The Importance of Skin Cancer Screenings

The Importance of Skin Cancer Screenings

The Importance of Skin Cancer Screenings

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a word that refers to a malignant growth on the skin that has the potential to spread if not removed. Skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

In the United States, skin cancer is the most frequent type of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma are diagnosed in around 3.5 million people each year. Numerous others have precancerous lesions that may develop into cancer. However, skin cancers can be cured if detected and treated early.

Skin cancer screening tests

Skin cancer screening is crucial for the early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers. Skin cancer screening tests are the most effective approach to identify melanoma and other types of skin cancer on the body.

People with a family history of skin cancer, who live in sunny areas, who got a blistering sunburn as a child, or who have fair skin may benefit from having their risk of developing melanoma or other skin cancers assessed. If your doctor determines that you have a family history of melanoma or live in a high-risk area for skin cancer and plan to spend time outside this summer, you may need more frequent tests.

The doctor will inspect all regions of your skin, including any exposed areas, during a skin cancer screening exam. There are two primary forms of skin cancer examinations: visual and physical.
Visual examinations examine your skin for worrisome patches, moles, or lesions using a magnifying lens. Before you leave the office, the doctor may take photographs or take samples from worrisome areas.

  • Since melanoma can grow anywhere on the body, doctors recommend undergoing a whole body visual examination and physical examination every year, even if you do not have risk factors for developing this type of cancer.
  • Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

    If melanoma has not gone beyond the skin by the time it is identified, it has a 90% five-year survival rate. However, if cancer spreads to other parts of the body, that percentage reduces to 15%, according to the ACS.

    The good news is that routine screenings can detect melanoma early — even before cancer develops symptoms.

    While the majority of persons with melanoma have a history of sunburns or tanning bed use, neither of these factors is required to develop this deadly form of skin cancer. Unfortunately, some melanomas do not appear as expected. That is why dermatologists recommend that you have your moles routinely evaluated by a physician who specializes in skin cancer screenings.

    If you detect an unusual spot on your skin — or anything that is not normal for you — call your doctor immediately.

    Determining your skin cancer risk

    You may be at an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you:

    • Are over the age of 40
    • Have moles on your body
    • Have suffered from one or more severe sunburns as a child or adolescent
    • Regularly spend time outside
    • Routinely indoor tan
    • Have fair skin
    • Are predisposed

    Skin cancer testing can save a person’s life. Early detection allows patients to receive essential therapy in a less invasive manner, preserving more good skin.

    The greatest way to avoid skin cancer and reduce your risk of non-melanoma skin cancer is to consult a dermatologist regularly. Recognizing it early is beneficial. In the meantime, feel free to visit our Pearl Dermatology blog frequently with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.

    Back-To-School Skincare Tips

    We know that this upcoming school year will be different from the years before. Some are returning to classrooms with masks while others continue with virtual studies. Whatever the school year looks like for you, we are here for all your skincare needs and want to make sure you and your skin are happy and healthy.

    Schedule An Appointment

    We recommend patients come in annually for a dermatology exam. We are happy to provide you with a full-body exam to check any moles or other suspicious spots on your skin. Bring any questions or concerns you may have about skincare and how to have healthy skin. Don’t hesitate to bring up anything that might concern you, as often a quick check can help diagnose any spots or areas you may be worried about.

    Another benefit of scheduling your exam before the start of term is even if you aren’t suffering from breakouts, a routine check-up can help you to start the year out clear and fresh. We can help you determine your skin type or type of blemishes and acne that have been bothering you lately. After your exam, we can discuss what beauty and cosmetic products are right for you and your needs.

    Make A Routine

    Even if your day is extremely busy with classes, work, or extra-curricular activities, it is important to take time out of your day to care for your skin. Creating a good skincare habit is crucial to having youthful, glowing skin. Your routine doesn’t need to be complex, contain expensive products, or take hours to complete. We can help you find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle.

