Medical Dermatology focuses on the treatment of conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. Skin problems can arise from infections, genetic predispositions, environmental irritants, and sun damage. Repeated exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light, can cause a variety of cosmetic and medical problems in our skin. These include skin cancers and pre-cancerous growths, telangiectasia (red or purple “broken capillaries”), uneven pigmentation, lines and wrinkles, thinning of the skin, and loss of skin elasticity. The damage our skin suffers from sunlight is cumulative and often gradual, so the effects appear as we age and worsen with time. When one of our dermatologists suspect a skin cancer, atypical mole or would like diagnostic information about a skin rash or growth, they will sometimes perform a simple in-office procedure called a skin biopsy.
» Learn more about the medical conditions that we treat.
Annual Skin Check
We recommend that all patients get an Annual Skin Check Exam to identify any problems early and to establish a baseline on the health of each patient’s skin, similar to a regular dental checkup. The dermatologist will examine your skin to screen for any skin cancers, and will also address any of your areas of concern.
» Learn more about annual skin checks.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and involves abnormal growths of skin cells that can form anywhere on the body, but most frequently appear on skin that is exposed to the sun. There are more than a million new cases of skin cancer in the US each year. Although most cases of skin cancer can be successfully treated, it is still important to keep skin safe and healthy and try to prevent this disease.
» Learn more about skin cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.
Moles & Birthmarks
Moles and other birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (vascular lesions, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains). Though most birthmarks are harmless, they may develop into cancer. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by a professional immediately:
- Larger than six millimeters.
- Itches or bleeds.
- Rapidly changes in color, size or shape.
- Has multiple colors.
- Is located where it can’t be easily monitored, such as on the scalp.
Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient’s skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive birthmarks may take the form of laser or pulsed light therapy, microdermabrasion or surgical excision.
There are three major groups of skin diseases caused by allergy: eczema, allergic contact dermatitis and hives. Eczema occurs most commonly in children and involves red, thickened, swollen patches of skin on the cheeks, scalp, neck and trunk that itch and can be painful. Allergic contact dermatitis describes the onset of a rash, swelling, blistering or other effect after the skin touches an irritating substance such as clothing materials and dyes, latex, cosmetics, soaps, perfumes or certain plants like poison ivy. Sometimes the reaction is triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light (called photoallergy), for example, putting on a topical cream that would not ordinarily cause a problem until exposure to sunlight. Hives, also called urticaria, are itchy rashes with bumps resembling insect bites. They can occur in small patches or all over the body, and last anywhere from a few minutes to several months.