Do You Know How to Self-Examine Your Skin?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. If detected in its early stages, skin cancer is typically curable. Unlike many other forms of cancer, skin cancer can often be detected through self-examination. (Breast cancer can also be detected by self-examination). Read on to learn how to identify signs of skin cancer in the comfort of your own home.

The Proper Way to Inspect Your Skin

Skin cancer self-exams should be done in front of a mirror. Begin by raising your arms and checking the left and right sides of your body. Next, bend your elbows and carefully inspect your forearms and underarms. The next area to examine should be the back of your legs, your soles and in between your toes. Last, but not least, check your scalp, buttocks and back; a mirror will greatly help in examining these areas.

Know Your ABCDE’s

When examining your skin, any signs of the ABCDEs on a mole are a cause for concern and should be further evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist for risk of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry – the mole has uneven halves
  • Border – the mole has an irregular border
  • Color – the mole has fluctuating color spots
  • Diameter – melanoma moles are typically over 6mm in diameter, about as big as a pencil eraser
  • Evolving – a mole looks different than the others or is beginning to change in size, color or shape

 

When Was Your Last Complete Body Examination?

Even if you regularly examine your skin, it is important to undergo yearly complete body examinations by a board-certified dermatologist to ensure that you did not miss anything. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists and Mohs surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating most forms of skin cancer. We have led the American Academy of Dermatology’s free melanoma/skin cancer screenings since 1986. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and know the status of your skin’s health. Our ten conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.

Proper Diet is Essential for Treating Lupus

Lupus is not caused or cured by any specific food; however, a healthy diet is vital in the treatment of this disease. A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, poultry and fatty fish. A healthy diet strengthens bones and muscles, helps fight medication side effects, reduces inflammation, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps with weight loss or maintenance.

Lupus is an inflammatory disease, so foods that fight inflammation could help reduce lupus symptoms while foods that fuel inflammation could worsen them, although it has not been medically proven. Fruits and vegetables contain anti-inflammatory powers as they contain antioxidants. Fish, nuts, canola and olive oil may also help fight inflammation, since they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated fats, such as fried foods, commercially baked goods, red meat, animal fat and fatty dairy products, though, may increase inflammation, so should be limited or avoided. Alfalfa sprouts can cause lupus flares or symptoms including fatigue, muscle pain and kidney problems. An amino acid in alfalfa seeds and sprouts and garlic can activate the immune system and increase inflammation in lupus sufferers.

A nutritious diet is essential for strong bones and muscles, as noted earlier. People with lupus should specifically be careful with bone health since lupus medications, called corticosteroids, can increase osteoporosis risk, a condition involving the bones weakening and breaking easily. High calcium foods and Vitamin D improve bone health and can be found in dark green vegetables and dairy products, preferably low-fat or fat-free. Soy, almond and lactose free milk, as well as juices fortified in calcium and Vitamin D are also available. A calcium supplement can also be taken if additional calcium is needed in your diet.

A healthy diet can also combat other drug side effects. For example, a low-sodium diet can help reduce fluid retention and lower blood pressure, which can be elevated with corticosteroid use. A diet high in folic acid, such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, and fortified breads and cereals, or a folic acid supplement is important if you are taking methotrexate (Rheumatrex). If corticosteroid or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs cause stomach pain, it can be helpful taking them with meals.

Lupus and unhealthy weight loss or weight gain are often interconnected, so eating to achieve a health weight is imperative. Loss of appetite and weight loss are concomitant with people recently diagnosed with lupus. Weight gain can occur from inactivity or by the corticosteroid used to control the disease. Speak to a doctor or nurse if these issues are pertinent to you; they can assess your diet and exercise regimen, or may refer you to a dietitian.

Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease

People with lupus have higher risk of heart disease compared to the general population, which makes a heart-healthy diet all the more essential.

Risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be assisted by a low-fat diet and exercise. A low-sodium diet may be prescribed by your doctor if high blood pressure is prevalent.

Erasing Lines Around Your Nose and Mouth

The lines that run from the sides of the nose to the chin are lines we are not waiting on.  These deep lines around the nose and mouth, called nasolabial folds, become more visible as people age. Ligaments around the mouth and chin loosen, allowing fatty tissue in cheeks to droop. There is a hereditary factor in these lines around the nose and mouth. Collagen and elastin-loss, smoking, weight inconsistency and sun exposure can also lead to these deep lines.

How to Treat Lines Around the Nose and Mouth

Juvederm and Restylane are fillers that can help prevent or push up the folds and deep lines in people aged 30-40. Lasting 12-18 months, these hyaluronic acid-rich treatments may be your key to smoother-looking skin.

To prevent or slow down the development of deep lines in people aged 50-60, Botox, made mainly of botulinum toxin, relaxes the muscles around the mouth. When relaxed, the muscles frown less, leading to fewer frown lines.

In your 60’s, results may be seen from a facelift or neck lift to tighten loose skin. At Advanced Dermatology, P.C., we also offer a variety of laser techniques that treat fine lines and tighten skin with minimal to no downtime.

Are There Any At-Home Treatments?

The best treatment to be done at home is prevention. Protect your skin from the sun and eat lots of antioxidant-rich foods found in fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli and carrots. This helps keep the collagen and elastin in your skin strong.

Weight maintenance is also really important because significant weight shifts can contribute to lines around your mouth. Smoking should also be avoided since chemicals in smoke can destroy collagen and elastin.

A retinol or retinoid cream can help, too. Retinol thickens the deeper layers of the skin, while thinning out the superficial layers. This reduces fine lines, giving the skin a more youthful appearance.

