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Acne is the term for blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.
Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers (and almost all teenagers have some form of acne), adults of any age can have it. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress.
Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, as well as the patient’s skin type and age. Options include:
- Topical Medications
- Blackhead Extraction
- Chemical Peels
- Skin Care
- Isolaz Treatments
- Laser Treatments
Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways as well. These include:
- Chemical Peels
- Soft Tissue Fillers
- Laser/Pulsed Light Treatments
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects about 15 million people in the U.S., including 10-20 percent of all infants. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin.
Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and dander, upper respiratory infections and stress.
Treatment involves the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments. If this proves insufficient, physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines. For severe cases phototherapy may be recommended. Phototherapy is a procedure that uses light to reduce itching.
Moles & Birthmarks
Moles and birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (vascular lesions, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains).
Though most congenital nevi (moles one is born with) are harmless, some of them may develop into skin cancer. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by a board certified dermatologist immediately:
- Larger than six millimeters
- Itches or bleeds
- Rapidly changes in color, size or shape
- Has multiple colors
- Is located where it can’t be easily monitored, such as on the scalp
Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient’s skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive birthmarks may include laser, pulsed light therapy, or surgical excision.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can cause itching and/or burning, scaling and crusting of the skin. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. The most commonly affected areas are the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals.
Psoriasis cannot be cured but it can be treated successfully, sometimes for months or years at a time. Treatment depends on the type, severity and location of psoriasis, the patient’s age, medical history and the effect the disease has on the patient’s general mental health. The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, photochemotherapy (PUVA), and oral or injectable medication (for severe symptoms).
A rash is a change in the skin’s color or texture. Simple rashes are called dermatitis, which means the skin is inflamed or swollen. Other common rashes include eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, shingles, chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever, insect bites and those caused by medical conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
A dermatologist is usually able to identify the rash by looking at it and asking about accompanying symptoms. Mild rashes can often be treated with simple home care practices such as avoiding soaps and bathing in warm water. Others may require moisturizing creams, prescription medications or more extensive treatment.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. The scalp, neck, ears, chest, back and/or eyes may also be affected. Symptoms range from red pimples and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. Many people find that the emotional effects of rosacea – such as low self-confidence and avoidance of social situations – are more difficult to handle than the physical ones.
Although it can affect anyone, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50 years of age. Certain things like heat, stress, spicy foods, hot beverages, and alcohol can make people with rosacea flush more, so it is often recommended that these be avoided. Although rosacea is not curable, it can be kept under control with topical and oral medications, and intense pulsed light therapy can be used to help diminish broken blood vessels.
Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some risk factors include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and sun exposure. Fortunately, skin cancer is almost always curable if detected and treated early.
The most common skin cancers are:
- Basal cell carcinoma – 80-85% of all skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma affects cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – 10% of all skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma affects cells in the middle layer of the epidermis.
- Melanoma – 5% of all skin cancers. Melanoma is a rare but very dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined immediately by a board certified dermatologist. Early intervention is essential to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Warts are skin growths caused by a virus. There are a number of different treatments for warts. Some go away on their own. Some over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels and pads) can get rid of some warts by dissolving the keratin protein that makes up the wart and the dead skin above it. Other treatments may include prescription topical medications or cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen). Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.