At Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia, now a part of U.S. Dermatology Partners, we are dedicated to assisting patients in the Centreville area with their skin care concerns. No matter where you live, skin cancer is a concern that requires daily consideration. While there are times during the day at which sun exposure can actually be good for you, encouraging the body’s natural production of the feel good chemical serotonin, it is also vital that the skin be protected during peak hours.
The dark side of the sun
Yes, some degree of sun exposure is vital to the production of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential and cannot be absorbed or encouraged through dietary choices. It is exposure to sunlight that synthesizes the production of this important vitamin, linked to optimal cognitive function and lowered risk of certain types of cancer. Sun exposure, however, can also be very damaging.
Damage from UV exposure occurs from the inside out. At first, other than a noticeable burn, you do not see the effects of excessive sun exposure. In time, the effects of the sun appear in the form of brown spots or splotches and broken blood vessels. Skin may also become saggy as elastin is lost. As concerning as these cosmetic consequences can be, they are no match for the extreme hazard of sun exposure, skin cancer. The term “UV exposure” also applies to tanning beds.
When to see the doctor
A professional evaluation at Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia should be scheduled if changes are noticed in an existing mole or if a new spot on the skin appears. Other symptoms of abnormality include bleeding or itching in an existing or new mole. Self-examinations as well as professional skin cancer screenings are an important part of maintaining healthy skin. To further assess an abnormality, one of our skilled physicians may recommend taking a small sample, or biopsy, for examination under a microscope. If skin cancer is detected, treatment is planned according to a number of factors.
Treatments for skin cancers may involve:
- Freezing, called cryosurgery
- Excision, or surgically removing the lesion using local anesthetic
- Application of topical chemotherapy
- Laser treatment to activate medication against cancer cells
If you are interested in learning more about the services and treatments we offer, contact Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia Centreville. We assist patients of all ages in our state-of-the-art facility. We provide medical and cosmetic dermatology solutions to men and women at both our Centreville and Sterling locations. Our Centreville location can be reached at (703) 222-2773 and is conveniently located in Suite #301 at 13880 Braddock Road. We accept new patients who are ready for quality, comprehensive dermatological care.