The sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can result in skin damage from freckles and cosmetic blemishes to more serious conditions like cancer. Sun damage doesn’t happen overnight, and the long-term effects of repeated sun exposure may not appear for years. It’s a gradual process brought on by repeated exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can have serious consequences later in life. But it's never too late to start protecting your skin from sun damage!
Signs of Sun Damaged Skin
Tans or sunburns are two visible signs of sun damage. A tan reveals that your skin has attempted to protect itself from sun damage by producing melanin, the brown pigment that colors the outer layer of skin. And sunburns indicate damaged skin cell DNA, which increases your risk for skin cancer.
The following signs indicate sun-damaged skin.
- Change in Texture - Skin may become dull and leathery as it is repeatedly exposed to the sun.
- Age Spots - As sun exposure increases so does the body’s production of melanin, which leads to the gradual appearance of blotches in skin tone and brown, black or gray spots on the face, chest, shoulders and hands.
- Wrinkles - As the sun depletes collagen and elastin, the substances that keep skin firm and flexible, skin sags and wrinkles appear which make you look older.
- Red or Inflamed Skin - Symptoms of sunburn such as heat, pain, redness or blisters indicate damage to the epidermis.
The best way to maintain a youthful appearance and avoid skin cancer is to make sun protection a part of daily life. Take extra precautions when outdoors. Always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses. Limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight and seek shade when possible. Tanning beds are just as harmful for your skin and should also be avoided.
When to Visit Your Dermatologist
Sun damage should not be overlooked. It may be time to visit your dermatologist about potential sun damage if you:
- Experience a severe sunburn with blistering or other serious side effects, or if you have a history of sunburns
- Notice changes to existing skin growths or develop new or irregular shaped moles or spots, as these could be indications that you have skin cancer
- Have sun spots on your skin, especially if they appear suddenly or are dark in color
- Have a family history of skin cancer
At a minimum, you should visit a dermatologist once a year to have your body inspected for moles or growths. A dermatologist will not only look for signs of cancer, but can also offer cosmetic treatments to reduce the visible signs of sun damage, such as wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Human skin is a remarkable organ, but one we often take for granted. It does more than hold us together and look presentable. It’s a complex system that protects our internal structures from outside damage. The skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous layer (the inner layer). Components of the skin include hair and nails.
The skin is more interesting than you think. Here are just a few fascinating facts:
Skin is Your Body’s Largest Organ
The skin is the largest organ in the body, weighing 12-16% of a person’s total body weight. The average adult is covered with approximately 20 square feet of skin weighing about 6 to 9 pounds.
Skin Protects Your Body
The skin acts as a barrier between us and our environment, insulating and protecting the organs, muscles and bones from external threats - everything from dust and dirt to bacteria and viruses.
Skin Regulates Body Temperature
The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. Your skin helps control body temperature by distributing heat through the skin and by preventing dehydration.
The skin is a sensory organ, and has receptors for detecting hot and cold, touch, pressure and pain.
Other unique facts about the skin include:
- The skin is composed of approximately 300 million skin cells.
- Every half square inch of the human skin has approximately 100 sweat glands, 10 hairs, 15 sebaceous glands, and 3.2 feet of tiny blood vessels.
- A large percentage of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
- Your skin sheds a layer of dead skin cells every day and is constantly renewing itself.
- Goose bumps are actually small pimples that help retain a layer of warm air over our body.
- Human skin is the thinnest on the eyelid.
Human skin varies in type, color and texture for every person, but everyone’s skin serves the same primary purpose - to protect our insides! Your skin is very important, which means you should take care of it by protecting if from the sun, moisturizing it regularly, and practicing good daily skin care. Whenever you detect an unusual skin spot or suspect a problem with your skin, contact your dermatologist for an evaluation.
Abnormal, unpredictable and excessive sweating, referred to as hyperhidrosis, is a serious and difficult medical condition for millions of people worldwide. Hyperhidrosis occurs when the body’s sweat glands are overactive, which causes overabundant sweat production that is not warranted by physical activity or an emotional response to stress. This condition is often characterized by unexplainable sweaty palms, embarrassing sweat rings and dripping foreheads.
