Posts for category: Skin Condition
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.
What is Psoriasis?
Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!
The Background on Psoriasis
While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.
Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:
- Skin infections
- Skin injuries
- Heavy stress
- Regular tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides
Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:
- Steroid cream
- Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
- Ultraviolet therapy
- Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
- Methotrexate (only for serious cases)
Need Relief? Give Us a Call!
You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!
Find out what this autoimmune disorder means for your skin health.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans and five million people globally have some form of lupus. While lupus can affect both men and women, about 90 percent of those with diagnosed lupus are women between the ages of 15 to 44. Even though this chronic autoimmune disease affects millions, significantly less than half of people are actually somewhat familiar with the disease.
So, what exactly is lupus, how can you contract this disorder and what treatment options are available?
Our immune system is meant to attack foreign agents in our body to fight diseases and other infections. However, if you have been diagnosed with lupus then your immune system actually responds by attacking the healthy cells within your body. This ultimately causes damage to certain organs in the body like your heart, skin and brain.
There are different types of lupus; however, the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosis. Discoid lupus is known for causing a persistent skin rash, subacute cutaneous lupus causes skin sores when exposed to the sun, druginduced lupus is the result of a certain medication and neonatal lupus affects infants.
Know that you aren’t alone when it comes to handling your lupus symptoms. While symptoms can be severe and affect your daily life talk to your dermatologist about the best ways to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Lupus Risk Factors
While anyone can develop lupus, women are more likely to develop this condition. Also, African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian women are at an increased risk over Caucasian women. While the cause is unknown, some research has found that perhaps genes play an influential role in the development of lupus; however, there are several factors that could be at play.
Those with lupus may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin rashes, most commonly found on the face
- Chest pain when breathing deeply
- Loss of hair
- Pale fingers and toes
- Sun sensitivity
- Mouth sores
- Extreme fatigue
- Leg or eye swelling
- Swollen glands
These symptoms may not be present all the time. Those with lupus have flareups in which the symptoms will appear for a little while and then go away. Also new symptoms may also arise at any time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus then you will most likely need to see several specialists regarding your condition. If you are dealing with skin sores and rashes, then you will want to talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment plan for you. About 40 to 70 percent of those with lupus experience symptoms when exposed to sunlight.
When you come in our office for treatment our goal is to find certain medications that can reduce pain, swelling and redness and prevent further flareups. Furthermore, we will recommend a sunscreen and other lifestyle changes that can help to protect your skin from damaging sun exposure.
Scars left behind from acne, surgery, chicken pox, burns or other injuries, especially when they appear on your face, can be disfiguring physically and emotionally.
Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, and most small scars fade over time to become nearly invisible. The larger and more severe the skin damage and the longer it takes to heal, however, the more prominent the scar will be. If the appearance of a scar bothers you, a visit to your dermatologist may be in order.
Today, dermatologists offer many cosmetic treatment options that can significantly reduce the appearance of large, raised scars. Although scars cannot be eliminated entirely, modern cosmetic techniques can significantly minimize their visibility for an improved appearance.
Leading cosmetic dermatology options include:
- Dermabrasion: A technique that involves removing the upper layer of the skin, allowing new skin to regenerate.
- Laser scar removal: Using a high-energy light, a dermatologist can remove or reshape disfigured scar tissue. Different types of laser scar removal are used for different types of scarring.
- Microdermabrasion: A non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that applies microscopic crystals. This gently exfoliates and smooths the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing younger, healthier looking skin.
- Chemical peels: Typically administered as a facial peel, this treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove and smooth the scarred outer layers of skin.
- Topical cream, gel or ointment: Special creams can be applied directly to a scar to soften the tissue and promote healing.
In some cases, more than one treatment, or a combination of procedures, may be recommended to attain your optimal results. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment for your specific goals and degree of scarring.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your scars, visit your dermatologist. Most scarring is highly treatable by an expert. We can assess the scar, review treatment options, and help you select the most effective therapy for significantly reducing your scars’ visibility.