Dermatology of Eastern Idaho specializes in treating and educating patients in skin, hair, and nail care. For more information on skin care and skin conditions, visit the American Academy of Dermatology website at www.aad.org.
1. Minimize sun exposure during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. when the sun is the strongest.
2. Always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing before exposure to the sun.
3. Don’t forget to use sunscreen on overcast days, as the rays from the sun are still damaging.
4. Individuals with a high risk for skin cancer (outdoor workers, fair-skinned individuals, or those who have had skin cancer before) should always apply a sunscreen daily.
5. If you develop an allergic reaction to your sunscreen, change sunscreens. There are many products available on the market, and sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are often a good choice for those who have reacted to other sunscreens.
6. Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, as they can reflect the suns rays and increase your chances for getting a sunburn.
7. Avoid tanning beds, which can cause sunburn and premature aging, as well as increase the risk for skin cancer.
8. Keep infants out of the sun and teach children sun protection early. Sun damage occurs with each unprotected sun exposure and accumulates over the course of a lifetime.
Overall, get to know your skin. The risk of skin cancer is real, so make skin self-exams a regular part of your lifestyle. And if you ever have questions or concerns regarding a skin condition or the treatment of your skin, visit with your dermatologist.
Congenital Nevi: These are moles people are born with. A congenital nevus that is larger than 20 centimeters has been shown to carry a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Atypical Nevi: These are also called dysplastic nevi. These moles have a greater chance of developing melanoma, as they tend to have the “abcde” characteristics (read below).
Acquired Nevi: Moles that appear after birth are called acquired nevi, and are generally not a cause of concern. People who have more than 50-100, however, have a greater risk of developing melanoma than those with fewer moles.
Everyone should perform regular skin checks and look for the “abcde” characteristics of melanoma detection:
A. Asymmetry – where one half of the mole is unlike the other half
B. Border – irregular shaped or poorly defined mole outline
C. Color – varied shades of tan, brown, black and sometimes blue, red, and white, from one area to another
D. Diameter – mole is larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
E. Evolving – a mole or lesion that looks different than the rest, or is changing in size, shape, or color
If a mole seems worrisome, displays one or more of the “abcde” characteristics, or is unusual, you should make an appointment with the dermatologist. A skin check at our office will involve photographing any moles that look like they are, or have, potential to become atypical. When you return for your yearly follow-up appointment, we will compare these pictures with the moles to see if any have changed.
Learn more about dermatology, skin care, skin conditions, and patient resources from the American Academy of Dermatology website: www.aad.org
Learn more about Mohs Micrographic Surgery by visiting the American Society for Mohs Surgery website: www.mohssurgery.org.
Visit the Coalition of Skin Diseases website, whose mission it is to advocate on behalf of individuals with skin disease. This is done by supporting basic science and research, fostering physician and patient education, generating awareness of skin disease, and supporting the growth of member organizations through the sharing of mutual concerns. Link to additional skin disease patient support and information websites through their directory of patient support organizations: www.coalitionofskindiseases.org.