What are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flulike symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.
When should I see a doctor about cold sores?
While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.
If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.
What treatments are available for cold sores?
While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also overthe-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.
Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.
While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!
Learn some fun facts about these common skin blemishes.
Birthmarks are extremely common, appearing on about 80 percent of babies at birth. Even if you don’t have a birthmark, chances are good that you know someone who does. However, how much do you actually know about these dermatological markings? There are a lot of facts and folklore surrounding birthmarks and why they appear. Find out how much you really know!
Your Birthmark Is Not Caused By Your Mother!
There are many folk tales surrounding the expectant mother’s influence on whether or not her child has a birthmark. Some cultures believe that a birthmark is associated with the mother’s unfulfilled want or need, while others believe that certain foods that the mother eats or activities that she participates in can cause birthmarks to appear on her newborn. However, many doctors believe that birthmarks actually form before the child is even born.
Does a Birthmark Tell You Who You’ll Be?
Are you always looking for the next amazing adventure? Do people revel over all your successes? If so, some people might believe your birthmark has something to do with it. A birthmark on the back is believed to signify that the child is openminded, while a birthmark on the right foot means you are born to be a traveler. While there is certainly no scientific evidence to prove any of this, it’s a fun superstition nonetheless.
All lore aside, many birthmarks are benign; however, it is best to see your dermatologist to have it evaluated and to make sure it isn’t malignant. There are several different kinds of birthmarks:
- Congenital melanocytic nevus: This more rare birthmark can be found anywhere on the body and is usually light brown or sometimes black, depending on the person’s skin color.
- Mongolian spots: A bluishgray marking that may look similar to a bruise.
- Port wine stain: A purple or red blemish that often appears on the face.
- Telangiectatic nevus: Sometimes referred to as a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these slightly red patches are often found on the face or back of the neck.
- Hemangiomas: A raised, red mark sometimes referred to as a “strawberry mark”
- Café au lait spots: This birthmark is characterized by circular, light brown spots
- Silvermark: A silver or white streak in the hair.
If you are unhappy with or embarrassed by your birthmark then you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Both surgery and laser treatments may be options for having your skin blemish removed.
As summer approaches, the thought of basking in the sun may sound more than appealing, especially after a long winter. However, taking care to ensure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and learning to identify skin cancer in its earliest stages is essential to your health. Find out more about skin cancer and its symptoms with Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ.
What is skin cancer?
Cancer itself occurs when cells in the body begin to divide rapidly without stopping, forming a growth called a tumor. Skin cancer occurs when the cells in the skin begin dividing and cause tumors. These cells produce what appears to be a mole. However, cancerous moles have a slightly different appearance than healthy moles. Learning how to spot these differences can help you identify and treat skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stages.
The ABCDEs of Identifying Skin Cancer
Using the ABCDEs can help you determine whether you have an abnormal mole.
- Asymmetrical: Regular moles have a symmetrical shape and are the same on both sides. Cancerous moles are asymmetrical and do not appear to be fluid in shape.
- Border: The border of a normal mole is smooth and round or ovular. Cancerous moles tend to have jagged or oddly-shaped borders.
- Color: A normal mole is pink to brown in color and has only one color within its borders. Cancerous moles may have two or more colors.
- Diameter: The diameter of a normal mole is about 6 millimeters or less. A mole over 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, should be examined by your dermatologist.
- Evolution: Normal moles do not change in size, shape, or color. Cancerous moles evolve and change in shape, color, or size, often quickly or over the period of a few months.
Skin Cancer Treatments in Peoria, AZ
Treating skin cancer varies from patient to patient and depends on the size, severity, and location of the cancerous cells. The most common treatment for skin cancer is to remove the cancerous mole and the skin around it. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be necessary. Your doctor can help you ensure that you have the best treatment for your condition.
For more information on skin cancer or its early detection, please contact Dr. Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ. Call (623) 977-6700 to schedule your skin examination today!
