My first date with a dermatologist- what to expect?

My first date with a dermatologist- what to expect?

My first date with a dermatologist- what to expect? Not everyone has had a skin check with a dermatologist before. Quite often we get questions from people about what they can expect from a skin check. Should you prepare something? Do you have to get fully naked? How long will the examination take? We asked dermatologist Dr.med.univ. Amanda Zbyszewski to tell us what we can expect from a skin check.

BEFORE THE EXAM

Make note of any suspicious spots ahead of the appointment. Are there moles that are new, changing, bleeding or hurting? Skin cancer arises also on areas that rarely see the light of day such as palms, finger- and toenails, your genital area or even your eyes. Your dermatologist will take a look at these areas too. Good advice: remove any nail-polish and your make-up before your examination.

DO I HAVE TO UNDRESS MYSELF AT THE DERMATOLOGIST?

Usually, your dermatologist will have a specific procedure that systematically looks at all of your skin. Some dermatologists do a full body exam – literally – including the genital and perianal regions. Others only examine this area if the patient expressly requests it. I ask my patients to leave their underwear on, female patients to remove their bras. Every dermatologist uses a reflected-light microscope, also called a dermatoscope, to take a closer look at moles and skin changes.

WHAT IS THE DOCTOR LOOKING FOR?

Dermatologist are specially trained in the detection and treatment of skin cancers. There are four main types: actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. Actinic keratosis is a skin change caused by sun damage that can turn into cancer without treatment. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common skin cancers, while melanoma is the most deadly. For orientation the ABCDE rule is used to identify changes that need to be clarified (Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter, evolving/ new or changing lesion). Early detection of skin cancer is the key to the treatment with the highest chance of cure. If your doctor doesn’t find anything suspicious, the exam shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

POSE FOR A PHOTO

Basically, the whole body is checked with a reflected light microscope. This enables pigmented and non-pigmented skin changes to be analyzed. In addition, moles and other spots can be digitally photographed and compared at the next check-up (usually after 3-6 months). The images can also be enlarged microscopically, so even small changes can often be recognized early on. An advanced tool for high-risk patients is mole body-mapping. It can document all the moles of the entire skin by using a special software. At the follow-up appointment, new skin changes are evaluated immediately. Photodocumentation or Body-mapping are useful tools, but it`s also not something that every patient needs, it depends on your dermatologist opinion. An experienced dermatologist can identify suspicious skin changes even without digital devices.

WHAT IF THE DOCTOR FINDS SOMETHING?

If the dermatologist finds a concerning spot on your skin, a biopsy will likely be done on the same day. A biopsy involves numbing the area with an injection of anesthesia, followed by surgical removal of the spot. The specimen will then be sent to the dermatopathologist for evaluation. Results will come back within 10-14 days. If the spot is abnormal, it may require further removal in the dermatologists office. The earlier skin cancer is discovered, the better the chances for recovery.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DATE MY DERMATOLOGIST?

It’s generally a good idea to visit a dermatologist once a year. If you have a family history of skin cancer, you should even go for a check-up twice a year, as you run an increased risk of developing a melanoma. Additionally, if you notice any changes to marks or spots on your skin, it’s a good idea to turn to your dermatologist. Perform regular self-examination of the skin, allowing you to quickly identify changes. And, above all else, practice safe sun habits to prevent skin cancer from developing in the first place.

As a dermatologist I completed my medical training at the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Vienna. Even though I grew up in Austria, the land of mountains, I fell in love with the Oceans early on. Sun products became my best friends. The skin is our biggest organ, the only one we wear on the outside. It is the first line of defense. Your skin is worth protecting! That’s why I joined Spot The Dot.

©Video and photography by Manuel Peric
Copyright ©2021 Amanda Zbyszewski

Your Sun Protection Guide to Winterwonderland

Your Sun Protection Guide to Winterwonderland

The change of season also means an essential change in your skin care routine. Dryness, cold and wind are rough on skin and draw moisture away from the body. At temperatures below 8 ° C the sebum production stops completely. As a result, our natural hydro-lipid film on the skin gets broken up and the skin is more sensitive and needs more care. To protect the skin from moisture loss, you should pay attention to a rich skin care routine. Therefore, sun creams that contain less water and more hydro-lipid components are recommended in winter, to keep your skin in smooth and moisturized condition to combat cold weather.

Are you one of those people that don’t use sunscreen in winter?

