What does SPF on a sunscreen bottle means and how much SPF is required for daily use?

The SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a measure of the protection against UVB or ultraviolet B light only. If you develop a sunburn after 20 mins in the sun, using an SPF 10 sunscreen will protect you up to 200 mins before you develop a burn. In practice, the amount of sunscreen applied is much less that the amount used during laboratory testing so the actual protection from using the sunscreen is less. Generally, we recommend an SPF of at least 30. Besides UVB protection, do read the sunscreen labels to look for the protection against UVA too.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

How is skin cancer diagnosed in Singapore?

If your dermatologist finds an abnormal mole or growth that appears suspicious, then a simple test known as a biopsy needs to be done. It is a quick test that takes 5-10 minutes and a small skin sample is removed after a quick numbing injection. 1-2 stitches are usually applied to close the wound and this will heal in 1-2 weeks. The skin is then sent to a specialised lab to be examined under the microscope by another dermatologist. Typically, the final report that tells you whether the mole is a skin cancer or not will be available after a week.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

What are some skin conditions that have scaly skin as a symptom? (photo)

There are a number of skin conditions that can present with scaly skin patches. Common causes include: Fungal infection. Fungal infection occurs when the immune system of humans cannot prevent a fungus from taking over the infected area. Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition where skin cells are rapidly building up, causing the surface of the skin to become scaly. Lichen simplex chronicus. Lichen simplex chronicus occurs when the skin thickens due to scratching or rubbing of the skin continuously. Contact dermatitis.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

What are the different types of skin cancer?

Yes apart from the most dangerous melanoma, there are 2 other types of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be broadly divided into non-melanoma skin cancer or the more dangerous melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer includes basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). BCCs account for vast majority of skin cancers and are most often found on sun exposed areas of people who spend a lot of time outdoors. BCCs are generally not life threatening as they rarely spread to the rest of the body. However, if left untreated, they continue to grow and can destroy surrounding tissues.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

How to recognise skin cancer?

Hi Yang Wei, It is excellent that you are taking steps to examine your own skin. This is what I'd always recommend all my patients to do in between their annual skin checks with me. The main abnormalities to look out for can be remembered as the ABCDE of abnormal moles: In addition, I also ask patients to look out for bleeding non-healing moles, and the “ugly duckling”. A mole that stands looks different from the rest should always be checked by a trained dermatologist.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

Can skin cancer be prevented?

Hi Shan Shan, The most important step everyone can take to minimize their risk of skin cancer would be to take sun protection seriously. Wearing a hat, regular sunscreen, avoiding mid-day sun and never ever going under a sun bed would be a good start. Routinely checking your own moles for any change and visiting a dermatologist every year for a skin check can also ensure that any abnormal skin changes can be picked up early.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

Is it possible for a cherry angioma to develop into a skin cancer?

Cherry angiomas are benign prolieration of blood vessels and do not develop into cancer. They usually do not bleed easily unless thay are traumatized. It is also unusual for cherry angiomas to be painful when pressed. Another cause of a vascular bump that bleeds easily is a pyogenic granuloma. This may develop following trauma to the skin. Cherry angiomas usually do not require treatment. However, if it continues to bleed and is painful, you should consider visiting your dermatologist or doctor to get it checked out. They can easily be removed by electrosurgical ablation.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

How can I ensure I get the most protection from UV damage and repair any damage already incurred?

Hi, To prevent further UV damage, avoid further UV exposure, use protective gears (UV protective clothing, sun-hats, umbrella), and regular use of high-quality sunscreens. Oral sunscreens may give additional benefits. To repair damage that has already been done, consider using prescription topical tretinoin and skin rejuvenation procedures. Effective skin rejuvenation procedures include chemical peeling, intense pulse light treatment and fractional CO2 lasering.

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Answered By

Dr Chin Yee Choong

Aesthetic

How do I identify and treat benign and malignant actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis commonly presents as a scaly papule or a small rough scaly patch, commonly on sun-exposed areas. The scales are typically described as adherent and are difficult to peel off. As the name 'actinic' suggests, this is due to excessive cumulative sun exposure throughout one's lifetime. Actinic keratosis is considered a pre-malignant lesion. Actinic keratosis is not cancerous but has the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer. Therefore it is important to treat actinic keratosis to prevent them from developing into skin cancer.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

During your skin check with your dermatologist, you will often be asked some questions and examined to assess your risk for development of skin cancers. This may include: Fair skin that burns easily History of severe sunburns or sunbed use Multiple abnormal moles Family history of skin cancer Conditions or medicines that suppress the immune system Exposure to arsenic If you answer yes to any of these, you are at a slightly higher risk of developing skin cancer.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

What do doctors do to test moles for cancer?

Thank you for the question. If a mole is suspicious or looks irregular, the doctor will do a biopsy and send the mole for histological testing. During the biopsy, the mole is removed surgically under local anaesthesia and the specimen sent for histology. Based on the histology, it can be determined if the mole is cancerous or benign.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

How can I differentiate between a plantar wart and melanoma?

Plantar warts are small and will grow on the heels or other areas of your feet that are often put to pressure. Whereby the pressured area will form a thick and hard layer of skin, causing plantar warts to grow inward beneath this skin. Because of this, skin lesions may appear. Plantar warts are caused by HPV. The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. In most cases, it affects areas that have had exposure to the sun. This is such as your back, legs, arms and face.

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Answered By

Dr Chin Yee Choong

Aesthetic

How do you know if a black spot might be skin cancer (photo)?

Hi, any pigmented skin lesion that looks suspicious should be consulted with your doctor. Signs favouring malignancy are: changing in size or shape with time ulcerating uneven color of the lesion bizarre appearance.

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Answered By

Dr Benjamin Yim

Aesthetic

What are the main warning signs of skin cancer?

Thank you for the question. There are different types of skin cancer. They can be divided into 2 groups - 1) Melanoma and 2) Non-melanoma skin cancers. 1. Melanoma or cancer of the mole is the most serious of the skin cancers as it has a potential to spread and metastasize and early diagnosis and treatment is crucial for a good prognosis and survival outcome.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

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