Our Dermatology Blog

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Protect your hands: Wear insulated mittens or gloves to help protect your hands from the cold.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. coolsculptingA 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:

Skin Cysts

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.

Cherry Angiomas

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.

Dermatofibromas

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.

Folliculitis

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

Keratosis Pilaris

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.

Lipomas

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.

By WARRENTON DERMATOLOGY & SKIN THERAPY CENTER
January 31, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Dermatologist   Tips   Skin Care   Dry Skin   Winter  

winterskinThe winter months can be tough on skin. While most people think summer sun exposure is the hardest on the skin, winter can be just as difficult for our skin cells. In cold, dry winter climates, skin is prone to itching and flaking. Without an effective winter skin care routine, you may experience significant discomfort and potential damage throughout the winter season.

Changes in temperature and humidity can negatively impact your skin’s health. The main cause for concern during winter months is dryness. Cold weather usually means decreased humidity. Windy winter weather and use of heaters will further strip the skin of moisture. Dry skin can feel scaly, chapped or tight, and it may even crack open and bleed. Those who suffer from chronic skin conditions like eczema are much more likely to deal with flare-ups during winter months. The main goal of skin care during winter months is to avoid stripping moisture from the skin and take steps to alleviate dryness.

Winter Skincare Tips:

Turn Down the Heat – It’s not just air temperature that effects your skin…water temperature is very important. Turn down the heat in the shower or bath, as hot water can worsen dry skin; and limit your bath and shower time, because prolonged exposure will also dry out your skin. Apply a moisturizer immediately following your shower or bath.

Major Moisturizer - Use a thick, cream-based moisturizer at least twice per day over the entire body. You should apply a moisturizer immediately following your shower or bath and at least one other time during the day. If you start to experience itching or notice cracking and dryness, apply moisturizer to the affected area right away.

Use a Humidifier - Constantly running heaters during the cold, winter months can strip moisture from the skin. Consider installing a furnace humidifier or putting a humidifier in your bedroom. These humidifiers can replace some of the moisture that the heater is stripping from your home.

Cover Up - Exposure to wind, snow, and ice can also negatively impact your skin. Protect your skin by covering it with accessories like gloves, hats and scarves. For sports like skiing and snowboarding, make sure you wear goggles and other barrier clothing to protect your skin from chapping and windburn. If your clothing becomes saturated with water from melting snow or ice, you should find warm, dry clothing as soon as possible.

Drink Water - Dehydration is not a summer-only concern. Drinking water won’t immediately add moisture to the skin, but regularly consuming plenty of water will help to keep skin cells hydrated. Drink at least 64 fluid ounces of water each day, which is about 8 glasses.

Sunscreen All Day, Every Day - Skin that is exposed to the sun, even in limited amounts, should be protected with sunscreen on a daily basis. There are many sunscreens that can serve as an effective daily moisturizer and sunscreen (get EltaMD UV Lotion at Warrenton Dermatology). Look for SPF 30 or higher.

Protect Your Lips - Our lips are just as likely to become dry, chapped and sun exposed as the rest of the body. Apply a liberal coat of balm with sunscreen built in several times throughout the day. Aloe Vera and Vitamin E are often used to heal damaged skin and relieve dryness, as well.

Visit A Skincare Specialist at Warrenton Dermatology – our skincare professionals are here to help you! Schedule a medical visit for treatment of skin issues that flare in the winter, or schedule a complimentary skin care consultation appointment for help in finding the right products and winter skincare routine just for you. 540-341-1900

Fat is complicated. It's stubborn, demonized, praised, misunderstood. As the recent wave of body positive conversations has helped to scratch at, everyone's relationship with fat is different. One thing that has remained fairly consistent is a cultural obsession with mastering fat — whether that means embracing it or erasing it.

As far as the latter is concerned, plastic surgery has always had seemingly magical answers. First there was liposuction, which, according to the most recent data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), has declined in popularity by 30 percent since 2000 (though it still remained one of the top 5 cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2017).

