Skin Tags, You’re It! Along with the Other ‘Safe’ Skin Growths That Rub Us the Wrong Way

JenniferWong

“We all want to stay alert for skin cancer”, notes Jennifer Wong, a certified registered physician’s assistant specializing in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC. “But it’s important to acknowledge that other ‘safe’ skin conditions can cause real quality-of-life-issues. And they can be treated to improve people’s day-to-day”.

From the discomfort of corns and calluses to the disruptive appearance of keratosis pilaris bumps, seborrheic keratosis growths and skin tags, there are a number of non-threatening skin conditions that can pop up.

These conditions are common. About half of us will develop skin tags – medical name acrochordons. Their prevalence means that dermatologists have developed a range of treatments – some do-it-yourself, some in the office.

Jennifer Wong

The benign skin growths people contend with have different causes – some lifestyle, others still being researched.

“Corns and calluses”, Wong explains, “are directly connected to the wear and tear we subject our skin to: these extra layers of skin build up as protection: in the case of corns, due to pressure against our skin onto the bone underneath; in the case of calluses, due repeated friction from regular activities, like gripping tools or playing an instrument”.

Other benign skin growths do not have a direct lifestyle origin.

Skin tags are typically small, dangling ovals of skin. They may be related to genes, hormones, or underlying conditions. The same is true for keratosis pilaris: small bumps that usually show up on the upper arms and thighs due to pores becoming plugged with the skin protein keratin. Seborrheic keratoses, which are warty- or waxy-looking tan or brown growths, generally develop as people age; genes and the sun may be factors.

Jennifer Wong

“Fortunately”, continues Wong, “we do know how to treat these conditions so that they don’t interfere with people’s lives”. With that in mind, she offers the following suggestions.

5 Tips to Take the Bother Out of Benign Skin Growths:

  1. Rule out more serious problems: “It’s really important to make sure that the problem is benign”, emphasizes Wong. “For example, we want to make sure that it’s seborrheic keratosis and not skin cancer – or a wart, which is due to a contagious virus. It’s important for everyone to develop a skin check-up schedule that will establish their baseline skin condition and support ongoing monitoring for problems, especially skin cancer”.
  2. Relieve the pressure: “With corns and calluses”, says Wong, “lifestyle adjustments are the solution. Protective padding – for example moleskin for a callus, adhesive pads for corns – can alleviate the friction and pressure. For both, a warm-water soak and gentle use of a pumice stone can remove the thickened skin. And then, for corns, it’s time to re-evaluate our footwear choices: we need comfortable shoes that will not exert pressure. Fortunately, there are lots of stylish and gentle options available today”.
  3. Remember: maintenance matters: “Regular moisturizing is important for the gradual resolution of corns and calluses”, advises Wong. “Moisturizing is also important to address keratosis pilaris. And to get rid of the bumps, exfoliation is key. Chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid can be effective. But if the condition is stubborn, an office visit for laser treatments or microdermabrasion can clear the way. After treatment, moisturizing and exfoliating need to be a regular routine”.
  4. Growths interfering with life? Get rid of them: “If skin tags or seborrheic keratoses are obvious or interfere with clothing or jewelry”, Wong suggests, “they can be removed. Your dermatologist has a range of options, including freezing (cryosurgery) or electrosurgery. Skin tags can also be removed by scissor excision”.
  5. Excessive? Changing? Painful? See a doctor: “If a ‘benign’ skin growth changes or becomes painful, it needs evaluation to rule out a medical problem”, states Wong. “And with skin tags, if there are a great number, that requires a checkup for underlying health problems, in particular diabetes”.

“‘Harmless’ skin growths can still be problems”, concludes Wong. “Your dermatologist can help solve them”.

About Jennifer Wong

Jennifer Wong, RPA-C is a certified registered physician’s assistant specializing in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC.

Advanced Dermatology P.C.and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. Come into the beautiful world of Advanced Dermatology PC.

