Why should you visit a dermatologist?
Anyone with skin should visit their dermatologist. At Regency, we see all ages, ranging from children with rashes to teenagers with acne to adults with skin cancer. Getting a yearly baseline exam of your moles, freckles, and any other spots is recommended for preserving your skin health and preventing skin cancer. If you have personal or family history of skin cancer or other risk factors (excessive sun exposure and burns, tanning bed use, radiation treatments, immunosuppression) you may need to be seen more often. We can also educate you on proper skin care, sun protection, cancer prevention tips, and cosmetic treatments.
What is involved in a skin cancer screening?
During a skin cancer screening (skin exam), our trained professionals will examine every part of your skin that you are comfortable exposing. We provide a private, stress-free environment, and are trained in recognizing and diagnosing both benign and malignant lesions. We gather a full medical history — especially focusing on previous dermatological conditions — which helps focus our exam. We will address any questions or concerns you are having, as well as identify any existing conditions. Most adults are seen once or twice annually for a skin exam. However, if you have a lesion that is new, growing, changing, not healing, or that you have other concerns about, please come see us sooner.
What is skin cancer?
There are three different types of skin cancer: basal, squamous, and melanoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): The most common type of skin cancer, especially for fair-skinned individuals with a history of intense, intermittent sun exposure and sunburns. BCCs typically develop in areas of sun-exposure (head, neck, and upper back) and rarely metastasize.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): Typically develops in individuals with a history of chronic or intense, intermittent sun exposure. However, it can also develop in patients who are immunosuppressed, have chronic inflammation, or who have HPV virus. Patients who have had multiple pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratoses) are also more prone to develop SCCs.
- Melanoma (MM): Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers and is responsible for 75% of the deaths associated with skin cancer because of its ability to metastasize. It can occur anywhere on the body with the highest incidence on the back, chest, arms, and legs. Although melanoma can be fatal, if found early and removed it is extremely curable. Please see us for skin exams.
What treatments are available for skin cancer?
The type of skin cancer you have determines the type of treatment you must have for its removal. Invasive basal, squamous, or melanomas must be removed surgically — either by an excision or Mohs micrographic surgery. Superficial basal or squamous type tumors can be treated with surgery, topical chemotherapy creams, cryotherapy, or electrodessication, and curettage. Our providers at Regency will discuss all of the appropriate options with you and create with a plan based on your individual needs.
Are all moles cancerous?
All moles are NOT cancerous. In fact, most cancers do not arise from a mole, but rather appear anywhere in sun-exposed skin. If ever you have a mole that is growing rapidly, changing, or does not look like the rest of your moles, please come see us for an exam immediately. Always remember the ABCDEs guide for moles:
- A: Asymmetric (shape)
- B: Border (irregular)
- C: Color (changing)
- D: Diameter (large)
- E: Evolving (changing)
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is the standard of care for all high-risk skin cancers, high-risk patients, and low-risk tumors in cosmetically sensitive areas (or those close to vital organs) because of its high cure rate and tissue-sparing technique. The goal of Mohs is to completely eradicate a skin cancer by examining 100% of the margins while preserving the best cosmetic outcome. It entails the surgical removal of skin cancer layer by layer, then examining the tissue under a microscope until clear margins are reached. Mohs is an outpatient procedure at Regency Specialties, and is performed by our very own Dr. Betty Hinderks-Davis and Dr. Jason Mussman.
What types of acne do you treat, and how?
At Regency Specialties, we treat all forms of acne from mild to severe. Acne can happen to anyone, whether in adolescence or adulthood. Our goal with acne is to treat the cause and prevent permanent scarring. Come see us for an evaluation, and our trained specialists will decide what type of treatment is best for you. We offer both over-the-counter and prescription treatments that range from topicals to oral medications.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a common, non-contagious, dry skin condition which can be red, scaly, itchy, and chronic. It is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental triggers, and is often more common in people who experience seasonal allergies and asthma. Treatment may include repairing the skin barrier with moisturizers, treating the itchy, cracked skin with topical steroids, and avoiding triggers that aggravate it.
What is rosacea, and how is it treated?
Rosacea most commonly affects fair-skinned individuals or those with an inherited predisposition between the ages of 30 and 50. It consists of flushing, erythema (redness), papular breakouts, and sometimes burning of the skin — usually around the chin, cheeks, nose, and eyes. For most people, rosacea is “triggered” by certain environmental factors such as temperature, alcohol, certain foods, skincare products, physical exertion, fragrances, and genetics. Your specific treatment will depend on the type and severity of your rosacea. Management can range from topical creams, oral antibiotics, cosmetic lasering, and most importantly, avoidance of triggers.
What should I do if I get a rash?
If you develop a rash, you should come see one of our providers at Regency Specialists. Rashes (dermatitis) can have many causes, including allergies, eczema, infection, fungal causes, medications, or presence of a systemic illness. And your rash may not be any of these things, but rather the presence of a new condition — which our experienced providers will help diagnose. Our goal is to not only correctly diagnose the type and cause of your rash, but to also to alleviate the associated symptoms.
How can I protect myself from the sun and skin cancer?
- Seek shade. Limit your exposure to UV light and avoid intense sunlight, especially between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
- Wear a hat. Protect your scalp, forehead, ears, eyes, and nose. These all receive direct sun exposure.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds produce intense UVA and UVB exposure which contributes to and increased risk of developing skin cancer and irreversible damage.
- Wear sunglasses. UV-blocking sunglasses help protect the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves from the sun. This decreases your risk of cataracts, melanoma, and unwanted wrinkles around the eyes.
- Choose protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, rash-guards, and other clothing also protect the skin while you enjoy yourself in the sun. Brands such as Coolibar and Columbia have fabric with UV protection that are lightweight and protective. Adding Sun Guard to your laundry detergent can also insert an SPF of 30 to your clothing for up to seven wash cycles.
- Utilize sunscreen. Choosing a zinc-based sunscreen that you like and will wear daily is extremely important. Zinc oxide blocks the widest spectrum of UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin from premature aging and sunburn. Make sure it has zinc!
- Take supplements. Vitamin B-3 (nicotinamide) decreases 23% of non-melanoma skin cancer in patients with a history of skin cancer, and helps repair cell damage caused by radiation. Heliocare (polypodium leucotomos) provides the equivalent of a 3-5 SPF to the skin and decreases UVB damage.