Have a questionable mole or stubborn pimple? Get them checked out at free skin, hair and nails health screening Saturday. (2024)

Have a questionable mole or stubborn pimple? Get them checked out at free skin, hair and nails health screening Saturday. (1)

Adult acne, melasma, keloids and vitiligo are common skin maladies that pose particular challenges for people of color. But getting access to professional help to treat those conditions can be just as challenging.

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin have teamed with Gee’s Clippers to offer free skin, hair and nail health screenings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the near north side barbershop, 2200 N. King Dr.

Dermatologists from Froedtert will address individuals’ concerns about that irregular shape mole on their back, that discolored fingernail or any other skin condition they may have.

Registration for the screening isn't required but people will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The skin is an important organ, says Dr. Shola Akinshemoyin Vaughn, assistant professor of dermatology at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. It’s the largest organ on the body, and it sometimes can signal problems in the entire body, she said.

Have a questionable mole or stubborn pimple? Get them checked out at free skin, hair and nails health screening Saturday. (2)

Certain rashes could signal a problem with a person’s immune system. And the first sign of diabetes can occur on the skin, a condition called acanthosis nigricans.

“We can tell people, 'You might be at higher risk of being insulin-resistant and developing diabetes,'” Vaughn said. “Those are the things that we would be looking for this Saturday.”

That’s why partnering with a barbershop to host the screenings made sense. Barbers or hairstyles usually are the first to notice something wrong with their client’s hair condition.

Vaughn said a lot of Black men can have diseases of the scalp and hair. They might not talk about it with their doctor but could be more likely to discuss it with their barber. This is an opportunity to be in places where those conversations are happening and provide answers, she said.

In its third year, the skin screening event grew from an observation Vaughn had about an annual national skin cancer screening event. The American Academy of Dermatology has sponsored the SPOTme Skin Cancer screening program since 1985. Of the millions screened since the program’s start, 90 percent have been White, Vaughn said.

“That kind of told me that there was a huge need to provide better care to our communities of color as a dermatologist,” she said.

Historically, dermatologists screen for sun-induced cancers like basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer. People of color “have lower rates of those cancers,” she said. But they are more concerned with other conditions affecting hair, nails and different skin diseases, like melasma or eczema, known as atopic dermatitis, which Blacks have a higher risk of developing.

Still, Vaughn said, people of color must be careful of melanoma of the nail.

“That is actually the way Bob Marley died,” Vaughn said.

The famed Jamaican singer died at 36 from an untreated but aggressive melanoma on his toenail that spread to his brain, liver and lungs.

This form of cancer often goes undetected because of normal skin color changes to the nails, especially in people of color, Vaughn said. One thing to look for in nail melanoma is “weird color changes,” she said. That could signal melanoma.

Nail melanoma may have multiple colors, like brown, black and red together and can extend onto the skin, rather than just stay on the nail. Those are warning signs a dermatologist can check and can be problematic if not detected early enough, she said.

While there are many conditions affecting the hair, for women, alopecia is a main concern. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley brought this hair-loss condition to the forefront. But Vaughn said hair loss can even result from a scar, which destroys the hair follicles.

“Once those follicles are replaced by scars, they can never come back," she said. "That’s a big problem, and it is really helpful to identify that early.”

The event will also be screening for traction alopecia, which Vaughn said is usually reversible if diagnosed and treated early. Women, she noted, may not know some of these high-risk hairstyles like tight braids, sisterlocks or weaves cause traction alopecia.

The goal of the event is education and to destigmatize what dermatologists do. The profession is more than just pimple-poppers or derma-fillers, Vaughn said. The profession is here to address all kinds of skin ailments. But people must also prioritize their skin health, which often gets overlooked like mental health, she said.

People will see a doctor for chest pain but won’t see a psychologist for their mental health or a dermatologist for their skin health, Vaughn said, adding most skin conditions are covered by insurance.

“People don’t realize how important the skin is to their overall health because they haven’t really been exposed to it,” she said. “We as dermatologists need to do a better job of teaching people that we are here for them. We want to help and these problems are important.”

If concerns arise during the screenings, individuals will be referred to Medical College of Wisconsin’s Saturday free dermatology clinic or to neighborhood clinics.

For more information about the screening event, call 414-454-5023.

Have a questionable mole or stubborn pimple? Get them checked out at free skin, hair and nails health screening Saturday. (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated:

Views: 5853

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.