Then came the advent of non-invasive fat-reducing procedures, such as CoolSculpting and SculpSure, which are designed to get rid of the spots that your devotion to Barry's Bootcamp hasn't managed to budge. Given these are pretty much the closest things you can get to a fat-erasing magic wand, it's not surprising the ASPS reported a 7 percent rise in these procedures last year. Here's what the hype is about and what you need to know if you're considering a non-invasive fat-reduction procedure.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting — scientifically known as cryolipolysis — is essentially a procedure to freeze (and thereby kill), fat cells. Here's how the FDA-approved treatment works: An applicator (think of it sort of like a giant vacuum hose) applies suction to the area you want to target. "The applicator then applies carefully regulated cooling plates to bring fat cells down to a temperature at which they are irreversibly damaged," Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. For most areas, the process takes about 35 minutes [per attachment]. After the deep-freeze damage to the fat cells, they will eventually die and be eliminated by the body — a process which takes a little time. You'll start to see results after a few weeks with the final effects revealed in three months.

In theory, CoolSculpting can tackle just about any unwanted bulge — it's FDA-approved for the abdomen, "love handles," thighs, upper arms, "bra fat," back fat, "banana roll" underneath your butt, and "double chin" — but there is one big caveat: you have to have "enough fat for the applicator to adhere to," Stephen Greenberg, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and Florida, tells Allure. In other words, there has to be enough fat to pinch for the treatment to work.

What Is SculpSure?
"SculpSure essentially tries to arrive at the same end as CoolSculpting but with the opposite approach," explains Smith. Instead of freezing fat cells, heat is used to kill fat cells. "During a SculpSure treatment, applicators are placed over the treatment area, and a laser is used to heat fat in the treatment area to the point of irreversible damage," he says. Once damaged, the fat cells are swept away by the body's lymphatic system. Just like CoolSculpting, it takes about three months to see full results. SculpSure is currently FDA-approved to treat the stomach, "love handles," back, thighs, and the "double chin."

Which One Should I Get?

CoolSculpting and SculpSure are approved to treat almost all the same areas where stubborn fat is common. But there are still a few things to consider when choosing between treatments. First, consider your pain sensitivity. "SculpSure must reach a fairly high temperature, and this can be quite uncomfortable," explains Smith. While the treatment is designed to be safe for skin (it has a cool cycle built in so you don't have to worry about any burns) it heats fat cells to about 107 degrees, according to the ASPS. It can be painful to sit through if you have sensitive skin. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, is less uncomfortable, since the cooling action will have a numbing effect, Smith says. Secondly, consider how much fat you're hoping to erase. "For a candidate who has more fat to remove, CoolSculpting would be the better option," says Greenberg, since the treatment needs a solid pinch of fat to latch onto. One of the biggest perks associated with both procedures is that there's no downtime and the risks are minimal — you might expect some light bruising, swelling, or soreness afterwards, says Greenberg.

All things considered, "if someone is seeking a noninvasive body contouring option, I would recommend CoolSculpting over SculpSure," says Smith.

Do They Actually Work?

Neither treatment is a magic bullet. In a clinical trial published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology in 2014, CoolSculpting showed pretty impressive results — up to a 25 percent reduction in subcutaneous fat in the treatment area. However, the same study found that 14 percent of participants didn't see any improvements. There's less data available on SculpSure. One review of non-invasive body-contouring devices published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that the treatment reduced fat by about 11 percent.

The good news is, the results of both treatments are theoretically permanent. Bear with us for a brief anatomy lesson: When you lose weight by going to the gym or eating healthier, your fat cells shrink — when you gain weight, they expand. Either way, you maintain the same number. With CoolSculpting or SculpSure, fat cells are actually eliminated, which is a lasting change. That said, if you return to unhealthy habits post-procedure, gaining weight can eclipse the slimming effects. "I always recommend that my patients maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain the results," says Greenberg. Like any procedure, make sure you consult with a physician to weigh your options.