Even on cold and overcast days, 90{7c4eb49cf454cc2d4885fe43f3376958306cd72e8ae4c4bfe6ad5606b38180d9} of the UV light penetrates the cloud cover. Less sun doesn’t mean less UV rays or less sun screen! Especially in winter, on sunny days, snow reflects up to 90{7c4eb49cf454cc2d4885fe43f3376958306cd72e8ae4c4bfe6ad5606b38180d9} of the UV rays (with every altitude of 1000 meters the UV-radiation increases by 20{7c4eb49cf454cc2d4885fe43f3376958306cd72e8ae4c4bfe6ad5606b38180d9}). So while you are comfortably driving up the mountain in the gondola or sitting in a traffic jam in the car and listening to your favorite song, don’t forget that UVA rays can also penetrate glass and find their way to your unprotected skin.

How do you protect yourself against skin cancer and sun-related skin aging?

Skin cancer is the only type of cancer that you can effectively protect yourself against. Therefore use sunscreen – 365 per year. For perfect protection use already a day care product with SPF (max. 30+)! In addition, daily creaming prevents skin aging as well as wrinkles and pigment spots. Warning signs of sunburn, such as burning or red skin, which we know from summer, are unfortunately less noticeable in the cold. Like in summer, body parts that you cannot protect with sunscreen need to be covered with clothes. But not only the skin, also the eyes suffer from extreme solar radiation. So don’t forget to wear sunglasses or ski goggles when doing outdoor activities.

Do you use the same skin care products in winter as in summer?

The change of season also means an essential change in your skin care routine. Dryness, cold and wind are rough on skin and draw moisture away from the body. At temperatures below 8 ° C the sebum production stops completely. As a result, our natural hydro-lipid film on the skin gets broken up and the skin is more sensitive and needs more care. To protect the skin from moisture loss, you should pay attention to a rich skin care routine. Therefore, sun creams that contain less water and more hydro-lipid components are recommended in winter, to keep your skin in smooth and moisturized condition to combat cold weather.

When was your last sunburn?

Whether a walk outdoor, the home office break in a sunny spot or a hike in the mountains – UV radiation and the number of sunburns are considered the most important exogenous risk factors for skin cancer. A distinction is made between non-melanoma (white) and malignant melanoma (black) skin cancer. The number of patients who develop skin cancer every year is increasing sharply worldwide. The WHO records between two to three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 malignant melanomas every year. The frequency varies greatly from region to region, but the increase among under 55-year-olds in Europe is growing.

You want to avoid going to the doctor due to the corona pandemic or there are no short-term appointments?

Your Survival Guide: Regular self-examination of the skin allows you to quickly identify changes. All you need are your eyes, a full-length mirror and good light. From head to toe- it’s best to start with the upper part of the body (head, neck, arms, upper body). Then focus on the lower part (butt, legs, feet and between the toes). For orientation, apply the ABCDE rule, with which you can identify changes that need to be clarified (Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter, Evolving/ new or changing lesion). If you notice abnormalities that make you feel insecure, you should show them to your dermatologist. In addition, some apps and teledermatology services are already on the market to aid your digital skin check.

As a dermatologist I completed my medical training at the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Vienna. Even though I grew up in Austria, the land of mountains, I fell in love with the Oceans early on. Sun products became my best friends. The Skin is our biggest organ, the only one we wear on the outside. It is the first line of defense. Your skin is worth protecting! That’s why I joined Spot The Dot.

©Video and photography by Manuel Peric
Copyright ©2021 Amanda Zbyszewski

Skin Cancer Prevention Not Only in May

Skin Cancer Prevention Not Only in May
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What do Bob Marley, Hugh Jackman and Khloe Kardashian have in common?

That’s right, everyone suffered from skin cancer!

The month of May not only gives us many hours of sunshine and awakens spring fever, but is also considered month of awareness in the fight against skin cancer. Melanoma (black skin cancer) is one of the most common malignant tumors. A distinction is made between non-melanoma (white) and malignant melanoma (black) skin cancer. Malignant skin tumors can usually be identified well during early detection examinations. If a skin change is detected early, it can be easily treated. For this reason, early diagnosis and therapy are of great importance. Nowadays, many people are aware of the risks of too much sun exposure – not mentioning solariums. However, tanned skin is still associated with beauty. Skin cancer is the only type of cancer against which you can effectively protect yourself. Most people know the do’s and don’ts. Use sunscreen (even on cloudy days), wear sunglasses and a hat or cap, and avoid the midday sun. And yes, you need sunscreen even in the shade. Children and young people in particular need special protection from sun exposure. Because sunburns in childhood play an important role in the development of melanoma later on. Every sunburn is one too many (not only in children). Skin cancer is an important topic for all of us, and it shouldn’t just be considered in May. Now off to the dermatologist for the annual skin check!