You shouldn’t have to wait for acne to appear in order to do something about it.
Keeping your skin healthy and clear is important for everyone; however, we know that many teens and even adults deal with acne on a regular basis. Acne can certainly affect not just your appearance but also your self-esteem. Our Peoria, AZ, dermatologist Dr. Vernon Mackey knows that clear skin is important. Here are some useful tips for keeping your skin acne-free.
Keep Skin Clean
This might sound like a no-brainer but not everyone understands what it takes to keep skin clean and healthy. Even if you aren’t someone who deals with acne regularly you should still wash your face twice a day in order to remove excess oil, bacteria, toxins and dead skin cells. Be gentle with skin. You don’t need to scrub in order to get skin clean. Also, use lukewarm (not hot) water and opt for a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.
You Still Need to Moisturize
Most people assume that if they have acne that they don’t need to moisturize their skin. This is a big no-no! Everyone can benefit from moisturizing daily. Once you are done cleansing your face it’s time to apply moisturizer. The type of moisturizer you use will depend on the severity of your dryness. Of course, if you have an oily T-zone you’ll want to use a lighter moisturizer for these areas while using a heavy moisturizer on drier regions.
Choose Makeup Carefully
There are certain products that can actually clog pores and lead to breakouts. If you use brushes or sponges you’ll want to make sure that you replace them often or thoroughly disinfect them to prevent old makeup from remaining on bristles and sponges. Make sure that the makeup you use says its “noncomedogenic”, which means that it won’t clog pores or cause acne. And remember to always wash off makeup off in the evening before going to bed.
Dealing with acne that you just can’t get under control? Acne can surface for many reasons and it’s important to figure out the cause so that we can help reduce your flare-ups. Call Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ, today.
Even if you are someone who lathers on the SPF regularly, chances are good that if you’ve spent any time in the sun during your lifetime that you have some sun damage. Everything from dark spots to freckles can form as a result of exposure to the sun. Of course, if you find those dark spots becoming more visible or more widespread then you may want to consider how a dermatologist can help refresh your appear and hide those signs of sun damage.
If you are noticing more and more dark spots then it’s a good idea to seek a skincare professional who can determine the cause of these spots. There are many reasons discolorations occur and it’s important that we are able to detect early signs of skin cancer and melanoma before we decide the best course of action.
Once your dermatologist has performed a thorough screening and has determined that the dark spots aren’t cancerous, then it’s time to get down to business discussing what cosmetic option or options will work best for diminishing those dark spots, whether you are looking for at-home solutions or in-office treatments.
The number one treatment for getting rid of discolorations and dark spots is laser therapy. There are a variety of lasers available that can provide you with the results you want depending on your specific needs, goals, and skin problems. One of the most common lasers used to treat dark spots is the intense pulsed light (IPL). The goal of IPL is to reduce and even eliminate uneven pigmentation to provide a more even appearance. Another benefit to IPL is that is can also brighten the skin.
There are different wavelengths that are able to penetrate through different layers of the skin. Depending on the severity of your dark spots, your dermatologist will determine the wavelength that will provide you with the best results. As the laser is directed over the skin it will heat up and destroy the darker pigmentations of the skin. While it’s common for most people to treat their face, you can get IPL treatment just about anywhere, from your face and neck to your chest and legs.
Laser treatment can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to complete and can be performed without the need for anesthesia. The process is non-invasive and also boasts no downtime. Even though you may notice some redness afterwards, you can go right back to your daily routine. You’ll start to notice the dark spots flaking and going away over the course of a couple of weeks. You will most likely require a couple of sessions in order to get the optimal results.
Don’t let sun damage ruin the appearance of your skin. Turn to a dermatologist who can help meet your needs and provide you with the proper treatment option to give you the fantastic results you want. Laser treatment can be an amazing way to restore and revive sun-damaged skin.
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