It’s important to know when changes in your skin warrant an immediate checkup.
Wondering what the warning signs are for skin cancer? Want to know what symptoms and issues our Indianapolis, IN, dermatologist Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson should check out right away? Here are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, as well as the risk factors that could increase your chances of developing cancer.
What Melanoma Looks Like
Melanoma is a serious and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer; therefore, the sooner you have growths, lesions or other skin changes checked out by a skin doctor in Indianapolis the better. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body and affects people of all skin tones. Warning signs of melanoma include:
- Any mole that changes shape, size or color
- A mole that is asymmetrical or has a blurry or poorly defined border
- Any lesion or mole that has multiple colors including red, pink, white, or blue
- A painful bump or growth that may also itch or burn
- Dark lesions on the fingers, toes, soles, or hands (they can even develop in the mouth or nose)
What Non-Melanoma Looks Like
The two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They are more likely to develop in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. Even though they are as dangerous as melanoma these symptoms and warning signs still warrant seeing a dermatologist right away to have the cancerous growth removed.
A basal cell carcinoma may look like a flesh-colored or brown lesion, or a waxy bump. The bump may go away and return, or the sore may scab over or bleed. A squamous cell carcinoma may look like a crusted flat lesion or a hard, red bump.
The Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Even if you are at a low risk for developing skin cancer it’s still important that you perform thorough self-exams on your own skin to look for any new growths or lesions. This means checking areas like your scalp or even between your toes. You may need your partner or a dermatologist to check certain areas like your scalp to thoroughly examine any moles or new growths.
Risk factors for skin cancer include:
- Fair skin
- Having sunburns in the past
- Excessive sun exposure
- Having lots of moles
- A family history of skin cancer
- A personal history of skin cancer
Dermatology Associates in Indianapolis is here to provide you with the care and screenings you need to diagnose and pinpoint skin cancer during the earliest stages. No matter whether you are noticing a new growth or you are at a high risk for skin cancer, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us by calling (317) 257-1484 or emailing us at [email protected]
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
Mole Removal: What to Expect
Worried about that mole? A mole is a dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Simply thinking about having a skin mole removed might send shivers down your spine, but sometimes it’s necessary for your health. For example, if a biopsy is cancerous, removing the mole can help to stop any cancer from growing more. But many individuals also have moles removed for cosmetic reasons.
What Causes Moles?
Skin moles occur in all races and skin colors. Some individuals are born with moles. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person's life. New moles appearing after age 35 may require medical evaluation, and possible biopsy. Some moles appear later in life. Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of skin moles. People with high levels of exposure to UV light tend to have more moles. However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas.
How Is It Done?
Mole removal is a simple kind of surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely choose one of two ways: surgical shave or surgical excision. Surgical shave is done more often on small skin moles. After numbing the area, your healthcare provider will use a blade to shave off the mole and some tissue underneath it. Stitches aren’t usually required. During the surgical excision procedure, your doctor will numb the area. He or she will use a circular blade or scalpel to cut out the mole and some skin around it. The doctor will then stitch the skin closed.
Can a Mole Grow Back?
There's a small chance that a mole can grow back after mole surgery, although there's no way to predict whether this will happen. It's important to understand that no surgery has a 100 percent cure rate. Some mole cells may remain in the skin and may recur in the same area. Some skin moles are more aggressive than others and need closer follow-up and additional treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
Risks of mole removal methods include infection, rare anesthetic allergy, and very rare nerve damage. Follow your doctor's instructions to care for the wound until it heals. This means keeping it covered, clean and moist. The area may bleed a little when you get home, especially if you take medications that thin your blood. It's always prudent to choose a doctor with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will lower the risks associated with this procedure.
Take charge of your health today. Regular self-skin examinations and annual skin examinations by a doctor help people find early skin cancers. If you need a mole check, find a dermatologist near you and schedule your annual skin cancer screening.A simple skin cancer screening could save your life.
Discover helpful acne-fighting tips and trick to achieve clearer skin.
