Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: What Are the Risks and Causes?

Non-melanoma skin cancers affect between 2 and 3 million people every year. Most cases are caused by damage from sun exposure, though there are other risks and causes that everyone should be aware of. Let’s look at the most common risks and causes of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Risks

A risk factor is anything which increases the chances of a person developing cancer. Here are some non-melanoma skin cancer risk factors.

Sun Exposure

Exposure to the sun is the leading risk factor in developing non-melanoma skin cancer. The exposure often happens for many years before cancer starts. The sun’s UV light damages the DNA inside the skin cells, which leads them to grow abnormally.

A history of sunburn, having fair skin, and use of tanning beds are all risk factors related to sun exposure and skin cancer.

Age

Skin cancer can develop at any age, from infant to senior citizen. However, the risk of skin cancer developing increases as you grow older due to accumulated exposure to the sun and other causes. Conversely, young women are at a hightened risk due to a tendancy for more sun exposure. Additionally, middle-aged men also have a higher risk.

Previous Skin Cancer

If you have had skin cancer in the past, your chances of developing it again are higher than someone who has never had it in the past. It’s important to keep your skin away from the sun and look for any renewed signs of skin cancer.

Family History

Non-melanoma skin cancers don’t seem to run in families. However, some families are at higher risk of developing these types of cancers. For example, a family that has several members with fair skin is going to have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Certain Skin Conditions and Treatments

There are certain skin conditions that increase the chance of a person developing skin cancer. Those include solar keratosis and xeroderma pigmentosum.

Treating some skin conditions can also increase the chances. For example, ultraviolet light is useful for treating psoriasis and eczema. However, exposure to UV light increases the chances of developing non-melanoma skin cancer.

Causes

Potential causes of non-melanoma cancer include a number of things.

Tanning Beds

Regular use of tanning beds under the age of 35 virtually guarantees most or almost all patients in developing non-melanoma skin cancer

Radiation exposure

Those that have undergone radiotherapy treatment or have been regularly exposed to radiation at their job have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Weakened Immune System

People with a weakened immune system, like those with HIV/AIDS or inflammatory diseases, or who are taking anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants, are more likely to develop skin cancer than those with a stronger immune system.

Human Papilloma Virus

HPV is well-known for causing cervical cancer. However, it also increases the risk of someone developing non-melanoma skin cancer.

Chemical Exposure

Being exposed to certain chemicals increases the chances of developing a cancer lesion on the skin. These include, but are not limited to, pitch, coal tar, arsenic, shale oil, petroleum products, and creosote.

Schedule a Consultation

If you recognize any of these risks or causes in your health history or lifestyle, it’s important to talk with a qualified dermatologist about your concerns. Call Jupiter Dermatology today to schedule an appointment for a screening or to learn more about preventing skin cancer.

Is Laser Skin Resurfacing Safe?

Laser skin resurfacing is a very effective cosmetic procedure that can help get rid of age spots, acne scars, blemishes, and wrinkles. Although this procedure is notorious for its success, the amount of information available is immense and can be hard to wade through. Our goal is to inform you without having you feel overwhelmed. Here are some starting basics to know about laser skin resurfacing.

Types of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing comes in quite a few forms with each one targeting a specific problem.

These types of lasers include:

  • Ablative lasers
  • Non-ablative lasers
  • Fractional lasers
  • CO2 lasers
  • Erbium lasers
  • Alexandrite lasers

What to Expect

Prior to treatment, Dr. Mejia needs to know your medical history including any medications you are currently taking. You will be prescribed antibiotics and also medication to prevent blister formation. You should stop taking certain medications and supplements two weeks prior to your procedure, those of which we will tell you in-office. Since smoking can slow the healing process, you will need to stop at least a week prior to undergoing treatment.

How is it performed?

After anesthetizing the skin, the laser is applied. Depending on the type of laser and depth of treatment, it may feel like a rubber band being snapped against your skin. Non-ablative lasers usually only require topical anesthetic for comfort. Since ablative lasers remove layers of skin, patients may need both local anesthesia and sedation during treatment, depending on the depth. Your comfort is of utmost importance, so the kind of anesthetics used will be discussed prior to treatment depending on your concerns and goals.

