Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Risk factors include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and regular sun exposure. Fortunately, skin cancer is almost always curable if detected and treated early. The most common skin cancers are:
- Basal cell carcinoma - 80-85% of all skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma affects cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis.
- Squamous cell carcinoma - 10% of all skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma affects cells in the middle layer of the epidermis.
- Melanoma - 5% of all skin cancers. Melanoma is a rare but very dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined immediately by a licensed dermatologist. Early recognition & intervention is essential to preventing the cancer from spreading.
Acne is the term for the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it.
Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, as well as the patient's skin type, age and lifestyle. Options include:
- Topical Medications
- Photopneumatic Pore-Cleansing Treatments
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Acne Care Regimens
- Acne Facials, Peels & Extractions
Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways as well. These include:
- Chemical Peels
- Soft Tissue Fillers
- Laser/Pulsed Light Treatments
Photopneumatic treatments (PPX) are the latest technology for the treatment of acne and are not covered by insurance at this time. PPX and photodynamic treatments can be combined with Levulan®, a chemical photosensitizer, for nodular and cystic acne as an alternative to Accutane®. We are the only facility in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area to offer this technology.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and blemishes on the face. Symptoms range from acne-like lesions and visible blood vessels, to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. Although it can affect anyone, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50. It is not yet known what causes rosacea and the disease is not curable, although treatment is beneficial in most cases.
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 nevi, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains). Most birthmarks are considered harmless - they rarely develop into cancer.
It is helpful to follow the American Academy of Dermatology's "A-B-C-D" self-examination guide, to determine if an unusual mole, birthmark or suspicious spot on the skin is cancerous:
- "Asymmetry" - One half is shaped differently than the other.
- "Border Irregularity" - The borders are blurred, notched or ragged.
- "Color" - Multiple or uneven color distribution.
- "Diameter" - The diameter is larger than 6mm.
Repeated exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light, can cause a variety of cosmetic and medical problems in our skin. These include telangiectasia (red or purple “spider veins”), uneven pigmentation, lines and wrinkles, thinning of skin, loss of skin elasticity, and skin cancers. The damage our skin suffers from sunlight is cumulative and often gradual, so the effects appear as we age and worsen with time.
Adequate protection from the sun and avoidance of other sources of ultraviolet light such as tanning salons are an important part of preventing this damage. There are ways to reverse sun damage and maintain continued improvement with a proper skin care regimen.