Posts for category: Dermatology
Acne is one of the most common and yet one of the most challenging skin problems people face. We know how frustrating it can be to try one over-the-counter acne product after another, thinking you are giving your skin everything it needs to combat acne and then suddenly the acne returns. What’s going on? If you find yourself struggling to find the perfect formula and treatment options for getting clearer skin a dermatologist will be able to help.
From children to teens to adults, anyone can develop acne. Of course, when we think about acne we do often think about those adolescent years; however, dermatologists also see a lot of adults that are still dealing with different forms of acne. When you come in for a skincare consultation a skin doctor will perform a thorough physical exam. From there we may ask you a series of questions regarding your skin care regime, lifestyle and habits, as this will provide some insight into what could be triggering your acne symptoms.
After your consultation is complete we will create a customized treatment plan that will cater to addressing the source of your acne symptoms; fortunately, today there are so many different treatment options out there. A dermatologist will most often recommend different strategies for handling your acne. These options may include,
Treatments that you place directly on your skin
Many of your acne treatments can be applied right on your skin to reduce both acne-causing bacteria and oil. Popular topical acne medications often contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. Your dermatologist will determine the topical treatment that will work best for your skin.
Treatment that is systemic and works throughout the body
Sometimes it’s necessary to systemically treat acne, particularly if it’s causing serious redness or swelling. By taking pills such as antibiotics, birth control pills or isotretinoin (the best course of action for severe acne), we can reduce both of these symptoms while also preventing acne breakouts.
Different dermatological treatments that can reduce or even get rid of acne
There are also some in-office treatment options available from your skin doctor that can help eliminate acne-causing bacteria and even get rid of blackheads and whiteheads. These common procedures include:
- Laser or light therapy
- Chemical peels
- Dermabrasion (to reduce the appearance of superficial acne scars)
Know that you aren’t alone when it comes to treating acne and a dermatologist can help you get your skin clearer. It’s important to be patient when it comes to acne treatment, as it can take several weeks to see results. Talk to a dermatologist today about how they can help you.
What are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flulike symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.
When should I see a doctor about cold sores?
While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.
If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.
What treatments are available for cold sores?
While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also overthe-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.
Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.
While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!
Eczema, also called “dermatitis,” refers to several different rash-like conditions where the skin is inflamed, red and irritated. The most severe and long-lasting type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. During a flare-up, the skin becomes extremely red, itchy and scaly. This skin condition can be widespread, or confined to only a few areas on the body.
Eczema is not contagious, although if you have a family history of eczema, your risk for the disease increases. Generally, atopic dermatitis affects infants or young children and may last until the child reaches adulthood.
The appearance and symptoms for atopic dermatitis will vary for each case. Intense itching is the most common sign of eczema, which can lead to severe discomfort and even loss of sleep. Other common symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry, red and extremely itchy patches of skin
- Cracked, inflamed and scaly skin
- Small bumps or blisters that ooze and weep
- In infants, the rash generally appears on the cheeks and around the mouth
Eczema outbreaks are caused by an overreaction of your skin’s immune system to environmental and emotional triggers, such as temperature, chemicals, dust, mold or stress. While there is currently no cure, eczema sufferers can practice self-care at home to help reduce flare-ups. Lifestyle adjustments are the best line of defense in controlling all types of eczema. Goals of treatment include reducing inflammation, decreasing risk of infection and alleviating the itch. To minimize symptoms and outbreaks:
- Moisturize every day to prevent dryness and cracking.
- Limit contact with irritants, such as soaps, clothing, jewelry, foods and detergents.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperatures as overheating and sweating are common triggers of flare-ups.
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
- Minimize exposure to mold, pollens and animal dander.
- Opt for cotton, loose-fitting clothes and avoid wool and other rough materials.
Treatment for eczema begins with a proper diagnosis from your dermatologist. If you are diagnosed with eczema, your dermatologist can explain your type of eczema and can work with you to tailor a treatment plan that meets your individual needs to effectively manage the symptoms.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.
What Causes Melanoma?
The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.
Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:
- Fair skin
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood
- Family history of melanoma
- More than 50 moles on the skin
- Several freckles
- Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily
Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
- An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade
Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.
Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.
The telltale signs of aging skin—wrinkles, puffy eyes, age spots—may start to appear as we grow older. We can’t fight the aging process, but we can take steps now to help reduce and prevent wrinkles from appearing prematurely.
Many factors can contribute to the onset of wrinkles, which are frequently produced by years of unprotected sun exposure in combination with each person’s unique genetic predisposition. Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, is less capable of retaining moisture and is slower to heal. All of these contribute to the development of wrinkles and sagging skin.
How Can I Slow the Progression of Wrinkles?
Daily skincare and proper sun protection are important factors in slowing the aging process, diminishing fine lines and minimizing wrinkles.
- Take your vitamins. Many vitamins are good for the skin. Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant found in citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, can help reduce the appearance of sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen. Protecting yourself from sun exposure can help prevent the progression of fine lines. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 to protect against harmful UV rays.
- Moisturize. Dry skin causes the skin to look dull and aged. To prevent dry skin, apply moisturizer every day.
- Get your beauty sleep. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Keep your skin looking and feeling young by getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit harmful UVA rays and are never 'safe' alternatives to the sun.
- Take care of your hands. Our hands are often the first part of our body to reveal signs of aging, as they are the most used and exposed parts of the body. Protect the hands by wearing gloves, moisturizing and applying sunscreen.
- Quit smoking. Smoking may damage more than your lungs—it causes skin aging and wrinkles around the mouth.
Like it or not, wrinkles are a natural part of aging. Even the most diligent skincare regimen or the most expensive wrinkle cream won’t totally eliminate your fine lines. You can significantly reduce the appearance of your wrinkles, however. Start taking care of your skin now, embrace your age and love the skin you’re in!