Posts for category: Skin Conditions
Skin cancer affects more adults in the U.S. than any other type of cancer. Early detection of skin cancer can result in a better prognosis since treatment can begin early before cancer spreads. One way to detect skin cancer early is by undergoing a skin cancer screening regularly. At The Belleville Dermatology Center in Belleville, skin cancer screenings are performed by Dr. Joseph Eastern and our dermatology staff.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, such as having a weakened immune system. Everyone should undergo an annual skin cancer screening, but it is especially critical for patients with any of the following risk factors:
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of past sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- History of using tanning beds
- Not using sunscreen regularly
- Having several moles on the skin
- Having fair skin
How can skin cancer screenings help?
Skin cancer screenings at our Belleville dermatology practice can help save your life. All skin cancer is serious, but some types are especially of concern. For example, melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer but is the most deadly. During a skin cancer screening, our dermatologist looks for possible signs of skin cancer. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin and the easier it is to stop cancer from spreading.
What signs do you look for during a skin cancer screening?
There are several signs our dermatologist looks for when conducting a skin cancer screening. These signs can be an indication that skin cancer might be present. If you have had regular screenings, one sign that will be looked for is any change in your skin since your last screening. Other signs the dermatologist will look for include:
- Changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles
- The formation of new moles on the skin
- Sudden itching or bleeding of existing moles
- The development of speckled brown spots on the skin
- Patches of pink or red scaly lesions on the skin
- Waxy, translucent cone-shaped growths on the skin
- Black or brown streaks under the fingernails or toenails
What happens if skin cancer is suspected during a screening?
If any signs of possible skin cancer are observed during a skin cancer screening, a biopsy can be performed to determine if cancer cells are present. If cancer is present, then a course of treatment will be recommended. Different treatment options are available and the appropriate course of treatment can depend on the type of skin cancer, as well as the seriousness of it. Skin cancer treatments include prescription medicated creams, radiation therapy, surgical excision, curettage and desiccation, cryosurgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery.
Undergoing skin cancer screenings regularly helps with early detection of the disease. Early detection is important for stopping the cancer from spreading. For skin cancer screenings in Belleville, NJ, schedule an appointment with Dr. Eastern by calling The Belleville Dermatology Center at (973) 751-1200.
Find out what’s causing your acne so you know how to best treat the root problem.
Treating acne isn’t always simple. In fact, it can be downright frustrating. While there are certainly products that can shorten the lifespan of a pimple or reduce redness these are quick fixes and aren’t designed to address the underlying problem. Learn more about what causes acne and the treatment options that our Belleville, NJ, dermatologist Dr. Joseph Eastern offers.
What causes acne?
The bacteria that live on the skin are often to blame for acne. It’s when a follicle gets block that oil builds up under the skin and causes acne. There are many factors that can trigger acne, but one of the most common triggers is hormones. Increased androgens (which is turned into estrogen in women) can cause oil glands to grow and produce more oil, which can lead to more bacteria.
Other causes of acne may be:
- Emotional stress
- Greasy/oily cosmetic
- Certain medications
How is acne treated?
The most effective treatment option will depend on the type and severity of your acne. For example, those dealing with mild acne in Belleville, NJ, may be able to get their acne under control with over-the-counter acne medications and cleansers. These products may contain any of these acne-fighting ingredients:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Azelaic acid
Most products can take up to eight weeks or more to see results. If you aren’t getting relief from your acne symptoms despite months of trying over-the-counter products then you’ll want to turn to our dermatologist for a stronger oral or topical medication. Some ways to treat acne include:
- Oralcontraceptives: This medication can help control acne in women whose acne is influenced by their hormone levels. These medications aren’t right for all women so you’ll want to talk with your doctor first.
- Oral antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed for several months to treat moderate-to-severe forms of acne by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It can also reduce inflammation caused by breakouts.
- Topical antimicrobials: Sometimes topical medications can reduce bacteria and improve more serious acne symptoms. Topical retinoids can unclog pores and prevent the formation of whiteheads and blackheads.
- Isotretinoin: This medication is only prescribed to patients dealing with severe cystic acne that isn’t responding to other treatment options. This is a very strong medication with potentially serious side effects so it’s important to talk with your dermatologist about the risks before deciding whether this medication is right for you.