You’re trying to find the right way to get your acne under control, right? Well, there are certainly so many options out there that it can be a bit daunting. First and foremost, if you are just starting to deal with acne then you may want to tackle the issue from the comfort of your own home before turning to a dermatologist for help.
At-Home Treatment Options
The first line of defense is usually to try an over-the-counter acne cleanser or topical cream that contains an active ingredient such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s important to be patient when it comes to seeing results. No acne product will work overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks of consistent use before you start to notice results from commercial acne products, so don’t give up on a product too soon.
Other tips to follow include:
- Cleaning your smartphone with disinfectant wipes at lease once a day (imagine just how much bacteria your phone picks up everyday).
- Washing your face twice a day, once in the morning and at night before bedtime, and immediately after sweating.
- Being gentle with your skin. Harsh scrubs and being aggressive won’t get rid of acne; it will actually just make it worse.
- Using cosmetic products that won’t clog pores (look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil free”)
- Leaving acne alone (do not pick acne or try to extract it yourself, as this can lead to scarring)
- Washing pillowcases regularly to get rid of pore-clogging bacteria
When to See a Dermatologist
If you are having trouble getting your acne under control after weeks of trial and error, or if your acne is severe and painful then it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with more effective strategies for getting rid of your acne. After all, there are different things that can cause acne and it’s important that your skin doctor figures out what’s causing your acne so that they can create the right treatment plan for you.
Dermatologist-Approved Acne Treatment Options
Depending on what’s causing your breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend these treatment options:
- Topical treatment: Prescription-strength cleansers, ointments, and creams containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids can target and eliminate acne.
- Topical or oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
- Oral contraceptives: If you are dealing with breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle then hormonal fluctuations could be causing your acne. There are certain types of birth control pills that have been FDA approved to fight acne.
- Isotretinoin: More commonly referred to as Accutane, this powerful oral medication is used for those dealing with severe cystic acne that can lead to deep scarring. This is often recommended when other treatment options haven’t been effective.
Have questions about getting your acne under control? Then it’s time to consult with a dermatologist.
Find out if this simple cosmetic procedure from our offices in Indianapolis, Batesville, and Tipton, IN, is the key to improving your appearance!
Are you interested in smoothing away lines and wrinkles of the face without turning to more aggressive or surgical treatment options? If so, you may want to consider whether Botox is the best approach. Read below to get all of your Botox questions answered before turning to our dermatologist, Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson, for treatment.
What is Botox?
Botox is an FDA-approved treatment designed to minimize the appearance of moderate to severe crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and frown lines. Botox uses very thin needles that contain a medical-grade form of neurotoxin known as botulinum toxin, which when administered into certain muscles of the face, causes them to temporarily relax. Since the muscles cannot contract, this smooths away certain lines and wrinkles from the face.
What can Botox treat?
As we mentioned above, Botox is often used to treat lines around the nose, mouth, forehead, eyebrows, and eyes. Wrinkles that appear as a result of smiling or frowning are wrinkles that can be treated with Botox. Botox will not be able to treat lines and wrinkles caused by gravity or sun damage.
When will I see results?
It’s normal to notice results in as little as one or two days after treatment, depending on the severity of the wrinkles you are treating. Full results usually show up within 4 days.
How long does it take to get Botox?
The procedure itself is quick and easy, only taking about 10 minutes to complete. The needles are very thin, so most patients don’t feel more than a slight pinch.
Is there a recovery period?
One of the benefits of Botox is that there is absolutely no downtime. You can return to your normal routine immediately after getting this treatment. Some patients may experience mild redness, swelling, or soreness at the injection sites.
How long will my Botox results last?
Results last about 3-4 months, however, patients who love their new look may choose to come to one of our offices in Indianapolis, Batesville, or Tipton for maintenance injections every few months to refresh their appearance.
Dermatology Associates is happy to providing comprehensive dermatological care to the Indianapolis, Batesville and Tipton, IN, areas. If you are interested in getting Botox, call our office today at (317) 257-1484 or email us at [email protected] to schedule your consultation!
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