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When going to a doctor's office, you may have seen medical providers that do not have the designation M.D. (Medical Doctor) after their name. Do you ever wonder what "PA-C" means? It stands for Physician Assistant, the "C" means that they have been certified by the National Commission of Certification of PAs.
PAs are state licensed health care providers who work in close collaboration with physicians to improve access to healthcare and to provide patients with many of the services traditionally provided by physicians. Educational requirements for a PA include an undergraduate degree followed by a master's degree in a certified PA program. PAs practice in all fields of medicine and in all states. PAs work closely under the supervision of a physician to provide health care. The care provided by PAs varies depending on their training and the discretion of the supervising physician. While some PAs work in primary care, some others choose to practice in a more specialized field. Dermatology trained PAs can perform some of the same duties and procedures as dermatologist. They can perform skin checks and treat a multitude of skin conditions.
The relationship between a physician and a PA is based on trust and mutual respect. The dermatologist and the dermatology PA are part of the dermatology care team and, as such, their mutual goal is to provide the highest level of care to patients in the clinic. Patients should know that PAs work closely with a dermatologist and should know that the physician is always available to the PA for consultation when needed. At times, the PA may even ask the physician to assume the care of more complicated cases if these are outside the scope of practice of the PA. When seeing a dermatology PA, it is important to know if they have maintained their certification and if they have been trained by a board certified dermatologist. At Warrenton Dermatology, our board-certified M.D. is fortunate to practice side-by-side with two amazing PA-Cs. Not only are they smart and competent but compassionate and dedicated to our mission.
Research Demonstrates Potential of Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy for Hair Loss
Board-certified dermatologists can help patients determine the best treatment option for them
Tens of millions of people in the U.S. experience hair loss, which can have a significant impact on the quality of life. There is more hope on the horizon, however, as a growing amount of research indicates that a procedure known as platelet-rich plasma therapy can provide effective treatment.
“A general body of evidence has recently emerged demonstrating a positive response from PRP treatments,” says Jeffrey Rapaport, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New Jersey. “With consensus forming around treatment protocols, studies are indicating that PRP is a safe, effective hair loss treatment that has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life of millions of people.”
PRP therapy originated in Europe more than a decade ago and has been utilized in a variety of medical areas, including orthopedics and dentistry. The procedure involves placing blood drawn from the patient into a special machine that separates red blood cells from plasma, which is rich in platelets that contain growth factors.
In hair loss therapy, the plasma is directly injected into the patient’s hair follicles in a process that takes no more than 10 minutes, according to Dr. Rapaport. Since the procedure involves only minimal discomfort, he says, patients typically do not require any numbing or downtime following therapy.
After the initial treatment, injections are repeated once a month for the next three months, and then once every three to six months after that. Within the first few months of treatment, patients may notice they are losing less or minimal amounts of hair, Dr. Rapaport says, and soon after, they may begin to see an increase in thickness or eventual regrowth.
While not everyone is a candidate for PRP therapy, Dr. Rapaport says that it has been found to have high success and satisfaction rates in certain hair loss patients, including those with hereditary hair thinning or baldness. He recommends that those considering the procedure consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine if it’s the right option for them, adding that PRP may be used in conjunction with other treatments to give patients the best possible results.
“Since PRP therapy has taken off, there have been a lot of non-dermatologists performing this procedure,” Dr. Rapaport says. “Only board-certified dermatologists have the medical training to identify if you are a good candidate, because this treatment will not work for everyone who experiences hair loss. Talk to a board-certified dermatologist to determine which hair loss treatment option is best for you.”
Hugh Jackman is no stranger to skin cancer, and he wants to raise awareness regarding the importance of sun protection and regular skin checks. The Australian actor has posted several photos of himself showing the aftermath of skin cancer surgery. In his most recent post, he thanked amazing doctors and frequent skin checks for his excellent prognosis, which marks his fifth bout of basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, with more than 4 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. BCC almost never spreads beyond the original tumor site, though, and the cure rate after excisional surgery is above 95 percent in most body areas. However, “Basal cell carcinoma is not something to be taken lightly,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Once you’ve been diagnosed with a BCC, it’s very likely that you will develop more over the years, leading to continuous treatment and possibly even disfiguration.”
Those who have had BCC are at risk for recurrence either in the same area (like Jackman, who has battled multiple BCCs on his nose) or other areas of the body. This recurrence has made BCC the most frequently occurring form of all cancers: More than one out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the great majority are BCCs.
Jackman’s advice for avoiding a battle like his is simple: Wear Sunscreen. At Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center in Warrenton, VA, Dr. Caballero recommends that you use whatever mode of sun protection works for you – whether it’s sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, or simply seeking shade whenever you can. Ninety percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers like BCC are associated with the sun’s UV rays. This means that, with the right behaviors, they’re also generally preventable! So, take a cue from Hugh – protect your skin to avoid time-consuming, potentially painful, disfiguring and costly treatments later.
Source: Ali Venosa, Skincancer.org
When the temperature dips below freezing, it’s critical to protect your skin from cold-weather health risks. Frostbite occurs when the skin (and sometimes the tissue beneath the skin) freezes due to prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Depending on how long and how frozen the tissue, frostbite can result in severe, sometimes permanent, damage.
To stay warm and prevent frostbite, follow these tips from dermatologists:
Dress in loose, light, comfortable layers: Wearing loose, light layers helps trap warm air. The first layer should be made of a synthetic material, which wicks moisture away from your body. The next layer should be insulating. Wool and fleece are good insulators and hold in more body heat than cotton. The top layer should be windproof and waterproof. A down parka and ski pants can help keep you dry and warm during outdoor activities.
