Dermatology Blog
  • Inspect your Child’s Skin For These Types of Dangerous Moles

    Skin cancer can affect people of all ages, including children. Although melanoma and other forms of skin cancer are rare in children, parents should still be aware of the signs that could indicate problems. Fortunately, most forms of skin cancer are highly treatable if they are caught early.

    Skin cancer often appears as a suspicious-looking mole that eventually spreads to the surrounding tissue and other parts of the body as the cancer progresses. Even though most moles are harmless, any moles that look or feel abnormal should be examined by a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon like Dr. Weitzbuch. Here are specific, typical warning signs that parents should look for in their children’s moles.

    Growing Moles

    Some moles naturally grow larger as a child gets older and are nothing to worry about. However, a mole that grows could be a sign of skin cancer. This definitely may be the case if the mole grows rapidly within a short period of time.

    Color Changes/Unusual Color

    Moles can also sometimes change color and may not be indicative of cancer. Color changes in moles should still be checked out by Calabasas board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hal Weitzbuch to rule out any serious concerns. Cancerous moles are sometimes uneven in color and contain shades of black, blue, brown or tan. Melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, often appears as a black mole. It is important to note, however, that a harmless type of mole known as a Spitz nevus can resemble melanoma but should still be examined by a dermatologist.

    Large Moles

    Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser are more susceptible to becoming cancerous. Some children are born with moles that have diameters larger than seven inches and can completely cover parts of the body. Children who have large moles may develop melanomas before the age of 10.

    Asymmetry

    Healthy moles are generally round or oval-shaped. If the shape in one half of a mole is different than the other, this could be an indicator of skin cancer. Cancerous moles may also have jagged borders or appear dome-shaped.

    Having Many Moles

    Children usually develop new moles as they get older and may have 12 to 20 moles by adulthood. If 50 or more moles are present on a child, it is important to see a dermatologist regularly. Any moles that bleed are cause for concern and should be treated accordingly.

    Thanks to modern medicine, most forms of skin cancer can be cured if they are treated before they progress to more advanced stages. Parents can keep their children safe if they check their children’s moles regularly and are aware of the telltale signs of skin cancer.

  • How Sclerotherapy Treats Spider Veins

    As the leading treatment for spider veins, sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce the appearance and symptoms of spider veins in 2 months over the course of several treatments. Each session takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the severity of the affected area, and the cost per session varies according to how many veins require treatment. There is no hospitalization or anesthesia involved; every session occurs in the Calabasas office of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hal Weitzbuch.

    The Sclerotherapy Procedure

    Before starting the procedure, Dr. Weitzbuch will sanitize the treatment area with alcohol. Then, the dermatologist will inject a sclerosing agent into the affected vein, which causes the vein to collapse and the blood to flow through other veins. Next, he will massage the area to distribute the sclerosing agent. In the weeks after the procedure, local tissue absorbs the collapsed vein, and the vein’s appearance fades. Like all cosmetic procedure, sclerotherapy has certain risks:

    • Bruises.
    • Dark lines and spots.
    • Petechiae.
    • Raised red patches.
    • Small sores.

    There are also rare complications associated with sclerotherapy:

    • Coughs.
    • Headaches.
    • Nausea.
    • Inflammation.Visual disturbances.

    Post-Procedure

    Immediately after the sclerotherapy procedure, patients must stand, walk and move their legs to prevent blood clots. Patients should expect to wear compression garments from 1 week to 3 weeks after their treatment. Usually, individuals who opt to undergo sclerotherapy can resume most activities one day after the procedure. However, they should not expose the treatment area to the sun for 2 weeks after treatment.

    Preparing for Your Treatment

    To determine whether someone is a candidate for sclerotherapy treatment, the dermatologist will take a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam. The dermatologist will also look at the affected veins and discuss the outcomes and risks involved with this treatment. Before undergoing a sclerotherapy procedure, patients should tell their dermatologist if they are pregnant or smoke. The dermatologist also needs to know if patients take oral contraceptives, supplements, prescriptions or over-the-counter medication. If patients have allergies, cancer, heart disease or a blood-clotting disorder, they should inform their dermatologist. Contact CDC today to learn more about eliminating spider veins from your life.

  • Autoimmune Diseases like Lupus

    Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the body. Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is one type of lupus, which can affect the patient’s joints, lungs and skin. When lupus impacts the skin, it is referred to as cutaneous lupus. Often, people who suffer from cutaneous lupus show signs of this disease on their skin in the form of widespread rashes on their back, scaly patches on their face, sunburn-like flare-ups on their body or scaly patches on their face.

