As the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma has more than 4 million diagnosed cases each year. Typically found on exposed areas of the skin (face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back), it is caused from continual exposure to sunlight.
Some signs that you may have basal cell carcinoma include:
• An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for three or more weeks. A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common sign of an early basal cell carcinoma.
• A reddish patch or irritated area, frequently occurring on the chest, shoulders, arms, or legs. Sometimes the patch crusts. It may also itch or hurt. At other times, it persists with no noticeable discomfort.
• A shiny bump, or nodule, that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red, or white. The bump can also be tan, black, or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and can be confused with a mole.
• A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.
• A scar-like area which is white, yellow or waxy, and often has poorly defined borders. The skin itself appears shiny and taut. Although a less frequent sign, it can indicate the presence of an aggressive tumor.
If you believe you may have basal cell carcinoma or simply just a suspicious spot on your skin, contact our office today.
Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation
With the unofficial beginning of summer next week with the Memorial Day holiday, many people will be spending more time outside over the next few months. As we learned in an earlier post, even if it’s not sunny out, harmful UVA and UVB rays are still prevalent. Here are just a few important things to keep in mind to help protect your skin this upcoming summer:
• When applying sunscreens, layering them does not give added SPF protection. The SPF you end up with is only the SPF of the highest sunscreen you applied. For example, if you apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 then apply one with an SPF of 25, you will only have protection of the SPF of 30.
• The American Academy of Dematology (AAD) does recommend applying two layers of sunscreen on all exposed areas though. The second layer should be applied about 30 minutes after the first, at least 30 minutes before sun exposure.
• SPF protection is on a logarithmic scale. This means there is a bigger difference between SPF 25 and SPF 30 than there is with SPF 30 and SPF 45.
• SPF’s below 15 are essentially worthless.
• If you do contract sunburn take Advil or Motrin. They block inflammation and can actually lessen the burn.
Just remember these tips to keep your skin safe and healthy this summer!
Maybe you fell asleep on the beach, or forgot to pack sunscreen. However it happened, sunburn can be painful and in severe cases, even dangerous. If you do get burned:
• Take a cool shower or bath, or apply wet, cold washcloths.
• Avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum (Vaseline).
• Cover blisters with dry bandages to prevent infection.
• Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, but do not give aspirin to children.
Call a doctor if you have a serious reaction:
• Feeling faint or dizzy
• Rapid pulse or rapid breathing
• Extreme thirst, no urine output, or sunken eye
• Pale, clammy, or cool skin
• Nausea, fever, chills, or rash
• Eyes hurt and are sensitive to light
• Severe, painful blisters
Of course, it’s best to protect yourself from getting burned in the first place. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends taking these steps:
• Wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
• Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30: reapply at least every 2 hours, and after swimming or sweating.
• Avoid direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when rays are strongest.
• Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
Source: American Cancer Society, Healthy Living
With the huge success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), many people have become familiar with some of the franchise’s most popular superheroes. Whether it be Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, or the Hulk, the superheroes have captivated moviegoers throughout the globe for over a decade. With such a unique and iconic look, the Hulk may be the one hero that stands out the most.
Characterized as a large mutant monster with green skin, the Hulk developed his appearance from an exposure to gamma radiation. Although the concept of becoming a large mutant monster may not be feasible in real life, it is in fact possible for the color of skin to turn (or appear) green.
Some ways that skin can do that includes:
• Prolonged contact to cheap gold, copper, and certain metals typically found in inexpensive jewelry.
• Exposure to strong chlorine levels in water.
• During the process of bruising there is a stage where the iron in the blood turns green and can become visible through the skin.
• Patients experiencing multiple organ failure may be at risk for unusual pigmentation effects from feeding tube dyes.
• Condition known as gangrene can cause the skin to appear green prior to turning black.
If you notice the color of your skin changing, contact your doctor immediately, as it may be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
Having a beard may be a good way to disguise acne on the lower part of the face, but did you know it can actually worsen it? That’s right, facial hair can affect acne. Some ways include:
• Food and dirt can get clogged in the hair leading to bacteria forming and causing infections.
• Sweat and oil from the skin can get trapped in the hair and lead to blocked pores.
• Ingrown hairs are common among beard wearers and another reason that pores can become clogged and infected.
Now don’t grab that razor just yet! There are some things you can do to reduce the effects. They are as follows:
• Keep the beard well trimmed to prevent ingrown hairs. Focus on areas where food or dirt may be lingering.
• When trimming, shave lightly in one direction to avoid cutting the skin or stretching it out. This can further aggravate acne.
• Wash the beard thoroughly each day and rinse it well to remove cleansers which can clog pores.
• Test a variety of shaving creams, shavers, and after shave products to determine which is best for your skin in particular.
• Avoid thick shaving creams which can cause pores to become clogged.
Even though having a beard can adversely impact the skin, there are ways to manage and minimize the effects. If you are still having trouble with facial acne though, contact our office.