Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The second most common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, affects millions of people each year. It’s caused mainly through exposure to the sun, as well as tanning lamps and beds.

What Is A Squamous Cell?

This type of carcinoma is made up of flat squamous cells that live near the middle and outer layers of the skin. Ultraviolet radiation can trigger abnormal changes in the squamous cell. Squamous cell carcinoma develops from precancerous actinic keratoses.

Appearance

Squamous cell carcinoma looks like a scab. It does not heal and may bleed occasionally. It can look like an ulcer with hard, raised edges as it spreads into the skin. A biopsy is needed to diagnose it because its appearance varies.

Commonly Affected Areas

It’s most common for squamous cell carcinoma to appear on sun-exposed skin. This includes the skin on the top of the ear, the scalp, the lips, and the hands’ back. It can grow into the nerves and blood vessels, although it grows slowly. It is usually not life-threatening.

10 Symptoms

There are ten symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma. They include:

  • Red nodules
  • flat sores
  • skin scales
  • a new sore on an old injury
  • scales on lips
  • sores inside the mouth
  • wart-like sore
  • sores that bleed easily
  • cratered bumps that are lower in the center
  • open wounds that look like ulcers and don’t heal

Risk Factors

The most significant risk factor for developing squamous cell carcinoma is exposure to the sun, especially UVB rays. Other risk factors include:

  • having fair skin
  • using tobacco
  • having HIV
  • suppressed immune system from a chronic immune disorder
  • having a condition called solar or actinic keratosis
  • rare risk factors include infection with human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, and 18.

You Can Prevent Carcinoma

The best thing you can do to prevent squamous cell carcinoma is to avoid the sun’s damaging rays. Wear sunscreen on your face and body daily, especially when you’re outside. Wear a thick layer of mineral or chemical sunscreen, or ideally, a sunscreen that combines the two. Reapply sunscreen frequently when in direct sunlight or when you’re sweating and swimming. Improve your sun protection by layering with long, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Wear a hat. Wear sunscreen. Find shade or create your own with an umbrella when you’re sitting under the sun.

You Can Treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma

There are many treatments for squamous cell carcinoma. These include Mohs surgery, a technique where layers of skin are removed individually and looked at under a microscope until the squamous cell carcinoma is gone. The goal is to save as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as possible. Other treatments for squamous cell carcinoma include:

  • cryosurgery- to freeze the lesion
  • medicated creams
  • radiation therapy
  • curettage and electrodesiccation – to scrape away affected cells and destroy them with electrical current.

Come In For An Annual Skin Check-Up

Ready to begin your journey to better health? Book your appointment now to start improving your skin today! Our board-certified dermatologists are eager to help you become your healthiest self.

Selecting The Perfect Skin Care Regime For You

There’s so much info about the ‘perfect’ skin care routine, but what does this mean? The truth is there is no one perfect regime that will work for everyone. That’s because we’re all individuals with different skin care needs. The important thing is to focus on the three basics that apply to all skin types: cleanse, moisturize, protect.

Choose A Skin Care Routine Based On Your Type

If you have dry skin:

  • choose a gentle cleanser, a heavy moisturizer, and chemical or mineral sunscreen.

If you have oily acne-prone skin:

  • Reach for a cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, an oil-absorbing moisturizer, and a mineral sunscreen.

If your skin is sensitive:

  • use a gentle cleanser, a fragrance-free moisturizer, and mineral sunscreen.

How To Go Beyond Basic Skin Care

A basic skin care routine means you wash your face every night—and don’t fall asleep with makeup on. It also means you moisturize and protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV and UVA rays. If you’re already doing this and your skin still isn’t at its best, what do you do? How do you rise above basic and enjoy an advanced skin care regime (plus the glowing skin that comes with it)?

Add A Serum to Your Regime

Serums are superstar liquids with active ingredients that are concentrated. You apply them at night after you clean your skin. Serums can do a variety of amazing things for you. They can stimulate collagen and reduce fine lines (retinol, vitamin B3, peptides), lessen free-radical damage (vitamin C), and strengthen your skin barrier (hyaluronic acid).