 

 

 

 

Summer is Here: Making Educated and Informed Choices to Stay Sun-Safe

Dr.-Allison-Britt-Kimmins

Dermatologist Dr. Allison Britt Kimmins, MD, MPH with Advanced Dermatology PC with Tips on Reducing the Risks of Skin Cancer While Enjoying Summer.

As never before, the chance to get outside under sunny skies is a relief. “It’s been especially welcoming as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, observes Dr. Allison Britt Kimmins, a dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC. After weeks spent inside to limit the spread of coronavirus, it is no surprise that we are all anxious to get outside and enjoy the sun. “However” emphasizes Dr. Britt Kimmins, “we want to make sure that we also protect ourselves from the damaging and potentially deadly ultraviolet light”.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. In the United States, cases outnumber all other cancers combined, according to the non-profit Skin Cancer Foundation.

In spite of all we know, rates of skin cancer continue to rise. In this country, 20% of the population will get skin cancer by the time we’re seventy. Last year, it was estimated that 192,310 people in the U.S. would be diagnosed with melanoma – the deadliest cancer of all.

Dr. Allison Britt Kimmins

The threat of the sun’s ultraviolet rays is so great that the World Health Organization lists them as Group 1 carcinogens, alongside plutonium and cigarettes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has labeled the sun’s radiation as a known carcinogen. “Ninety percent or more of cases of skin cancer are linked to sun exposure”, states Dr. Britt Kimmins. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing melanoma”. In 2020, it is estimated that the number of melanoma cases is expected to rise.

Protecting children and helping young people develop healthy sun habits are keys to reducing skin cancer rates. Just one blistering sunburn during childhood almost doubles the risk of melanoma. Most of the damage occurs before the age of eighteen.

Dr. Allison Britt Kimmins

“Every one of us – regardless of skin tone or age – will benefit from practicing ‘safe sun precautions”, advises Dr. Britt Kimmins, who makes the following suggestions to enjoy the outdoors safely.

5 Tips to Stay Sun-Safe This Summer – and Year-Round

  1. Stick to your skin-checkup schedule: “Early intervention is essential to stay safe from skin cancer. “When detected and treated early, the 5 year survival rate for melanoma is over 98%. Dr. Britt Kimmins recommends that patients see a dermatologist to establish their baseline level of skin health and identify their level of risk. Scheduling regular annual skin examinations will help to monitor the skin for changes and encourage self-examination. This supports early intervention and effective treatment”.
  2. Make sure that your sunscreen protects you: “People may think they’re protected when they are not”, warns Dr. Britt Kimmins. “We need to apply enough sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours while outside. If swimming or sweating, more frequent reapplication may be necessary. It is important to apply enough sunscreen to all exposed areas including hands, feet, neck, scalp and ears. A one ounce shot glass is the amount needed to cover exposed areas of skin”.
  3. Remember: You need more than sunscreen: “Even if we follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s guidelines”, notes Dr. Britt Kimmins, “and use a water-resistant product that is SPF 30 or higher with full-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, we cannot completely avoid the sun’s rays. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is most direct, we need to be careful: Seek shade and wear protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses”.
  4. Indoor ‘sun’ is just as risky: “Just one indoor tanning session”, Dr. Britt Kimmins emphasizes, “can increase the risk of cancer by almost 70%. Additionally, tanning beds primarily emit UVA rays which penetrate our skin more deeply, further accelerating changes associated with aging”.
  5. Pass safe sun habits on to the next generation: “Protecting children and helping young people develop healthy sun habits are keys to reducing skin cancer rates”, states Dr. Britt Kimmins. Just one blistering sunburn during childhood almost doubles the risk of melanoma. Most of the damage occurs before the age of eighteen. Young people are influenced by the behaviors of their caregivers. We see this, for example, with tanning bed use, which often begins during teen years, in the company of a family member”.

“As we all spend time outdoors this summer, let’s remember our sun-safety suggestions so we can stay healthy now – and skin-cancer-free for years to come”.

About: Allison Britt Kimmins, MD, MPH, is board-certified in dermatology.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York, New Jersey & PA) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. Come into the beautiful world of Advanced Dermatology P.C..