Chemical Peels for Melasma Explained

Melasma is a condition characterized by patches of hyperpigmentation usually located on the face. It is believed to be caused by an interplay of hormones or medications and sun exposure. Melasma is more common in women and may be associated with oral contraceptive use and can occur in pregnancy. Although less common, melasma can also be seen in men. Continue reading

Melanoma Monday: 10 Lifesaving Tips

Today — Monday, May 7th — is Melanoma Monday. Melanoma Monday is a vital day to increase awareness of the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Throughout the United States dermatologists are hosting educational events and free skin cancer screenings to help increase public knowledge about this insidious skin cancer. In Minnesota, Dr Mohiba Tareen is kicking off Melanoma Monday Continue reading

Have summer fun guys … but avoid those fungi!

Summer is fast approaching which for many means fun in the sun, swimming pools, increased gym time to get beach ready…. and an increased risk of acquiring the dreaded “athlete’s foot”. Not just a problem for athletes, “athlete’s foot” is actually caused by a fungus that invades and proliferates in the skin. It can spread to the hair and nails but does not spread internally. Signs of athlete’s foot include red, scaly patches on the bottom and sides of the foot, cracks between the toes, and sometime small little blisters. Continue reading

My Spicy Food is Making Me Sweat!

Recently, a Desi Dermatology reader posed a question about a problem with increased sweating after eating hot and spicy foods. This is not an uncommon phenomenon and serves as a good launching pad to discuss the issue of excessive sweating or “hyperhidrosis” in general.

Excessive sweating may occur in three patterns:

  • Under the arms and on the palms/soles.
  • Localized sweating isolated to certain body parts such as the scalp or forehead.
  • Generalized sweating diffusely over the body . Continue reading

The Common Culprit: Male Pattern Hair Loss

Hair loss is an extremely common problem in men seeking the care of a dermatologist.  It can occur in men as early as the late teenage years and can therefore be an extremely sensitive issue for many young men. In others, it may become more apparent later in the 20’s or 30’s. There are a number of possible causes of hair loss in men but most hair loss is due to male pattern hair loss or “androgenetic alopecia”. This type of hair loss results from the action of dihydrotestosterone on the hair follicle which causes it to miniaturize and close up. Dihydrotestosterone is a product of the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase acting on testosterone. Continue reading

The Silent Skin Cancer: Subungual Tumors

photo courtesy of New England Journal of Medicine

My patients are always surprised when I check their fingernails and toenails for skin cancer. “Doc, you can even get skin cancers under your nails?” is the typical question. Indeed, although rare, it is possible to get skin cancers, and even deadly forms of melanoma under the nail.

 Skin cancer under the nail may begin in many ways:

  1. A thin brown line that gets darker and thicker over time: this may indicate a melanoma, and requires immediate attention. Your dermatologist may evaluate for Hutchinson’s sign:  this is pigmentation in the cuticle, the nail fold (the skin on the sides of the nail), or even the lunula (half-moon at the base of the nail). If Hutchinson’s sign is present, a biopsy should be performed urgently.   Continue reading

Could my skin discoloration be caused by fungus?

Yes! Skin discoloration can either be characterized as hyperpigmentation (dark patches) or hypopigmentation (light patches) and can be quite pronounced in Indian, Pakistani, and other South Asian  and ethnic skin.  The skin can look especially uneven and in the case of light patches, many patients become concerned about the possibility of vitiligoContinue reading