The Doctors dedicate an entire show to the largest organ of the body — the skin. Get the skinny on your skin with tips from The Doctors’ “Skin Dream Team” — board-certified dermatologists Dr. Glynis Ablon, Dr. Susan Evans and Dr. Sandra Lee.
How far are you willing to go to achieve a perfect tan? In Australia, injectable “tanning jabs” are being sold online through black-market websites.
The product accelerates the body’s melanocytes to produce more melanin, which is what determines pigmentation. The result claims to be a tan that lasts for months, but do the side effects outweigh the benefits? Learn the potential dangers associated with this controversial tanning method. Plus, see the safest way to obtain a tan without the risks of sun damage.
Shawndrea Thomas, a reporter for Fox 2 in St. Louis, is accustomed to staying on top of health news, but she was shocked to discover a particular cancer danger was affecting her own family.
In the summer of 2011, Shawndrea’s brother, Terran, consulted his doctor about what he thought was either a fungal infection or bruising underneath his big toenail. It was determined to be Stage 3 melanoma instead.
Since melanoma spreads rapidly throughout the body, Terran had his foot amputated and underwent a year of chemotherapy. Despite doctors’ efforts, the melanoma evolved into Stage 4 cancer and metastasized into Terran’s lungs and brain. He ended up on life support after a tumor ruptured, and he passed away two days later. Terran was 34.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 77,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2013, of which approximately 9,000 people are expected to die. Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in Caucasians than people with darker skin; however, people of color are often diagnosed at an advanced stage where the cancer is beyond treating.
“Sun is a factor, certainly, in the development of melanoma, but a melanoma can occur where the sun doesn’t shine,” Dr. Lee explains.
Melasma is a common hyperpigmentation of the skin that typically develops on the face but can also appear around nipples, between thighs and around the center of the abdomen. The overproduction of melanin causes the skin to produce brownish patches, which can be controlled but not cured. Melasma can affect anyone, but it is much more common in women, particularly those with darker hair and darker complexions. Melasma can develop from frequent or prolonged exposure to sunlight, but it is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” since the surge of hormones can trigger the condition, as well.
Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen to keep melasma from worsening, and various topical creams and gels are available in prescription and over-the-counter forms to help diminish the appearance of melasma.
Dr. Ablon demonstrates a laser treatment for melasma that utilizes different wavelengths to target both the outer surface and sub-dermal layers of the skin. Plus, see how chemical peels can be used to reduce melasma-related discoloration.
• See the results of the melasma treatments.
Losing Loose Skin
Heather, a mother of two, has struggled with her weight since childhood. After tipping the scales at 367 pounds, she made a life-changing decision to eat healthy, which resulted in 171 pounds of weight loss over the course of two years; however, Heather now has 30 pounds of excess skin “hanging around” to remind her of her former self. She wears girdles around her arms and torso to constrict the extra skin and make it less noticeable, but every night upon removing them, she “feels the weight come back.”
Controlling Allergy Triggers
Spring is officially here, and for millions of Americans, so are allergies. Dr. Ordon explains that an allergy is a sensitivity of the immune system to a certain substance that is normally harmless. While some allergic reactions can be life-threatening, the typical seasonal allergies are more of a nuisance, producing itchy, watery eyes, runny noses and frequent sneezing.
Whether it’s pollen, dust, animal dander or something else entirely, the particular substance that causes an allergic reaction is known as an allergen or a trigger. Get tips to control your triggers from allergy specialist Dr. Robert Eitches.
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