    Do your best to stick to a routine. Though it won’t always mean you’ll have crystal clear skin, regular skincare habits can help you avoid painful blemishes and breakouts.

    Be sure to check your products regularly, as cosmetic products do have expiration dates. It is very common for eye makeup and lip products to grow bacteria that can become harmful, so be sure to toss out products past their date and never share products.

    Don’t Pop

    Though it can be tempting to pop a pimple, especially before a big event, popping your pimples can lead to scarring and may spread acne-causing bacteria leading to more breakouts. Instead, wash with a good cleanser and use topical ointments to reduce the size. They won’t magically disappear overnight. It takes time for products to work, but you should quickly notice a reduction in redness and swelling. By using products regularly, you can also fight off future breakouts and pimples.


    Exfoliation is a key to healthy skin as it works to remove dead cells, bacteria, and debris from the surface of your skin and keep your pores clear. However, it is important not to use an exfoliator that is too rough or to exfoliate too often as it can irritate, damage, and dry out your skin.

    If you have sensitive skin, we may recommend only exfoliating once a week while others may be able to do so twice. During your consultation, we can discuss which types are right for your skin type and goals. Always moisturize after exfoliating.


    During sleep, your body works to refresh and repair any damage accumulated throughout the day so that you can awaken ready for the day. Your skin is the same! Make sure you give your body time to rest. Studies show adults should sleep 7-8 hours a day, and growing children need even more.

    Choose Warm Water

    Even though hot baths and showers sound relaxing and inviting, the harshness can be too much for your skin. The temperature of the water can upset your skin’s balance by stripping away oils that keep your skin hydrated and healthy. It can also lead to inflammation, redness, dryness, and itchy skin. Instead, we recommend using warm water and moisturizing right afterward to lock in hydration.

    Reduce Your Stress Levels

    Unmanaged stress can lead to forgoing good habits such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, or remembering to follow a skincare routine. Though we know school and work can be overwhelming, it is important to try to be mindful of your stress levels for both your health and skin!

    With summer over, start the year off right by scheduling an appointment with our office. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and a regular skincare routine can make sure your skin is hydrated, glowing, and beautiful this year. For more information on our skincare tips or to schedule an appointment, contact The Pearl Dermatology today.

    Summer Skin Rehab

    Pearl Dermatology skincare for fair skin

    As summer comes to an end, it’s time to start focusing on how to repair sun damage and pigmentation that has accumulated over the past few months. It is also time to rehydrate our skin as the cooler temperatures begin to bless us with their presence. So, where do we even start? Our board-certified dermatologists here at The Pearl gives us the inside scoop on what to look for, where to begin, and what products to consider.

    First things first, start by revamp your skin care regimen.
    During the summer months, most of us tend to use products that help us control oil and shine and commonly contain active ingredients such salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and other neutralizing agents. These products can still be used as part of your regimen, but should be alternated with a more calming cleansers or products. These products will keep your skin looking hydrated and dewy instead of matte and dull.

    We recommend having a daily regimen that consists of the following products: gentle cleanser, antioxidant/vitamin c, moisturizer, skin brightener, and a powerful facial sunscreen. If needed, switch your daily cleanser from a normal gel base to a cream cleanser to help restore moisture and protect your skin from the weather changes that can cause dry skin. We recommend always using an antioxidant such as SkinCeuticials Phloretin or CE Ferulic. These two antioxidants serums protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays, blue light from our screens, heat, and helps diminish the appearance of discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles.

    It is also a great idea to transition to a thicker moisturizer in the fall and winter months. Look for active ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and fatty acids. These ingredients help rehydrate, soothe, and replenish dry looking skin. We love combining SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier followed immediately by their Triple Lipid Repair.