Protect your feet and toes: To protect your feet and toes, wear two pairs of socks. The first pair, next to your skin, should be made of moisture-wicking fabric. Place a pair of wool or wool-blend socks on top of those. Your boots should also provide adequate insulation. They should be waterproof and cover your ankles. Make sure that nothing feels tight, as tight clothing increases the risk of frostbite.
Protect your head: To protect your ears and head, wear a heavy wool or fleece hat. If you are outside on a bitterly cold day, cover your face with a scarf or face mask. This warms the air you breathe and helps prevent frostbite on your nose and face.
Protect your hands: Wear insulated mittens or gloves to help protect your hands from the cold.
Make sure snow cannot get inside of your boots or clothing: Wet clothing increases the risk of developing frostbite. Before heading outdoors, make sure that snow cannot easily get inside of your boots or clothing. While outdoors, if you start to sweat, cut back on your activity or unzip your jacket a bit.
Keep yourself hydrated: Becoming dehydrated also increases the risk of developing frostbite. Even if you are not thirsty, drink at least one glass of water before you head outside, and always drink water or a sports drink before an outdoor workout. In addition, avoid alcohol, as it increases your risk for frostbite.
Recognize the symptoms: In order to detect frostbite early, when it’s most treatable, it’s important to recognize the symptoms. The first signs of frostbite include redness and a stinging, burning, throbbing or prickling sensation followed by numbness. If this occurs, head indoors immediately.
If you experience symptoms of frostbite, try to gradually bring feeling back into the body. Never rub frostbitten skin or submerge your hands or feet directly into hot water; use warm water or a warm washcloth instead. If you do not feel sensation returning to your body, or if the skin begins to turn gray, go to an emergency room immediately.
Lumps and bumps that are present under the skin should always be checked by a dermatologist. A lump or bump which is new, getting bigger, is tender or painful needs to be checked. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s important to know for sure that your lumps and bumps aren’t something more serious. When in doubt, call the board-certified professionals at Warrenton Dermatology. Some of the most common types of skin bumps and lesions include:
are common and can appear on all parts of the body. They may occur as a result of injury or infection, around a clogged pore, or around a foreign body like a splinter or even a new earring. Cysts are extremely slow-growing, painless, and they feel smooth. Many people describe their cyst as feeling like there’s a pea stuck below their skin. When a cyst is formed around a foreign body, or if it becomes irritated, inflamed, or filled with fluid, surgical excision may be necessary.
Open & Closed Comedos
commonly referred to as blackheads and whiteheads, occur when oil and skin cells accumulate and block pores. If the clogged pore remains open, it looks black. A closed comedo is typically white in appearance. Often, facial cleansers and topical products are effective in removing or reducing the numbers of blackheads and whiteheads. However, you should never pinch or squeeze the skin to remove them. The Estheticians at Warrenton Dermatology will professionally extract them as part of a deep pore cleansing facial or Hydrafacial treatment.
take their name from the cherry-red coloring of the bump, and typically impact those over the age of 40. They are usually smooth to the touch, and may be as small as a pinhead or grow as large as a quarter inch in diameter. In most cases, these asymptomatic bumps don’t need to be treated. If you don’t like the appearance of these lesions, they can easily be removed using a Lam Probe or cosmetic laser.
are hard, round, reddish-brown bumps, and they most often occur following an injury (bug bite, bump or bruise, cut or scratch). Dermatofibromas contain scar tissue, so they will feel hard. Some people describe them as feeling like a BB gun pellet stuck below the skin. Usually asymptomatic, they may cause some itching, pain, or tenderness. These typically don’t need to be removed, but they can be surgically removed if they become painful.
occurs when hair follicles are inflamed. This can happen after using chemical-laden products or due to physical irritation from chafing clothing, shaving, or other causes of friction against sensitive skin. Folliculitis most often occurs in the hair follicles on the face, scalp, and thighs. Treatment usually includes avoiding irritation by wearing loose clothing, avoiding shaving the area, and making changes to shaving methods and products. You may also want to use calming lotion or cortisone cream to relieve the itchiness and inflammation. Some patients experience dramatic improvement in symptoms by simply applying a warm, moist compress to the impacted areas. In some cases, a bacterial or fungal infection may occur in combination with folliculitis and will need to be treated using oral and/or topical antibiotics or antifungals. It is best to work with your Dermatologist to develop a treatment plan for this condition
looks like “goosebumps” or “chicken skin bumps.” While it may not be attractive, these small bumps that usually appear on the upper arms and thighs, are completely harmless. Treatment is not medically necessary, but there are some medical-grade topical products to improve the cosmetic appearance of keratosis pilaris (often referred to simply as KP). Most people see a dramatic reduction in the appearance of this condition by the age of 30. Symptoms of KP can be treated at home by moisturizing and exfoliating regularly.
are subcutaneous (below the skin) benign soft tissue tumors. The word tumor can be frightening, but lipomas are usually slow-growing and benign. They can occur anywhere on the body, but lipomas most often appear on the neck, shoulders, and trunk. The majority of lipomas are soft, malleable lumps that don’t grow larger than 5 cm in diameter. While they are typically painless, a lipoma may grow large enough to compress nerves in specific areas. If a lipoma grows large enough to cause cosmetic or functional concerns, we may recommend surgical removal.
When Should I Call Warrenton Dermatology?
If your lesion, bump, or lump isn’t growing and doesn’t itch, hurt, burn, or feel warm to the touch, it’s probably a benign skin condition. Still, we recommend having new growths or bumps on the skin checked by a professional. Lumps and bumps can be cancerous, and the only way to diagnose that is to biopsy it. Dermatologists are specially trained to know which lesions need to be biopsied, which need to be treated or removed, and which can be left alone.