September 2018 - Page 2 of 2 - Zel Skin & Laser Specialists
skin checks minneapolis

Skin Cancers – What You Need To Know

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. An estimated one in five Americans experience some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Every year, more and more skin cancers are diagnosed and treated. The key to treatment is early detection through regular skin exams and spot checks.

Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex or skin type; however, those with a history of significant sun exposure or tanning booth usage and those with fair skin and eyes, and women are at a higher risk.

The three most common types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

The most common type of skin cancer. Almost exclusively caused by exposure to UV, basal cell carcinoma (‘BCC’) is usually found on sun-exposed areas like the nose, forehead, hands, and neck. However, it can occur anywhere. BCC commonly appears as shiny, smooth, dome-shaped skin growths with blood vessels; however, they can also present as red, scaly patches or even white-yellow growths. BCC’s generally do not heal on their own and may have a crater-like center that bleeds easily.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Also called “SCC”, these skin cancers result from exposure to UV over time. They are commonly found on sun-exposed areas like the face, lips, hands, and legs. However, they can occur anywhere on the body. This type of skin cancer can appear as a rough bump on the skin that grows quickly, a non-healing sore or a flat, red, scaly patch that grows.


A potentially deadly skin cancer, melanoma is a result of UV exposure as well as genetics. People at risk for melanoma include those with over 50 moles on their body, a family history of melanoma, history of multiple blistering sunburns and excessive sun exposure or tanning bed use, and those with a history of other cancers like breast or colon. When detected in an early stage, melanoma is easily treatable. If the melanoma is extending deep into the tissue or has moved around to other locations in the body, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments may be necessary to treat it. Melanomas that spread to distant locations in the body have a 20% five-year survival rate.

For all types of skin cancer, early detection is so important!

Making a yearly skin exam appointment and being diligent about at home skin checks help to identify pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions early when they are easier to treat. You won’t need to hit your Life Alert button, as all emergencies can be avoided with screenings. Wearing a daily SPF 30, broad-spectrum product as well as sun protective clothing prevents UV rays from penetrating into your skin and causes damage and skin cancer.

If you have a suspicious spot or would like to schedule a skin cancer screen, don’t delay. Appointments can be made by contacting our office.

Head Lice Prevention

Head lice prevention is as important now as ever before. Whether your child is heading back to school or you work as a teacher, nurse, or share helmets, hats, and towels with friends, head lice is an almost constant risk. Also known as pediculus humanus capitis, lice are not an indication of cleanliness. It is actually quite common, affecting an estimated 6-12 million children each year in the U.S.

If you contract lice, however, you may not know what to do. Below, you’ll find a guide to head lice prevention, symptoms, and treatment, as well as when to visit a dermatologist if you think you have head lice.


Lice Prevention Tips

Lice are passed from person-to-person. They need human blood to live, and the lice access this by crawling up the hair shaft and making tiny bites into the scalp. These bites can cause significant itching. The lice themselves do not spread disease. However, if a child itches their scalp vigorously, they may create an open sore putting them at risk for infection.

The best form of head lice prevention is to refrain from sharing hats, helmets, and towels. Lice can live in fabric for up to 48 hours, which means you should refrain from sharing these items with others. Additionally, keeping hair short is a good preventative measure, but it is not always enough to stop the spread of these annoying critters.


Head Lice Symptoms

The initial signs of head lice include severe scalp itching and the visualization of tiny light-brown or light-grey bugs on the hair, skin or clothing. Nits, or lie eggs, can sometimes be tiny yellow, tan or brown dots that are firmly adhered to the hair shaft.


Lice Treatments

It is important to treat your home after a known case of lice. Make sure to clean items, like brushes and combs, in hot water. Place items like bedsheets, pillowcases, towels, and even stuffed animals in the washer and dryer using the hottest possible settings. These will help eradicate the pests from your home.

Head lice treatments are widely available over the counter. They often include special shampoos, creams, and combs. Most cases of lice can be treated with at-home shampoos and lotions, with treatment spaces 7-9 days apart.


When to See a Professional for Head Lice Treatment

If you or your child has a persistently itchy scalp or a known case of lice that does not resolve with over the counter treatments, it is time to see a dermatology provider.

Additionally, sometimes the itching on your scalp isn’t lice at all, but a chronic skin condition like psoriasis. This condition’s symptoms include having an itchy scalp, developing reddish patches, and a dandruff-like flaking – similar to some reactions to head lice. If traditionally lice treatments haven’t worked, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist. They will be able to diagnose the itching’s cause and provide treatment options that work for you.

Zel Skin & Laser Specialists is an excellent place to receive treatment, whether you can’t get rid of lice or you suspect you have psoriasis. Our skin care specialists are the best in the area, and we’ve invested in the most up-to-date treatments available.

1 2


2 Carlson Parkway N., Suite 100
Plymouth, MN 55447

Book an appointment with us now!

Book Appointment