What is dermatology? Dermatology is the branch of science dealing with the skin, its structure, its functions, and related diseases. What is a dermatologist? A dermatologist is a physician who is certified by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) to treat conditions and diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. Who needs a dermatologist? If you have any significant problem with your skin, hair, or nails you should consult a dermatologist. What does skin cancer look like? The skin cancer that occurs most commonly is the basal cell carcinoma. These may appear as small non-healing sores or bumps on the skin. They should be diagnosed and treated early as their continued growth makes treatment more difficult. If you have any questions about a possible skin cancer, be sure and consult a board-certified dermatologist. What is Malignant Melanoma? Malignant Melanoma is one of the most lethal forms of skin cancer. This cancer begins in the skin. Melanoma has a strong tendency to spread to other parts of the body. That is why this is a potentially lethal form of cancer. Melanoma may suddenly appear in the skin without warning, or it may also begin in or near a mole. That's why it's important to know the size and location of the moles on your body, so you'll recognize any changes that might take place. If you have any questions about suspicious moles, be sure and consult your board-certified Dermatologist. Is there a way to prevent Melanoma? By keeping your sun exposure at a minimum, you can reduce your risk of melanoma. This is especially true for people with a light complexion, with many moles and with atypical moles. Use a "15" SPF rated sunscreen, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 am to 2 pm. If you have a suspicious mole or notice a change in a mole you should consult a dermatologist. Be sure to ask your dermatologist if they are board-certified. Can Melanoma be treated? Yes, it can be treated. In the early stages, melanoma is completely curable. For advanced melanoma, treatment must be individualized. The best weapon against melanoma is early detection and prompt removal by your board-certified dermatologist. How should I care for my skin to prevent Acne? Washing your face more than two or three times per day may only promote acne by irritating the skin. It is best to use a mild cleanser or acne soap. There are several over the counter topical medications which may help control mild acne. If there is no improvement after a couple of months, more effective prescription medications are necessary. Finally, in choosing a facial moisturizer, it is important that it does not cause acne (noncomedogenic). What are Precancerous Lesions? Actinic Keratosis (precursor or precancerous lesions) can be the initial stage of development of skin cancer. These are scaly bumps that arise on the skin surface which may temporarily disappear, only to recur later. There are several methods used to treat these such as freezing or topical creams. Early treatment may prevent progression to skin cancer. Should I get a mole removed? Moles that change or get irritated should be evaluated by a Dermatologist. Some of these moles may have a higher risk of melanoma and should be removed. Knowing the early warning signs of melanoma is important. When examining your moles, remember the ABCDs of recognizing melanoma. A=Asymmetry, B= Border irregularity, C=Color Variation, D=Diameter larger than the eraser of a pencil. What is Mohs Surgery? Mohs micrographic surgery is state of-the-art treatment for certain types of skin cancer. In this type of treatment, the skin cancer is removed in the office and examined microscopically while you wait. The surgeon then determines if all of the skin cancer has been removed. If any skin cancer remains, the surgeon can remove the specific area where the skin cancer is still present. This is the most precise method for the removal of skin cancer.