Can you develop skin cancer? If you are over 40 and have experienced a lot of sun exposure, you likely can, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Don't worry, though—just be vigilant about checking your skin for cancer, and see your Chicago, IL dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, at North Branch Dermatology every year or at any time you're concerned about a spot or mole.
What is skin cancer?
Affecting almost 10,000 Americans with a new diagnosis every day, skin cancer is an overgrowth of abnormal cells in the epidermis and dermis, the top and second layers of the largest organ in our bodies. While we all have variations in texture and pigmentation as we age, skin cancers look and act in specific ways which signal danger.
The most common skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Detected in their earliest stages, these malignancies slowly spread, or metastasize, and they are highly curable. A third type, malignant melanoma, is more insidious and dangerous, often moving quickly and undetected from the skin to major bodily organs. Actinic keratoses are precancerous growths.
What to look for
In general, spots, freckles or moles should not change in size, color, or texture. That's why Dr. Fahrenbach advises you to look at your skin (a total body check) every month to know your skin well. This familiarity helps you see changes so that you can report them to your skin doctor right away.
You should also call North Branch Dermatology's Chicago office if you have a spot, freckle or mole which:
- Is sore, lumpy, or bleeding
- Itches intensely
- Changes, particularly when you compare it similar spots
- Is located under a toenail or fingernail
Dr. Fahrenbach asks her patients to apply a common sense way to evaluate skin lesions. It uses the mnemonic ABCDE. When you look at a spot or mole, think of:
- Asymmetry: Changes in size and shape, particularly toward one side of a mole, which may indicate cancer.
- Border: Cancerous borders, or edges, may be scalloped or notched.
- Color: Most moles are brown, black or tan. Specks, streaks or odd colors, such as red or blue, are danger signs.
- Diameter: A healthy mole is no larger than a pencil eraser (<6 millimeters).
- Evolution: Any change in a spot's size, color, shape, or how it feels should be reported to your skin doctor.
Your healthiest skin through prevention
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you respect the sun and its power to damage your skin. To protect yourself, please apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and avoid tanning and sunburns. Remember, sun exposure is cumulative—so the more you're exposed over the years, the greater your chances are of developing precancerous conditions or skin cancer itself.
Find out more
Please call North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL to arrange your total body skin check. Between you and your dermatologist, you can track changes over time and avoid dangerous skin malignancies. Call today: (773) 763-6000.
Are You Seeking Treatment for Your Psoriasis from Your Chicago, Il, Dermatologist?
Psoriasis is a chronic condition where red patches of skin with white, flaky scales appear on your skin. They are most commonly found on elbows and knees but appear pretty much everywhere on your body. Psoriasis impacts about 7.5 million people in the United States, and although approximately 20,000 children under age 10 are diagnosed, the first episode usually occurs when a person is between ages 15 and 35. If you are experiencing any issues with Psoriasis, please call North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL.
General Psoriasis Info:
Being a genetic disease, Psoriasis isn't contagious, but, unfortunately, there's no cure. The only treatments available are meant to control symptoms and increase the healing process.
The triggers also vary from one person to another and include:
- Injury to skin
- Allergy medicine
Types of Psoriasis
- Plaque Psoriasis (Psoriasis Vulgaris): Usually found on knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp, this type appears as red lesions with whitish scales.
- Pustular Psoriasis: Usually a result of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, infections, stress, or withdrawal from certain medications, this type of psoriasis looks like white pus-filled blisters surrounded by red skin.
- Guttate Psoriasis: Usually manifests in children and young adults as small red dots.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This bright red lesion is smooth and shiny, and usually found in armpits, under breasts, groin, and the skin folds around buttocks and genitals.
Treatment Options in Chicago:
- Over-the-Counter Medications: Scale lifters, bath solutions, Dead Sea salts, and anti-itch moisturizers
- Prescription Topical Treatments: Prescription topicals that slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation.
- Light Therapy/Phototherapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light, such as Sunshine, Excimer lasers and Pulse dye lasers
If you have any questions or concerns about Psoriasis, don't hesitate to contact North Branch Dermatology's Chicago office at (773) 763-6000.
Though a rash is often nothing to worry about and clears up on its own, it can still be cause for concern. Understanding the kinds of rashes you may have and what may have caused them can help you determine if it is time for you to see your dermatologist for help with your skin condition. Find out more about rashes and what they may mean with Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL.