Level Up With Lights And Lasers

Your skin care routine rises to the next level when you incorporate the latest technology. Remember to do it regularly to maintain your result. You take your car in for a tune-up to address the wear and tear of the previous year; you should also take your skin in for a professional treatment each year. Some great options include:

  • IPL (intense pulsed light)
  • Fraxel laser
  • Pulsed-dye lasers
  • Erbium lasers
  • CO2 lasers

Get Expert Advice From A Dermatologist

Too many people try to figure out what’s wrong with their skin and waste valuable time and money guessing which products they need. Seeing a board-certified dermatologist will take the guesswork out of your skin care woes. You’ll get a thorough exam, an expert diagnosis, and an effective treatment plan.

The perfect skin care regime is the one that works for your particular skin type. Always remember to do the basics: clean, add moisture, and protect it from the sun. And beyond this basic routine, you can attain incredible skin if you also add a serum, level up with some high-tech lights and lasers, and see a dermatologist for expert advice. Feel free to reach out today for an appointment.

How To Know If You Have Rosacea

It’s normal to get red-faced every now and then. Sometimes you blush when you’re embarrassed or flush when you’re hot. But if this blushing and flushing is permanent, you could be dealing with a common skin issue called rosacea. It’s a condition that causes red skin in the center of the face around the cheeks, forehead, and nose.

Types Of Rosacea

There are four main types of rosacea. They include small swollen blood vessels, pus-filled bumps that look like acne (papulopustular), bloodshot eyes and irritation (ocular rosacea) and skin-thickening that makes the nose look bigger and more red than usual.

What Causes Rosacea?

Nobody knows what causes rosacea, but genetics can play a role. So too can lifestyle factors like stress and heat. Spicy food and caffeine are rosacea triggers that can cause flare-ups. If you have rosacea, you can lessen your symptoms by avoiding:

  • Sun
  • Alcohol
  • Acne skin care products
  • Some makeup
  • Wind and cold
  • Some medicines

Treatments For Rosacea

Your dermatologist can give you topical cream or gel medication to constrict the blood vessels and make your complexion look better. Topicals can also address mild to moderate rosacea bumps and inflammation. But, you’ll need an oral antibiotic like doxycycline if your rosacea is severe.

Lasers And Lights Can Improve Rosacea

Laser treatment is the best option to treat rosacea’s redness. It’s even more effective than medication. It’s especially helpful for people with skin thickening around the nose. A series of at least two laser treatments is needed for maximum results and as many as eight treatments may be needed for more severe rosacea.

Rosacea Skin Care Products

The best rosacea products contain as few ingredients as possible. They are mild so they won’t irritate rosacea-sensitive skin. If you have rosacea, your natural skin barrier is compromised. So you’ll need to be extra careful to use rosacea-specific lotions, creams, and gels to soothe inflammation. You’ll also want to look for gentle cleansers.

Some Products Make Rosacea Worse

Rosacea skin is extra sensitive. This means some products should be avoided, including retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid. All of these products are too irritating for already inflamed skin. Also, avoid putting the following things on skin with rosacea: glycolic acid, hydroquinone, witch hazel, menthol, eucalyptus oil, peppermint, and harsh soaps.

There’s A Difference Between Rosacea And Acne

Those rosacea bumps and pimples are not acne. Rosacea and acne are completely different. A dermatologist needs to tell you whether you have rosacea or acne. Although the pustules can look similar, they require different treatments. For example, putting acne products on rosacea bumps will only make it worse.

An occasional red face from feeling hot or embarrassed is normal. But if this redness persists, a dermatologist can help you manage your rosacea. Also, keep an eye out for other rosacea symptoms like irritated eyes, thickening skin, visible blood vessels, and bumps with and without pus. Reach out today for an appointment with one of our dermatologists. If you have rosacea, they can give you a proper diagnosis and set you up with a treatment plan to help manage the symptoms and keep your face as clear as possible.