Suitable Candidates

The best candidate for laser skin resurfacing is in overall good health and has realistic expectations about the possible results. In addition, they may have the following skin concerns, which include:

  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Acne scars
  • Premature jowl formation

Certain skin tones or those with acne flares may not be suitable candidates for ablative laser skin resurfacing. In addition, patients who are prone to cold sores or smoke should avoid ablative skin laser treatments. In any of these cases, we can discuss best treatment options for optimal results.

Recovery

After the laser skin resurfacing procedure, your skin usually takes three to 10 days to heal. The recovery period depends on the depth of your laser treatment, the number of areas treated, and how fast your body begins to heal itself.

On a side note, it’s normal if your skin becomes red and eventually peels after skin lasering. To minimize discomfort and promote healing, it’s recommended you keep the treatment areas moist with Aquaphor or Vaseline.

How Safe is Laser Skin Resurfacing?

When performed by a board-certified dermatologist, laser skin resurfacing is quite safe. However, it’s important to only have the procedure performed by someone who is skilled in both non-ablative and ablative laser treatments.

Follow-Up Care

Even after the initial recovery period, it’s important to protect your skin. Always apply sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy outside. UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and harm your skin.

Schedule a Consultation

To get started on discussing your laser resurfacing options, contact our Jupiter office by calling or filling out our online form.

 

 

 

Reverse the Effects of Aging with Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser Skin Resurfacing in Jupiter, FL

Your skin goes through a lot over the years. Sun and wind exposure, harsh skin care products, repeated facial expressions, and the effects of gravity catch up to us all eventually, resulting in some of the first signs of aging. This includes brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and a rough or dull texture. You can’t stop the aging process, but with noninvasive skin care treatments like laser skin resurfacing, you can restore your youthful glow!

How the aging process works

Before you can understand how laser resurfacing works, it helps to dive into what makes our skin age. The key to youthful looking skin is strong collagen. Collagen is produced in the deeper layers of the skin and provides the framework for strong healthy skin while helping to retain moisture. Unfortunately, our collagen production slows as we age, beginning to decrease as early as our 20s! You might not see it’s effects until later as your skin begins to weaken, becoming susceptible to fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, and an overall dull appearance. Repeated facial expressions like smiling, laughing, and frowning also contribute to weakened skin, worsening fine lines and wrinkles.

How laser resurfacing can help

If the key to strong healthy skin is collagen, then the best way to achieve younger-looking skin is to stimulate its production at the source! Using precise laser light wavelengths, laser skin resurfacing can target and heat deeper layers of skin to promote new collagen production. At the same time, the very outer layer of skin is treated, resulting in the removal of dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin beneath. The combination of new cell generation and collagen production can treat a variety of your skin concerns from surface level spots to deeper wrinkles.

When to expect results

After your laser resurfacing treatment, you can expect some mild side effects for the first few days. These include itching, swelling, and stinging similar to a sunburn. While there’s no required downtime after treatment, you’ll want to take care of your new skin while it heals to ensure the most successful results. Because your new skin will be extra sensitive, avoiding over exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen when outdoors is very important. This skin sensitivity can last for several months.

After your skin has healed, you can enjoy the results of your laser skin resurfacing treatment. With dead skin cells removed your skin will look and feel smoother. Pigmentation that was broken up during the treatment process will begin to fade over time. As your body produces new collagen over the next few weeks, you can expect your fine lines and wrinkles to begin smoothing out for a more youthful appearance.

How to maintain youthful-looking skin

Laser skin resurfacing can reverse some of the effects that aging has had on your skin, but it can’t prevent future signs of aging from occurring. However, there are some simple things you can do to maintain the results of your treatment! The best thing you can do is limit your time in the sun. The sun and tanning beds can greatly speed up your collagen loss and the aging process. When outdoors, always have sunscreen on and avoid the sun midday when it is most intense.

