, there are specific measures you can take to protect your skin and lower your risk. Ways to reduce your risk for developing skin cancer include,
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Make sure to wear sunscreen every day in all weather—rain, shine, or snow
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after sweating or swimming
- Wear long-sleeved, full-coverage clothing that’s lightweight but has tightly woven fabrics that will provide more protection against UV rays
- Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
- Avoid tanning beds
- Limit sun exposure, particularly during the hours of 10 am-4 pm
- Stay in the shade as much as possible when outside
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Skin Cancer?
Early detection is key to catching and treating skin cancer during its earliest stages when it’s far easier to cure.
- Any mole that is new or has appeared suddenly, especially as an adult
- Any mole or growth that has changed size, shape, color, or appearance
- A growth, lesion, or mole that itches, burns, bleeds, crusts over, is red, swollen, or oozes
- A lesion or sore that doesn’t heal
- Any growth that is red, pink, white, blue, or black
- A brown mole that contains black spots
- Large moles that are bigger than a pencil eraser
While most people monitor their darker moles, you also want to look for skin-colored or waxy-looking bumps, as these could be signs of basal cell carcinoma. These growths or lesions can appear anywhere on the body but are more common in sun-exposed areas such as the ears, face, and hands.
Who Can Benefit From Annual Skin Cancer Screenings?
If you have risk factors predisposing you to skin cancer, you should turn to our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists once a year for screenings. Those with a family history of melanoma and those with a personal history of skin cancer may want to come in more regularly for screenings. Of course, even if you are at a lower risk for skin cancer, you can still benefit from coming in once a year for a screening. These screenings are quick and painless and could save your life.
Whether you notice a suspicious mole that you want to have our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists check out, or you simply want to schedule your annual skin cancer screening, call Dawson Dermatology today at (808) 599-3780 to book your next visit.
Find out why cracked, dry skin happens and what you can do about it.
Dry or cracked skin can be a real nuisance, and you must be giving your skin the care it needs to keep it hydrated. You may find that your feet or hands are particularly susceptible to cracking and dryness, especially during the cold winter months.
What Is Causing My Dry, Cracked Skin?
Pay attention to your symptoms so you can pinpoint what might be causing your dry or cracked skin. Dry skin may be the result of,
- Exposure to hot water (e.g., washing dishes; taking a hot shower)
- Cold weather
- Chemicals (e.g., laundry detergent; dish soap)
- Athlete’s foot
How Is Dry Skin Treated?
There are many ways to tackle dry skin depending on what’s causing it and where the dry skin is located. Luckily, dry skin can easily be treated with certain home care, including,
Using a daily moisturizer
A moisturizer will become your new best friend if you are prone to dry skin. Moisturizers lock in moisture in the skin and can be particularly helpful when applied after showering. A thick emollient moisturizer will be best for dealing with severely dry or cracked skin.
Applying petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is a simple topical remedy that can help protect the skin while healing cracks. Petroleum jelly can be beneficial when dealing with cracking skin or dry lips.
Sometimes, exfoliation can be a great way to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface and reduce dryness and cracking, particularly on the hands and feet. After soaking feet in water for about 20 minutes, exfoliation can be done with a pumice stone. Apply a moisturizer after using the pumice stone.
When Should I See a Dermatologist?
If you’ve tried just about everything to get your dry skin under control on your own and you still aren’t seeing results after two weeks, it’s time to turn to your dermatologist. You should also call your dermatologist if your symptoms get worse or if your skin shows signs of infection, such as,
- Severe or increased redness
If dry, cracked skin has become the norm, and no moisturizer seems to be helping, it’s probably a good idea to turn to your dermatologist for answers.