Our team of professionals and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics, which can be found on the side of each page. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you.

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.


Acne

Acne is the most frequent skin condition seen by medical professionals. It consists of pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. About 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne. In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. Read More »

Moles (Nevi)

Moles are brown or black growths, usually round or oval, that can appear anywhere on the skin. They can be rough or smooth, flat or raised, single or in multiples. They occur when cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread out across the skin. Generally, moles are less than one-quarter inch in size. Most moles appear by the age of 20, although some moles may appear later in life. Read More »

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that creates red patches of skin with white, flaky scales. It most commonly occurs on the elbows, knees and trunk, but can appear anywhere on the body. The first episode usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 35. It is a chronic condition that will then cycle through flare-ups and remissions throughout the rest of the patient's life. Psoriasis affects as many as 7.5 million people in the United States. About 20,000 children under age 10 have been diagnosed with psoriasis. Read More »

Rashes

"Rash" is a general term for a wide variety of skin conditions. A rash refers to a change that affects the skin and usually appears as a red patch or small bumps or blisters on the skin. The majority of rashes are harmless and can be treated effectively with over-the-counter anti-itch creams, antihistamines and moisturizing lotions. Read More »

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes facial redness, acne-like pimples, visible small blood vessels on the face, swelling and/or watery, irritated eyes. This inflammation of the face can affect the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead or eyelids. More than 14 million Americans suffer from rosacea. It is not contagious, but there is some evidence to suggest that it is inherited. There is no known cause or cure for rosacea. There is also no link between rosacea and cancer. Read More »

Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancers, affecting more than one million Americans every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative. Read More »

Warts

Warts are small, harmless growths that appear most frequently on the hands and feet. Sometimes they look flat and smooth, other times they have a dome-shaped or cauliflower-like appearance. Warts can be surrounded by skin that is either lighter or darker. Warts are caused by different forms of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They occur in people of all ages and can spread from person-to-person and from one part of the body to another. Warts are benign (noncancerous) and generally painless. Read More »

Wrinkles

Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. They occur most frequently in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, back of the hands and forearms. Over time, skin gets thinner, drier and less elastic. Ultimately, this causes wrinkles - either fine lines or deep furrows. In addition to sun exposure, premature aging of the skin is associated with smoking, heredity and skin type (higher incidence among people with fair hair, blue-eyes and light skin). Read More »

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People of color: This term refers to diverse skin colors and includes people of African, Asian, Latino, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Native American descent.

People of all colors, including those with brown and black skin, get skin cancer. Even if you never sunburn, you can get skin cancer.

When skin cancer develops in people of color, it’s often in a late stage when diagnosed. This can be deadly when the person has melanoma, a type of skin cancer that can spread quickly. Treatment for any type of skin cancer can be difficult in the late stages.

The good news is you can find skin cancer early. Found early, most skin cancers, including melanoma, can be cured.

There’s also a lot you can do to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.

Ask the person who cuts your hair to tell you if you have a growth or odd-looking spot on your scalp.
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How people of color can find skin cancer

Because skin cancer begins on the skin, this cancer can be found early. The best way to find skin cancer is to check your own skin.

Here’s what dermatologists recommend for people who have skin of color:

What you can do
Skin self-exam: This is a full body exam of your skin
What you need
A full-length mirror and a partner or handheld mirror
When
Monthly
What to look for

People who have skin of color want to look for the following:
  • Dark spot, growth, or darker patch of skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way
  • Sore that won’t heal — or heals and returns
  • Sore that has a hard time healing, especially if the sore appears in a scar or on skin that was injured in the past
  • Patch of skin that feels rough and dry
  • Dark line underneath or around a fingernail or toenail
How to check your skin
  • Look at your skin from head to toe
  • Examine hard-to-see areas like the top of your head and back by using a handheld mirror or asking a partner to check these areas.
Where to look closely
  • Check places that get little sun — the bottoms of your feet, toenails, lower legs, groin, and buttocks.
  • Spend time looking at the skin on your head, neck, and hands. Be sure to look inside your mouth, examine your palms, and check for dark lines around and underneath your fingernails.
What to do if you find something See a dermatologist. You can find a dermatologist near you by using Find a Dermatologist.
Why this is important Performed monthly, you can find changes to the spots on your skin, which could be skin cancer. When treated early, treatment often cures skin cancer. In the later stages, skin cancer can turn deadly and treatment can be difficult.

Pictures of skin cancer in people of color

The following pictures show some examples of what skin cancer can look like in people of color.

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Skin cancer in Asians: The most common sign of skin cancer in Asians is often a roundish, raised brown or black growth. Skin cancer also shows up in other ways, so be sure to check your skin carefully.
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  Photo courtesy of Calvin O. McCall, MD, FAAD
Photo courtesy of Calvin O. McCall, MD, FAAD

Skin cancer in blacks: In people with brown or black skin, skin cancer often develops on parts of the body that get less sun like the bottom of the foot, lower leg, and palms. Skin cancer may also begin under a nail, around the anus, or on the genitals. It’s important to check these areas.
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Skin cancer in Latinos: Skin cancer can appear on the skin in many ways, as you can see in the following photos. If you have a growth on your skin that is getting bigger, a patch of scaly skin, or a dark streak under or around a nail, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

How people of color can reduce their skin cancer risk

Dermatologists in the United States tell their patients with skin of color to reduce their risk of getting skin cancer by doing the following:

  1. Seek shade whenever possible. The sun causes many skin cancers.

  2. Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat can shade your face and neck. You also want to wear shoes that cover the entire foot. African Americans often develop skin cancer on their feet.

  3. Wear sunscreen. Yes, people of color should wear sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend that people of color use sunscreen that has:
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • SPF 30 or greater
  • Water resistance

  1. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. You want to apply sunscreen to skin that will be bare. Be sure to apply sunscreen every day — even on cloudy days.

  2. When outdoors, reapply sunscreen. You want to reapply:
  • Every 2 hours
  • After sweating or getting out of the water

  1. Never use tanning beds or sunlamps. These emit harmful UV rays, which can cause skin cancer.

When you protect your skin from the sun, you also reduce your risk of getting melasma (patches of darker skin). These patches are NOT skin cancer. They are NOT harmful, but many people dislike the way they look.
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Make a difference: Start checking your skin today

People of color have a lower risk than whites of getting skin cancer. But they still have a risk. Monthly skin self-exams can help you find skin cancer early when a cure is likely.


Images

Images 1: Thinkstock
Images 3 – 11 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Images 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(4):748-62. • Images 5, 6, 7, and 8: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;55(5):741-60.
  • Image 12: Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

References
Agbai ON, MD, Buster K, et al. “Skin cancer and photoprotection in people of color: A review and recommendations for physicians and the public.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70(4):748-62.

American Academy of Dermatology. “Dermatologists provide recommendations for preventing and detecting skin cancer in people of color.” News release issued February 4, 2014.

Gloster HM and Neal K. “Skin cancer in skin of color.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55(5):741-60.

© American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Use of these materials is subject to the legal notice and terms of use located at https://www.aad.org/about/legal