Posts for: September, 2022
Most moles are normal, but sun exposure, genetics, and other factors can work to turn a normal mole into an abnormal, even cancerous mole. It’s important to know what to look for in abnormal moles. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole can even protect you from skin cancer.
Moles are caused by skin cells known as melanocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for determining skin color. Melanocytes can clump together, causing a mole to form.
So, when should you worry about a mole?
Abnormal Moles Typically Are:
- Large, usually over 6 millimeters in diameter
- Irregularly shaped, usually with ragged borders
- Asymmetrical, usually not uniform in shape
In Addition, You Need to Watch Out for Moles That Are:
- Itching, burning, or painful
- Bleeding or oozing
- Recurring after being previously removed
You should perform a self-check of your moles regularly, looking for any of the signs and symptoms listed above. In fact, pay attention to any mole that has changed in size, color, height, or shape.
You should also visit your dermatologist regularly, especially if you are at a high risk for skin cancer. People who are at a higher risk of skin cancer:
- Burn easily
- Have fair skin, light hair, and light eyes
- Have a family history of skin cancer
When you visit your dermatologist, your doctor may want to biopsy the mole to check for abnormalities. This means taking a sample of tissue or removing the mole entirely. This can be done several ways, including:
Shaving the mole if the mole is small; this option doesn’t require sutures.
Removal of the mole with an instrument, if the mole is large; this option requires a few sutures.
MOHS micrographic surgery, which removes the mole one layer at a time, and the tissue is examined under a microscope.
Remember to protect yourself against skin damage and skin cancer by always wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 15, or 30 if you are out in the sun for an extended period. Use a higher SPF of 50 and above if you are at high risk for skin cancer.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole, and mole removal options, talk with your dermatologist. Call today.
Find out why cracked, dry skin happens and what you can do about it.
Dry or cracked skin can be a real nuisance, and you must be giving your skin the care it needs to keep it hydrated. You may find that your feet or hands are particularly susceptible to cracking and dryness, especially during the cold winter months.
What Is Causing My Dry, Cracked Skin?
Pay attention to your symptoms so you can pinpoint what might be causing your dry or cracked skin. Dry skin may be the result of,
- Exposure to hot water (e.g., washing dishes; taking a hot shower)
- Cold weather
- Chemicals (e.g., laundry detergent; dish soap)
- Athlete’s foot
How Is Dry Skin Treated?
There are many ways to tackle dry skin depending on what’s causing it and where the dry skin is located. Luckily, dry skin can easily be treated with certain home care, including,
Using a daily moisturizer
A moisturizer will become your new best friend if you are prone to dry skin. Moisturizers lock in moisture in the skin and can be particularly helpful when applied after showering. A thick emollient moisturizer will be best for dealing with severely dry or cracked skin.
Applying petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is a simple topical remedy that can help protect the skin while healing cracks. Petroleum jelly can be beneficial when dealing with cracking skin or dry lips.
Sometimes, exfoliation can be a great way to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface and reduce dryness and cracking, particularly on the hands and feet. After soaking feet in water for about 20 minutes, exfoliation can be done with a pumice stone. Apply a moisturizer after using the pumice stone.
When Should I See a Dermatologist?
If you’ve tried just about everything to get your dry skin under control on your own and you still aren’t seeing results after two weeks, it’s time to turn to your dermatologist. You should also call your dermatologist if your symptoms get worse or if your skin shows signs of infection, such as,
- Severe or increased redness
If dry, cracked skin has become the norm, and no moisturizer seems to be helping, it’s probably a good idea to turn to your dermatologist for answers.