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Susan J. Huang, MD

Dermatology Blog

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What is merkel cell carcinoma?

Friday March 21, 2014

I frequently hear people say that melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer.  However, merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) are arguably  more aggressive than melanomas as a group.  Fortunately, it is also a rare form of skin cancer.  These cancers are often forgotten about and can present inconspicuously.  However, they can spread rapidly and even after cutting them out, they often recur.  The first step is recognition of a suspicious growth which your physician can then biopsy.  If the biopsy shows MCC, then further work-up occurs, often in conjunction with an oncologist.  For a good intro to MCC, refer to our recent article here.

What is the second most common cause of hair loss?

Monday March 17, 2014

The second most common cause of hair loss (aka alopecia) is telogen effluvium.  This diagnosis is quite a mouthful, but it literally means shedding of telogen hairs.  Our hairs cycle through different phases and we normally have a scalp full of hair in different phases, with one of those phases being telogen.  Telogen is the phase where hair is normally shed.  In telogen effluvium, many hairs enter this telogen phase at the same time and are then shed at the same time.  This condition often follows stressful situations. I've met patients who have gone through surgeries, traumatic accidents, hospitalizations, and stressful personal situations which led to this condition months afterwards. The good news is that telogen effluvium usually corrects itself if the underlying stressor is removed.  There's a lot more to telogen effluvium, so if you want to learn more, check out this month's article on telogen effluvium here.

Tired of pesky varicose veins and spider veins?

Sunday March 16, 2014

All of us will age.  Hopefully we will age with grace and wisdom.  But inevitably, with age also comes new blemishes and findings on our skin.  One issue that becomes a concern are varicose veins and spider veins of the legs.  Some of us are predisposed to these veins through genetics. Others through our occupations, or having carried children.  Regardless, there are methods to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. One of these methods is a procedure called sclerotherapy.  It's important to seek out a consultation before embarking on this procedure.  A knowledgeable surgeon will be able to determine whether you are a proper candidate for this procedure and how best to perform this procedure.  Learn more about this procedure and whether it may be right for you through this article on sclerotherapy.

Atypical moles may be a sign of trouble

Saturday March 15, 2014

"1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer."  Thus runs a headline for the American Academy of Dermatology's SPOT Skin Cancer Initiative.  One of the deadliest skin cancers is melanoma.  You may wonder, what is the relationship between moles and melanoma?  It turns out that individuals with many unusual (atypical) moles are at increased risk of melanomas.  Furthermore, we know that around half of melanomas arise from preceding moles.  Thus, dermatologists recommend regular skin checks with a knowledgeable skin health care provider and also regular self skin examinations.  Knowing your skin empowers you to know when something is new, changing or otherwise unusual.  Learn more and empower yourself by reading this article on atypical moles.

Learning the basics about anal and genital warts

Thursday February 27, 2014

In our last post, we talked briefly about anal and genital warts and how they are the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.  In our latest article, we cover the must-know information about anal and genital warts answering FAQs such as:

What are anal and genital warts?

How are anal and genital warts transmitted?

What do anal and genital warts look like?

How are anal and genital warts diagnosed?

How are anal and genital warts treated?

What is the usual course of anal and genital warts?

Having anal and genital warts can be an extremely aggravating experience.  Many patients come in for treatments, but the treatments aren't always perfect.  Furthermore, most are accompanied by some degree of discomfort.  Treatment takes time and patience.  Think of it as a marathon, and not a sprint.

What is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States?

Wednesday February 26, 2014

Anal and genital warts, aka condyloma acuminata, are the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States.  They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes other types of warts as well.  The presence of these warts can be uncomfortable and can also lead to embarrassment for patients.  There are many different types of treatments in use.  Many are not perfect -- patience and a period of trial and error is often needed.  This week's article covers the various treatments that are being used for anal and genital warts.

Fitbit Force is causing a rash in some users. Learn more about this rash

Sunday February 23, 2014

Recently, Fitbit issued a voluntary recall of its Fitbit Force, because users were developing a rash underneath of the device.  The company suspects that the rash is allergic contact dermatitis caused by either nickel or adhesives in the product.

Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs after an offending agent comes into contact with the skin.  Contact dermatitis is categorized as either an allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis.  Learn more about these types of allergic contact rashes and their common causes here.

Learn more about squamous cell carcinomas of the skin

Thursday February 13, 2014

Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin are the second most common type of skin cancer, only trailing behind basal cell carcinomas (BCC).  If you read our previous article on actinic keratoses (AKs), you will recall that a fraction of actinic keratoses can progress into squamous cell carcinomas of the skin.  Ultraviolet light such as from sun exposure increases the risk of developing all of these growths.

Squamous cell carcinomas of the skin are often diagnosed by a dermatologist and confirmed by a skin biopsy.  There are several different treatments available, and the treatment depends on the specifics of your particular skin cancer.  To learn more about squamous cell carcinomas, click here.

Electrodessication and curettage can be used to treat skin cancer

Tuesday January 28, 2014

There are many ways to treat skin cancers including skin cancer excisions, Mohs surgery, and electrodessication and curettage.  Learn more about what this procedure entails and whether it is the right procedure to treat your skin cancer.  Additionally, learn how to prepare before having this procedure and potential complications here.

When is it right to get a facial filler?

Monday January 27, 2014

Wrinkles and the effects of aging can be softened through the use of facial filler injections.  The most popular type of facial filler is the hyaluronic acid filler. Popular brands include Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane.  Learn more about what hyaluronic acid fillers are, and how they are used through my About.com dermatology article here.

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