Despite the well known negative effects of unprotected sun exposure (i.e. premature wrinkling, sun spots (liver spots), increased freckles, and even skin cancer), thousands of Americans flock to the tanning bed to gain the “healthy glow” they feel is key in looking trim and vivacious. According to statistics released by the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly 120,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year. In addition to those startling statistics, previous studies have shown that those individuals under the age of 30 who regularly tan (at least ten times per year) are eight times more likely to develop malignant melanoma than those who don’t; yet, the tanning industry is booming. A study completed by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center may have just figured out a key component to this seemingly vicious cycle of sun damage: addiction.
UT Southwestern’s pilot study monitored the brain circulation of participants while tanning. The participants completed two tanning sessions–one that exposed them to regular ultra violet light and another that used special filters to block the damaging UV rays. The study’s subjects were also administered a compound to measure blood flow to the brain and interviewed after their tanning sessions about how much they wanted to continue tanning. More
Last month was officially skin cancer awareness month, but skin cancer awareness shouldn’t end in May. We also would like to take this opportunity to better explain recent FDA changes to sunscreen which you may have heard about in the news the last few days. With 35 years of experience treating skin conditions, the physicians and providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta know that, although most skin cancer is treatable, prevention is critical. Following a few easy tips can prevent skin cancer without compromising your warm weather fun.
- Apply appropriate sunscreen:
Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If you plan to be in the sun for extended amounts of time, you will need to reapply. The length of time it takes for sunscreen to wear off is based on the SPF and can be determined by multiplying the SPF by 10 (SPF X 10=minutes of sun protection). For instance, one application of 30 SPF should last about 300 minutes. More
If you thought Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s eight on-site specialty centers were extensive, then you will definitely consider the sixteen different lasers at the Laser Institute of Georgia amazing. We, however, see it as a way to provide Atlantans with the best skin care head to toe. Lasers can treat a variety of skin conditions, and our physicians have over twenty years of experience working with this skin care technology.
If you’re wondering why sixteen lasers are necessary, allow us to explain: just like no two human beings are identical, all lasers are slightly different. Although settings can be adjusted on most lasers, certain lasers treat specific conditions and skin types better. Lasers are attracted to pigment, the darker the pigment, the more effective the laser treatment. Take laser hair removal and laser tattoo removal for an example. We probably wouldn’t have much luck trying to remove hair with a tattoo removal laser (or setting). More
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta is an all-serving medical facility with eight on-site specialty centers. Our team of board certified dermatologists and physician’s assistants, with 150 years of combined experience, provides patients with optimum care of the skin, hair, and nails. Because our practice’s offerings are a bit extensive, each specialty center containing its own staff of trained physicians and practitioners with their own distinct menu of skin treatments, we’ve decided to highlight each center in our upcoming blog series. Listed below is a brief overview of what’s offered at each specialty center:
• Atlanta Center for Veins: Our vein treatment center offers face and leg vein elimination treatment for varicose and spider veins including: sclerotherapy, Veinwave™, laser vein removal, and Foto Facial® IPL treatment. DAA’s vein specialists has successfully treated varicose and spider veins for over 20 years.
• Atlanta Laser and Cosmetic Surgery Center: Cosmetic procedures like liposuction, facial rejuvenation, facial fillers, and dermal injectables are offered in our cosmetic surgery center. Our surgical procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art Surgical Suite and non-surgical procedures are performed in our treatment rooms.
• Dermatology Center: This center is dedicated to basic dermatological conditions of the skin, hair and nails such as warts, acne, rashes, brown spots, or precancerous lesions.
- Skin Cancer Center: Part of DAA’s Dermatology Center, our Skin Cancer Center is devoted to the prevention and removal of skin cancer. Skin cancer body checks are performed regularly. Surgical removal of cancerous lesions can be performed in one of our procedure rooms; more advanced surgeries must be performed in our Surgical Suite. For instance, Mohs skin cancer surgery, our most precise and effective method of removing skin cancer is performed in the Surgical Suite.
• Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research: Dr. Edmond Griffin, leading hair loss specialist and board certified dermatologist for 34 years, founded this center with the goal of ensuring that every patient with a hair loss condition leaves his office informed about hair loss prevention methods, treatment options, and a clear understanding if hair restoration surgery is right for them.
• Laser Institute of Georgia: We are proud, not only to be the largest and most experienced laser center in the Southeast, but also the first laser center available in Georgia. We offer 16 different lasers. Our physicians have over 20 years of experience using lasers to remove and/or reduce: wrinkles, brown or red spots, tattoos, facial veins, freckles, birthmarks, and unwanted hair.
• Psoriasis Treatment Center: Specifically devoted to treat patients suffering from psoriasis, this center offers various treatment methods including: PHAROS EX-308 Excimer Laser treatments, scalp hydrotherapy, and localized psoriasis therapy, to name a few.
• Skin Medics™ Medical Spa: A visit to Skin Medics™ will allow you to indulge in the latest facial rejuvenation techniques with microdermabrasion, facials, natural peels and chemical peels. Our board certified dermatologists and licensed medical aestheticians work together to meet your every skin care need.
- • Hair Removal Center: Located within Skin Medics™, this center provides multiple options for hair removal such as waxing, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is also offered at DAA’s Laser Institute of Georgia.
• The Surgical Suite: Our 2000 square-foot state-of-the-art outpatient center is devoted to safety as well as medical and surgical excellence. Our surgical suite offers comprehensive surgical services, an experienced medical staff, and a comfortable waiting area for friends or family members.
Be sure to visit the Dermatology Associates of Atlanta website for more information on the services we provide at each of the centers. Also, stay tuned for the upcoming blog series as we further introduce each specialty center, along with our regular updates on dermatology news and our specials.
We all know that the sun’s ultra violet rays can be especially damaging to our skin; causing us to wrinkle prematurely, destroying our skin’s elasticity, and even sometimes leading to the formation of skin cancer. Just as sunburn is visible, physical proof of sun damage, the formation actinic keratosis is tangible proof of sun exposure and often a precursor to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas.
Actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis or sun spot, is a non-threatening, rough (sand paper textured), pinkish spot on the skin. Because the spots are so easily overlooked, they often go undetected for years before progressing to a true cancer which must be completely removed. Actinic keratoses are almost exclusively found on sun exposed skin (especially in fair skin patients with light eyes). Keratoses frequently appear in clusters on the face and forehead. While not all types of keratosis will lead to cancer, it’s vital to seek treatment from a dermatology specialist so he/she can destroy these cells before they are allowed to progress.
Individuals with fair complexions, hair, and eye color should be particularly vigilant about skin cancer screenings and ensure they have at least one annual skin cancer body check. “Fair” patients are those that frequently complain how they tan poorly and burn easily. Most insurance policies now allow a careful yearly exam to not only identify these precancerous growths, but also to find and identify abnormal moles which may be, or become, malignant melanoma.
Avoiding these abnormal growths is fairly simple: regularly shield your skin (i.e.- face, body, and neck) with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and avoid extended periods of sun exposure. Remember, avoiding the sun will also help prevent premature aging and wrinkling. If you’re concerned about getting enough sun for healthy vitamin D production, a simple blood test can determine whether a dietary supplement may be needed. The benefits of decreased exposure and enhanced sun protection measures far outweigh those of extended sun exposure.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s board certified specialists remind you to protect your skin even throughout the winter months. Reflective agents like ice and snow can magnify the harmful effects of harmful UV rays. To learn more about skin cancer prevention or skin cancer treatments available at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta visit their website or continue to read their blog.
