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Advanced Skin Analysis – Finding All The Pieces To The Puzzle

How many of you used baby oil or tin foil to get a golden tan years ago? Perhaps you are wondering how much damage you did and whether or not you are at higher risk for skin cancer as a result. Some technology now allows us to view the skin under different light conditions that show us what we can’t see with the naked eye. It enables us to measure the damage and provides clues for predicting premature aging. Measuring pigment (melanin content) also allows accurate Fitzpatrick classification that helps determine your risk for skin cancer. Such tools allow for a more objective, complete analysis, but the value of knowing what questions to ask and what to look for on clinical exam should not be underestimated.

In the course of a professional skin analysis, after taking a medical and lifestyle history, conducting a visual examination, and noting areas of interest, the next usual step is to conduct reference measurements of oil and water in skin, melanin density, degree of vascularity (redness), and if appropriate, a pH test. You may ask how any of this would be beneficial to you. You need as many pieces of the puzzle as possible in order to get the big picture. Many skin problems are oversimplified and the “symptoms” are treated instead of the “underlying cause”. That is one of the reasons many expensive creams fail to accomplish what they ought to.

It is important that patients understand the complexities of their skin problems and are fully informed in their choice of treatment. Equally important is the need to know how a treatment is progressing, even when early results are not visible to the naked eye. This is where digital imaging and analysis devices can help. The Advanced Skin Analysis is your road map to your skin health destination, providing you less opportunity to get lost along the way. The key to successful treatment is accurate, early diagnosis.

Dr. Setterfield’s topic in the next issue of The Cordovan will be “Acne”.

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