    If you have developed some pigmentation from repetitive sun exposure, it may also be beneficial to consider using a skin brightener. Skin brightners work to lighten the appearance of these new sun spots. Two of our favorite skin brighteners include Neocutis Perle and Glytone Brightening Complex. Skin brighteners are also a great way to begin prepping your skin for future laser treatments. By using skin brighteners before laser treatments, pigmentation can be further diminished than using just lasers alone. Consult with your doctor on which skin brightener would best suit your individual needs.

    Consider lasers to help lighten pigmentation.
    Our Doctor’s prefer to recommend procedures such as Photofacial, Photofractional or LaseMD. Patients typically need about 3-5 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart to improve the appearance of pigmentation, sunspots and photoaging accumulated over the summer months. If needed, these lasers can also be used to treat other areas of the body such as the neck, chest, arms, hands and legs. Some patients notice that as we begin to treat the face, their neck and chest become more noticeable aged. By treating multiple areas at the same time, we can create an even appearance with less pigmentation, improved texture and tone as well as an overall healthier appearance.

    Don’t forget your SPF
    A common misunderstanding in skin care is that you only need to wear sunscreen when you are out in the sun. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of our sun damage is accumulated from daily commutes and outdoor activities. We recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or higher on the face and an SPF of 50 or higher on the body. Some of our favorite brands include EltaMD, Revision, and Neocutis which offer daily facial sunscreens with tinted options and built in moisturizers.

    Stay Hydrated
    Drinking plenty of water every day helps keep your skin looking hydrated from the inside out. Even as the temperature drops and the air becomes drier, our bodies require us to rehydrate ourselves. A humidifier in your room at night is also beneficial. Remember, the secret to achieving radiant and healthy skin is having a good, consistent regimen that you use daily. If you would like to have one of our board-certified dermatologist take a look at your current skincare regimen or create a custom skincare regimen, contact our office at 713-497-1417. To learn more about the different services we offer, please visit our website at

    Skin Concerns: How Age Plays a Role


    During our teen years, coming of age often brings along with it many skin concerns. Our teenage years are when many of us develop acne and along with that comes oily skin. The T-zone is of particular concern and may seem to produce a never-ending supply of blackheads. This is when washing our face twice a day is introduced and teens often peruse the drug store isles seeking out the nicest smelling face wash. When good skin care advice comes from a dermatologist, teens tend to pay attention and start to make good decisions for themselves. Your dermatologist may also recommend a light chemical peel or treatment with a light source for an in-office approach to acne treatment. Acne scarring may also be of concern as a teen. Our dermatologists are experienced in both laser resurfacing and micro needling for the treatment of acne scars, in addition to several other procedures that can improve the skin’s texture. Hearing about the importance of sunscreen from a dermatologist can ease the pressure a parent may feel in educating their children about sun protection. Establish care with a dermatologist as a teenager and watch your skin concerns evolve over the years.

    our 20’s

    In our 20’s, life is busy and we have a lot going on! We may not appreciate the nice smooth, tight skin we have. If we start a good routine early, good skin habits are ingrained in us and become less of a chore down the road. If you are not already using sunscreen daily, then it is time to start. For routine daily usage we recommend using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This is the time to add a topical vitamin C serum into your skin regimen, which works as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation caused by UV rays, infrared rays, and ozone pollution. IPL (photofacial), chemical peels, and micro needling can all exfoliate, clean out pores, and stimulate low levels of collagen.

    After puberty, our skin may still suffer from hormonal acne and be on the oilier side, thus finding a daily sunscreen may be a challenge. Even though wrinkles are usually not of big concern, this is the time getting in a good routine, sun protection, and daily sunscreen will make all the difference in the years to come. Many of us don’t realize skin cancer is the most common type of cancer for people in their 20’s, making it ever so important to have a dermatologist you trust early on.

    our 30’s

    Our 30’s is when reality sets in…we will not stay young forever. This is when some insecurity may begin. This is the time when the aging process of the skin begins to speed up. Did you recently notice your first wrinkle? While the skin is still producing collagen and elastin, some wrinkles may become evident, skin texture may begin to change, and skin care concerns shift. Our eyes are usually the first place we start to notice signs of aging. Dark circles under eyes and crow’s lines become evident as our bone structure begins to change and we may think we look “tired”. Brown spots may accumulate if we weren’t great about sun protection as a child or teen.