Since its first successful phase of clinical trials a little over a year ago, the chemotherapy drug PLX4032 has continued to show promising results in the treatment of melanoma: the deadliest form of skin cancer. This is good news not only to melanoma sufferers, but especially heartening to patients whose cancers have spread past the skin-treatment stage.
According to recent reports published in the August 26th addition of The New England Journal of Medicine, treatment with PLX4032 resulted in tumor shrinkage in 81% of the patients within the trial. These patients were selected for the trial medication because their lab work exhibited the same genetic predisposition for the disease (the BRAF mutation.)
While there are several different types of skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, melanomas can kill within 3 months as they have the ability to spread quickly and metastasize to internal organ systems. This reiterates the importance of having any suspicious new spots examined by a dermatologist. Skin cancers are most accurately diagnosed through skin biopsies in which a board certified dermatologist will excise a small tissue sample and review the questionable cells microscopically.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta stresses the importance of patients (and their children) to undergo annual “skin cancer body checks” to ensure there are no suspect spots. In the event other measures need to be taken, DAA’s Surgical Suite is fully equipped to provide MOHS (skin cancer removal) surgery. Skin cancer is, to a large degree, preventable by avoiding excess sun exposure and protecting your skin with an SPF 30 sunscreen (or higher.)
When you hear that someone died suddenly due to skin cancer, the cancer is most likely a melanoma. This malignant killer can be 100% cured if discovered early. Melanoma deaths account for 2-3% of all cancer-related deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, of the 60,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed annually, 8,000- 10,000 cases could prove fatal.
Melanomas usually begin as a dark brown or black mole. Because this cancer is highly treatable if discovered early, any suspicious new spot or a CHANGING mole should be examined immediately. A dermatology specialist is trained and has the experience to diagnose a malignant lesion early enough to obtain a cure in case the diagnosis is melanoma. The rule is to take a simple biopsy if there is any question, your life could be in the balance.
Melanoma is a subject near and dear to Dr. Griffin’s heart: he identified a changing mole on his own shoulder which had no dark color. The mole was biopsied and was positive for melanoma. It was promptly removed with appropriate borders. Luckily it had not spread wide or deep and resulted in a 100% cure rate. Dr. Griffin’s daughter, who was only 20 years old at the time, also had a changing mole removed that proved to be an early stage melanoma. Luckily it was removed early enough to be considered 100% cured. If a family member has had a malignant melanoma, you are more likely to have one also. Examine your own skin as a start: look for changing moles, new growth, pigmented (and unpigmented) areas. See the expert early and demand a biopsy for any suspicious growth. You must take a role in saving your own life.
According to the 1996 study published by Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Goldstein et al, 1996), patients exhibiting more than 75 moles, a family history of melanoma, as well as recessive genetic traits like fair skin and light eyes are at 3-times a greater risk of developing the cancer than those who don’t. Schedule your annual skin cancer body check today, especially if you fit the criteria mentioned above, with one of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s skin specialists.
You wear sunscreen at the beach to protect you from sunburn; you avoid tanning bed use; you wear protective clothing when you are outdoors for prolonged periods of time. But have you ever stopped to think about potential sun damage while you are behind the wheel of your car?
A recent study published in the Journal of the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology found that, for professional drivers that spend prolonged amounts of time in the car, more skin cancer appeared on the left side of their faces. At least for drivers in America, our left side (especially our face) is exposed to more sunlight because the driver’s seat and driver’s side window is located on the left side of the car. The sun that penetrates the window and hits our skin can be just as harmful as if we were outside, an aspect of sun safety that many people tend to overlook.
With almost 12,000 skin cancer deaths last year alone (according to the American Cancer Society), it is more important than ever to protect yourself from the sun no matter where you are – and that includes the car.
Make sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen (protecting against UVA and UVB rays) everyday, even if you do not plan on being outdoors. Wear protective clothing while in the car for prolonged periods of time. It is also a good idea to get your windows tinted or look into UV filters for your car windows, especially if you drive a lot for your profession.