Sunscreen: Your Beauty BFF

There’s nothing quite as powerful as sunscreen for preserving your glowing skin. It’s the one beauty product that will give you the biggest bang for your buck and it’s the best kept secret in cosmetic dermatology. It’s preventative, so it’s harder to get excited about than other products. But sunscreen really is the most glamorous investment you can make for your skin over a lifetime.

Sunscreen: Your Beauty BFF

Why is Sunscreen Important?

It shields you from the wrinkles and age spots that cost you time and money to treat. Sunscreen prevents premature aging. It preserves your precious collagen and elastin so you keep that dewy, radiant look that’s so coveted.

What Type of Sunscreen Do I Need?

Some sunscreens offer physical protection. They sit on top of your skin and contain minerals that deflect the sun’s rays. Other sunscreens provide chemical protection. These are absorbed into your skin and convert UV rays into heat. If your skin is not acne-prone, a chemical sunscreen can be a great choice because it’s lightweight. Plus other skin-helping ingredients—peptides and enzymes—are easily added to chemical sunscreens.

Best Sunscreen For Face

The best sunscreen for acne prone facial skin is a physical one that uses minerals to block the sun. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered non-comedogenic, which means they don’t clog pores. The downside is that they may feel heavy.

Best Sunscreen For Body

The best sunscreen for your body is the one that you’ll actually wear. There’s so much variation in the feel of sunscreen that sometimes it takes a little experimenting to find the brand that’s right for you. Whether it’s mineral or chemical protection, the most important thing is to wear it correctly. Choose something with at least 30 SPF and layer it on generously. Be sure to reapply it frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.

Best Baby Sunscreen

Newborns should be kept out of direct sunlight, but babies older than six months can wear sunscreen. Little ones with sensitive skin do well with Zinc Oxide, which is why this anti-irritant is often found in baby products. Zinc Oxide provides the most complete UVA protection possible and is stronger than titanium dioxide.

Tinted Sunscreen

Physical sunscreen with minerals can make darker skin look chalky. This is where a sunscreen that’s tinted can really help. Tinted sunscreens are especially useful on the face as they can double as a foundation. We recommend Taheri MD Ultra Shade Sunscreen available in our online store.

Sunscreen is your best beauty buddy. It protects the collagen and elastin that helps your skin look youthful and radiant. It’s an affordable preventative-care step you can make to invest in your looks. It’s beneficial whether it’s physical or chemical and is a great addition to your daily beauty routine for both your face and body. Our dermatologists can answer any questions you have about sunscreen at your annual skin check up. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

Get Glowy Skin With A Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are one of those facial treatments you can benefit from no matter what skin issue you want to improve, whether acne scars, fine lines, or dark spots. A peel will make them fade away and reveal glowing skin that looks amazing. We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Raza Mehdi from our Skin and Cancer Institute to get some inside information about this popular option. Dr. Mehdi is a fan of chemical peels and does them on himself regularly. He was “peeling” while we talked to him.

Get Glowy Skin With A Chemical Peel

“What’s interesting about these is your friends and coworkers can’t figure out what you did but notice a significant difference,” Dr. Mehdi said. “It’s amazing how much it improves skin tone, texture, and color.”

What To Expect During A Chemical Peel

Your dermatologist will start by cleaning your face with alcohol. Next, they’ll apply the chemical peel evenly on your face (or another area). It’s a little-known fact that chemical peels benefit skin all over the body, including the neck, chest, back, and arms. The acid solution works its magic on your skin for as few as two minutes while cool air is fanned onto your face. It’ll feel tingly but not painful. Then, your face is cleaned, and, just like that, the treatment is over.

The Treatment is Fast

A chemical peel is a fast and easy treatment, according to Dr. Mehdi. You can expect to be in and out of the room in fifteen minutes, which is a small investment of time for a significant result. You’ll begin to see your skin start to peel after a couple of days, and your glowing skin will reveal itself soon afterward.

How A Chemical Peel Helps Acne

Cystic acne responds well to chemical peels. The peel helps control oily skin and more. Dr. Mehdi said you could expect your chemical peel to support acne healing because it can “shut oil glands, shrink pores, and kill bacteria.”

