Frequently Asked Questions about Dermatology Services
Skin cancer is primarily viewed as a disease of adulthood, meaning many parents may not consider their child is at risk.
However, melanoma accounts for up to 3% of pediatric cancers and 6% of cancer cases in teens 15-19 years old.
There is currently no registry or database that tracks cases of skin cancer among children in the US, but a 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics found the rate of melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - rose 2% annually among children aged 0-19 between 1973 and 2009.
Though a diagnosis of skin cancer is rare during childhood, excessive sun exposure at a young age can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Multiple sunburns during adolescence can raise the risk of melanoma by 80%.
Overexposure to the sun and sunburns that happen during childhood are important and preventable risk factors for developing skin cancer as an adult. This is why it's so important for us all to use sun protection at every age.
Shade is the best sun protection for infants
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, infants aged 6 months and under should be kept out of direct sunlight. This is because they have low levels of melanin in their skin - the substance that gives pigment to the skin, hair and eyes and protects against the sun - meaning they are very sensitive to UV radiation.
As such, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that parents take their infant for walks in a stroller with a sun-protective cover before 10 am and after 4 pm - when UV radiation is lowest.
Infants should be dressed in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and their face neck and ears should be protected with a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet.
When an infant is traveling in a vehicle, it is wise to cover the windows with removable mesh window shields or UV window film to reduce sun exposure. While sunscreen is regarded as a key form of sun protection, it is not recommended for use on infants under the age of 6 months. If it is not possible to protect an infant from the sun with protective clothing or shade, sunscreen may be applied on the advice of a pediatrician.
It is safe to use sunscreen in babies aged 6-12 months, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, who note that a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 should be applied. Wearing protective clothing and seeking shade are still key factors for protecting a baby against the sun; sunscreen should be applied on areas that are not covered - such as the hands and face - 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every 2 hours after swimming or sweating.
Teens and tanning
We all know what it's like to be a teenager. It is a time when you may feel pressured to look a certain way and conform to common perceptions of what is attractive. For many teens - particularly girls - attractiveness means having tanned skin.
What many people - both teenagers and adults - fail to realize is that any form of tan is a reflection of skin damage. The skin turns brown because of an increase in melanin production in an attempt to protect it from further damage.
But many individuals - particularly teens - put their desire for a tan over the associated health risks.
Despite elevated awareness of the dangers of UV radiation, people still choose to ignore the dangers in the pursuit of what they consider to be a 'healthy tan.' This is particularly an issue among young people who tend to ignore health risks in favor of enhancing their social status and popularity. We know that tanning appeals to people who are interested in being included, and this is a primary driver for teens - being part of the 'in' crowd.
Unfortunately, the desire for being part of the "in" crowd pushes many teenagers toward indoor tanning. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 17% of teenagers have reported using a tanning bed at some point in their lives.
Indoor tanning can dramatically raise the risk of skin cancer - with the rays that tanning devices emit being around 10-15 times stronger than those given off by the midday sun.
As well as the use of sunscreen, it is recommended that teenagers also seek shade during midday hours and wear sun-protective clothing. If your teen complains that such clothing isn't fashionable, try to find items that are more stylish that still cover them up - like a pretty sarong for a teenage girl, for example.
Freezing therapy, also called cryotherapy, is the most common and usually the most effective way to treat plantar warts.
But warts can be tough to get rid of completely. Sometimes several cryotherapy treatments are needed to successfully eliminate plantar warts. If the warts are bothering you, make an appointment to have them treated again. Combining cryotherapy with another form of treatment may make it more likely that warts will go away and stay away.
Plantar warts are hard, grainy skin growths that appear on the feet. They usually show up on the balls and heels of the feet, the areas that bear the most pressure. All warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is very common, and there are more than 100 different kinds of the virus. But only a few of them cause warts on the feet. Plantar warts develop when the virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottoms of your feet. Once a plantar wart begins to grow, HPV stimulates the skin to attract and grow its own blood supply. That makes the wart very hearty. If left untreated, warts may typically last for one to two years. But most warts do go away eventually. If a plantar wart does not go away over a long period of time, it should be evaluated by a Dermatology Associates physician because it could be something other than a wart.
Even though plantar warts may eventually resolve on their own, many people still want to get rid of them as soon as possible because they can cause discomfort or pain, and their appearance may be unpleasant. Cryotherapy involves applying liquid nitrogen to the wart, either with a spray or a cotton swab, during an office visit to see a Dermatology Associates physician. This causes a blister to form on top of and around the wart. The dead tissue then sloughs off within a week or so. If a plantar wart goes away after treatment and another wart appears, it could be because the area was exposed again to HPV. The strain of HPV that causes plantar warts thrives in warm, moist environments. To help prevent more plantar warts, keep your feet clean and dry. Change your shoes and socks each day. Avoid walking barefoot around swimming pools, in locker rooms or in gym showers. Although they can be bothersome and sometimes hard to treat, plantar warts do not pose any serious health concerns, nor do they increase your risk for any other health problem.