    Regular use of a retinoid slowly builds collagen and starts to bank it for later. Topical antioxidants (Vitamin C & E) and sunscreens are essential to our skin care regimen. IPL (photofacials) are a nice low-down time procedure to eliminate brown spots and help any rosacea that may be brewing. A touch of neurotoxin (Botox or Dysport) is also a good idea, as we now know neurotoxin can prevent the formation of deep lines down the road. Fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm, can correct under eye dark circles, plump lips, and maintain good facial volume. This is the time when focusing on prevention is key, aka prejuvenation. The time is now to create a reservoir of collagen in our skin with procedures such as Ultherapy, which is safe in all skin tones.

    our 40’s

    Our 40’s is when we really start to feel like we look our age. Wrinkles become deeper, volume loss is more obvious, skin texture changes, and skin laxity starts to creep in. Thus, by our 40’s we should be using a good anti-aging skin care regimen with a retinoid, antioxidant, peptides, and growth factors. Laser skin resurfacing and injectable fillers (Sculptra, Voluma, Restylane, and Juvederm) can really help to refresh our look and neurotoxins continue to play an important role in further prevention and correction of lines. Regular skin tightening procedures such as Ultherapy are optimal for prevention of skin laxity. Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing can be used to tighten skin on the upper and lower eyelids. Maintenance is key!

    our 50’s

    Our 50’s are a time of direction and comfort; however, we may feel the need to look as good as we feel. We may also feel insecure in the work place and want to keep up appearances with our younger colleagues. Some concerns in our 50’s are deeper lines, volume loss, skin laxity on the face and body, and leg veins. With these concerns thankfully come solutions. We can offer the best of facial re-volumization with fillers such as Sculptra, Voluma, Restylane Lyft, and others. Skin tightening with Ultherapy and pairing Ultherapy with Sculptra can turn back the clock on the aging décolletage, face, neck and even the buttock, thighs, and arms. Neurotoxins continue to be effective and can be injected into the neck’s platysmal bands for smoothening. More aggressive laser resurfacing with a CO2 laser may also be appealing starting in the 50’s.

    Our 60’s & 70’s

    In your 60’s & 70’s you may be delighting in the joy of retirement. But just because you are taking it easy, doesn’t mean you want to look retired. In your 60’s, your skin is noticeably lax, thinner and drier than in years past. The natural aging process takes a more visible toll on the body, but with the help of experts, you can rejuvenate your skin and take years off your appearance! It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

    Some of the most frequent concerns expressed by patients age 60 and older are saggy, creepy, dull sallow skin. Wrinkles, thin lips, eye bags, and volume loss are continued concerns. Full face fractionated CO2 lasers can literally iron out wrinkles and give you back creamy healthy looking skin. Ultherapy tightens the face and neck and lifts the brows. Fillers and neurotoxins continue to keep you looking fresh. Our board certified dermatologists can skillfully select a combination of services to give you the best possible outcome in the shortest period of time. A long-term plan with maintenance is the key to keeping you looking great in the years to come.

    Please contact our offices for more information or to schedule your appointment.


    Tropical Travel Tips from Your Derms

    The Pearl Dermatology tropical travel tips

    Are you beginning to plan for your next tropical getaway? Before you go make sure to pack your bag with some of our favorite derm picks to keep your skin safe and protected. Let’s think of what our skin might encounter as we head south … sun, water, citrus, & insects. Some of the most popular winter getaway vacations for those of us in the States include Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, southeastern Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. Not only do these destinations share gorgeous sandy beaches, water, and wildlife, they are also located close to the equator. The closer your vacay spot is to the equator, the more intense the sun’s rays become. Thus making it easier and faster for your skin to become burned.

