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FAQs

Where else can I find more information about dermatology?

The best source to obtain information is directly from a dermatologist. Because distinguishing between the variety of potential causes of a skin condition requires years of experience it is often difficult for the untrained person to accurately make a diagnosis.With that said, the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org) and Dermatology.com (www.dermatology.com) are excellent sources of information that is available online.

 
What can I do to prevent razor bumps?
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the medical term for a condition commonly known as razor bumps. Razor bumps are small, irritated bumps on the skin that develop after shaving when a portion of hair curls back on itself and grows into the skin. Commonly seen among African-Americans and people with tightly coiled hair, razor bumps tend to be more of problem for men than women since many men shave daily. Razor bumps can cause irritation, develop into pimples and ultimately cause scarring. By using a clean needle to release the imbedded hair shaft it is possible to treat razor bumps. The only way to completely eliminate razor bumps is to stop shaving. This usually stops razor bumps from developing, depending on the severity. Razor bumps will typically return when you resume shaving. Hair removal products (depilatories) may be used as an alternative to shaving. However, these products may also irritate the skin and therefore should not be overused. Laser treatments may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicle and reduces the number of bumps that form. This procedure should be performed by an experienced cosmetic dermatologist. The following shaving instructions can prevent razor bumps from forming: Take a hot shower before shaving to soften the hair and open the pores. Use a thick shaving gel. Don’t stretch the skin when shaving and always shave in the direction your beard grows.Use the fewest razor strokes possible. Rinse with cold water. Use an after shave lotion.

 
How can I tell if I have skin cancer?
Determining whether you have skin cancer can be very difficult without the assistance of a trained medical professional. Often skin cancers resemble benign (non-cancer) appearing skin growths or lesions. There are however a few warning signs that are associated with skin cancer. Any skin growth or lesion that crusts, bleeds, doesn’t heal, becomes an open sore, has a raised edge with a depressed center, appears as a shiny bump, is multi-colored, changes in size or color, or has irregular poorly defined borders requires an immediate evaluation by a qualified medical professional. Because skin cancers can be most easily cured the sooner that they are diagnosed you shouldn’t hesitate to seek medical assistance.

 
What can I do for my acne?
Typically occurring in the adolescent patient, acne can occur at any age. Acne develops when sebum (oil) blocks pores and bacteria grow. A comedone then forms as either a blackhead and/or whitehead. The usual body areas affected by acne are the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Acne vulgaris is a severe form of acne consisting of blackheads, whiteheads, papules (red tender bumps with no head), pustules, nodules (hard bumps under the skin surface), and cysts (pus filled firm bumps under skins surface). There is no evidence to suggest that certain foods or stress cause acne. Treatment depends on the severity of acne. Mild acne may be treated by gentle washing and benzoyl peroxide. Moderate and severe forms of acne may require the addition of antimicrobials, retinoids and other types of medications or treatments. These forms of acne are best treated by a qualified dermatologist.

 
Who should use sun protection and why?
Everyone should use sun protection including children. If you are planning to be outside longer than 20 minutes sunscreens should be used. Regular use of sunscreens can protect your skin from sun damage and reduce risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes before venturing outside. Re-applying every 2 hours, swimming or perspiring heavily will greatly reduce your sun exposure risk. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher. Use sunscreens with ingredients like benzophenones, oxybenzone, sulisbenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause slow cancer. Sunscreens with PABA and PABA esters only protect against UVB light. Of course avoiding peak sunlight hours (10am-4pm), seeking the shade, and wearing protective clothing (wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeved shirt and pants) during prolonged periods of sun exposure. Repeated sunburns substantially increase the risk for melanoma. This is very important to remember with children. One last thing to keep in mind is that there is no safe way to tan, not even tanning booths. Tanning booths emit UVA radiation which poses serious risks to the skin including premature aging and skin cancer.