Are Fine Lines Making You Look Older Than You Feel? Contact Us Today!

You don’t have to tolerate fine lines around your nose and mouth. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn your options. Our ten conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.

Early Intervention Curbs Atopic Dermatitis in Children

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is inflammation of the skin. More common in infants and children than adults, this disease continues with outbreaks throughout a patient’s life. The earlier the treatment for atopic dermatitis begins, the better the possibility to change the natural course of the disease, the greater the chances are that children can outgrow it, Dr. Siegfried suggests. As of now, there is no way of knowing which children will or will not outgrow the disease; doctors hypothesize, though, that children with comorbidities or who have severe cases of the disease are more likely to suffer into adulthood.

Making an Impact 

The condition affects every area of the child’s life and causes stress for the entire family. To get some idea of what AD is like, imagine being covered in mosquito bites, suggests Amy Paller, M.D., M.S., professor and chairwoman of dermatology and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern School of Medicine, Chicago. “You would be itchy all the time,” she says.

So in school, children may be less attentive because they tend to be hyperactive, they can’t participate in sports because they can’t tolerate wearing the equipment, and their social interactions may suffer because they feel they look different. Constant irritability leads to lack of sleep, which affects the entire family, according to Dr. Paller.

“I recently saw a patient who is starting the 10th grade. He gets up multiple times a night and wakes up his father to put cream on his back for the itch. And the father gets up and goes to work the next day,” Dr. Siegfried says. “This has been going on for his entire life.”

Says Kari Martin, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., “The stress on the family is high. There are a lot of doctor visits, so medical costs are high, and it takes time for families to manage the entire skincare regimen that is needed to help their children. It takes a lot of time and it needs to be done every day or the child will relapse.”

Standard of Care 

The mainstay of treatment is still topical corticosteroids, “bland” skincare and diluted bleach baths, with the addition of other therapies as needed, such as topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs), pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, antibiotics and phototherapy, according to Dr. Martin.

AD is usually a clinical diagnosis, which means taking a complete medical history and doing a thorough examination that focuses on triggers and comorbidities. Frequent skin infections are common. The diluted bleach baths go a long way in protecting against infection, Dr. Martin adds.

Barrier creams are crucial, and they must be applied after every bath or shower. By far the favorite for dermatologists is petroleum jelly. It’s inexpensive, and it forms a good moist barrier and it is free of allergens. Many people have an aversion to the way it feels, however. In those cases, clinicians should suggest thick creams and ointments without perfumes and preservatives, according to Dr. Siegfried.

“We have to develop a regimen that the family will follow,” Dr. Paller says.

“Adherence is tough because they have to do it every day,” Dr. Martin says. “Even when parents are adherent, the condition waxes and wanes and children have flares. It is hard to stick with it. Usually, they will be good about the regimen after the doctor’s visit, and things get better. Then they relax with the intensive regimen and the eczema flares again.”

Approaches to Treatment 

For many pediatric dermatologists, AD comprises 10 percent of the patients, and 90 percent of the time because education is so important. Clinicians should recommend safe products for skincare, including cleansing, moisturizing, sun protection, insect repellant, woundcare, etc., that have the fewest potential allergens and irritants, these experts say.

If children do not improve on the initial regimen, make sure they understand the regimen and are adherent before changing the steroid strength or switching to the TCIs, Dr. Siegfried says.

Phototherapy with ultraviolet B light can be helpful, but it can be difficult to do because parents have to bring the child to the office two to three times a week to be effective.

Wet wraps are useful, and parents can be taught to use these at home. The child soaks in the tub for about 10 minutes then the parent slathers on the barrier cream and topical steroids. The child puts on a sauna suit or wet pajamas for at least 15 minutes. If they have a sauna suit, they can sleep in it, Dr. Martin says.

TCIs can be helpful because they reduce pruritus and erythema. Some dermatologists use them as steroid-sparing medications and others use the TCIs as an adjunct to the corticosteroids. It depends on the child and the severity of the AD, according to Dr. Siegfried.

A promising therapy, REGN668 (interleukin-4R antibody) is being developed by Regeneron and Sanofi. The product will be an antibody to the receptors for interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13. It is in phase 1 trials for AD. However, the studies are being done in adults, not children, so the dermatologists say its use in most AD patients will be limited until more data are known about its effects in children, Dr. Siegfried says.

If the AD is not responding even after tinkering with the regimen, evaluating the adherence and assuring children are avoiding triggers that exacerbate the condition, dermatologists should rethink the diagnosis because other conditions can mimic the disease, all three physicians say.

Dry Skin This Winter? Stop Blaming the Weather!

Winter is here again, with its chilly weather. You may have noticed that your skin is excessively dry, no matter how much moisturizer you apply. Most people blame their dry skin on the cold weather, but did you know that you may actually be in control of its main cause? Read on to learn more about this common misconception.

It’s Not the Cold’s Fault – It’s the Heat!

During the winter chill, people spend more time indoors with their heaters turned up. You may not realize, however, that in addition to taking the chill out of the air, the heat also takes moisture out of your skin. To combat the heat’s moisture-extracting tendencies, get a humidifier for your room and moisturize your skin before bedtime. Together, these two will make sure that your skin stays moist overnight.

Excessively Dry Skin? Contact Us Today!

While the methods above are helpful in bringing moisture back to the skin, some people may still experience excessively dry skin. If you or your loved ones are suffering from excessively dry skin, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn your options. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are experts at treating dry skin and many other skin conditions. Our ten conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.