Looking Great for Summer 2021: From a Board-certified Dermatologist
by George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (05/23/2021)
Your skin, hair, and nails are all part of the same organ system, the Integumentary System. Let’s take a look at strategies used by Dermatologists like myself, to improve our patients’ Integumentary Systems, my perspective being that of a Board-certified Dermatologist Memphis TN these last 30 years.
First, a great skin health strategy is for you to go on your own ‘Mole Patrol.” Get to know everyone’s moles in your family (possibly friends’ moles, too). Yes, I’m suggesting that you get your family members completely naked, to inspect them, or to look them over. Remember that it’s normal for most people to develop between 5 and 35 moles, or collection of pigment-producing cells, between the ages of 5 and 35.
But the mole below would generally make us Dermatologists pretty concerned, because it's dark, with different shades of brown within itself, and it could be an early Melanoma requiring a biopsy.
The problem is that certain moles can be atypical, or high risk. We do lose about one American live about every hour, 365 days a year, to a type of malignancy of the pigment-producing cells, called Melanoma. The good news that Melanoma if caught early is entirely curable by a minor, generally out-patient procedure under local anesthetic.
The mole below is an example of a Melanoma, a type of Skin Cancer.
So what do you look for?
We Dermatologists teach patients to look for what we call the A, B, C, D, E warning signs of Skin Cancer, including Basal Cell Skin Cancer, Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, and Melanoma:
A stands for Asymmetry: one half of the lesion does not match the other half.
B stands for Border: a jagged border, perhaps like the coast of Maine, rather than of Florida.
C stands for Color change: different hues of brown or black within the lesion, or one mole that’s darker in color compared with the person’s other moles.
D stands for an increasing Diameter.
E stands for Evolving: if the lesion is changing, it’s best to bring it to the attention of a Board-certified Dermatologist.
The mole below would generally be considered "benign," or "Not Skin Cancer," because of its uniform color and symmetric appearance. But it should be kept under watch.
And while you’re doing this ‘Mole Patrol” on your friends and family members, if you happen upon certain other skin conditions, such as Acne, Rosacea, Scalp Dandruff, Psoriasis, or Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), realize that Board-certified Dermatologists now have many new therapies to offer, to help to clear these skin conditions: newer antibiotics (both topical antibiotics like Clindamycin and Amzeeq®and oral antibiotics like Sarecycline), new topical and oral steroid medicines, newer steroid-free creams and ointments (such as Pimecrolimus, Tacrolimus, Eucrisa® Ointment, and Atopiclair® Ointment).