Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston
Dr. Schlesinger Says: Choose your sunscreen based on your activity.
When it comes to Sun Safety, the first place to start is with your sunscreen. As a dermatologist one of the first questions I receive is ‘What sunscreen do you recommend?’. The answer is simple - I recommend the same sunscreens to my patients that I use myself.
Many people do not realize it can be best to tailor your sunscreen to the activity you will be doing that day. This helps in making sure you have the best protection and is also a good way to conserve on product usage. You don’t necessarily need to use a Sport Sunscreen if you plan on moderate outdoor exposure, while on the flip side, it would not be suggested to use your everyday sunscreen if planning a day out at the beach. Here is a rundown of the sunscreens I reach for and when:
My sunscreen of choice when outside and protecting my skin is the SkinCeuticals SPF 45 Sport Defense for the neck, arms and legs. For the face, I use the SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical 50. If I plan to be outside for extended periods of time (outdoor festivals, boating, gardening, etc.), I will opt for Blue Lizard SPF 30 which is a bit thicker with a higher concentrate of Zinc Oxide. *The key is to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours. For days when I’m not outside at all and only in the office, I wear SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF. The reason I use antioxidant serum as opposed to sunscreen when indoors all day, is these products provide a level of sun damage reversal.
One thing that I commonly do, and highly recommend, is wearing long-sleeved or legged, sun-blocking clothing. These allow for comfort, shield the skin, and I avoid getting burned like many folks do.
I do like to use other products as well, both to try them out and because if I am looking for specific benefits. When I find something really great, I work to incorporate it into our office and always share the best recommendations with my patients.
To learn more about the sunscreens I use along with all the sunscreens we offer here at DLCC, check out our Pinterest Board - The Skin’s Best Friend.
Do you know your ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer?
What you need to know when it comes to skin cancer.
Skin Cancer is the #1 most commonly diagnosed form of cancer. To give you an idea of it’s rapidly growing capacity, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that in the U.S. alone nearly 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed a year in 2 million people. 3.5 million! The odds of developing skin cancer are now at a 1 in 5 chance. But as with most things - knowledge is power - and there are steps you can take to catch skin cancer in early stages. While it is the #1 most commonly diagnosed, skin cancer is also the most treatable when caught early. During Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, DLCC wants to make sure you are aware of what to look for when performing a self skin exam between visits to the dermatologist.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
• The most common skin cancer, occurs about 1 million times a year and usually is found on the sun exposed areas of the body.
• Looks like a pearly papule or a red, scaly patch. The lesion is typically persist ant and may bleed.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
• The second most common skin cancer, occurring about 400,000 times each year.
• Generally resembles a crusted, red lesion. It may also present as a fast growing dome shaped nodule.
• Squamous cell carcinoma has a higher likelihood of spreading into the body, especially when it occurs on the head and neck.
• The most deadly of skin cancers.
• This type occurs about 100,000 times per year and is rapidly becoming more prevalent at alarming rates.
Knowing the three main types of skin cancer is key, however knowing how to keep watch over your moles is another step in keeping your skin healthy. Often referred to as the ABCDE’s of Melanoma, these tips can help catch all forms of skin cancer when performed on a regular basis. So how can you tell if a mole is skin cancer? Take note of the following:
(A) Asymmetry - If you drew a line down the middle of the mole, would it have two equal sides? If not, the mole is asymmetrical.
(B) Borders - Normal moles have even borders, suspicious moles have irregular borders (i.e. scalloped, notched or jagged edges).
(C) Color - Irregular color patterns should tip you off right away. Look for red, white, black or brown colors mixed in one mole.
(D) Diameter - Keep track of any moles or lesions which increase in size and diameter. Always alert your dermatologist to these changes.
(E) Evolution - Probably the most important of all, LOOK FOR CHANGE IN ANY CATEGORY! A new mole or moles that show any type of change have a higher chance of being abnormal. If you notice a changing mole, see your dermatologist as soon as possible to have the mole evaluated.
While the incidence of skin cancer relies on your sun exposure and can not necessarily be completely avoided, being aware of the signs and symptoms can help greatly reduce the cancer advancing. Catching melanoma in it’s earliest stages dramatically improves an individual’s survival rates, but it all lies on being aware of what it is going on with your skin. Dermatologists recommend having your skin examined by a board certified dermatologist on a yearly basis. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your skin examined, May is the perfect time to get back on track with Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Help us spread awareness by encouraging friends and loved ones to schedule an exam as well. A simple skin screening can save a life!
