By Nick Burns for Style + Tech For Men
Think of your skin as an expensive car. When it has a dent, a scratch or chipped paint, you take it to a body shop for some repairs and detailing. So why not seek the help of a dermatologist to remove those lumps, bumps and spots from your own body?
We sought the advice of Dr. Seth L. Matarasso, a cosmetic dermatologist in San Francisco and a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, for some professional advice.
“It’s important to get your moles checked annually, as they could be a form of skin cancer,” says Matarasso. If you get a mole removed, your doctor should send it to a lab to determine if it is dangerous or benign.
The Treatment:While there are science-fiction-worthy lasers to zap away moles, Matarasso says you don’t need them. Cutting or shaving them off are still the preferred methods of dermatologists — and will cost you a lot less.
Cost: $150, often covered by insurance.
Warts are perhaps the most persistent of lumps. No matter how hard you pick at them, they grow right back. Like the common cold, warts are caused by a virus for which there’s no cure. Warts don’t just look nasty; if left unchecked, they can be passed to other parts of your body — or another’s.
The Treatment:“You have to remove the warts as they appear,” says Matarasso. “The only treatment is to destroy them entirely.” The most common method of eradication is to freeze them with liquid nitrogen, but doctors might inject warts with an anticancer drug called Bleomycin or Candida Yeast. “All the treatments cause the body to mount an immune response against the virus and create antibodies,” says Matarasso.
Cost: $150 per treatment, often covered by insurance.
Birthmarks are usually skin discolorations caused by abnormal bunches of blood vessels that result in a red spot (or spots) on the skin. Other forms are caused by extra pigment in the skin. “In some cases, birthmarks can be very debilitating or disfiguring because guys can’t cover them with makeup,” says Matarasso.
Treatment:If you have a red birthmark caused by blood vessels, the Vbeam Pulse Dye Laser can zap them away. The light energy passes through the skin and heats the blood vessels. The treatment safely shuts down the offending vessels without harming your skin, so there’s no recovery time.
Cost: $200 to $400 per session, depending on size of the treatment area (three to five treatments). Sometimes insurance will pick up the tab.
Nick Burns is one of the leading grooming writers in the country. He has contributed to The New York Times, GQ, Details, Men’s Journal and Esquire.com. He is also the co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face.