Learn some fun facts about these common skin blemishes.
Birthmarks are extremely common, appearing on about 80 percent of babies at birth. Even if you don’t have a birthmark, chances are good that you know someone who does. However, how much do you actually know about these dermatological markings? There are a lot of facts and folklore surrounding birthmarks and why they appear. Find out how much you really know!
Your Birthmark Is Not Caused By Your Mother!
There are many folk tales surrounding the expectant mother’s influence on whether or not her child has a birthmark. Some cultures believe that a birthmark is associated with the mother’s unfulfilled want or need, while others believe that certain foods that the mother eats or activities that she participates in can cause birthmarks to appear on her newborn. However, many doctors believe that birthmarks actually form before the child is even born.
Does a Birthmark Tell You Who You’ll Be?
Are you always looking for the next amazing adventure? Do people revel over all your successes? If so, some people might believe your birthmark has something to do with it. A birthmark on the back is believed to signify that the child is openminded, while a birthmark on the right foot means you are born to be a traveler. While there is certainly no scientific evidence to prove any of this, it’s a fun superstition nonetheless.
All lore aside, many birthmarks are benign; however, it is best to see your dermatologist to have it evaluated and to make sure it isn’t malignant. There are several different kinds of birthmarks:
- Congenital melanocytic nevus: This more rare birthmark can be found anywhere on the body and is usually light brown or sometimes black, depending on the person’s skin color.
- Mongolian spots: A bluishgray marking that may look similar to a bruise.
- Port wine stain: A purple or red blemish that often appears on the face.
- Telangiectatic nevus: Sometimes referred to as a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these slightly red patches are often found on the face or back of the neck.
- Hemangiomas: A raised, red mark sometimes referred to as a “strawberry mark”
- Café au lait spots: This birthmark is characterized by circular, light brown spots
- Silvermark: A silver or white streak in the hair.
If you are unhappy with or embarrassed by your birthmark then you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Both surgery and laser treatments may be options for having your skin blemish removed.
Even if you are someone who lathers on the SPF regularly, chances are good that if you’ve spent any time in the sun during your lifetime that you have some sun damage. Everything from dark spots to freckles can form as a result of exposure to the sun. Of course, if you find those dark spots becoming more visible or more widespread then you may want to consider how a dermatologist can help refresh your appear and hide those signs of sun damage.
If you are noticing more and more dark spots then it’s a good idea to seek a skincare professional who can determine the cause of these spots. There are many reasons discolorations occur and it’s important that we are able to detect early signs of skin cancer and melanoma before we decide the best course of action.
Once your dermatologist has performed a thorough screening and has determined that the dark spots aren’t cancerous, then it’s time to get down to business discussing what cosmetic option or options will work best for diminishing those dark spots, whether you are looking for at-home solutions or in-office treatments.
The number one treatment for getting rid of discolorations and dark spots is laser therapy. There are a variety of lasers available that can provide you with the results you want depending on your specific needs, goals, and skin problems. One of the most common lasers used to treat dark spots is the intense pulsed light (IPL). The goal of IPL is to reduce and even eliminate uneven pigmentation to provide a more even appearance. Another benefit to IPL is that is can also brighten the skin.
There are different wavelengths that are able to penetrate through different layers of the skin. Depending on the severity of your dark spots, your dermatologist will determine the wavelength that will provide you with the best results. As the laser is directed over the skin it will heat up and destroy the darker pigmentations of the skin. While it’s common for most people to treat their face, you can get IPL treatment just about anywhere, from your face and neck to your chest and legs.
Laser treatment can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to complete and can be performed without the need for anesthesia. The process is non-invasive and also boasts no downtime. Even though you may notice some redness afterwards, you can go right back to your daily routine. You’ll start to notice the dark spots flaking and going away over the course of a couple of weeks. You will most likely require a couple of sessions in order to get the optimal results.
Don’t let sun damage ruin the appearance of your skin. Turn to a dermatologist who can help meet your needs and provide you with the proper treatment option to give you the fantastic results you want. Laser treatment can be an amazing way to restore and revive sun-damaged skin.
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.
Acne is one of the most common skin condition affecting teens and adults in the U.S. every year. Fortunately, various treatment options are available and a dermatologist can show you how to best treat your persistent acne. Dermatology Associates has three convenient Indiana locations where experienced dermatologist, Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson, treats persistent acne. Dr. Johnson is your dermatologist in Indianapolis, Batesville, and Tipton for treatment of acne.
Causes of Acne
Blocked pores are the root cause of acne. Pores can become blocked with sebum, which keeps skin healthy, moisturized, and protected in normal skin. Sebum works to keep skin healthy by clearing out the pores. After being released by oil glands in the skin, sebum moves along the hair follicles, carrying away debris and dead skin cells as it travels. The debris and dead skin cells are carried out of the pores, which keeps the pores clean and the skin healthy. When this normal process is interrupted, sebum and debris become trapped in the pores, which then become blocked and produce acne.
Various options are available for treating persistent acne. Some treatments target existing acne to clear your skin. Other treatments work to prevent future breakouts by killing acne-causing bacteria or reducing sebum production. Dr. Johnson, your Indianapolis, Batesville, and Tipton dermatologist can recommend the right option for treating your persistent acne. Acne treatments available at Dermatology Associates include:
- Tretinoin — Vitamin A derivative applied topically to the affected skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide — Topical acne treatment for treatment of mild acne.
- Oral antibiotics — Antibiotic medications taken orally.
- Topical antibiotics — Antibiotic medications applied topically to the affected skin.
- Extraction — Professional removal of whiteheads and blackheads using a small metal instrument to clear blocked pores.
Learn how to treat your persistent acne by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Johnson by calling Dermatology Associates at one of their three Indiana locations. For the Indianapolis office, call (317) 257-1484; for the Batesville office, call (800) 303-3228; for the Tipton office, call (765) 675-1410; or email at [email protected]
If you’re bothered by fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring or an uneven skin tone, or if you are looking for a simple way to rejuvenate your skin, chemical peels may be a good option for you.
A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure performed by your dermatologist. This in-office treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove damaged outer layers of skin, erasing imperfections and improving skin tone and texture. As the old, outer layer of skin is exfoliated and removed, it stimulates the growth of new, healthy skin cells that are smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
This time-tested, non-invasive procedure is quick—in most cases less than an hour—and yields fast results. It can drastically improve the appearance of skin marked by wrinkles, scars and other signs of aging or sun damage.
Chemical peels can improve the appearance of:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin pigmentation
- Acne scarring
- Sun-damaged skin
- Age spots
Chemical peels can be applied to many parts of the body including the face, neck, chest and hands and are available in several different strengths. Our office can help you determine the type of chemical used depending on your skin type and desired results. The best candidate for a chemical peel is a person with fair skin and light hair, although darker skin types can also achieve good results depending on their specific problem and treatment goals.
How many treatments are necessary depends on the severity of skin damage and the patient’s goals. With each treatment, scarring and other imperfections typically diminish more and more.
At your dermatologist's office, we can help you achieve your most radiant, youthful skin. Visit to learn more about cosmetic dermatology and to find out if you are a candidate for chemical peels.
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