    First things first, sunburns increase the risk for skin cancer and skin aging, so make sure to come prepared with plenty of sunscreen! We recommend our patients use mineral based sunscreens, ie those containing zinc and/or titanium aka physical blockers. Physical blockers are preferred as they are less likely to cause skin irritation vs chemical based sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, or PABA). Look for physical blockers with nanotechnology, such as micronized zinc, which reduces the white chalky appearance of sunscreen and gives the sunscreen a more cosmetically elegant feel. Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before heading outdoors as it will need time to form a barrier to protect your skin. Make sure to apply a thick enough layer. A “shot glass” size of sunscreen is the amount needed for an average adult. Reapply every 90-120 minutes and/or after getting wet.

    For the face, avoid aerosol sunscreens as they can cause eye and airway irritation. Instead choose oil-free creams, lotions, or sticks. My favorite is Elta MD Clear SPF 46, it great for acne, sensitive, and pigment-prone skin. It goes on white, rubs in clear in seconds, feels silky, and will not yellow your white swimsuit or clothing. If you have acne, consider using Elta MD Clear on other acne-prone areas such as the neck, chest, and upper back. For your body, reach for aerosols, creams, or lotions . Don’t forget to protect your lips with a sunscreen containing lip balm. We wear Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35.

    Now lets turn our attention to the water. Whether your snorkeling, deep sea fishing, surfing, playing in the pool, or running along the beach your skin is directly exposed to the sunrays from above and those reflecting off the water. Some of the worst sunburns I have seen in my patients occurred while snorkeling. If you are planning any of these fun activities, consider getting a SPF surf shirt (aka rash guard) before you go. SPF fabrics have come a long way and chic versions with SPF 50 are readily available. Check out Shopbop, Lululemon, Roxy, J. Crew, & Letarte. Also remember to pack are your favorite Jackie O shades and a fabulous sunhat. Look to Eugenia Kim, Eric Javits, and San Diego Hat Company for a broad brimmed sun hat or create your own inspired by some pinterest ideas.

    Let’s imagine you have been beachside for a few days relaxing, having some tasty margaritas, and practicing your best safe sun techniques. Then, you notice numerous little red dots have appeared on the back of your left hand and wonder what might be happening? It is could be phytophotodermatitis (phyto=plant, photo=light, dermatitis = skin inflammation), and your dermatologist sees this condition quite frequently in patients coming back from beach vacations and cruises. Phytophotodermatitis occurs when the oils or juice of lemons, limes, or oranges gets on your skin followed by sun exposure. It results in an intense inflammatory skin reaction leading to an intense red rash, which may blister, 24-48 hours after the exposure to the citrus juice or oils. The rash can be arranged in a line or curvy shape if the juice ran down your arm or little dots if the juice was sprayed on the skin while squeezing the fruit. If the juice was on the palm of hand and fingers it can produce a handprint-shaped rash if you touch another part of your body. A few days later, the redness fades and the skin turns brown.

    So how can you prevent phytophotodermatitis? Enjoy your favorite cocktail, but remember to wash your hands if consuming drinks or handling fresh citrus fruit while in the sun. If you think you accidentally touched your skin with a citrusy hand, then go wash both areas with soap and water. Seek medical attention for any severe pain, itching, swelling, or blistering. The brown pigmentation that remains after the redness has resolved can be improved with a prescription skin brightener and/or laser procedures from your board certified dermatologist back in the States.

    Finally, don’t forget many of these tropical locals have insects such as no-see-ums, sand flies, and mosquitos. When traveling to areas containing mosquitos capable of transmitting viruses like Zika, Dengue fever, & Chikungunya, make sure to pack insect repellant. The CDC recommends insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil. Just remember to apply your insect repellant on TOP of your sunscreen, keep windows and doors closed at night, and if your hotel room is not well sealed/screened, then consider sleeping under bed nets.