Know how to spot skin cancer!
When was the last time you gave your body a thorough self-exam to check your moles? If you’ve never done this before it’s important that you start. After all, moles can show us when they are turning cancerous, but we have to be looking for these changes. Along with visiting our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Erin Fuller, and Dr. Sarah Grekin once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening, it’s also important that you are performing screenings on yourself once a month.
Moles Stay the Same Overtime
Healthy moles will stay relatively the same color, shape, and size over time. So, if you notice a mole suddenly changing colors, growing larger, or changing in appearance then it’s important that you see our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists for an immediate evaluation.
Know the Red Flags
Wondering what the signs and symptoms of skin cancer will look like? It’s important that you, or a loved one, be able to spot these changes in a mole so that you can come in right away and get this problem addressed by a qualified dermatologist. When it comes to spotting melanoma it’s important to know your ABCDEs…
A for Asymmetry
Both halves of a healthy mole will look identical in shape and size, so an asymmetrical mole could be a telltale sign of melanoma
B for Border
A healthy mole has a clearly defined border, but cancerous growths tend to have jagged or poorly defined borders
C for Color
Moles can be various shades of brown, however, if you notice a mole that is changing color or developing multiple colors it’s time to see the dermatologist
D for Diameter
Most healthy moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser, while cancerous moles tend to be, but aren’t always, larger than 6mm
E for Evolving
If you have a mole that bleeds, oozes, crusts over, is painful, or just looks different it’s worth seeing a skin doctor find out if the mole could be cancerous
Protect Against Skin Cancer
Along with visiting your dermatologist once a year and performing monthly self-exams on your skin, you can also reduce your risk for skin cancer by simply limiting exposure to sunlight and by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 every day. Even on cloudy, rainy, or chilly days!
Do you want to schedule a skin cancer screening with our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists? If so, simply call Dawson Dermatology at (808) 599-3780 to book your next appointment with us. Protect your health by getting regular skin cancer checkups with our dermatology team.
What does an actinic keratosis look like?
These small, scaly flat patches of skin are often felt before they are seen. They can be flesh-colored, white, tan, or pink and most often show up on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the lips, ears, hands, face, or shoulders. Since most squamous cell carcinomas begin as actinic keratosis (AK), it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist if you are concerned that you might have actinic keratosis.
Am I at risk?
If you have a history of unprotected sun exposure or exposure to artificial UV light (e.g. tanning beds), if you are fair-skinned, or if you have a family history of actinic keratosis, it’s a good idea to examine your body and face once a month to keep tabs on any changes you may see. You should also see a dermatologist once a year for a comprehensive checkup and skin cancer screening.
What can I do to protect myself?
One of the best ways to reduce your risk for actinic keratosis is to limit sun exposure and to wear a full-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you are also wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses if you do plan to spend any time out in the sun.
How is actinic keratosis treated?
The good news is that your dermatologist caught your actinic keratosis before it had a chance to turn into a squamous cell carcinoma, which also means removing this precancerous patch is quick and easy. Actinic keratosis may be treated with cryotherapy (to freeze off the lesion), topical medication, or laser therapy. Your dermatologist will discuss the best way to remove your actinic keratosis. Since actinic keratosis can come back, it’s important that you come in at least once a year for a skin exam.
What is seborrheic dermatitis?
This condition can affect both children and adults. This problem may first begin in infants. This scaly skin that develops on your infant’s head is also referred to as cradle cap. As an adult, seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the ears, nose, and eyebrows, as well as the armpits and groin. This scaly rash may also be itchy.
What causes it?
While the cause is still unknown certain things might trigger or cause a flare-up. This includes everything from stress and genetics to certain medical conditions and living in cold, dry climates.
Who is at risk for developing seborrheic dermatitis?
Newborns are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis; however, adults between the ages of 30-60 are also at risk. Some risk factors that can raise your risk as an adult include:
- Oily skin
While there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, the good news is that sometimes this condition clears up on its own without treatment. If you are dealing with persistent or severe flare-ups, then it’s time to talk with a dermatologist about ways to better control your symptoms.
How is it treated?
A dermatologist will start with simple, conservative treatment options such as topical medications, lotions, creams, or shampoos that contain ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, or zinc pyrithione. If your baby is dealing with seborrheic dermatitis, make sure you talk to the child’s pediatrician before you use anything on their scalp.
Sometimes sulfur-based skincare products or corticosteroid creams are prescribed by a dermatologist to treat more severe flare-ups that aren’t responding to over-the-counter treatment options.
If you are experiencing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, it’s always a good idea to turn to a dermatologist who is qualified to properly evaluate, diagnose, and treat any conditions impacting the skin, nails, or hair. Turn to a dermatologist today for the treatment and care you need to get seborrheic dermatitis under control.
Although there is no cure for Shingles, antiviral medication can shorten the duration of the illness. Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are typical antiviral treatments that are most effective when taken as soon as a rash appears. Contact a dermatologist or other physician right away if you think you might have Shingles or within three days of receiving a rash. Delay in or lack of medical treatment can cause complications such as nerve pain called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) after the rash has healed. An affliction in or near the eye could lead to blindness if not cared for by an ophthalmologist.
In addition, the pain that accompanies the rash is extremely uncomfortable and can impede your everyday functions. Ibuprofens can help alleviate pain; however, the following methods can also provide some relief and promote faster healing:
- Take a cool or lukewarm bath with oatmeal
- Reduce stress with a relaxing activity
- Apply cool compresses
- Use Calamine lotion
- Keep the rash dry by applying corn starch or baking soda
- Wear loose clothing
Although Shingles can be quite debilitating and painful, keep in mind that it is treatable. The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you can shorten its duration, avoid further complications, and speed recovery. Adhere to the following guidelines if you suspect or know for sure you have contracted the Shingles virus:
- Contact your physician right away
- Take the prescribed dosage of antiviral medication without delay
- Follow any instructions given for ease of rash pain
- Avoid contact with vulnerable groups while the rash is still present
- Tell your doctor if you continue to have pain.
- Sensitivity to diapers or wipes
- Food sensitivities
- Excess moisture
- Bacteria or fungus
- Frequent diaper changes
- Good hygiene
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the use of warm water to clean the diaper area during changes, should wet wipes not be enough. Creams or emollients can serve as a barrier between the skin and the diaper to prevent further chafing and to keep the skin dry in between changes.
Diapers should be changed every few hours and whenever they become soiled. Your child's provider will be able to tell you more if you notice a diaper rash that is persistent or not responding to frequent changes, good hygiene, and diaper creams. Oral medicines or medicated creams may be prescribed on a case-by-case basis. These steps should prevent more discomfort and make diaper changing time a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.
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