If you have acne, you're certainly not alone. An estimated 85% of US adolescents and young adults have acne, making it one of the most common skin conditions in the nation.
A patient recently came in because – even though it was midwinter and her legs hadn’t seen sunlight for months – a mole on her left calf seemed to be changing, getting darker, maybe larger, too. She knew these changes were a warning sign for skin cancer. I’m always happy when a patient takes a proactive stance like this. And I’m relieved that we’re all becoming more educated about and aware of how skin changes – particularly in moles – can be a signal to pay attention and see your doctor. Such changes, even subtle ones, can be a precursor to skin cancer.
Q: It seems like every time I get a pimple, it turns into a scar. How do I prevent that? A: You are right to focus on prevention. The first rule is, as tempting as it might be, don’t pick at your face! Picking at pimples irritates the skin and increases the risk of developing an inflammatory response that leads to scarring. Pay attention to how often you touch your face, consciously and unconsciously. Frequently touching your face can spread more bacteria, increasing the chance of acne scarring. Keep track of that habit and break it!
As winter approaches, the skin irritations and rashes associated with eczema tend to start showing up with increased frequency. As a pediatric dermatologist I see this trend in my patients every year. Eczema in children first shows up in infancy and gets better as kids get older. But in the meantime, many sufferers of childhood eczema find this time of year uncomfortable. In this post I explain some of the common triggers of eczema-related rashes and offer some suggestions for parents to deal with these symptoms.
Patient compliance refers to how well a patient follows their doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. It’s often understated but very important when it comes to obtaining satisfactory results.
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?
Every winter my fingers and toes develop painful, red, swollen areas with a sensation that feels like a cross between a burn and a deep itch. These symptoms last several weeks until eventually the skin blisters and cracks. The cracked skin then becomes susceptible to infection and becoming extremely chapped.
Despite our best efforts, there are some skin conditions that invariably get worse in the summer. I fully understand why many of my patients come to dread the summer as a time of frustration. Maybe you can relate? They spend fall, winter, and spring clearing their skin and then watch it worsen during the summer despite their best efforts to wear hats and sunscreen. Part of the problem is due to our busy lifestyles and the increase in sun exposure during the summer months. I tell my patients they don’t have to despair; there are actions they, and you, can take beyond sunscreen and hats that will help minimize the effects of skin conditions that worsen in the summer.