    Board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer specialist, Dr. Weitzbuch, can help individuals with rashes by determining whether their symptoms are caused by lupus or a non-related skin condition. It is common for people to mistake lupus rashes for an allergic reaction or rosacea. If the dermatologist diagnoses a patient with cutaneous lupus, there are treatments available to lessen the appearance and severity of these debilitating rashes:

    • Create a tailored sun-protection plan.
    • Demonstrate how to use makeup as a camouflage tool.
    • Determine if the patient’s lupus affects other areas of his body.
    • Develop a suitable treatment plan for the patient’s skin.
    • Provide non-irritating skin care products.

    People who have lupus are at an increased risk of getting certain cancers. This elevated risk is caused by the immunosuppressive drugs that patients must take to prevent the immune system from attacking the body’s tissues and major organs. These medications deregulate the immune system, making those who take it more prone to infections. Therefore, the dermatologist will check the patient’s skin for indicators of skin cancer during the appointment. The risk of cancer is especially high in lupus patients who suffer from discoid lupus, which causes chronic skin lesions. If discoid lupus sores occur inside of the patient’s mouth or on his lips, he has a higher risk of developing a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

    Contact Calabasas Dermatology Center to learn more about the diagnoses and treatment options for such conditions affecting the health of your skin.

  • Summer Sun Safety Tips

    Television public service announcements stress the importance of buckling up and avoiding distracted driving when getting behind the wheel. Most Calabasas drivers are unaware, however, that they also need to protect their skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays even though they are inside a vehicle.

    Skin Cancer Facts:

    Approximately 20 percent of Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. The majority of skin cancers are the result of damage caused by the ultraviolet radiation in the sun’s rays. More than half of skin cancers occur on the left or driver’s side of the body, and most of those are on the head and neck. This is because the side and rear windows let in approximately 63 percent of UVA rays.

    Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer:

    One of the best ways to limit sun exposure while in a vehicle is to install a window film that filters out up to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation without impacting visibility. Dermatologists also recommend applying an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen every two hours during long road trips. The best sunscreens contain a combination of UVA-blocking ingredients, such as ecamsule, titanium dioxide, oxybenzone, avobenzone, and zinc oxide. When riding in a convertible or a car with a sunroof, wear a hat with a wide brim to protect the face and the top of the head. Drivers should also avoid the temptation to prop their arm up on an open window and should wear long sleeves to shield the arms. A pair of quality sunglasses will help protect the delicate skin around the eyes.

    When possible, avoid going outdoors during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Sunburns and excessive tanning, whether outdoors or in tanning beds, should be avoided. Individuals who spend considerable time outdoors or in vehicles should perform a skin self-exam every month and consult a board-certified dermatologist annually for a professional skin exam.

  • Understanding Pigmentation

    Pigment, or melanin, is a polymer found in the epidermis. Some skin pigment conditions are easy to treat because the pigment sheds as the skin renews itself. However, topical treatments do not reach the pigment when it settles into the dermis skin layer. Treatment difficulties may also occur when there is a growth in the number of cells that make pigment. Those who have a skin concern can get help and proper treatment with a Calabasas dermatologist professional like Dr. Hal Weitzbuch, who can correctly diagnose and treat their pigment condition.

    Causes

    A variety of circumstances can cause pigmentation problems. Some common causes are overexposure to sunlight, pregnancy, genetics, skin irritation, acne, facial rashes, hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives. While rarer than the aforementioned causes, adrenal gland issues and prolonged use of hydroquinone creams may also lead to pigmentation conditions.

    Prevention

    There are certain steps you can take to address your skin pigmentation concerns. Patients should limit the frequency with which they exfoliate and scrub their skin to avoid irritation, which can worsen a pigmentation condition. Also, they should protect themselves from ultraviolet light by wearing sunblock that contains at least 10 percent zinc oxide.

    Hydroquinone serums and creams can aggravate pigmentation conditions, and they sometimes cause DNA mutations. Therefore, patients should only use hydroquinone products for several months at a time. Additionally, numerous products on the internet are marketed to people who have pigmentation conditions. Before using any non-prescription creams or treatments, patients should seek the opinion of a board-certified dermatologist. If the dermatologist prescribes a medication, the patient should follow the doctor’s instructions, keeping in mind that results may not be noticeable for several months.

    Treatments

    The patient’s diagnosis will determine the best course of treatment. Dermatologists often use peels, topical medication or lasers to treat freckles, non-textured age spots and lentigines. Laser procedures are ineffective and unsafe for treating moles; dermatologists usually suggest surgical removal to treat moles. Lasers are also unsuitable for managing melasma. Topical creams, microdermabrasion and light peels are more common treatments for not only melasma but also post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Patients who have a raised non-cancerous growth can have it removed with a hyfrecator procedure or liquid nitrogen.

  • How to Deal with Rosacea

    Several million adults who range in age from 30 years old to 50 years old experience a persistent redness across the cheeks and nose that often begins as an increased tendency to flush. This skin condition is called rosacea. In addition to redness, adults who have rosacea may notice bumps, cysts, small blood vessels and swelling on the cheeks, chin forehead and nose.