Aside from avoiding the sun, you also need to establish a healthy skin care routine. At Jupiter Dermatology, we offer a variety of skin care products to protect and enhance your skin. Depending on your unique concerns, one of our experts can recommend which products you should be using to maintain the appearance of your skin after treatment.

Eventually, you may choose to have a second laser skin resurfacing procedure to restore your skin’s appearance again. Or you can opt for one of our other many skin rejuvenation options like microneedling, facials, or fillers to add instant volume.

How to get started

If you experience the first signs of aging in the face, neck, and chest with brown spots, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, or an uneven skin tone, you could benefit from laser skin resurfacing. However, only a professional skin care expert can determine the right treatment for you after examining your skin and discussing your concerns.

If you’re looking for an experienced skin care expert to perform your laser skin resurfacing treatment in the Jupiter, FL area, contact Jupiter Dermatology and Hair Restoration today! We can schedule your consultation to begin developing your treatment plan for healthier, younger-looking skin.

Preventing Dry Skin: A Guide

Most people experience dryness during the winter months, but severe dryness can have some not-so-fun consequences! This can make it seem like you can’t win, but there are some steps you should be sure to take during the winter months to ensure your skin stays healthy and moisturized. Taking steps to keep skin moisturized and hydrated, no matter the climate, is important to prevent signs of premature aging, as well as discomfort. These are some of the best ways to prevent painful, flaky, and cracked skin.

Consult your regimen

Like your wardrobe, it’s common to switch out your skincare regimen as the seasons change. This is because different seasons bring different concerns. If you find that your skin has become dry and flaky, it might be time to take stock of your moisturizer and any actives you’re using. If your moisturizer doesn’t seem to be doing enough, you should consider finding a heavier alternative (non-comedogenic, oil-based moisturizers containing humectants can retain moisture better, in some cases). If your skin is acne-prone, however, you should be sure to get a recommendation from your dermatologist first. It’s also important to assess whether any active ingredients in your regimen like retinols or BHA’s might also be contributing to dry skin as well, and consider changing them out for gentler grades or stop using them. If your skin has become flaky, you might benefit from physically exfoliating regularly to ensure that your skin can effectively absorb your moisturizing products.

Change your habits and environment

Even though you might not be able to change the weather, you can make sure your home environment is one that can benefit your skin. Most patients benefit from a humidifier in their sleeping area so that the air doesn’t become overly-dry. Additionally, avoiding smoky fireplaces can be a good step in ensuring your skin isn’t exposed to more dry air. Although it can be tempting to take a hot, steamy shower, intense heat from showers or baths can break down the moisture barriers in the skin. This can contribute to a loss of natural moisture, leading to increased dryness. So, try to keep your showers or baths short, or stick with warm water. And, as always, drink plenty of water!

Don’t forget your sunscreen

Although many people don’t consider it, you can still be exposed to UV rays during the winter. It’s always important to wear sun protection factor, but it’s especially important during the winter when sunburn and sun damage can contribute to dryness and make it difficult for your skin to recover its natural moisture. This becomes even more important if you’re traveling to higher altitudes for the winter— many skiers experience sunburn in the winter because of being closer to the sun, a thinner atmosphere, and the misconception of not needing sunscreen. Don’t forget to make sure that your lip protectants also contain SPF.

Reduce itchiness

Where there’s dryness, itchiness usually follows. However, this can create a vicious cycle where itchiness causes additional flakiness and dryness. For this reason, it’s important to avoid further damaging the skin by applying plenty of unscented moisturizer and anti-itch ingredients like hydrocortisone. It’s best to do this immediately after bathing or washing so that your skin still has natural moisture from water that can be sealed in by your skincare products. For even more effective treatment, a layer of petroleum jelly applied over top of your moisturizer can help prevent its effects from being lost to dry air. Many patients benefit from doing this as an overnight treatment to avoid bothering the area.

