The skin is the body’s largest organ, accounting for roughly 18% of an adult’s weight. It serves as a protective outer layer that keeps in moisture and keeps out invasive organisms. Our skin is host to a number of bacteria, most of which are beneficial. When the integrity of the skin breaks down, however, these bacteria can penetrate the skin and create an infection.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that is caused by bacteria, typically step or staph, that normally helps protect you from infection. If you have a cut, sore, or insect bite, bacteria can get into the skin and spread to deeper tissues. If it is not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread into the blood or lymph nodes, which can be deadly. Some people can even get cellulitis without having a break in the skin, which includes older adults and those with diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you have an infected area of skin that is getting redder, more painful, larger or has red streaks extending from it. You should also seek medical attention if you have a fever and if the infected area is on your face. Treatment often includes the use of antibiotics.
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. It appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child’s nose and mouth. Although it commonly occurs when bacteria enter the skin through cuts or insect bites, it can also develop in skin that is perfectly healthy. Seldom serious, impetigo usually clears in two to three weeks on its own. Since impetigo can sometimes lead to complications, your child’s dermatologist may choose to treat it with an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics.
Skin Care Routine
Maintaining a proper, healthy skin care routine throughout your life can help to reduce the symptoms of aging and infections. For proper skin care, make sure to:
- Wash your face using a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water twice a day.
- Pat skin dry. Do not rub it.
- Exfoliate the skin twice a week to remove dead cells.
- Apply a moisturizer to skin immediately after a shower or bath.
- Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 every day.
- For women who wear makeup, be sure to leave time each day when the skin is clean and free of makeup.
- Do not use tanning beds.
- Maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water
- Get an adequate amount of sleep every day.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid stress.
- Conduct a monthly self-examination of your skin to detect any changes that might lead to cancer.
- See your dermatologist once a year.
A healthy skin care routine is vital to protecting your skin from damage and harmful infections. Begin today and implement a proper routine. Contact your dermatologist for further treatment and a consultation on proper skin care.
Even if you're someone who has a birthmark on their body, you may forget about them altogether. Birthmarks are extremely common and very normal. When healthy, birthmarks are nothing to worry about. But as with any skin abnormality including moles, it's important to keep a close eye on your birthmark for any changes.
What Are Birthmarks?
Birthmarks are areas of flat or raised discolored skin that can be on the body at birth, or develop shortly after. While folktales claim hundred of reasons for these blemishes, the exact cause of birthmarks is still unknown.
They vary in color and may be brown, tan or black to blue, pink or red. Some birthmarks are only stains on the surface of the skin, while others extend into the tissues under the skin or grow above the surface.
If you have a birthmark, or even a mole or a wart, it is important to visit your dermatologist for regular screenings in addition to self-exams at home. Though they are often harmless, it is important to keep a close eye on any skin abnormalities, as it is possible that they could develop into a more serious issue over time.
Concerned about your birthmark? Call our office to schedule a consultation today!
Skin cancer often causes only subtle changes in your skin in the earliest stages. Unfortunately, if the cancer isn't diagnosed promptly, it can worsen and spread. Our Peoria, AZ, dermatologist, Dr. Vernon Mackey, shares a few signs of early skin cancer and discusses treatment options.
Squamous cell carcinoma symptoms
Do you have a painful, red, flaky spot that just won't go away? That spot may actually be a squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer affects the cells in the middle and outer layers cells of your skin. Sun exposure can increase your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma. The cancer may appear on areas of your body that have been exposed to the sun, such as your face, ears, back of hands and ears, but may also show up on your genitals or in your mouth.
Basal cell carcinoma symptoms
Basal cell carcinoma affects the deep layers of your skin and may also be caused by years of sun exposure. If you have basal cell carcinoma, you may develop:
- Sores that don't heal or come back. (Non-cancerous sores should heal in about a week.)
- Flat, firm areas that look like scars
- Raised bumps that are pink or pearly white with depressed centers
- Pigmented pearly bumps that resemble moles
Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, affects more than 87,000 people a year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Symptoms of melanoma include:
- New moles
- Asymmetrical moles
- Moles that have irregular or blurred edges
- Moles that are more than one color or contain blue, pink, red or white colors
- Bleeding or scaly moles
- Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser
- Sores that don't heal
How is skin cancer treated?
Skin cancer may be removed using one or more of these methods offered by our Peoria office, including:
- Topical Medications: A medicated cream is used to stimulate your immune system to attack and kill cancerous cells in the outer layers of your skin.
- Cryosurgery: Liquid nitrogen removes tumors by freezing them.
- Surgical Excision: Surgical excision involves removing the cancerous cells with a scalpel.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery: During this surgery, a single layer of skin is removed at a time, then examined under a microscope. Another layer of skin is removed if cancerous cells are found in the first layer. The process continues until there are no traces of the cancer. Mohs surgery requires less destruction of healthy skin and produces a much smaller scar than surgical excision.
- Radiation Therapy: In some cases, radiation may be needed to treat hard-to-reach or persistent cancers.
Early treatment can help you avoid serious skin cancer complications. If you're concerned about a suspicious spot or mole, call our Peoria, AZ, dermatologist, Dr. Mackey, at (623) 977-6700 to schedule an appointment.
Your dermatologist understands that skin tags can affect your self-confidence. While skin tags can be annoying, it is important to understand that they are normal and are generally not cancerous. If you are worried about your skin tag, you can always schedule a consultation with your dermatologist to have it checked.
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags (acrochordons) are small pouches of skin. They commonly occur on the armpit, around the neck and by the groin/upper thigh area. These are very common growths among adults, and if the growth truly is a skin tag, you have nothing to worry about. What may look like a skin tag to you, however, may be something else entirely, and it's always best to see your dermatologist if you have any doubts. If the 'tag' seems to be bleeding, raw or otherwise irritated, however, you should see your dermatologist as soon as possible to rule out a more serious issue.
Skin Tag Removal
Even if it is a benign skin tag, you may want these tiny outgrowths removed for cosmetic reasons, particularly if they are in a highly visible area. Your dermatologist can remove your skin tag with clean sterile scissors or a scalpel. A skin tag can also be frozen with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy. Visit your dermatologist today for an official diagnosis and to discuss whether it would be appropriate to have your skin tag removed.
As you age, the appearance of your facial skin may begin to change. Whether you begin to notice wrinkles, sagging or even age spots, there is a cosmetic treatment available to improve the appearance of your facial skin. Using one or a combination of treatments, your dermatologist is able to effectively reduce or eliminate wrinkles, fine lines, skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, facial redness and facial blood vessels, as well as improving overall skin texture and appearance.
At your dermatologist, there is a variety of treatment options available to rejuvenate your skin and create a youthful appearance. The best skin rejuvenation procedure varies depending on an individual’s skin type, age, ethnicity, sun exposure and overall health. Sometimes a proper skin care regimen will be enough to rejuvenate your skin, but other times your dermatologist might recommend one of the following treatments:
- Laser resurfacing
- Photo rejuvenation
Visiting your dermatologist could just give you the complexion you'ce always dreamed of, and the youthful glow you've been striving for. Call today to schedule a consultation, so we can develop a treatment plan that will bring your self-confidence back.
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