Are you living with acne in Belleville, NJ, and having trouble treating the problem yourself? If so, call The Belleville Dermatology Center today to schedule a consultation. Get one step closer to clearer skin.
Find out how this pigmented skin condition is treated.
Are you or someone you love dealing with vitiligo? The Mayo Clinic reports that there are more than 200,000 new cases of vitiligo each year in the US alone. Vitiligo is a chronic disease where the melanin, which gives your skin its pigment, either dies or the body stops producing it. As a result, there are white patches of skin all over the body. So, you may be wondering how this condition occurs or how you can treat it. This is when it’s important to turn to your dermatologist.
What causes vitiligo?
Unfortunately, researchers still do not know why some people develop vitiligo. It may be the result of an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks the melanocytes in the skin. Some researchers also believe that something as simple as a sunburn or even emotional stress could cause vitiligo; however, the cause is still unknown.
Who is at risk for developing vitiligo?
Even though this condition can appear at any time in a person’s life it more commonly occurs in your 20's. It affects both men and women of all races; however, vitiligo is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Those with autoimmune disorders are often more likely to develop vitiligo than those who do not have an autoimmune disorder. Genetics may also play a role; however, parents with vitiligo won’t necessarily pass this condition onto their child.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
Vitiligo is characterized by large white patches of skin, which may appear anywhere on the body. These patches most commonly appear on the face, hands, feet, arms, and other sun-exposed areas. Sometimes the white patches will spread over time. How quickly the patches spread will vary from person to person; however, sometimes the patches won’t spread at all.
How is vitiligo treated?
It’s important to turn to a dermatologist that you trust if you think you or a family member is dealing with vitiligo. During your consultation, your doctor will examine your skin to determine how widespread and numerous the patches are so that we have a better idea what type of treatment will be the most effective.
We will also go through your medical history and ask you questions about your condition. Treatment for vitiligo, like most skin disorders, will not work overnight. In fact, there is often a trial-and-error period to try and find the best treatment option.
The most common types of vitiligo treatment include medication, light therapies, and surgery, all of which are designed to restore pigmentation back into the skin.
Prescribed medications may be applied topically or taken orally. Certain UVA/UVB light therapy treatments may also improve your condition. Skin grafting surgery may be recommended, in which your dermatologist will remove skin from another area of the body and apply it over the patches to hide them and even out skin tone.
Your dermatologist can also recommend a full-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin when going outside, as well as any counseling and support you may need. If you or someone you love is looking for vitiligo treatment, contact your dermatologist today.
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
Does your face sometimes appear extremely red and flushing? While a slight blush is certainly nice, if the blush is severe or widespread you may be dealing a common condition known as rosacea. People with rosacea often liken their redness to looking like they are sunburned even though they are not, and the redness often appears across the nose and cheeks but can spread to the forehead, as well.
Along with redness those with rosacea may also experience:
- Stinging or burning
- Hard bumps that look similar to acne
- Visible blood vessels
- Thicker skin (in more advanced cases)
Rosacea is more common in women than men, as well as those over 30 years old. Rosacea is characterized by flare-ups of redness that may go away and then come back when in contact with certain triggers. Common rosacea triggers include:
- Heat or cold
- Spicy foods
- Certain skincare products
- Certain medications
It’s important to note when you experience triggers to figure out what might be causing your flare-ups so you can avoid them whenever possible.
There are no over-the-counter medications designed to treat rosacea, so the only way to get the proper treatment you need to get your symptoms under control is to see a dermatologist. There are certain prescription medications that may be prescribed to lessen your symptoms. These medications include:
- Certain drugs and topical medications that reduce redness
- Oral antibiotics (to kill the bacteria responsible for inflammation)
- Isotretinoin (for severe and unresponsive rosacea cases)
In some cases, your skin doctor may also recommend laser therapy to reduce redness and the appearance of blood vessels. Common laser therapies for rosacea include dermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy.
Along with medication and laser therapy it’s important to be gentle with your skin and to always wear sunscreen before going outside. Choose a sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection and has an SPF of at least 30. Even on cloudy or windy days you should apply sunscreen. Also be aware of certain products and makeup that could also be causing flare-ups. There is also makeup on the market that can conceal redness.
If you think that your redness may be the result of rosacea isn’t it time you got answers? Schedule a consultation with our trusted dermatologist today.