Lighten Up Melasma

Dark areas of pigmentation, or melasma, are caused by several things, most notably sun damage. But that’s not the only thing that can give you blotchy skin. Changing hormones can cause a “pregnancy mask” to develop. Plus, menopause sometimes alters a woman’s hormones enough to cause melasma in older women. A chemical peel helps brighten these dark spots.

Smooth Your Fine Lines

A chemical peel will smooth out your wrinkles, which is terrific if you want a more youthful look. But that’s not all it does, according to Dr. Mehdi. “It helps everything. It shrinks and helps with fine lines. It regenerates new skin cells, leaving you with new skin, free of contaminants and oils,” he said.

Products To Use After A Chemical Peel

The only product you need after a chemical peel is sunscreen. Light makeup is also acceptable. But, try to steer clear of moisturizer. Remember not to pick and pull your skin because you want to peel evenly.

How Much Does A Chemical Peel Cost?

Now that you know a chemical peel is a small investment of your time, you’re probably wondering what sort of monetary investment you’ll need to make. Luckily, chemical peels are a service most of our Skin and Cancer Institute offices provide for free with each office visit. Dr. Mehdi said you could “Compare this to around $175 at a medspa.”

Dr. Mehdi is happy to see you for an appointment at his San Clemente and Redondo Beach offices. We have dozens of other Skin Cancer Institute dermatologists scattered throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona for your convenience. We’d love to see you for an annual checkup, so feel free to contact us today for an appointment.

Why You Should Let a Dermatologist Check Your Acne

Whether it’s a blemish, bump, or blackhead, you want to clear acne fast. We understand–we’ve been there too. But trying to treat it on your own with over-the-counter products is often a waste of time and money. Plus, it can be frustrating. Drug store products are usually only effective for mild acne like whiteheads and blackheads, and shallow pimples. If your acne is deep and inflamed, you need a dermatologist’s help.

A Dermatologist Can Diagnose Your Acne

Your dermatologist can evaluate your skin and prescribe medical-grade products to treat your acne’s specific type—and source. For example, if you have painful and swollen blemishes, you’ll most likely need more than just a topical cream. You’ll need a combination of medications, including oral antibiotics, to clear your skin. And sometimes, you’ll need a steroid shot to bring an inflamed pore down to size. It’s best to let a board-certified dermatologist take a look at your skin.

Most People Make Acne Mistakes

Understandably, you might be tempted to diagnose and treat your own acne, but it’s not advised. Trying to figure it out yourself is a recipe for frustration and wasted time. It could even make you spend money on products that don’t help you. And worse, your skin could scar if you don’t get the proper medical treatment in time.

What Type of Acne Do I Have?

Acne falls into six categories: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. You can effectively treat clogged pores that are closed (whiteheads) and clogged pores that are open (blackheads) with over-the-counter products. But anything more severe than this needs medications and medical-grade products. Let’s dive right into the last four types of blemishes—the ones your dermatologist is trained to help you resolve. We’ll talk about what causes them and how to clear acne fast, which, by the way, takes up to eight weeks because, sadly, there is no overnight cure.

Papules

These are red, inflamed bumps. They happen when the oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria inside have spilled out and inflamed the surrounding skin. They do not contain pus. Touching it feels painful. Your dermatologist may go beyond the standard benzoyl peroxide treatment and prescribe a retinoid, antibiotic, or (for women) birth control pills.

Pustules

These are similar to papules but have a white, pus-filled center. Like papules, the surrounding skin is red and tender. Pustules are caused by hormonal changes and clogged pores. They can–but shouldn’t–be popped because that can cause your skin to scar. The best treatment for pustules is almost always an antibiotic. However, this can also be combined with a topical treatment like a retinoid.

Nodules

Nodular acne is a painful and hard lesion deep in the skin. It can last for weeks or even months and is not likely to resolve on its own. It’s too deep for topical medications to be effective and often requires an antibiotic. If this doesn’t work, your dermatologist might prescribe Isotretinoin, an oral acne medication.