While there is no known cause of hyperhidrosis, it may occur in people who have abnormally large sweat glands or who are genetically predisposed to hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating may also signal more serious medical conditions such as thyroid problems, low blood sugar and other health problems. That’s why it is important to visit your physician or dermatologist when you suspect you have an abnormal sweating problem.
In many cases hyperhidrosis goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and untreated due to lack of awareness about the condition and the treatment options available. As physicians become more knowledgeable about the condition, more effective treatments are emerging—and working!
Prescription Strength Deodorants
- When over-the-counter deodorants are not effective in managing your sweating, then you may need a stronger antiperspirant. A dermatologist may prescribe a deodorant that contains ingredients that block sweat ducts temporarily to reduce excess moisture.
- Your regular physician or dermatologist may prescribe medications to prevent the stimulation of sweat glands.
- Botox, a popular cosmetic procedure known for treating wrinkles, may also be used to safely control hyperhidrosis. Botox helps control excess sweating by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands.
Although non-life threatening, hyperhidrosis can be embarrassing, impacting your daily life both socially and professionally. But it is also treatable. Understand your treatment options, and visit your dermatologist to learn more about managing your hyperhidrosis.
Warts are benign skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. They often appear as a small, unsightly, rough growth on a person’s hands or feet, but can also appear on other parts of the body. There are many types of warts, some appearing flat or raised, and others growing in large clusters.
The virus that causes most warts is called human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are usually harmless, but some strains of HPV are associated with other health complications. Wart viruses are contagious and can spread by direct contact, usually entering the body in an area of broken skin.
When should you see your dermatologist?
In some cases, a wart will disappear on its own, although it may take months or even years. Most people prefer some method of wart removal since warts are often unattractive, bothersome and even painful. In many cases, warts can be treated at home.
Common methods for self-treatment include covering the wart with duct tape or applying salicylic acid. It’s always best to consult your dermatologist before trying any at-home remedies. Wart removal by a trained dermatologist is always the most effective treatment.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends visiting your dermatologist if you have any of the following:
- Any doubt that the skin growth is a wart, as some skin cancers resemble warts
- A wart that appears on your face or genitals
- Several warts
- A wart that is painful, itchy, burns or bleeds
- A weak immune system
Because HPV is contagious, you’ll want to take a few extra precautions to keep it from spreading, including:
- Avoid scratching or picking your warts.
- Always wear shoes in public places such as showers, locker rooms or pools.
- Never touch another person’s wart.
- Keep warts on the feet dry to prevent moisture from spreading the virus.
If your warts persist, are painful or if you have several warts, you should visit your dermatologist. There are many treatment options available for warts, including laser treatment or freezing, burning or cutting out the wart, among others. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment option for your specific type of wart.
Since there is no permanent cure for HPV, warts can redevelop. In this case, its best to have your dermatologist treat the new wart as soon as it appears. Warts are a common and frustrating condition affecting both children and adults. Contact our office today and learn how you can wipe out your warts!
Excess facial or body hair can be troublesome for both men and women. Although common, removal methods such as shaving and waxing are temporary, time consuming, painful and often yield poor results. It’s no wonder more and more people are opting for long-lasting, convenient hair reduction via laser hair removal.
With the use of advanced laser technology, your dermatologist can treat most areas of unwanted hair successfully, conveniently and with fewer complications than other methods. Professional laser treatment is a non-invasive approach to permanent reduction of hair, which can easily treat large areas of hair growth in a short period of time.
In-Office Laser Hair Removal
Performed by an expert dermatologist, laser hair removal works by penetrating the skin with controlled pulses of light that are absorbed by the hair follicles. Without damaging the skin and with minimal patient discomfort, the laser energy destroys the hair follicles and significantly impedes their ability to re-grow. Following treatment, patients enjoy smooth, soft skin and a long-lasting reduction in unwanted hair.
Since hair grows in cycles, the total number of required treatment sessions varies by patient skin type, hair color and hair coarseness. Common areas treated with laser hair removal include the legs, arms, back, shoulders, underarms, upper lip and the bikini area. Darker-colored hair is typically more responsive to laser treatment than light colored hair.
It’s important that you always choose an experienced dermatologist for hair removal to ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency. Your dermatologist will discuss the best laser hair removal options for your specific skin type, needs and expectations.
Visit our practice for a successful diagnosis and treatment for excess hair and experience the long-lasting results available with laser hair removal.
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