Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is dermatology?

A. Dermatology is a specialty field of medicine which focuses on conditions of the skin—the largest organ in the human body. Dermatology also supports the treatment of sweat glands and hair.

There are numerous branches of dermatology, from cosmetic dermatology which focuses on elective procedures to immunodermatology; the study of conditions of the skin caused by immune system problems.

Most people at some time in their life need the expertise of a dermatologist whether it’s for treating dry skin or checking pre-cancerous moles.

Q: What is cosmetic dermatology?

A. Cosmetic dermatology is a sub-specialty dedicated to good health and good appearance for a balanced approach to beauty. Cosmetic dermatology includes procedures to correct sun damaged skin to fixing appearances from acne scars and laser hair removal. Visit our services page for a listing of procedures.

Q: Is cosmetic dermatology safe?

A. The procedures we offer at Southern Tier Dermatology and Aesthetics have been proven to be safe and effective when performed by well-trained practitioners. Dr. Colleen Crandell — Board Certified Dermatologist and Dr. Curt Fenkl– board certified medical doctor bring practice experience in both clinical and cosmetic dermatology and skin cancer surgery. You can rely on the rigorous training and experience of every member of our staff at Southern Tier Dermatology & Aesthetics.

Q: What are the benefits of seeing a dermatologist for cosmetic procedures?

A. Many spas and hair salons offer certain services such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion to their clients. At certain levels, these procedures are not required by law to be performed under the supervision of a medical doctor.

There are abundant reasons to choose a medical doctor for cosmetic dermatology:

Medical grade equipment. Many salons or spas use the one-machine-fits-all approach. At Southern Tier Dermatology and Aesthetics, we have found that the more specialized the equipment, the more efficiently it works; providing better results. Medical oversight. We don’t take impulsive or uninformed risks with your health or your appearance. We’re trained to avoid injuries, burns or scarring, which may be more risky with under-trained practitioners.

Educated diagnostic abilities. To the untrained eye, it might be difficult to distinguish between rosacea and acne and eczema. If you can’t properly diagnose a condition, you can’t possibly treat it. And when it comes to your skin and the rising skin cancer statistics, it has never been more important to put your trust only in a medical doctor who can assess your risk factors, perform any necessary surgery and help you navigate follow-up courses of action.

Myth and Fact

Myth: I only need to make an appointment with a dermatologist if I notice something abnormal about my skin.

Fact: Seeing a dermatologist for a screening, even if there’s nothing visibly “wrong,” should be as important as any of your other medical check-ups. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a yearly full-body exam for most patients.* Screenings are non-invasive and painless. You should also perform monthly self-exams. A Southern Tier Dermatology & Aesthetics provider can show you how to do this.

* “Early Detection and Self Exams.” skincancer.org. The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2011. Web. 19 Mar 2012.

Myth: Skin cancer must be pretty rare, because you don’t hear about it as often as other types of cancer, like breast or prostate.

Fact: Skin cancer is actually the most common of all cancer types, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Even more sobering, one person dies from melanoma nearly every hour in the U.S. The good news? It’s highly treatable if detected early. In cases where melanoma has not spread, the survival rate is around 98%, according to the American Cancer Society.*

* “Melanoma Skin Cancer.” cancer.org. American Cancer Society, 2012. Web. 19 Mar 2012.

Myth: All melanomas are black.

Fact: Not all melanomas are alike; some are black, but others can be brown, reddish or tan. If you have a mole that has changed color or shape, you should see a dermatologist right away, as this can possibly be a sign of skin cancer.

Myth: Skin cancer only affects older adults; if I’m young, I have nothing to worry about.

Fact: Melanoma is the most common form of cancer among adults aged 25 to 29, and is the second most common form of cancer in those aged 15 to 29, according to research from the National Cancer Institute.*

* “Skin Cancer Facts.” skincancer.org. The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2011. Web. 19 Mar 2012.

Myth: Melanoma is the only form of skin cancer to worry about.

Fact: Melanoma is the most deadly of all skin cancers, but it’s not the most common. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common, affecting about 2.8 million people in the U.S. every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.* Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common. These “non-melanoma” cancers are not typically deadly, but can be dangerous and disfiguring if not properly treated.

* “Skin Cancer Facts.” skincancer.org. The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2011. Web. 19 Mar 2012.

Myth: I only go indoor tanning once in a while. The only people who get skin cancer are those who tan several times a week.

Fact: More and more studies are proving that even infrequent tanning can lead to skin cancer. A study from the World Health Organization reveals that people who began using tanning beds before age 30 are 75% more likely to develop skin cancer.* According to a 20-year study from Harvard Medical School that was released in 2012, women who used tanning beds as little as 7 times a year during high school and college were 73% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.**

*”Tanning beds now listed among top cancer risks.” USA TODAY [London] 28 JUL 2009, n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. ** “More evidence links tanning beds to skin cancer: study.” Toronto SUN 07 MAR 2012, n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

Myth: I don’t always use sunscreen because some sun is good for you; it improves your vitamin D levels. Plus, it’s pointless on cloudy days.

Fact: The truth is that after just a few minutes in the sun, most people have reached their vitamin D production limits for the day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and both UVA and UVB protection, even on cloudy days. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, your risk for melanoma doubles if you have had more than five sunburns at any age.* You can still enjoy a sunny day while protecting yourself!

* “Facts about Sunburn and Skin Cancer.” skincancer.org. The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2011. Web. 19 Mar 2012.

Myth: I have dark skin, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be affected by skin cancer.

Fact: While it’s true that people of color are less likely to develop skin cancer than Caucasians, they are more likely to die from it because of lack of protection and early detection. A recent study in Florida of more than 41,000 melanoma patients found advanced cases in 12% of whites, 18% of Hispanics and 26% of blacks.* Experts say this is because many people of color do not feel they are susceptible to the disease, and it’s not caught until it is too late.

*8 Painter, Kim. “Skin cancer also strikes people of color.” USA TODAY 11 JUL 2010, n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

Myth: I’ve had acne since I was a teen, and I continue to suffer from it as an adult. If I haven’t been able to get rid of it by now, I never will.

Fact: Adult acne is more common, and more treatable, than you might think. The causes vary from person to person. The experts at Southern Tier Dermatology & Aesthetics have a variety of treatment options on hand that can help. We also have numerous acne scar removal systems available, including DOT Laser Therapy, an innovative new laser treatment that can be done in under an hour.

Myth: Dermatologists only deal with the “main” part of the skin; you can’t help me with my hair or nail issues.

Fact: At Southern Tier Dermatology & Aesthetics, we are able to diagnose and treat such conditions as alopecia, hair loss, dandruff, Athlete’s foot and nail disorders. While not life-threatening, we understand that these conditions play a major role in a person’s self-confidence. We are usually able to successfully treat them.

Myth: Dermatological care is expensive. I really think it’s out of my price range.

Fact: Many insurance plans help cover expenses related to preventative dermatology.

Southern Tier is proud to have become a participating provider under more and more insurance plans as our practice continues to grow. We also have payment plans available to meet your needs. At Southern Tier, you’ll find that life-saving screenings and confidence-boosting treatments are priceless.