May is a very important month for me. In addition to mother’s day and the true start of spring in upstate New York, May is skin cancer awareness month. Working with a Web site and company dedicated to providing information and tools to help clinicians, patients, and consumers better understand visually presenting conditions, and in many cases dermatologic issues, I feel skin cancer is one of the most important topics we deal with each year. There are several different types of skin cancer, some types more threatening than others. What touches me the most, however, is how curable skin cancer can be if detected early and the simple steps everyone can take to prevent skin cancer.
Did you know approximately 20 out of every 100,000 light-skinned people will develop malignant melanoma? With odds like that you might not think it’s worth it to give much thought to this cancer. But malignant melanoma is real. I was one of those 20 in 100,000. My story isn’t unusual. In fact, you may find that my sun exposure sounds a lot like yours. I’m in my 30s and spend most of my days inside at work. It’s been years since I spent my summers life guarding at the pool. Plus, as an adult I always wore sunscreen whenever I knew I was going to be outside for any length of time. So what happened? Why did I get malignant melanoma? And more important, how did I manage to detect it early when it really wasn’t a prominent concern on my health radar?
A new study conducted as part of the national educational campaign Rosacea SKINsights finds that women with rosacea symptoms are "more likely to be perceived by others as unhealthy, insecure, less intelligent."
Learning new things is always good, especially when it involves one’s health. Your skin is a very visible indicator of your well-being, and many have come to our site to explore our picture database of different kinds of skin conditions. Here is the list for top 10 skin topics viewed on Skinsight.com this year¹.
Q: How long do skin rashes typically last? Rashes can last any amount of time, from minutes to hours, days to weeks, or even months to years, depending on the cause. The rash from hives, for example, may last only a number of minutes or hours. One individual hive lesion lasts for less than a day, but the general rash may last for weeks. Rashes such as psoriasis or eczema can last for months to years unless treated. Dr. Lowell Goldsmith and Dr. Jeff Bernhard contributed their expertise on behalf of VisualDx for the above information.
Q: How can I get rid of the skin rash and itch of hives?Hives is a prime example of a skin condition that responds extremely well to oral antihistamine treatment. A drug such as Benadryl®, Claritin®, or Zyrtec® can be very effective in relieving the rash and itch from hives. These drugs can also be obtained without a prescription. Hives can sometimes form around the mouth and can be associated with breathing problems. In more serious cases, a visit to the emergency room and sometimes adrenalin shots are necessary.
Q: What is scabies rash?Scabies is a common condition caused by a tiny mite that is approximately the size of a pinhead. This mite burrows into the outermost layer of the skin and lays eggs. The body’s reaction to the mite causes inflammation and itching. The rash may look like red or scaling spots on locations such as the chest, buttock area, groin area, and hands and feet. The rash of scabies typically does not involve the scalp, except in children. The tell-tale lesion of scabies is called the burrow, which usually requires a magnifying glass to see.
Q: What causes hives?Hives is a common skin eruption caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to something a person has been exposed to. It may be caused by foods, such as tomatoes, seafood, or artificial sweeteners, or any number of other things. Penicillin is the most common cause of hives. Physicians are not often able to determine the cause of hives unless it is obvious to the patient.