MEDICAL DERMATOLOGY

Sun Damage

Sun damage can affect any area of the skin as a result of chronic exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. These areas most commonly involve the face, arms, hands and shoulders, and may result in conditions such as pre-cancers, skin cancer, sun spots (freckles), moles, rough and discolored skin, and wrinkles. Some individuals may notice the formation of actinic keratoses (pre-cancers), which are rough, scaly growths which can precede the development of skin cancer for months to years.

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Accordingly, the best treatment for sun damage is preventing it from occurring in the first place. It is therefore vitally important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis and avoid excessive, unprotected exposure to the sun. This is particularly relevant during the mid-day hours (10am to 4pm), when the sun intensity is the strongest.

Wrinkles

Wrinkles (also known as rhytides) are a natural part of aging that occurs when the skin becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic. Certain factors that can contribute to the earlier development of wrinkles include genetics, smoking, and excessive exposure to the sun. Several treatment options are available to help reduce or eliminate the appearance of wrinkles. These include topical retinoid creams, IPL therapy, chemical peels, BOTOX aesthetic, fillers and more. While no procedure can completely eliminate the effects of aging on your skin, customized treatment can be very effective in minimizing the appearance of wrinkles through ongoing treatments.

Age Spots

Age spots, as their name implies, are a common sign of aging. They are also known as brown spots, liver spots, sun freckles and sun spots, and present flat areas of varying sizes that range in color from light brown to black. These lesions tend to appear on parts of the body that are chronically exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders and tops of the feet. Patients with a history of higher sun exposure tend to develop these lesions with greater frequency.

Age spots can also refer to growths known as seborrheic keratoses, which manifest as crusty brown to black spots that appear waxy and “stuck on” the skin. Developing more often in patients older than 30 years of age, these lesions are not strongly associated with sun exposure, but occur more frequently in individuals with a family history of similar lesions. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp all the way down to the feet.

Age spots, regardless of type, can be effectively reduced or minimized by a customized treatment plan by Dr. Lambert. Most importantly, when age spots are an indicator of chronic sun exposure, it is important to have regular skin exams to screen for the risk of skin cancer.

Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is an invasive of the nail plate (fingernails or toenails) by a contagious fungal pathogen. This can occur as a result of exposure to a warm, moist environment such as sweaty shoes, shower floors, and chronic exposure of hands to water. These fungal infections usually begin as a yellow or white spot on or under the nail, and develop into thickened, brittle and distorted nails.

Although not usually threatening to overall health, nail fungal infections should be treated immediately as they may become resistant to treatment and are therefore more likely to recur. Treatment options include topical and oral anti-fungal medications. Ultimately, the choice of treatment depends on the severity and duration of infection.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is a common condition which may be a consequence of natural aging (men and women), a side effect of a medication, or a manifestation of an underlying medical issue. It can result in varying presentations including total baldness, thinning of the hair, or patchy bald spots. Other parts of the body may also become involved depending on the cause, and hair loss may be temporary or permanent. Specific conditions which can result in hair loss include male or female-pattern baldness, medication-induced hair loss, stressful life events such as surgery or emotional distress, and certain chronic skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis.

Treatment for hair loss is customized to the specific cause, and may include topical or systemic treatments. On rare occasions, a scalp biopsy is necessary to determine the exact diagnosis to guide treatment. Most importantly, treatment for hair loss is usually more successful when initiated early, as several forms of hair loss can be irreversible once significant loss has occurred. Dr. Lambert can provide expert evaluation and tailor treatment to help minimize the progression and significant stress associated with this medical condition.