What is a dermatologist? A dermatologist is certified by the American Board of Dermatology. They are experts in caring for normal skin and the prevention of skin diseases and skin cancer. They treat children and adults in whole-body care as well as disorders of the skin, mouth, hair, mucous membranes, and nails. Whether a person is experiencing skin problems or not, dermatology care is an important part of a routine healthcare regimen.

Yearly skin checks are recommended to rule out skin cancer, and an appointment can be easily set up in Sterling Heights to establish a baseline skin evaluation. Even children as young as one year of age can benefit greatly from an annual skin check. It is never too early to start routine dermatologist visits. Often, an appointment with a dermatologist is sought out when a disorder such as acne, a rash, nail fungus, or other problems arise. But it is important to note that even when a problem isn’t present, it is medically advisable for children and adults to visit a dermatologist regularly to ensure moles, birthmarks, or other skin abnormalities are evaluated by a professional to rule out skin cancer.

What’s Involved in a Skin Check?

A dermatologist often performs a skin check, which is an exam to detect any skin conditions that could be cancerous or could potentially develop into cancer down the road. Routine checks are advisable for children and adults at least one time each year to detect any changes in the skin that might be cancerous. Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer, and if it is caught early, it is one of the easiest cancers to treat. If a dermatologist detects some skin abnormalities that are suspicious, they can either remove them using pharmaceuticals, or they may order a biopsy to have a small skin lesion removed and evaluated in a laboratory.

Prior to visiting a dermatologist, the patient should examine their skin themselves, and be sure to point out any areas of change, abnormal moles, or other areas of concern to the doctor. A skin check is not the time to be modest. Examining skin even in the private areas is commonplace, and while it doesn’t seem logical, it is possible to develop skin cancer in areas not exposed to the sun.

Getting established with a dermatologist in Sterling Heights is easy, and once a baseline skin check is documented, the dermatologist can compare exams each from year to year, which will help ensure any changes are evaluated promptly.

Common Skin Problems Treated by Dermatologists in Sterling Heights

Dermatologists treat many conditions. Some may be very common, and some are quite rare. The key to working with a dermatologist is to for patients to develop a relationship and communicate openly regarding any skin issues with their skin care professional. Some common skin conditions treated by dermatologists include: Moles, Seborrhea Keratosis, Actinic Keratosis, Warts, Nail Fungus, Eczema, Hair loss, and Rosacea.

Some skin conditions that appear to be routine might need to be evaluated by a dermatologist because they can signify more serious conditions including cancer and celiac disease. Dermatologists can detect dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), an itchy blistering rash that burns and commonly occurs on elbows, knees, buttocks, scalp, and back. The rash is caused by an allergy to gluten, and consists of red, itchy lumps that appear in clusters, and eventually scab over. If DH is suspected, the dermatologist will perform a skin biopsy to confirm DH. A local anesthetic is injected and a very small (4mm) sample of skin is removed to send off for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Abnormal Moles 

The medical term for abnormal moles is dysplastic nevi. These are atypical moles with irregular features when examined by a dermatologist under a microscope. While these moles are not cancerous, they definitely need to be evaluated by a Sterling Heights dermatologist because patients with some of these unusual moles are more likely to develop melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Seborrhea Keratosis

These unsightly and common skin growths affect a high population. While benign, their appearance can be bothersome, especially when on the face, forehead, chest, or arms. What many people don’t know is that these unsightly growths can be easily removed by a dermatologist. The primary removal method is cryosurgery, which is actually freezing the growth with liquid nitrogen, which will get rid of it for good. The process involves a slight stinging, but is not extremely painful. Dermatologists recommend that patients who readily get these growths keep up with having them regularly removed to avoid the difficulty and painful situations when taking care of larger areas of skin containing these growths. Seborrhea Keratosis growths tend to increase as people age, so it is important to see a dermatologist routinely to keep on top of these easily-removable growths.

Toe Nail Fungus

Dermatologists can diagnose nail fungus by examining the nails of patients who suspect they have developed this unsightly, yet very treatable, fungus. Nearby skin is examined in addition to the nails of the patient because infections such as athlete’s foot can spread from the nails to other parts of the foot or hand. The skin care professional will take some samples by collecting debris from underneath the nail, or trimming off part of the nail to send off to a lab. At the lab, the samples are evaluated under a microscope to determine the root of the problem.

Once the condition is properly diagnosed, the dermatologist may prescribe prescription medicine that can be applied to the nail in mild cases. The drug will ensure fungus doesn’t continue to grow while the nails grow. The toenail will take about 12 to 18 months to entirely grow out and be free of the condition. It is important to use the medicine as prescribed, which usually entails application every day.

In more severe cases, oral medication may be prescribed by the skin care professional. This is a more aggressive regimen, and has a higher cure rate. The antifungal tablets work more rapidly, but may have side effects. Sometimes nail fungus is difficult to treat. There isn’t one treatment that guarantees a complete cure, and combining several different treatments can more readily lead to a complete cure.

Dermatologists can help patients with a variety of conditions. It is important that everyone make visits to their office a regular occurrence as a part of a well-rounded health regimen. Patients can set up a consultation with a dermatologist serving Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, and surrounding cities.