Find the right mask

If you regularly treat your skin with masks, or even if you don’t, it can be worth it to find one that provides a moisture boost with the right ingredients. The best ones provide plenty of vitamins and oils, hyaluronic acid, and can help boost your skin’s collagen and elastin production— all of these things contribute to healthy, moisturized skin. If your skin is sensitive to dryness and irritation, masks containing oatmeal can help sooth the skin and reduce itchiness. These mask treatments can work best when paired with your exfoliating treatments or as a sleeping mask to help rejuvenate your skin overnight.

Try professional treatments

There are a few professional-grade treatments that can help to repair your skin, restore moisture, and augment your at-home care. Deeply-exfoliating treatments like chemical peels or microdermabrasion can help remove dead, dry skin cells, revealing healthy ones underneath. This means your skin can better absorb moisturizing products and repair itself more easily, so regular treatments can help you maintain healthy skin over the course of winter.

Meet with our skincare specialists

If you’re experiencing extensive dryness and cracking, a skincare consultation with our experts can be a great step towards healing your skin. We can assess your at-home regimen, recommend professional treatments, and create a treatment plan using our physician-grade skincare products. To schedule a consultation at our Jupiter office, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.

A New Treatment Has Emerged for Seborrheic Keratoses Removal

Seborrheic keratoses are benign skin growths which typically occur on the trunk and extremities. They typically are classified as waxy barnacles that grow on the skin. I like to refer to these growths as wisdom spots; the more you have the wiser you are. However, most patients do not like to have these growths on their skin. Consequently, there a lot of cosmetic skin treatments that can be used to remove them. Eskata™ is a topical lotion that can be used to help remove them. It is not covered by insurance.

What is Eskata™?

Eskata is a topical cosmetic liquid created for the removal of Seb K. This new cosmetic treatment is very simple and only consists of the applying the product directly to the affected area four times, approximately one minute apart. While this is only a topical liquid, due to the concentration of hydrogen peroxide it must be applied in office by a trained professional. Many patients that participated in clinical trials saw full results within two office visits. Because it is not covered by insurance, the cost per liquid applicator has been reported that the applicators will cost between $200-$250. The approximate use that one could get out of one applicator is enough to treat seven large spots or ten smaller ones for one office visit. Most patients would be able to see full improvement in two visits; however, some may need a touch-up visit. This touch-up visit would most likely only use a small amount of the liquid, leaving a decent amount wasted.

What are My Other Options?

Other treatment options include light scraping or curettage, electrodesiccation, and liquid nitrogen treatments. At Jupiter Dermatology, all of these treatments are performed carefully by our dermatologic team; and can provide very good cosmetic results at a much more reasonable cost. Overall, it is great to see new innovations develop in the field of dermatology. On some occasions, if a sebirrheic keratosis is bleeding or causing significant pain in an area, it may be covered by your insurance.
If you are interested in learning more about the various options available for the removal of seborrheic keratoses and to see if it is covered by your insurance, call our Jupiter, Florida office today to schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists.
To see the different treatment options, click the link below for the video on seborrheic keratosis.

What’s the Difference Between Psoriasis & Eczema

When it comes to skin conditions, identifying them and understanding the difference between them can be hard when many of them are physically similar. However, treatment can be quicker and easier when you have a proper diagnosis. One of the most common skin condition misperceptions is understanding the difference between psoriasis and eczema. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of these conditions.

What is Eczema?

Eczema or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that can be characterized by red itchy skin in people of all ages. While there is no cure, there are some medical and at-home remedies that can help make the symptoms more manageable during periods of flare-ups. The symptoms of eczema are usually characterized by dry itchy skin that may also be red or bumpy. The cause of eczema is an individual’s skin having the inability to retain moisture and protect itself from bacteria. This is often a hereditary trait or can be the result of an allergy.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a genetic skin condition in which the rate of skin cell turnover is so fast that the cells begin to build up and become rough and scaly. As these cells build up they tend to be dry and may even cause itching and discomfort. Psoriasis is considered to be a chronic skin disease and may even come and go. While there is no cure, medications have come to the market to help manage the symptoms for everyday life. Psoriasis may appear in the form of red patches on the skin that are bumpy and may also have thick silvery scales. In general, psoriasis isn’t dangerous to patients, but it can have emotional effect making those affected feel self-conscious.