In Florida, the most effective way to counteract aging skin is to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the main cause of premature skin aging. UV radiation is emitted by the sun and indoor tanning beds. Wearing sunscreen daily, particularly a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30, is one of the most effective ways to prevent wrinkling and sun damage.
Make an appointment with a Dermatology Associates physician to assess your sun damage and to determine the best treatment for aging skin
How wrinkled your skin becomes depends on many factors, including your skin tone, your history of exposure to UV radiation, and genetics. People with fair skin who have a history of UV exposure are particularly susceptible to wrinkling and skin damage. Additionally, studies show that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning beds damages the DNA in the skin cells, leading to premature aging of the skin.
Age spots are flat, brown marks on the skin called lentigines. They are caused by UV exposure and usually appear on the face, chest, and back, as well as the back of the hands and top of the feet. If age spots run in your family, you should take extra caution to avoid excessive sun exposure.
Skin Care Products and Ingredients
While there are many effective over-the-counter products available to treat signs of aging, none can deliver the results of a cosmetic procedure. Sunscreen and moisturizer are the two most-effective anti-aging products you can buy. An anti-aging moisturizer can help minimize fine lines.
Tips for Using Skin Care Products
Moisturize. Moisturizing traps water in the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of some fine lines and make your complexion look brighter and younger.
Use the product as directed. Active ingredients can do more harm than good when too much is used.
Limit the number of products. Using too many products on your skin, especially more than one anti-aging product, tends to irritate the skin. This often makes signs of aging more noticeable.
Give the product time to work. While a moisturizer can immediately plump up fine lines, most products take at least six weeks to work. Sometimes it can take three months.
Talk to a Dermatology Associates physician about the most effective skin care products for you.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease. It develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks.
The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear.
Types of psoriasis
If you have psoriasis, you will have one or more of these types:
- Plaque (also called psoriasis vulgaris).
- Inverse (also called flexural psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis).
- Erythrodermic (also called exfoliative psoriasis).
Some people get more than one type. Sometimes a person gets one type of psoriasis, and then the type of psoriasis changes.
How do you treat psoriasis?
Treating psoriasis has benefits. Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis, which usually makes a person feel better. With treatment, some people see their skin completely clear. Treatment can even improve a person's quality of life.
Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the immune system. It cannot be cured. This means that most people have psoriasis for life. At Dermatology Associates you'll team up with a physician who treats psoriasis, who will find a treatment plan that works for you.
We encourage our patients who have psoriasis to take an active role in managing this disease. By taking an active role, you can reduce the effects that psoriasis has on your quality of life.
Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts are all types of acne that can be successfully treated.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Although it's common, accurate information about acne can be scarce. This can make it difficult to get clearer skin.
Why treat acne?
Myths about acne are as common as the skin problem.
One common myth is that you have to let acne run its course.
Dermatology Associates' physicians know that letting acne runs its course is not always the best advice. Here's why:
More women getting acne
- Without treatment, dark spots and permanent scars can appear on the skin as acne clears.
- Treating acne often boosts a person’s self-esteem.
- Many effective treatments are available.
Not just teens have acne. A growing number of women have acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Dermatologists are not sure why this is happening. Dermatology Associates' physicians understand that adult acne can be particularly frustrating.
How do you diagnose acne?
To diagnose acne, a dermatologist will first examine your skin to make sure you have acne. Other skin conditions can look like acne. If you have acne, we will:
- Grade the acne. Grade 1 is mild acne. Grade 4 is severe acne.
- Note what type, or types, of acne appear on your skin.
Today, there are many effective acne treatments. This does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. But it does mean that virtually every case of acne can be controlled.
People who have mild acne have a few blemishes. They may have whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and/or pustules (aka pimples). Many people can treat mild acne with products that you can buy without a prescription. A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin. This does not mean that the acne will clear overnight.
Despite the claims, acne treatment does not work overnight. At-home treatment requires 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent breakouts.
When to make an appointment
If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, a medicine that you can buy without a prescription may not work. If you want to see clearer skin, you should make an appointment to see a Dermatology Associates' physician who will offer the following types of treatment:
Acne treatment that you apply to the skin: Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. Your dermatologist may call this topical treatment. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic, or even salicylic acid.
Acne treatment that works throughout the body: Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Dermatology Associates' physicians may prescribe one or more of these:
- Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation).
- Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones (can be helpful for women).
- Isotretinoin (an oral derivative of Vitamin A).
