Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology, established in 2010, continues to be a leading provider of dermatology services in Northwest Florida. Offering patients 4 convenient locations along the gulf coast including Miramar Beach, Niceville/Bluewater Bay, Ft. Walton Beach, and Panama City Beach. Our Board Certified Dermatologists and Board Certified Physician Assistants allow us to provide a broad variety of surgical, medical, and cosmetic dermatological services to the residents and visitors of Florida’s Emerald Coast.
Do you ever wonder how to detect a potential skin abnormality or how often skin checks are suggested? These questions are asked frequently by patients and answered on numerous occasions by physicians. Our physicians reveal a few commonly asked questions from patients like you! Coastal Skin Surgery is now accepting new patients at all 4 locations. We Invite You to Discover the Coastal Difference.
Q. How do I identify a potential skin cancer?
A. Skin cancers are not always obvious and they certainly don’t come with labels. All skin cancers develop on perfectly normal and healthy skin. Many people understandably mistake an early skin cancer for a pimple or a wart or a dark freckle. Skin cancers can often masquerade as normal skin until they start behaving in an unusual manner, such as changing shape, color, size, or going through cycles of bleeding and healing. Sometimes, the presentation of a skin cancer is not crystal clear even to the dermatologist, and a biopsy is always necessary to establish the proper diagnosis in any circumstance. If you identify any new or suspicious lump, bump, or spot, then I strongly encourage you to see your primary care physician or to directly see your dermatologist. In the state of Florida, a referral is not necessary to see the dermatologist.
Q. Is this serious?
A. The majority of conditions seen in the dermatology practice are not serious and are treatable, so a very important first step is to put the patient’s mind at ease. Almost all rashes are mediated by the immune system and most of them are self-limited, meaning they will resolve on their own with time. The goal of a visit with your dermatologist is to determine the diagnosis and then determine treatment options to help clear the rash sooner than it would without treatment. Some rashes are not serious but can stick around for years or a lifetime (e.g. psoriasis); therefore, our goal is to find safe treatments that clear the rash and free the patient of symptoms.
Skin cancers, including melanoma, are very common and their incidence is increasing. In the vast majority of cases, simple procedures such as a surgical excision will clear the cancer. Only rarely, even in the case of melanoma, do patient’s need to see an oncologist for potential chemotherapy or radiation. An important caveat to this statement is that EARLY DETECTION IS KEY, which is why we advocate skin cancer screenings alongside the American Academy of Dermatology. Early skin cancers are generally easily treatable.
Q. How do I treat fine lines and wrinkles?
A. The best treatment is a good defense, so see sunscreen above. However, if the damage has already been done there are many considerations. A good skin care routine that includes a daily moisturizer (with sunscreen) and possibly Retin-A and/or Vitamin C cream can help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Wrinkle creams are great, but don’t expect a miracle from a bottle; no matter the cost. For wrinkles with motion, consider a neurotoxin such as Botox or Dysport. For deeper folds or wrinkles at rest, consider soft tissue filler or fractionated resurfacing lasers.
Q. How often should I have a skin check?
A. The answer to this question varies depending on your risk factors. If you have a history of skin cancer, excessive sun exposure, abnormal moles or are very fair, you should be screened more regularly, like once or twice a year. If you are without those risks, it is reasonable to perform periodic self-skin checks and be evaluated every few years.
At Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology, skill and compassion go hand-in-hand when providing exceptional dermatological care to our patients. Our highly trained team is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive care, while ensuring every visit is as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Contact Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology and Discover the Coastal Difference!