Do I have a rash?
Rashes are often obvious in their appearance. However, they also have some subtle symptoms you may not see at first. Some common signs of a rash include:
- blister formation
- dry, scaly skin
- crusted skin
- slightly raised areas
- raised, red bumps
If your rash is accompanied by a fever or the rash has become infected, you should seek immediate medical attention.
What may have caused my rash?
Rashes come from various sources. One of the most common types of rashes, called atopic dermatitis, comes from touching something that contains an allergen that reacts poorly with your skin, causing a rash. Rashes may also come from allergic reactions, an underlying condition, friction from the heat, or other causes. Your doctor is your best source of information on the cause of your rash and the best treatment moving forward.
When should I see my dermatologist about a rash?
If your rash does not go away within a few days, becomes very uncomfortable, or begins affecting your daily life, you should consult with your doctor. The diagnostic process begins with a physical examination and, if necessary, various testing to determine the underlying cause of the rash if it is not immediately obvious.
Rash Treatments in Chicago, IL
Treating a rash often begins with an over-the-counter ointment or cream. If that fails to do the trick, prescription-strength medications or ointments may become necessary. Your doctor can work with you to find the best treatment for your rash.
For more information on rashes or their treatments, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL. Call (773) 763-6000 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fahrenbach today!
Your Chicago, IL, dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology can help you get the youthful look you want. Time catches up with us all and some people, if not most, aren't particularly fond of this notion, which is why Dr. Fahrenbach offers Botox.
More on Botox
Botox is an FDA-approved treatment. It is used to eliminate and/or reduce wrinkles and creases on your face. It paralyzes the muscles that contract and the create wrinkles and creases. When the patient is injected with Botox, the production of acetylcholine is blocked, therefore stopping the contraction of the muscles.
Botox is a unique cosmetic procedure. It has almost no downtime and doesn't take long to be done or completed; you can actually go back to work right after the treatment. Botox doesn't cause patients to lose their capability to show facial expression and, although it is a simple process, a licensed professional, like our dermatologist in Chicago should administer the Botox treatment.
In addition to the procedure having almost no downtime, Botox is almost painless. Previous patients say the injections feel like pinches, but doctors use ice to help alleviate that slight nip. If you're still worried, your doctor can use a topical cream to help numb the area and eliminate any discomfort.
The most common problem areas are frown and worry lines, crow's feet and laugh lines, which are caused as a result of years of laughing, squinting and frowning. After the Botox treatment, you will start to notice smoother skin.
Botox also lasts 3 to 4 months, but this varies from one person to another. This means you'll have a rejuvenated appearance for quite some time.
If you wish to learn more about Botox, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, by calling (773) 763-6000.
What your dermatologist in Chicago wants you to know
Most people have moles, and they are usually nothing to worry about, but there are changes to look for that might signal the presence of abnormal cells or even cancer. Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL wants to share the facts about moles.
Moles are caused by melanocytes clumping together. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, responsible for your skin color. When these cells form a clump, it produces a mole. 10 to 40 moles are common for most people, and the moles are usually uniform in shape and color and less than 6 millimeters in diameter.
You should check your moles regularly, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun, have a history of skin cancer, or have fair skin. Abnormalities to look for include:
- A diameter larger than 6 millimeters
- A change in shape, color, size, or height
- Irregular borders or an asymmetrical shape
You should also check with your dermatologist if you have a mole that is:
- Causing pain
- Bleeding or oozing
- Itching or burning
- Growing back after previous removal
Your dermatologist may suggest removing an abnormal mole completely and taking a tissue biopsy to determine if the mole is precancerous or cancerous. Mole removal is a common procedure and is performed several different ways including:
Shaving the mole which involves numbing the area and then cutting underneath and around the mole; treatment doesn’t require sutures and is a great choice for small moles.
Surgically removing the mole which involves numbing the area and using a punching instrument to remove the mole; a few sutures are required with this procedure.
For more detailed information about moles, please visit the Mole Check page on the North Branch Dermatology website at https://www.northbranchdermatology.com/north-branch-dermatology-mole-check.html
It’s important to know what to look for when you do a mole check. Early diagnosis and treatment of precancerous and cancerous moles can save your health and your life. To find out more about moles and other skin conditions call Dr. Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL today!
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