Cysts

You might have cystic acne if touching it feels painful. It’s softer than nodular acne. Cystic acne causes are varied but almost always include an infection deep within the skin. This is the most challenging acne to treat and will require oral medication with a topical retinoid. Sometimes a steroid needs to be injected into the pore to clear it out.

Acne is a condition that we all want to clear quickly (but often can’t) with topical over-the-counter medications. Many types of acne require a dermatologist prescription for oral medication. It’s best to let a dermatologist check your skin.  If you’re suffering from acne, reach out to us today for a check-up.

What is Coolsculpting?

CoolSculpting is an amazing and nonsurgical treatment option to address stubborn fat in several areas around the body.

How does CoolSculpting work?

CoolSculpting uses freezing temperatures to help diminish stubborn fat. Most CoolSculpting treatments take about an hour and during the procedure, the provider applies the CoolSculpting treatment pad to the targeted area and cools the fat cells. During the cooling process, fat cells are killed while muscle and other tissue remain unaffected. This process is reported to have almost no pain due to the cooling effect of the treatment pad. However, some people can have the sensation of mild pain. In that case, we will numb the target area prior to treatment.

What results can you expect?

Coolsculpting has very little downtime, so you can return to your regular routine one hour after treatment. Some people report having mild soreness at the site of CoolSculpting, similar to that they might have after an intense workout or a minor muscle injury. After your treatment, it will take several months for the majority of the fat cells to be eliminated. Some people report losing up to 10 pounds of fat from one CoolSculpting treatment, which can have a very noticeable impact on the look of the targeted area. Our practitioners sometimes recommend that patients massage the treated area daily to increase the elimination of fat cells.

If you’re looking for an easy and hassle-free way to lose weight around your waist, buttocks, thighs, and more, book an appointment with us today by calling (888) 993-3761.

Which Sensitive Skin Irritants You Need to Avoid

During the dryer or older months of the year in fall and winter, an individual with sensitive skin may need to take extra precautions. You can prevent irritating your skin further and maintain healthy, hydrated skin by avoiding some of the following irritants.

Individuals with eczema, psoriasis and other skin concerns will already know these are irritants to stay away from. Hot water, strong or harsh body soaps, rough fabrics such as wool or synthetic fiber, and perfumes or fragrances can each irritate your skin especially if you have sensitive or dry skin. Taking hot baths is not recommended so try to limit your shower or bath to warm. Using harsh soaps can strip your skin of its natural oils. Opt for a non-foaming cleanser or a soap for gentle skin and limit usage to areas that sweat more. This can help prevent the loss of your skin’s natural hydration. Also, exfoliating your skin too much or excessively can create redness and rashes. If you typically exfoliate your skin often, it may be better to use a gentle exfoliant with alpha hydroxy acids. These can remove the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.

How to Diagnose and Treat the Most Dangerous Form of Skin Cancer, Melanoma

As skin cells which produce pigment mutate and grow, the risk for the development of melanoma arises. Melanoma is the result of a tumor very similar in appearance to a mole but can grow quickly and even spread to other parts of the body. There is a high level of risk associated with Melanoma in particular, over other types of skin cancer including basal and squamous cell carcinoma which are not as fatal.

What Happens During Your Examination

A diagnosis is made after your physical exam takes place where the board-certified dermatologist removes and tests a tissue sample. During the biopsy, your skin cancer dermatologist may opt for removal of the suspicious growth by punch biopsy or excisional biopsy.

If you have a positive diagnosis for melanoma, the next determination by your doctor would be the stage level and severity of the cancerous tumor.

Important Factors and Considerations

Your doctor will review the thickness of the tumor to determine whether it can be removed with difficulty or ease. The thicker the tumor, the more severe it is.

Another important check would be to ensure the melanoma has not spread to your lymph nodes. If this is considered a risk or possibility, your doctor my recommend a sentinel node biopsy. During this particular procedure, a special dye is injected where the melanoma was removed. The dye then flows to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are then tested for cancer cells. If the test is negative, the implication is that the melanoma has not spread beyond its original location.