Doc Warrick’s Derm Talk: Rosacea Triggers
On any given day I see at least 3 to 5 patients diagnosed with rosacea - many of whom aren’t even aware they have it. While medications and products can be really great at helping to manage the condition, there are also a few key environmental factors call “triggers” which play a major part in causing flair-ups. Knowing these triggers and how to navigate them can help a patient with rosacea lessen the physical signs which go along with this condition. While there are many different rosacea triggers, the following list is comprised of the most common:
- Sun exposure
- Stress / Anxiety
- Alcohol (especially red wine and champagne)
- Certain foods such as cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, spicy dishes, and soy sauce to name a few
- Hot baths, showers, and saunas
- Cosmetics containing witch hazel or strong fragrances
All triggers affect each individual differently and to varying degrees. Finding out and recording a list of your own personal triggers are key elements in managing your rosacea. If you’ve noticed any possible symptoms of rosacea, it never hurts to have a dermatologist take a look and give a second opinion. Remember that if rosacea or any other skin condition is left untreated, they often get worse as opposed to clearing up on their own. It can be something as simple as adding a green-tinted, redness correcting product to yourskin care
regimen or avoiding one of the common triggers as much as possible, but you will never know your options until you have it checked out.
Until then, I hope you are enjoying Spring in the Lowcountry and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!
- Doc Warrick
More than Flushing, Blushing & Break-Outs
Shining light on the often misunderstood skin condition of Rosacea.
The common skin condition referred to as rosacea affects more than 16 million individuals, most between the ages of 20 to 50 and many of whom are unaware of their condition. Characterized by the signature red or “ruddy” look on the cheeks, central forehead or nose, rosacea is often mistakenly referred to as adult acne. However, as you can see in the photo above, rosacea is more than acne blemishes - which are a trait of the condition - but visible, widened blood vessels present on the face as well. The direct cause of rosacea is unknown and the severity of the condition can vary upon the individual.
Rosacea patients have sensitive skin which can be easily irritated by products and triggers in the environment. (Doc Warrick dives into common Rosacea triggers in his Derm Talk below!) A hot, stinging sensation during or after flushing episodes can present itself which brings discomfort for the individual. The acne-like blemishes can also be not only painful, but embarrassing for the patient. This brings up another side of the condition which patients find themselves navigating during flushes or episodes.
Rosacea can have social and psychological implications on the patient as well as medical. While navigating the landmine of triggers, an individual with rosacea can find themselves doing a lot of explaining to friends and strangers alike. According to the National Rosacea Society an estimated 78% of the population is undereducated in regards to rosacea. Assumptions can easily be made relating acne blemishes or papules to poor hygiene or the flushed appearance being attributed to alcohol consumption. Large percentages of those with rosacea have reported the condition has affected their social or professional interactions, and some have even reported calling out to work due to flare-ups.
While it can not be completely cured, it can however be managed with various medications, skin care products or laser treatments. Check out our Rosacea & Redness Board
on Pinterest during Rosacea Awareness Month for more helpful products and management tips. If you suspect you may have symptoms of rosacea, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
I should schedule a full body what?
Debunking the stigma of a full body skin exam.
You know yearly skin exams are important, and we know you know yearly skin exams are important. But we also know scheduling a full body skin exam for the first time can be a daunting experience. While for many of our patients scheduling their regular Full Body Skin Exam (FBSE / skin cancer screening) is a common occurrence, we have yet a large number who shy away from this life saving appointment just because of the name. We’re here to debunk the stigma that can attach itself to a full body skin exam and explain exactly what takes place during this type of appointment.
To clarify: You are not charged by body part for your office visit. A full body skin exam takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes start to finish from when your Dermatologist enters the exam room, which can be the same length of an office visit to have a lesion on your arm checked and ask two additional questions about skin care. It is a common misconception that a full body skin exam costs morethan having one or two moles checked.
Tips for your appointment: Wear clothing that is easy to change in / out of, as you will be asked to remove outer layers of clothing, leaving undergarments on, and cover up with a provided medical gown. Have a written list of specific lesions your would like for your dermatologist to pay extra attention too during the exam. This will help to ensure you don’t forget any concerns you may have going in to your appointment. (This is also helpful to do with any additional questions you may have for your dermatologist.) If you keep track of your lesions, be sure to have any changes noted to point out to your dermatologist.