How are They Different?

While they both often involve the look of dry red patches, psoriasis will sometimes have bigger bumps and a scalier surface. These conditions can also both involve the potential for itching and dryness making them easily confused. The most notable difference between the two is that their causes are different. For eczema, it is thought to be passed down genetically or have a relation to hay fever or allergy. As for psoriasis, there is not one specific cause known. However, psoriasis is thought to be related to the immune system and may stem from issue occurring with T cells and white blood cells.

If you think you may be experiencing eczema, psoriasis or any other chronic skin condition, contact Jupiter Dermatology and Hair Restoration today to schedule an appointment at our Jupiter, Florida practice.

Wart Removal and Treatment Options

In this video, Dr. Mejia talks about wart removal and some of the treatment options. It all depends on what it looks like, how big the wart is, how flat it is  and the location.

A simple wart treatment is an over the counter 14% salicylic acid that is applied into the wart. The salicylic acid will slowly peel it away. Another common way to treat it with salicylic acid is to cover it with duct tape so it can penetrate deeper.

If those treatments don’t work, another alternative is to freeze it with liquid nitrogen at a dermatologist office or in some cases surgically remove it by lightly shaving it off and cauterizing it from the base. This is a simple procedure that can be done in the doctor’s office without any discomfort. The dermatologist will usually add some anesthesia which does cause some slight stinging or burning. But once the wart is removed and cauterized, it should not recur.

How To Get Rid Of Sunspots

In this video Dr. Mejia talks about how to get rid of sunspots. Sunspots are slight brown spots on the surface of the skin that you can hardly feel. They are typically caused by chronic sun damage. Sunspots are not necessarily pre-cancerous to develop into a skin cancer.

They can be treated in a variety of different ways:

  • Liquid nitrogen to damage the pigmentation so it slowly goes back to normal.
  • Laser treatments that can help soften them.
  • Bleaching creams that may help the discoloration if the sunspots are not so apparent.

Continue reading “How To Get Rid Of Sunspots”

What’s Up With This Skin Rash?

Contact-Dermatitis-Treatment
Contact Dermatitis Treatment

 

A lot of my patients come to our office with a new rash, and the main question asked is: “What caused this skin rash?” Many times it can be very difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes a skin rash without formal testing. One of the most common causes of skin rashes are due to contact with certain chemicals used in our day to day lives such as:

  • Lotions
  • Laundry detergents
  • Clothing dyes
  • Jewelry
  • Perfumes

Allergic Contact Dermatitis  is the name we use for reactions to chemicals found in these products.  The most common misconception is that products we have used in the past cannot cause our skin to react.  This concept is wrong, due to the fact that our skin can become sensitized to chemicals.

Sensitized means our body does not have an allergic reaction when it first comes into contact with the chemical, but the following time(s) our skin is exposed. An example would be the antibiotic ointment Neosporin, many people used this product throughout childhood without a problem, and over time our body has the ability to become sensitized and allergic to it. Neosporin is an extremely common contact allergy due to this.

How can I find out which chemicals I’m allergic to?

Answer: Patch Testing.

Patch-Test-Jupiter-Dermatology
Patch Testing

Patch Testing is a series of testing where 80 different chemicals are applied to the back. At our office, the patches are left in place for two days, removed and read on day three and on day five. Chemicals range from fragrances, dyes, metals, plant chemicals, and even gold!

When patches are removed, we can determine whether or not the skin has mounted an immune response to the allergens, and let you know what to look for in products for possible triggers. The most important thing a patient can do after being told what they react to on a patch test is the detective work at home to see what products they use which actually contain the allergen.

Patients with an allergic contact dermatitis are recommended to avoid potential allergens, and commonly given a prescription for topical steroid use during flares of rashes on the skin. Over the counter 1% hydrocortisone may be used in milder reactions as well.