Summer Skin Care

by Dr. Samantha Robare, Board certified Dermatologist, Houston Skin Specialists | June 22, 2018

Summer provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of regular skin monitoring.  When skin cancers, including melanoma, are diagnosed and treated early, cure rates are very high.  However, melanoma can be deadly if it is not detected in time.  Establishing a relationship with a dermatologist with a baseline skin exam is the first step to ensure early detection of cancer.  Your dermatologist will recommend how often you will need follow up examinations based on your history, skin type and sun exposure.  They will also recommend testing of any lesions that are suspicious.

Until recently, our only test for melanoma was to perform a surgical biopsy by cutting out the suspicious lesion.  In my practice we are excited to be able offer an alternative to the surgical  biopsy with DermTech, a non-invasive “sticker biopsy.” This cutting edge gene express technology gives us the ability to test the skin cells of a worrisome spot without actually cutting the skin or leaving a scar.

The DermTech test is able to detect even the earliest genomic changes that indicate whether a mole or other pigmented growth is at high risk for melanoma.

I have seen a number of patients who have had multiple biopsies resulting in numerous scars.  DermTech is an effective tool that provides the opportunity to avoid such scars unless absolutely necessary.  It is a very simple way to determine whether or not a mole truly needs to be removed.  This test helps us to tailor our treatment choices specifically for each of our patients.

As the field of dermatology continues to advance, the most important first steps still lie in the hands of our patients.  First, establish care with a dermatologist.  Second, take appropriate measures to avoid excessive UV exposure, such as wearing sunscreen and avoiding midday sun exposure.  Finally, watch your moles and alert your dermatologist of any new or changing spots on your skin.