During the exam your dermatologist will check each area of your body one area at a time - i.e. your left arm, chest, right arm, back, continuing down to your legs - while you are wearing the medical gown. Here, he or she, may make verbal notations about any lesions noticed or ask questions regarding the history of lesions or other factors contributing to skin care or conditions. Other conditions can also be noted during this time such as acne, eczema, rosacea, or warts. You can expect up to 3 people (the average is 2 additional) in your procedure room during an exam - the dermatologist, medical assistant, and if needing a biopsy or simple procedure, our registered nurse may step in to help. Given our dermatologists are male, our female patients will always be accompanied by a female chaperone during their exams. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible during your exam in order to provide the best care possible.
At the end of your exam, your dermatologist willrecommend a follow up appointment such as a lesion removal (excision) or follow up full body skin exam of 3, 6, or 12 months. If you have a history of skin cancer or suspicious lesions, your dermatologist may prefer to keep you on a closer schedule to monitor any changes. Any product recommendations your dermatologist mentioned will be available when checking out with more information being provided if needed. If insured, your exam will be filed to your insurance with only your copay, depending on your individual plan, due at time of checkout. After that, your full body skin exam is complete and you are set to go until your next office visit.
Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? We sure hope not!
While yearly skin exams performed by a board-certified dermatologist are recommended, it is also important to conduct a self exam once a month. Use this time to track any and all changes in skin lesions - color, size, location - and make notes of these areas. Worried you won’t be able to remember all the information? Download this Body Map from the Skin Cancer Foundation to keep track. File your monthly maps in a folder and use this information to let your dermatologist know of any changes.
A full body skin exam is nothing to be worried about going into your appointment. For most patients, they find this type of exam to be more inclusive to cover all aspects of skin care as opposed to segmented topics. Remember, no one knows your body like you do. If you feel a lesion looks the slightest bit suspicious, don’t hesitate to consult a certified dermatologist for a second opinion. Their trained eyes may even find something you had overlooked in your self exams. At DLCC we are proud to have two very reputable and experienced dermatologists on staff. Both well versed in all skin conditions, encourage their patients to maintain regularly scheduled full body skin exams. It’s one type of exam that can save your life.
Dr. Schlesinger Says: Stay ahead of the game for 2013!
April 15th is a little over a month away and for many of you that means finishing up gathering all necessary materials to file your taxes
. While this can indicate a rush to pull receipts and expenses, or trying to recollect when you went to the doctor and if you purchased anything, it doesn’t have to be. March also marks the end of the first quarter and this is an optimum time to recap the first months of the year and set things in line for the rest of the year. Here are a few tips on how to do this and stay ahead of the game for 2013:
Set up a medical spreadsheet. Keep track of appointments from the past quarter, any payments made with notation of type of payment (i.e. copay / deductible / products / etc.), and the amount filed to your insurance. Total these numbers quarterly.
In the same spreadsheet keep track of your insurance EOBs and deductible balance. Knowing these two items can save you much confusion and headaches down the road. If you receive a bill from a medical provider, you will also have a quick, easy reference with which to compare balances.
In a third portion of the spreadsheet, chart any cosmetic treatments you have had or hope to have in the future. This will better able you to keep track of any budgeting needed as well as tracking your non-medically related expenses.
Taking charge of your medical expenses and tracking your insurance now and setting up a system to do so on a quarterly basis will help you to avoid any rush come time to do your taxes next year. It will also give you peace of mind throughout the year knowing where you stand with your insurance in terms of your deductible or coinsurances.
Best Fit For You - Skin Care for Your 50’s +
For your golden years and beyond, your skin care needs seem to follow a similar pattern. You will begin to notice greater loss of moisture and elasticity. With this you may also begin to see greater areas of discoloration and sun damage becomes more prevalent.
Realizations: Your skin feels dryer year round. Fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage are all more prominent. This is the optimal time for a high quality moisturizer as well as a strong exfoliant to encourage cell turnover.
- Broad-spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30+
- Gentle Cleanser
- Thicker Moisturizer
- Collagen Enhancers
Product Recommendations: Complex Gentle Foaming Cleanser, Clinician’s Complex Super C Powder, Clinician’s Complex Tissue Growth Factor, NeoCutis Journee, Clinician’s Complex Microdermabrasion Cream, SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical Defense, Avene Retrinol, NeoCutis BioCream, SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
Learn more about these products by visiting our Pinterest Boards here.