Procedures that treat acne: Our physicians may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:
- Chemical peels: You cannot buy the chemical peels that dermatologists use. Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat 2 types of acne — blackheads and papules.
- Acne removal: Dermatology Associates' physicians may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, your dermatologist may inject the cyst with medicine.
Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way.
Wart viruses are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart.
Warts can grow on any part of your body.
Warts are often skin-colored and feel rough, but they can be dark (brown or gray-black), flat, and smooth.
How do you diagnose warts?
Dermatology Associates physicians can tell whether you have a wart by looking at it.
Warts often go away without treatment. This is especially true when children get warts. In adults, warts may not disappear as easily or as quickly as they do in children. Although most warts are harmless, dermatologists do treat them.
You should see a Dermatology Associates physician if you cannot get rid of the warts, the warts hurt, or you have many warts. Dermatologists have many treatments for warts. The treatment used depends on the patient’s age and health as well as the type of wart.
Our physicians may use one of the following treatments:
- Cantharidin: A dermatologist may treat a wart in the office by "painting" it with cantharidin. Cantharidin causes a blister to form under the wart. In a week or so, you can return to the office and the dermatologist will clip away the dead wart.
- Cryotherapy: For common warts in adults and older children, cryotherapy (freezing) is the most common treatment. This treatment is not too painful. It can cause dark spots in people who have dark skin. It is common to need repeat treatments.
- Electrosurgery and curettage: Electrosurgery (burning) is a good treatment for common warts, filiform warts, and foot warts. Curettage involves scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. These two procedures often are used together. The dermatologist may remove the wart by scraping it off before or after electrosurgery.
If the warts are hard-to-treat, the dermatologist may use one of the following treatments:
- Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the warts. This treatment is used when the warts remain despite other treatments. One type of immunotherapy involves applying a chemical, such as diphencyprone (DCP), to the warts. A mild allergic reaction occurs around the treated warts. This reaction may cause the warts to go away.
Another type of immunotherapy involves getting shots of interferon. The shots can boost the body’s immune system, which gives the body the ability to fight the virus.
There is no cure for the wart virus. This means that warts can return at the same site or appear in a new spot.
Sometimes, it seems that new warts appear as fast as old ones go away. This happens when the old warts shed virus cells into the skin before the warts are treated. This allows new warts to grow around the first warts. The best way to prevent this is to have your dermatologist treat new warts as soon as they appear.
Do you wish that you could simply peel signs of aging from your skin? Dermatology Associates' physicians use chemical peels to do just this. A chemical peel can diminish many signs of aging on the face as well as the hands, neck, and chest.
Chemical peels also treat other skin conditions. We use chemical peels to treat some types of acne and conditions that discolor the skin.
Whether you receive a chemical peel to diminish signs of aging or treat a skin condition, you can see:
- Fewer lines and wrinkles.
- More even skin color.
- Brighter complexion.
- Smoother skin.
We use chemical peels to treat:
- Acne (some types).
- Age spots.
- Discoloration (blotchy complexion, uneven skin tone).
- Dull complexion.
- Fine lines (especially under the eyes and around the mouth).
- Rough-feeling skin.
- Sun-damage skin.
The most important treatment for skin, much like anything else is prevention. It is important to have a balanced, nutritious diet; to get plenty of exercise; and most importantly, to avoid overexposure to the sun. Sun exposure is responsible for the majority of medical and cosmetic skin conditions, so always be sure to protect yourself by using large-brimmed hats and good coverage sunscreens when in sunlight. Whether you are looking to maintain the look of your skin, prevent skin cancer, or remove some brown spots or blemishes, make an appointment with a Dermatology Associates' physician for assistance in meeting your skin care needs.
What conditions can dermatology treat?
At Dermatology Associates we treat virtually all conditions affecting the skin, hair and nails, including, but not limited to acne, psoriasis, rosacea, skin cancer, wrinkles, sun spots, pigmentation problems, warts, rashes, bacterial or fungal skin and nail infections and sun damage. If you have a skin-related problem, make an appointment for lasting, effective treatment.
What sunscreen should I use?
Any sunscreen is better than going without, but some sunscreens may protect you better or be more suited to your needs than others. It is crucial to understand that spf is not the only thing to look at when choosing a sunscreen. SPF is based only on UVB protection. UVB are the burning rays, but UVA penetrate deeper and are the aging rays. It is more important to check the ingredients and and look for products that that will protect you from both UVA and UVB.
What is the difference between a spa facial and a medical facial?
A spa facial is designed to clean and hydrate the skin, as well as provide relaxation. A medical facial combines a results-driven skin treatment with the rejuvenation of a spa facial. The products used in a medical facial contain physician-grade ingredients and cannot be purchased outside of a medical facility. After careful analysis of the skin, the aesthetician uses these active products to address specific concerns and maintain the health of the skin.
