Newsletter from Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte: August 2015
Hives in Children
At the height of summer, it can be hard to tell why your child has itchy skin. Bug bites and poison ivy are common causes. An itchy rash could also be a case of hives, so it’s helpful to learn the signs.
In this month’s video, you’ll learn how to recognize hives. You’ll also find out how to ease your child’s discomfort and when to seek immediate medical care.
Some people get hives in the same spot every time. These people often have a trigger (what causes the hives). Every time they are exposed to that trigger, they get hives. This type of hives is called fixed hives. Some people develop fixed hives when they take a certain medicine or get sunlight on their skin.
- Hives: Signs and symptoms
- Poison ivy: Signs and symptoms
- Poison ivy: Tips for preventing and treating
Does eating citrus fruit really increase melanoma risk?
The truth is we do NOT know. Yes, that’s right. The researchers who found a potential link between eating citrus fruit and developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, say more research is needed.
Until we know more, the researchers recommend that everyone, including people who eat citrus fruit, be careful in the sun. Seek shade, wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun, and apply sunscreen. And, of course, stay out of tanning beds and away from tanning lamps.
You can learn more about what the study found at: Citrus fruit linked with melanoma in preliminary study
Academy resource: Do you know whether the sunscreen you use can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer and reduce signs of skin aging? You can find out what to look for when buying sunscreen at: How to select a sunscreen
Why join Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!??
Hiking has many benefits. It can help you lose weight, reduce stress, and enjoy the outdoors. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to nature and socialize with people face-to-face. When you hike with Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!, you can also help save lives.
Hikes are scheduled in different regions of the United States. You can also create your own hike. If hiking is not your thing, you can take a virtual hike. Start experiencing the benefits (real or virtual) by signing up today: Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!
Sunburn art can be hazardous to your health
Creating a design on your skin by intentionally getting parts of your skin sunburned may be the latest trend in body art. It’s also extremely bad for your health. While the design eventually fades, the damage to your skin remains. Sunburns increase your lifetime risk of getting skin cancer and accelerate how quickly you see wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin.
For the health of your skin, dermatologists recommend protecting your skin from the sun. To learn more about this dangerous trend, read: Experts warn against new social media trend called sunburn art
Academy resource: Prevent skin cancer
DIY skin care can diminish small, pimple-like bumps on arms, thighs
Do small, rough-feeling bumps on your arms make you cringe at the thought of wearing short sleeves? Do you avoid wearing shorts because you have these noticeable bumps on your thighs? You may have keratosis pilaris (KP).
These bumps, which often look like pimples or plucked chicken skin, usually appear on the upper arms or thighs. Some people have KP on both their arms and thighs.
Do-it-yourself skin care can diminish these bumps. To see what these bumps often look like and what dermatologists recommend, go to: Keratosis pilaris: Signs and symptoms and Keratosis pilaris: Tips for self-care
Study Finds Online Symptom Checkers Often Give Wrong Diagnoses.
Kaiser Health News (7/10, Bebinger) reports that a study from Harvard Medical School found that “symptom checkers,” in which users can enter information and receive a suggested diagnosis, “are accurate only about half of the time.” According to the article, the study examined 23 sites including the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, and DocResponse, and found that “one third listed the correct diagnosis as the first option for patients,” while half “had the right diagnosis among their top three results, and 58 percent listed it in their top 20 suggestions.”
NPR (7/10, Whitehead) reports that the study, published in the BMJ on Wednesday, involved giving each website “45 standard patient vignettes with symptoms consistent with medical conditions ranging from acute liver failure and meningitis to mononucleosis and a simple bee sting.” The study found that while results were 80 percent accurate in recommending medical care in emergency situations, the checkers were “overly cautious” with more routine illnesses.
Many People Still Confused About Sunscreen Labels.
The Wall Street Journal (7/11, McGinty, Subscription Publication) reported that despite the fact that the FDA now has rules for sunscreen labeling, many people are still confused about the labels. With regard to products with SPFs that exceed 50, Theresa Michele, director of the Division of Nonprescription Drug Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said, “It’s unclear whether higher SPF values translate into a benefit.” Michele added, “We’re talking about very small differences about how much radiation is let through.” The Journal pointed out that the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of no less than 30.
Products Seek To Limit Skin Damage After Sun Exposure. The Wall Street Journal (7/10, Lennon, Subscription Publication) reported that products intended to limit skin damage after time in the sun are being developed. However, some dermatologists are skeptical that such products can do much to reduce damage. Henry Lim, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology, said that there is a limited amount of time after exposure to the sun in which products could be potentially beneficial.
Expert Says Sunscreen Use Will Not Lead To A Vitamin D Deficiency.
