June 18, 2013
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Manicures can be beautiful. Pedicures, too! Who doesn’t love to have beautiful nails, especially over the summer months as we celebrate the warm, sunny weather with open-toed shoes.

Unfortunately, manicures and pedicures can pose some health risks that we want our patients to be aware of. First, bacterial, fungal, viral and even rare and difficult to treat atypical mycobacterial infections can be caught from going to nail salons. It is wise to only go to nail salons that appear cleanly. There is nothing wrong with questioning nail salon employees directly about what sterilization methods are used in the salon. Poorly cleaned instruments can of course contribute to transmission of infections. Therefore, nail salon customers may want to consider bringing their own nail care instruments to the appointment with them.  We also recommend that our patients avoid getting their cuticles manipulated or pushed back in any way. The cuticle protects the skin surrounding the nail from infection.  Breaking the cuticle (pushing it back or cutting it) can be a direct path for bacterial and other types of infections to find their way into the nail and surrounding skin. Another important tip is to avoid shaving one’s legs directly before pedicures. Microscopic nicks in the skin are a pathway for entry of infections into the skin. Of course, even with all of these precautions, infections can still be caught in nail salons.

A second major issue we would like to bring up is in specific reference to gel manicures. Gel manicures, which help prevent nails from chipping as quickly as they would with traditional manicures, are currently quite popular. They can be quite pretty, and who doesn’t enjoy a longer lasting manicure without those unsightly chips? However, the light that is used to dry the gel, unbeknownst to many gel manicure fans, is actually UV light. The lengthy dose of UV light used to dry the gel is known to damage skin cells much the same way as tanning beds, Assistant Professor of Dermatology Dr. Chris Adigun of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology says. “Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin cancer risk because the UV light needed to cure the gel manicure is a risk factor for skin cancer,” she wrote in a recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Something to remember, as well, for those of us women who are seeking to keep our skin looking young as long as possible, is that UV radiation leads to skin damage and skin aging. UV radiation not only increases the risk of skin cancer, but it also ages the skin of the hands, leading to unwanted sunspots and thinning of the skin.  Of note, LED lamps used in drying regular nail polish are not a health risk as they do not emit damaging UV radiation. Women who decide to proceed with getting gel manicures despite the health risk should wear sunscreen on their hands to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

Some physicians advise avoiding pedicures and manicures altogether, which is not unreasonable advice. For those of us who chose to continue obtaining manicures and pedicures, however, do so wisely and with caution. And enjoy your summer! 

May 14, 2013
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Our staff on Melanoma Monday.

L-R Kristi Stokes, Eileen Van Fossen, Dr. Florence O'Connell, Dr. Kendall Adkisson, Ileona Lay, Sharon Savage.

May 07, 2013
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 Today, May 6, is considered Melanoma Monday by the American Academy of Dermatology. Although we are just coming out of a 3 day non-stop rainy period, for those of us living in Florida, everyday is a day for us to remember skin cancer as we are constantly being exposed to the sun. In addition, many of us have family or friends who have been diagnosed with a skin cancer.

Melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer after basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. Although melanoma accounts for only 4% of all skin cancers, it causes the greatest number of skin cancer–related deaths worldwide. Melanoma can affect your skin only, or it may spread to your organs and bones leading to significant illness and even death. Early detection of melanoma, at the stage when it is thin and still localized to the skin, is the best means of reducing mortality.

Melanomas can arise out of preexisting moles or can arise “de novo,” or without association with a preexisting pigmented spot on the skin. The development of melanoma is multifactorial and can be related to multiple risk factors, including fair complexion (patients with red or blond hair and tendency towards freckling are more at risk), excessive childhood sun exposure, a history of blistering sunburns, an increased number of common or atypical moles, a family history of melanoma, and older age.

Performing monthly self skin exams is an important part of early melanoma detection as abnormal moles, generally thought to be the precursors of melanomas, and melanomas can often be found by patients themselves. Signs to look for in existing skin spots or lesions are nicely reviewed in what we call the “THE ABCDE's of Melanoma.”

A) Asymmetry – one half does not match the other half                                     

B) Border - irregularity – the edges are notched or ragged

C) Color – varied shades of tan, black and brown

D) Diameter – greater than 6 millimeters

E) Evolving – change in size, shape, or shade of color

The best prevention for all kinds of skin cancer, including melanoma, is to protect yourself whenever you are out in the sun. You should always use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater when out in the sun for more than a few minutes. It takes approximately a shot glass worth of sunscreen to cover the entire body. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. It should be reapplied more often if swimming or sweating.

At Intracoastal Dermatology, Dr. Kendall Adkisson and Dr. Florence O’Connell are committed to providing thorough skin exams and emphasize monthly skin exams and early detection. As the summer months are coming, be sure to protect your skin and get regular skin checks from your dermatologist.


In support of the American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer campaign, the doctors and staff at Intracoastal Dermatology participated in SPOT OrangeTM which encourages wearing orange in support of melanoma awareness.



Prevent. Detect. Live.TM 

October 22, 2012
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Protecting Your Skin from the SunToo much exposure to sunlight can be very harmful for your skin. Dangerous ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays damage skin, which leads to premature wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems. People with excessive exposure to UV radiation are at greater risk for skin cancer than those who take careful precautions to protect their skin from the sun.

Sun Exposure Linked to Cancer

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. To limit your amount of exposure to UV rays, follow these easy steps.

  • Avoid mid-day sun, as the sun's rays are most intense during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember that clouds do not block UV rays.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps which emit UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear hats and protective clothing when possible to minimize your body's exposure to the sun.
  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and area around your eyes.

Risks Factors

Everyone's skin can be affected by UV rays. People with fair skin run a higher risk of sunburns. Aside from skin tone, factors that may increase your risk for sun damage and skin cancer include:

  • Previously treated for cancer
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Several moles
  • Freckles
  • Typically burn before tanning
  • Blond, red or light brown hair

If you detect unusual moles, spots or changes in your skin, or if your skin easily bleeds, make an appointment . Changes in skin may be a sign of skin cancer. With early detection from your dermatologist, skin cancers have a high cure rate and response to treatment. Additionally, if you want to reduce signs of aged skin, seek the advice of your dermatologist for a variety of skin-rejuvenating treatment options.

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