    Susceptibility

    Although rosacea can occur in anyone, those who are of Irish, English or Northern European descent are more likely to develop this condition. Typical rosacea patients are middle-aged females who have fair skin. However, men and some teenagers also suffer from rosacea.

    Complications

    People who have advanced rosacea may develop rhinophyma, which is a medical condition that causes the enlargement of the nose’s blood vessels and oil glands. As a result of this condition, patients may develop a bulbous nose. Approximately 50 percent of rosacea patients also experience eyelid inflammation or conjunctivitis.

    Triggers

    There are numerous triggers that can contribute to a flare-up of rosacea. Patients can determine their unique triggers by keeping a log and using the process of elimination. Two of the most common triggers are heat and alcohol. Therefore, patients should limit their alcohol intake. Some patients find that white wine and sulfite-free wine does not aggravate their rosacea symptoms as much as other types of alcohol, such as beer, vodka, bourbon, gin, champagne and red wine. Individuals who struggle with rosacea should also avoid hot tubs and saunas, and they should limit their exposure to sunlight and extreme temperatures.

    There are other rosacea triggers aside from heat and alcohol. Certain foods like chocolate, dairy products, citrus fruits, soy products and eggplants also contribute to flare-ups of rosacea. Caffeine, spicy cuisine, and hot beverages can also be triggers for this condition in some people. In addition, alcohol-based fragrances, topical steroid creams, facial scrubs, alpha-hydroxy products, anxiety, stress and high-intensity exercise may provoke rosacea symptoms.

    Treatments

    Rosacea rarely improves without treatment. Dr. Hal Weitzbuch, a board-certified dermatologist, can diagnose rosacea and help prevent this condition’s progression. In some cases, the dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics or prescription creams to minimize the patient’s symptoms. Once the patient’s rosacea is under control, the dermatologist can give the patient gentle laser treatments that are designed to reduce dilated blood vessels and skin redness.

  • The Calabasas Dermatologist’s Guide to Laser Hair Removal

    For 10 years, board-certified dermatologists in Calabasas have used laser hair removal to remove unwanted hair from their patients’ face, armpits, bikini line, forearms and legs. This effective, affordable and safe hair removal method provides results that last longer than electrolysis, plucking, shaving or waxing.

    Laser Hair Removal Candidates

    Although some lasers work successfully for dark-skinned people who have dark hair, it is easier to treat light-skinned people who have dark hair. Laser hair removal may not be the right choice for people who have fine blonde hair, gray hair or certain hormonal disorders.

    The Hair Removal Procedure

    During a procedure, the dermatologist uses a laser that delivers a targeted beam of light to the hair bulb and melanin, which is the pigment that gives the hair its color. Some patients may experience mild discomfort during the procedure. To ease any discomfort, the doctor can give the patient a numbing cream to apply before the laser hair removal treatment.

    Since hair goes through resting and growing phases, the patient will need to return to the dermatology practice for approximately five additional treatments, depending on the area targeted. Laser hair removal is not a permanent solution to unwanted hair. Therefore, patients will need up to four touch-up sessions per year.

    Preparing for Treatment

    Tanning before a laser hair removal treatment increases the likelihood of blistering, so patients should refrain from using any type of tanning method for two weeks prior to treatment. Patients should also avoid bleaching, electrolysis, depilatories and plucking for two weeks before treatment. However, patients may shave until a couple of days before the procedure.

    Patients should not use makeup or lotion on the day of treatment, and they must inform their laser hair removal provider if they are currently taking any medication, including antibiotics. Those who are scheduled to receive hair removal on the bikini line should not wear dark-colored underwear to prevent laser-light absorption. Patients who are pregnant should not undergo laser hair removal treatment.

    Common Side Effects

    It is common for patients to feel a burning sensation, which can persist up to two hours after treatment. Some patients may notice a temporary pigment change in treated areas that lasts for as long as six months. Other common side effects are superficial blistering and swelling at the treatment site. In rare cases, patients may see bruising up to 10 days after laser hair removal. Scarring is not common; this side effect can usually be prevented by following all post-procedure care instructions.

  • Treat Wrinkles, Acne Scars and Skin Irregularities With Laser Resurfacing

    A board-certified dermatologist or skin cancer surgeon may use laser resurfacing to decrease the appearance of facial wrinkles, acne scars, blemishes and certain skin irregularities. During a laser resurfacing treatment, Dr. Weitzbuch removes damaged surface-level skin cells with concentrated pulsating light beams. The result is skin that looks smoother and healthier.

    Laser Resurfacing Candidates

    Certain people are better candidates for laser resurfacing than other people. Those who have shallow acne scars, facial wrinkles and fine lines may be good candidates for laser resurfacing. Patients who have unresponsive skin after getting a face-lift may also be candidates for this type of treatment. However, people who have a dark complexion, stretch marks or acne may not be an ideal candidate.

