My Blog

Posts for category: Skin Care

By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
July 02, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer   Tanning  

tanning

During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer. 

Sun and artificial tanning

It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?

According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.

Don't tan: protect

To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):

  1. Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
  2. Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
  3. Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.

Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.

It's your skin

Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.

By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
April 28, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer  

Skin Cancer PreventionWith the warmer months just around the corner you may be getting ready to plan some fun in the sun. The summertime always finds children spending hours outside playing, as well as beach-filled family vacations, backyard barbeques, and more days just spent soaking up some much-needed vitamin D.

While it can certainly be great for our emotional and mental well-being to go outside, it’s also important that we are protecting our skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. These are some habits to follow all year long to protect against skin cancer,

Wear Sunscreen Daily

Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t being exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays have the ability to penetrate through clouds. So it’s important that you generously apply sunscreen to the body and face about 30 minutes before going outside.

Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Everyone should use sunscreen, even infants. Just one sunburn during your lifetime can greatly increase your risk for developing skin cancer, so always remember to lather up!

Reapply Sunscreen Often

If you are planning to be outdoors for a few hours you’ll want to bring your sunscreen with you. After all, one application won’t be enough to protect you all day long. A good rule of the thumb to follow is, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Of course, you’ll also want to apply sunscreen even sooner if you’ve just spent time swimming or if you’ve been sweating a lot (e.g. running a race or playing outdoor sports).

Seek Shade During the Day

While feeling the warm rays of the sun on your shoulders can certainly feel nice, the sun’s rays are at their most powerful and most dangerous during the hours of 10am-4pm. If you plan to be outdoors during these times it’s best to seek shady spots. This means enjoying lunch outside while under a wide awning or sitting on the beach under an umbrella. Even these simple measures can reduce your risk for skin cancer.

See a Dermatologist

Regardless of whether you are fair skinned, have a family history of skin cancer or you don’t have any risk factors, it’s important that everyone visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. This physical examination will allow our skin doctor to be able to examine every growth and mole from head to toe to look for any early signs of cancer. These screenings can help us catch skin cancer early on when it’s treatable.

Noticing changes in one of your moles? Need to schedule your next annual skin cancer screening? If so, a dermatologist will be able to provide you with the proper care you need to prevent, diagnose and treat both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
May 02, 2019
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Mole  

Mole Removal: What to Expect

Worried about that mole? A mole is a dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Simply thinking about having a skin mole removed might send shivers down your spine, but sometimes it’s necessary for your health. For example, if a biopsy is cancerous, removing the mole can help to stop any cancer from growing more. But many individuals also have moles removed for cosmetic reasons.

What Causes Moles?

Skin moles occur in all races and skin colors. Some individuals are born with moles. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person's life. New moles appearing after age 35 may require medical evaluation, and possible biopsy. Some moles appear later in life. Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of skin moles. People with high levels of exposure to UV light tend to have more moles. However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas.

How Is It Done?

Mole removal is a simple kind of surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely choose one of two ways: surgical shave or surgical excision. Surgical shave is done more often on small skin moles. After numbing the area, your healthcare provider will use a blade to shave off the mole and some tissue underneath it. Stitches aren’t usually required. During the surgical excision procedure, your doctor will numb the area. He or she will use a circular blade or scalpel to cut out the mole and some skin around it. The doctor will then stitch the skin closed.

Can a Mole Grow Back?

There's a small chance that a mole can grow back after mole surgery, although there's no way to predict whether this will happen. It's important to understand that no surgery has a 100 percent cure rate. Some mole cells may remain in the skin and may recur in the same area. Some skin moles are more aggressive than others and need closer follow-up and additional treatment.

Are There Any Risks?

Risks of mole removal methods include infection, rare anesthetic allergy, and very rare nerve damage. Follow your doctor's instructions to care for the wound until it heals. This means keeping it covered, clean and moist. The area may bleed a little when you get home, especially if you take medications that thin your blood. It's always prudent to choose a doctor with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will lower the risks associated with this procedure.


Take charge of your health today. Regular self-skin examinations and annual skin examinations by a doctor help people find early skin cancers. If you need a mole check, find a dermatologist near you and schedule your annual skin cancer screening.A simple skin cancer screening could save your life.

By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
April 04, 2019
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Acne  

Discover helpful acne-fighting tips and trick to achieve clearer skin.

You’re trying to find the right way to get your acne under control, right? Well, there are certainly so many options out there that it can be a bit daunting. First and foremost, if you are just starting to deal with acne then you may want to tackle the issue from the comfort of your own home before turning to a dermatologist for help.

At-Home Treatment Options

The first line of defense is usually to try an over-the-counter acne cleanser or topical cream that contains an active ingredient such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s important to be patient when it comes to seeing results. No acne product will work overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks of consistent use before you start to notice results from commercial acne products, so don’t give up on a product too soon.

Other tips to follow include:

  • Cleaning your smartphone with disinfectant wipes at lease once a day (imagine just how much bacteria your phone picks up everyday).
  • Washing your face twice a day, once in the morning and at night before bedtime, and immediately after sweating.
  • Being gentle with your skin. Harsh scrubs and being aggressive won’t get rid of acne; it will actually just make it worse.
  • Using cosmetic products that won’t clog pores (look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil free”)
  • Leaving acne alone (do not pick acne or try to extract it yourself, as this can lead to scarring)
  • Washing pillowcases regularly to get rid of pore-clogging bacteria

When to See a Dermatologist

If you are having trouble getting your acne under control after weeks of trial and error, or if your acne is severe and painful then it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with more effective strategies for getting rid of your acne. After all, there are different things that can cause acne and it’s important that your skin doctor figures out what’s causing your acne so that they can create the right treatment plan for you.

Dermatologist-Approved Acne Treatment Options

Depending on what’s causing your breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend these treatment options:

  • Topical treatment: Prescription-strength cleansers, ointments, and creams containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids can target and eliminate acne.
  • Topical or oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
  • Oral contraceptives: If you are dealing with breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle then hormonal fluctuations could be causing your acne. There are certain types of birth control pills that have been FDA approved to fight acne.
  • Isotretinoin: More commonly referred to as Accutane, this powerful oral medication is used for those dealing with severe cystic acne that can lead to deep scarring. This is often recommended when other treatment options haven’t been effective.

Have questions about getting your acne under control? Then it’s time to consult with a dermatologist.

By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
March 08, 2019
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Psoriasis  

What is Psoriasis?

Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to Psoriasis are itchy, painful plaques that appear on the skin.symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!

The Background on Psoriasis

While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.

Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:

  • Skin infections
  • Skin injuries
  • Heavy stress
  • Regular tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides

Treatment Options

Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:

  • Steroid cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
  • Ultraviolet therapy
  • Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
  • Methotrexate (only for serious cases)

Need Relief? Give Us a Call!

You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!