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 are brown or black growths, usually round or oval, that can appear anywhere on the skin. They can be rough or smooth, flat or raised, single or in multiples. They occur when cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread out across the skin. Most moles are harmless, but a change in size, shape, color or texture could be indicative of a cancerous growth.
Birthmarks are abnormal skin colorations in spots that are either present at birth or appear shortly thereafter. They can be flat or slightly raised from the skin. They can be any number of colors, including red, brown, black, tan, pink, white or purple. Birthmarks are generally harmless.
It's important to keep an eye on your moles and birthmarks so that you can catch any changes early. We recommend doing a visual check of your body monthly, including all areas that don't have sun exposure (such as the scalp, armpits or bottoms of feet).
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.