Full-Body Skin Exams
Full-body skin exams are an essential method of screening patients for benign or cancerous lesions that they may not have been able to see or recognize on their own. By using a 5x magnifier and looking at all of your skin, our doctors can often find potentially life-threatening growths in a timely manner. From head to toe and back to front, we inspect the skin for any suspicious growths. This quick and painless preventive measure is an invaluable tool in the early detection of skin cancer as well as many other dermatological conditions.
Medical attention is necessary after noticing any skin changes, as early detection is valuable in successfully treating skin cancer. Regular full body screening is recommended as well. A biopsy is usually performed to accurately diagnose suspected cancerous growths.
While most moles and other skin growths are not of medical concern, it is important to screen for cancer and other skin conditions that can develop in some cases. Full-body skin exams to detect any new moles and growths, as well as to monitor existing growths, are recommended on a yearly basis in order to screen for skin cancer and detect any abnormalities in their earliest stages.
A skin biopsy is a quick in office procedure that removes cells or skin samples from the surface of your body. The sample taken is examined to provide information about your medical condition. The dermatologist uses a skin biopsy to diagnose or rule out certain skin conditions and diseases.
Three main types of skin biopsies are:
- Shave biopsy. A doctor uses a tool similar to a razor to remove a small section of the top layers of skin (epidermis and a portion of the dermis).
- Punch biopsy. A doctor uses a circular tool to remove a small section of skin including deeper layers (epidermis, dermis and superficial fat).
- Excisional biopsy. A doctor uses a small knife (scalpel) to remove an entire lump or an area of abnormal skin, including a portion of normal skin down to or through the fatty layer of skin.
Your dermatologist may do a skin biopsy to diagnose or to help treat skin conditions and diseases, including:
- Actinic keratosis
- Bullous pemphigoid and other blistering skin disorders
- Dermatitis, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions
- Skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma
- Skin infection
- Skin tags
- Suspicious moles or other growths
Acne is the term for the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress.
Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles in the skin on the face, neck, back and chest. They produce an oily substance called sebum, which normally reaches the skin surface through the opening of the follicle (pore). When follicles become plugged, sebum cannot reach the surface of the skin. This blocked sebum promotes the growth of bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes) beneath the skin, which in turn produce chemicals and enzymes that attract white blood cells, causing inflammation. Eventually the follicle wall breaks down and the sebum, skin cells and bacteria erupt to form lesions or pimples. These are the visible effects of acne.
Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, skin type and the patient's age and lifestyle; on average results are visible in six to eight weeks. Options include:
- Topical Medications
- Oral Medications
- SilkPeel Dermalinfusion
- Chemical Peels
- Laser resurfacing
- Soft tissue fillers and fat transfer
- Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
Patients with mild acne can supplement treatment at home by washing with warm water and a mild soap twice a day and/or using a topical over-the-counter acne medication.
Warts are a common skin condition resulting from infection by one or another strain of human papillomavirus (HPV). Many types of warts, especially those usually found on children, disappear on their own. When troublesome, warts can be treated with medications or otherwise removed. Since warts are contagious through direct skin contact, strict personal hygiene can help to prevent their spread. This includes avoidance of shared personal items, such as towels or razors.
Warts appear as small skin growths, flat or slightly raised, on the surface of the skin. They can vary in coloration. Different types of warts appear on different parts of the body and vary in appearance. Some of the most common varieties of warts are:
Common warts, which usually appear on the fingers or toes
Flat warts, common on face, arms or legs
Plantar warts, which grow on the soles of the feet
Filiform warts, which grow on the face or neck
Periungual warts, which grow around or under toenails and fingernails
While most varieties of warts are benign, they may be itchy, painful or embarrassing. In most cases, treatment is permanent and warts do not return.
Eczema is a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.
Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress.
Treatment involves the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and swelling on the face. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. While there is no cure for rosacea, there are plenty of effective treatments available.
Daily use of sunscreen is essential to reduce the likelihood of rosacea flare ups. Topical treatments can successfully decrease the appearance of symptoms.
Psoriasis is a term that encompasses a group of chronic skin disorders that affect any part of the body, but most frequently affect the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. In addition, it may be categorized into different types: plaque, pustular, erythrodermic, guttate or inverse psoriasis. Most forms involve an itching and/or burning sensation, scaling and crusting of the skin.
Psoriasis cannot be cured but it can be treated successfully, sometimes for months or years and occasionally even permanently. Treatment depends on the type, severity and location of psoriasis; the patient's age, medical history and lifestyle; and the effect the disease has on the patient's general mental health. The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, and oral or injectable medication (for severe symptoms).
For more information about Medical Dermatology, or to request an appointment, please complete our online form or call 970-926-9226 (Vail), 970-927-2800 (Willits), 970-710-2400 (Spring St.), 970-668-0998 (Breckenridge) or 970-930-6490 (Glenwood).