Cutis rhomboidalis nuchae refers to the manifestation of long-term, prolonged sun exposure and resultant damage to the skin occurring on the back of the neck. Long-term, chronic sun exposure causes thickening of the most superficial layer of the skin (the epidermis) and abnormalities in the composition of the middle layer of the skin (the dermis).
Poikiloderma of Civatte is a chronic, non-cancerous (benign) skin condition in fair-skinned adults, which is probably caused by long-term sun exposure. Poikiloderma of Civatte shows a specific pattern of color change in the skin due to sun damage to the neck and sometimes the center of the chest.
Actinic keratoses, also known as solar keratoses, are small rough or scaly areas of skin due to damage from sun exposure. Some actinic keratoses can turn into squamous cell skin cancer, so it is important to perform self-examinations often and catch them early.
Milia are common, normal skin findings that look like tiny white bumps, usually on the face. They can occur in people of all ages but are most common in newborn babies, where they appear on and around the nose. In teens and adults, they are commonly found on the cheeks and around the eyes. Milia are formed when the top layer of skin does not shed normally but instead becomes trapped in a tiny pocket on the surface of the skin. This is similar to how some acne forms, but milia are not inflamed like acne, and treating milia with acne therapies will only irritate the skin. Your doctor can help you differentiate between acne and milia and can recommend proper treatment.
Keratoacanthoma (KA) is a rapidly growing skin cancer usually appearing as a volcano-like bump on the sun-exposed skin of middle-aged and elderly individuals. Many scientists consider keratoacanthoma to be a less serious form of squamous cell carcinoma. Most keratoacanthoma cause only minimal skin destruction, but a few behave more aggressively and can spread to lymph nodes.
Actinic cheilitis, sometimes known as "farmer's lip" or "sailor's lip," is a precancerous condition related to cumulative lifetime sun exposure. The lower lip is most often affected. Individuals with actinic cheilitis often complain of persistent dryness and cracking of the lips. They will frequently exhibit other effects of sun-damaged skin, such as precancerous lesions on the skin called actinic keratoses and extensive wrinkling.A certain type of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) develops in 6–10% of cases of actinic cheilitis.
Bruises (contusions) are dark, discolored areas on the skin that form when blood seeps into surrounding tissue beneath the skin, often due to a bump or hit to the body.Bruises do not always occur at the exact site of the trauma, as gravity can cause them to appear in another location.Bruises can be a sign of internal bleeding.First Aid GuideIf there is external bleeding in addition to bruising, attempt to stop the bleeding before attending to the bruising. General measures for stopping bleeding are as follows:Locate the source of the bleeding. Wash your hands and, when possible, wear gloves or use a barrier between you and the wound. Remove any loose debris. Note: Do NOT pull debris from a wound that is embedded. With a sterile or clean dressing, apply direct pressure. Unless a broken bone is suspected, elevate the injured area above the heart.If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of the above measures, seek prompt medical care.Self-care measures for bruises are as follows:Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce the swelling. Note: Do not put ice directly on the skin. Cold compresses can be applied for 30–60 minutes a day until the bruising subsides. If the bruise is on an extremity (eg, arm or leg), raise it above the heart to reduce the flow of blood to the affected area.Take a pain reliever (eg, acetaminophen, Tylenol®) for pain, if needed.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma usually occurs on sun-damaged skin, especially in light-skinned individuals with a long history of chronic sun exposure.Squamous cell carcinoma requires treatment to prevent it from becoming too invasive. If it is caught early and treated appropriately, squamous cell carcinoma rarely spreads (metastasizes) to lymph nodes or to internal organs. However, if it is neglected, squamous cell carcinoma can cause tissue destruction or it may spread internally, causing serious health problems and even death.
As spring days lengthen, we’re called back outside for walks and hikes, swimming, and lounging. And while that laze in the sun can feel awfully good, it comes with a potentially steep price. This is a reminder that you must be diligent about protecting your skin from the most harmful rays of the sun.
Spend a day at the beach or pool, and you can’t miss the pervasive and unmistakable smell of sunblock products wafting through the air. Shelves in drug stores and supermarkets are crowded with “new and improved” potions, lotions, gels, creams, wipes, and sprays. But using sunblock only on beach or pool days isn’t enough. Make it an everyday habit – and not just a quick smear on your nose in the morning.
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.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the US, and more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. That’s a staggering number, and that’s why preventing skin cancer is a huge health care priority. And prevent it we can – by making new habits and carefully monitoring our skin. Prevention starts with awareness, and this month, you’ll learn what you need to know about skin cancer from our team of experts, who are experienced and knowledgeable dermatologists.
We all know that it is best to avoid sunburns by using sunscreens and staying out of the sun during peak hours – important considerations for long-term skin health and skin-cancer prevention. But sometimes things happen. A forgotten hat, thinking you’re protected from the sun’s rays under your beach umbrella, neglecting to reapply sunscreen after a swim – everyday experiences like these can lead to a nasty sunburn and the pain that comes along with the characteristically red skin.
While spending more time outside in the summer months, we must be thoughtful about our skin. As our shield from environmental factors, our skin is exposed to greater potential harm when we are outdoors. And we must heed this rule, in particular: use sunscreen or sun block every day, rain or shine.
There has been extensive media coverage of recent studies linking vitamin D deficiencies to many common conditions and diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, elevated blood pressure, infection, and cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders. The principal source of the vitamin is unprotected exposure of the skin to the sun’s UVB rays – the kind that also cause sunburn, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer annually, so it is appropriate that we continue to identify the best treatments possible. But when it comes to actually preventing skin cancer, we mostly know only about the basic rules – use sunscreen, stay out of the sun, wear long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, etc. But dermatologists can offer effective topical skin cancer preventives that find and destroy precancerous cells, stopping the disease in its tracks before it takes hold. These noninvasive therapies not only prevent potential cancers from developing, they may also soften lines and wrinkles at the same time.