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Dermatology Services: FAQ

I need a cosmetic referral. Do you have the right doctors to help me?

Yes. The physicians at the UC Irvine Health Dermatology Services are world-renowned for their work in aesthetic surgery. Many of the most advanced treatments — such as Fraxel® laser resurfacing and Zeltiq CoolSculpting® — were developed with the assistance of our specialists.

We have more devices than most other academic centers in the nation and we provide national and international courses to teach other physicians to use them. Your experience with us will be based on good science and thoughtful treatment.

Can I care for my skin without spending a fortune on cosmetics and other products?

Save your money and stick to a simple skin care strategy.

There are only about five creams that are effective in keeping your skin healthy:

  • Good moisturizers
  • Bleaching creams
  • Retinoids (such as Renova or Tazorac),
  • Sunscreen
  • Some antioxidant lotions and peeling agents

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is a specialized method for removing skin tumors. During the procedure, the surgeon removes a thin layer of skin and analyzes it under a microscope. If the surgeon detects cancerous cells in the perimeter around the excision, the process is repeated until the entire area is clear.

The procedure takes place in an outpatient setting, and cure rate is estimated at 98 percent — the highest rate for the treatment of most skin cancers. And because only thin layers of tissue are removed, scarring is usually minimal.

What is the best treatment for skin cancer?

Skin cancers vary widely in type and aggressiveness. Our highly trained skin cancer specialists can advise on the proper course of treatments.

Mohs micrographic surgery is the best method for removing skin cancers occurring in sensitive areas such as the nose, eyelids, ears and lips. Immediate reconstruction can be performed on wounds confidently cleared of tumor.

Other techniques can be used for less aggressive cancers in other locations, such as topical creams to stimulate your immune system.

How can I tell if a mole might be cancerous?

Know the “ABCD” warning signs for cancer:

  • "A" refers to moles that are asymmetrical, meaning one side is shaped or sized differently than the other.
  • "B" is for borders. Irregular, jagged or rough mole borders may indicate cancer.
  • "C" is for color. If the mole has an unusual color or has multiple colors, it should be checked by a physician.
  • "D" is for diameter. Moles larger than a pencil eraser should be evaluated.

Check your entire skin every three to four months looking for these warning signs, and schedule a yearly skin exam. 

How do you treat psoriasis?

We have several experts who are recognized as leaders in certain psoriasis treatments, such as ultraviolet light, PUVA, excimer laser, new biologic and traditional treatments.

We also have an onsite clinical research center that allows us to offer some patients the latest experimental treatments at no cost, often before they are available on the open market.

Learn more about our psoriasis treatments ›

How do you treat rosacea and pigmentation?

Rosacea is a common inflammatory facial skin condition characterized by redness, pimples and broken blood vessels. It is often treated with laser surgery. The redness can be removed effectively with today’s laser technology, particularly the KTP and pulsed dye lasers.

Intense pulsed light therapy can also remove blood vessels and pigmentation while simultaneously toning and rejuvenating the skin.

Why does the sun damage skin and what can I do to reverse or prevent sun damage?

The sun’s ultraviolet rays elicit a response from the melanin-making cells in your skin, causing your body to tan to protect itself. Sun damage is cumulative and builds up over time, eventually changing smooth even-toned skin into weathered, blotchy, leathery skin.

These changes alter the way your skin cells reproduce, giving rise to abnormal cell growth and potentially skin cancer. 

Treatments can improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, chest and arms. Non-invasive procedures such as chemical peels help remove dull, rough skin, fine wrinkles and pigmentation. Laser treatments can treat broken veins caused by too-frequent sun exposure.

To prevent sun damage:

  • Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 every day, year round — even on cloudy days.
  • Apply sunscreen generously, starting 30 minutes before you go outdoors.
  • Use a lip balm with at least SPF 15.
  • Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt for additional sun protection.

How do you treat warts?

Warts vary in type, structure and appearance, and each requires a different approach.

Like moles, warts should be monitored by your physician for any change in color, size, texture or bleeding. Call us at 949-824-0606 if you have a wart that concerns you.

With your emphasis on teaching and research, what sort of experience will I have?

Our dermatologists work in an environment of learning, discovery and healing, and they focus on providing top-quality care in a nurturing way. Our nursing staff is professional and thoughtful. We treat all patients like family.

When you come to UC Irvine Health for treatment, you are being treated at Orange County’s only university hospital. Because we are always researching and learning new and more innovative treatments, you benefit from the latest knowledge.

Questions? Please call us at 949-824-0606. 

Make an Appointment

949-824-0606