    Fractional C02 Laser Resurfacing

    Many patients in Calabasas have improved the appearance of their scars, warts, enlarged oil glands and wrinkles with fractional C02 Laser resurfacing, which is the latest CO2 laser resurfacing technology used by board-certified dermatologists and skin surgeons. This technology utilizes continuous bursts of light beams that remove thin skin layers without significant heat damage.

    The Laser Resurfacing Treatment and Recovery

    The process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the affected area. If the entire face will be treated, the patient may need general anesthesia; small areas only require a local anesthetic. Once the surgeon finishes the treatment, the treated area will be bandaged, and the patient will be allowed to go home. Most laser resurfacing procedures do not require the patient to stay overnight.

    After 24 hours, the patient must clean the treated area and apply a protective ointment four or five times per day to prevent scabs. The skin may sting or itch up to 72 hours after treatment. In approximately one week, the treated skin dries and peels. If the patient experiences any swelling, the surgeon may prescribe steroids or recommend sleeping in an elevated position and applying ice packs to the area. Most patients recover in two weeks. To cover skin redness, the patient may use oil-free makeup after the recovery period. Redness typically subsides in three months.

  • Mohs surgery

    Mohs micrographic surgery, sometimes referred to simply as Mohs surgery, is a specialized skin cancer treatment. The procedure involves removing thin layers of skin one at a time and examining them during the procedure until they no longer contain cancerous cells.

    What Is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

    Mohs skin cancer surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under a local anesthetic. The goal is to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible while preserving and minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue.

    Mohs surgery represents a significant advancement over traditional surgical excision. Traditional skin cancer surgery involves removing any visibly cancerous tissue along with a margin of healthy tissue. The excised tissue is then sent off for analysis to determine if the margins are free of cancer cells. If not, the patient may have to undergo additional surgery. The Mohs procedure allows the doctor to verify at the time of the procedure that all of the cancerous tissue has been removed, which increases the likelihood of a cure and reduces the chances that additional surgery will be needed.

    Mohs micrographic surgery is appropriate for many common forms of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and certain melanomas. The procedure can even be used on some rare forms of skin cancer. Mohs skin cancer treatment is especially effective in treating cancers that have hard to define borders, that have a high risk of recurrence, that are large or particularly aggressive, or that are located in areas where it is important to minimize the loss of healthy tissue such as the face or visible areas.

    Risks Associated with Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery:

    Every surgical procedure, including Mohs, poses risks, including:

    • bleeding,
    • infection, and
    • post-surgical pain and tenderness.

    In rare cases, patients may experience complications, including:

    • temporary or permanent numbness or weakness of the surgical area,
    • pain or itching in the affected area, and
    • keloid scarring.

    Choosing a Mohs Surgeon:

    Mohs surgery is a delicate and highly technical procedure. While many dermatologists offer the surgery, it is important to choose a specialized dermatologist like Dr. Hal Weitzbuch, who has undergone additional training to become proficient in the technique. Selecting an experienced Calabasas dermatologist with fellowship training in the Mohs procedure can reduce the risk of complications and improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.

    If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, contact Calabasas Dermatology Center today to determine if Mohs micrographic surgery is right for you.

  • What Does Ultherapy Do?

    Ultherapy is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure. Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production and lift and tighten the skin of the neck, chin, brow, and upper chest.

    Benefits of Ultherapy Treatment:

    Since the procedure does not involve surgery, there is no downtime. Ultherapy uses the body’s natural healing process to create firmer, younger-looking skin. There are no foreign substances involved, and the results look completely natural. The procedure can be completed in as little as 60 to 90 minutes, and patients are free to resume their normal activities immediately following the treatment.

    Ultherapy delivers the ultrasound energy directly to the structural tissues that support the skin. This gradually increases collagen production over a period of two to three months. The results can last anywhere from six months to a year following treatment. Many patients choose to have periodic touch-up treatments in order to keep up with the natural aging process.

    Who Is a Candidate for Ultherapy?

    Ultherapy is an option for patients experiencing symptoms of aging skin, such as loose skin under the chin and neck or sagging skin along the eyebrows or eyelids. Although ultherapy is not a substitute for a surgical facelift, it is a viable option for those who want a more youthful appearance but who are not ready to commit to surgery. While the majority of ultherapy patients are in their 30s or older, the procedure is becoming increasingly popular among younger people who want to delay the signs of aging.

    Safety and Side Effects:

    Some patients do experience slight redness, tingling, swelling, or tenderness of the treatment site; however, these symptoms are typically mild and resolve quickly.

    Ultherapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as a dermatology treatment after extensive clinical studies. Patients in Calabasas who are interested in ultherapy should consult with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hal Weitzbuch.