Rashes (often called dermatitis) have many causes, including allergic reaction,
friction, prolonged exposure to heat and moisture, or contact with irritants, such as
chemicals. You need to see Dr. Sarro for the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
The itching and blistering of allergic contact dermatitis can be produced after
contact with an allergen, a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
Common causes of allergic dermatitis include nickel, rubber, dyes, preservatives,
fragrances, and poison ivy and related plants.
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most common causes of allergic
reactions in the United States. Each year, 10 to 50 million Americans will develop an
allergic rash after contact with these poisonous plants.
Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is frequently described as “the
itch that rashes.” It is characterized by patches of dry, red skin that may have scales
and/or crust. Often, there is intense itchiness and scratching which can lead to
Eczema usually occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees and
Approximately 10 to 20% of the world population develops atopic dermatitis. In the
United States alone, it affects more than 15 million people of all ages.
An estimated 65% of people with the condition develop it in their first year of life,
and 90% develop it before age five. However, atopic dermatitis can begin in puberty
While there is not a cure for atopic dermatitis, most cases can be controlled with
proper treatment. The goals of treatment are to keep the skin moist, reduce
information and the risk of infection, and minimize the itch associated with the rash.
Effective treatment often requires a multi-faceted treatment plan that includes
medication, proper skin care, trigger avoidance and coping mechanisms.
Treatment to relieve symptoms may include:
- Moisturizers to help relieve dry skin.
- Cold compresses applied directly to the skin to help relieve the itch.
- Corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation; topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus also may be used to reduce inflammation.
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial infection.
- Sedative antihistamines to help the patient get a good night’s sleep.
- Phototherapy to relieve moderate to severe cases.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer. These forms of cancer arise within the top layer of the skin and usually appear on sun-exposed areas of the body, including the face, forearms and neck, as a scaly area or bump that persists and bleeds. If detected and treated early, these cancers have a better than 95 percent cure rate.
Melanoma is the most deadly form of cancer. It may suddenly appear without warning, but also can develop from or near a mole. It’s found most frequently in men 50 and older. Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, but is most common on the upper backs of men and women, and on the legs of women. It tends to spread, making early detection and treatment essential.
Overexposure to ultraviolet light (from the sun and indoor tanning equipment) is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Caucasians with fair skin have four times the risk of developing melanoma as Caucasians with olive skin.
People who have already had melanoma are at increased risk for developing another melanoma.
People who have many moles, large moles or atypical (unusual) moles have a substantially increased risk of developing melanoma.
Redheads and blondes have a twofold to fourfold increased risk of developing melanoma.
A family history of melanoma increases a person’s chances of developing melanoma.
The federal government has declared that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as indoor tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
Indoor tanning lamps emit UVA and UVB radiation at levels that are far higher than the sun. Now, high- pressure sun lamps emit doses that can be as much as 15 times that of the sun.
Exposure to UV light is a known risk factor for melanoma.
A Swedish study presents strong evidence that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when indoor tanning begins at an early age.
Medical research shows that exposure to UVA radiation is associated with an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer.
A review of 7 studies found a statistically significant 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in those who had exposure to tanning beds before the age of 35.
Protection from ultraviolet light may prevent many skin cancers.
Early detection is essential. There is a direct correlation between the thickness of the melanoma and survival rates.
Melanomas are treated surgically.
In addition to the surgical removal, other treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinomas include radiation therapy, electrodesiccation (tissue destruction by heat), cryosurgery (tissue destruction by freezing) and laser therapy for early skin cancer.
UV rays cause skin aging and they are out all year Florida.
Yes, you may notice that the sun rays feel “softer” and less intense in the winter. They are to some extent because UVB, the summer sunburn ray, is much less prevalent. This is also the ray that makes vitamin D.
But don’t be fooled.
UVA is out in full force; it is as strong in winter as it is in summer.
UVA causes skin aging and irregular pigment, like melasma and sun spots. To prevent skin aging and irregular skin pigment,
you need broad spectrum sun protection all year, including fall, winter, and early spring.
UVA is equally intense all year round and it comes through clouds. UVA is bad for your skin. It is especially powerful at causing wrinkles. UVA penetrates your skin more deeply than the summer sunburn ray UVB does.
Wrinkles start deep in your skin from UVA damage to the collagen-producing cells.
If you don’t want your skin to look worn-out and like old leather over time, you need to apply broad spectrum sunscreen 365 days a year to sun-exposed skin.
Bottom line, you need UVA protection all year and that comes from using broad spectrum sunscreens.
Choose a product with SPF 30 or higher that is also labeled broad spectrum.