In the New York Magazine (7/17) “The Cut,” under the headline “Will Sunscreen Give Me A Vitamin D Deficiency?,” Susan Rinkunas writes that although “it’s true that your body does make vitamin D when your skin is directly exposed to UV light, the sun wouldn’t give you enough without raising your risk for skin cancer (and speeding skin aging) in the process, says Debra Jaliman, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.” Sunscreen use will not lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Jaliman says, “This is evidenced by the fact that I have plenty of patients who don’t wear sunscreen and they go get their vitamin D levels checked and they’re below normal.” Rinkunas adds, “Neither doctors nor the National Institutes of Health recommend skipping SPF for the sake of vitamin D production, but Dr. Jaliman says the idea persists.”
Most Beauty Product Claims Not Considered Truthful, Study Suggests.
On its website, CBS News (7/29) reports that “a new study found fewer than one out of five” beauty product “claims was considered truthful by a panel of readers – and ads that used scientific language to describe the benefits were even less persuasive.” The research was published in the Journal of Global Fashion Marketing: Bridging Fashion and Marketing.
Woman Shares Story Of Skin Cancer That Could Have Been Mistaken For Nail Fungus.
CBS News (7/21) reports, “A young woman in England is hoping to save lives by sharing her story of a sneaky case of skin cancer that could have been mistaken for nail fungus.” In a Facebook post, the woman “said the black mark under the nail on her thumb ‘grew from nothing in a matter of weeks. I thought it was just a fungal infection or a wart. Sadly not.’” In a “recent statement,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and clothes that cover your skin. Find some shade if you’re outside, especially in the middle of the day when the dangerous rays from the sun are most intense, and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen.”
AAD President Points Out That Skin Cancer Rates Are Increasing.
In a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune (7/25), Mark Lebwohl, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, wrote, “I would like to remind Tribune readers that while the article ‘To screen or not to screen?’ alluded to decreasing cancer rates, there is one cancer where rates continue to increase — skin cancer.” Lebwohl added, “It’s vitally important for people to be their own health advocates by learning how to check their skin regularly and seeing a board-certified dermatologist if they notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on their skin.”
Lifting tax on indoor tanning sends wrong message
Seventy organizations, including the Academy, support the current federal tax on indoor tanning. The science shows that indoor tanning can increase a person’s chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, by 59%.
Keeping this tax can help save lives. Taxes on tobacco products led to steep declines in smoking and lung cancer rates. A tax on indoor tanning can help turn the tide on growing rates of skin cancer in the U.S.
You’ll find the Academy’s news release about this tax, which includes a list of the 70 organizations that support the indoor tanning tax, at: Bill to repeal tanning tax undermines public health
Study: Tanning Bed Use Declining Among US Adults.
The New York Times (7/2, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports that CDC data indicate that “use of tanning beds declined to 4.2 percent of American adults in 2013, down from 5.5 percent in 2010.”
TIME (7/2, Sifferlin) reports that the investigators “noted a drop from 11.3% of 18 to 29 year-olds using them in 2010 to a 8.6% in 2013.” The findings were published in JAMA Dermatology.
On its website, CBS News (7/2, Welch) reports that CDC cancer researcher Gery Guy Jr., the lead author of the study, “told CBS News” that “while the reductions in indoor tanning are encouraging, nearly 10 million adults continue to indoor tan at least once a year.” Dr. Guy added, “That’s 10 million adults who are increasing their risk of skin cancer. While this is a step in the right direction, it is clear that more work is needed to further reduce exposure to UV rays from indoor tanning devices, a known carcinogen.”
USA Today (7/2, Calfas) points out that although “the number of men using tanning beds decreased overall, the frequency of men ages 40 to 49 using these tanning beds was 177% higher than that of men ages 18 to 29.” USA Today adds that Dr. Guy “cited this finding as a reason more research should be conducted to understand the decisions that go into using these products among this demographic.”
Experts Warn Patients Should Use NSAIDs “Sparingly.”
The New York Times (7/14, A13, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports in continuing coverage that experts are now warning that patients should take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) “sparingly for brief periods,” as the Food and Drug Administration “warned last week that the risk of heart attack and stroke from widely used painkillers that include Motrin IB, Aleve and Celebrex but not aspirin was greater than it previously had said.” While experts say the risk is still relatively small compared to other health risks, it can still compound with other health factors to magnify the risk.
SPF Number On A Sunscreen’s Label May Not Always Match Product’s Effectiveness.
CBS News (7/21) reports on its website that “according to a new report, the SPF number on” a sunscreen’s “label doesn’t always match what’s inside the bottle.” For the report, “Consumer Reports evaluated 34 sunscreens and found that 11 did not have the amount of SPF protection the labels claimed, with an actual effectiveness ranging from 16 to 70 percent less than advertised.” CBS points out that guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology “recommend regular use of sunscreen and other measures to reduce the risk for burns, skin aging and skin cancer.”