Who is at risk for developing acne?
While most major acne problems occur during adolescence, this condition can occur before and after the teenage years. While acne can affect males and females, males tend to have more severe, longer-lasting types of the condition, and many females will have frequent flare-ups of acne during hormonal shifts (such as their menstrual cycle). Minor acne often results in low self-esteem because it can mar the natural beauty of the facial features. In general, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently between the ages of adolescence and tapering off in regularity thereafter. More extreme acne can lead to serious permanent scarring, which is the result of tissue injury. In some cases, acne can continually afflict a person later in life.
What is acne?
Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, minor lumps or or any clogged pores that occur on the face or body. A pore becomes clogged when dead skin cells mix with sebum, or oil, that’s been produced by the skin. The skin cells adhere together and get stuck inside the pore. Also, bacteria that live on the surface of the skin can enter the clogged pore, where they multiply, causing an inflamed bump. This infection results in an acne cyst or pimple, which are usually red and swollen.
There is no single factor more responsible for cosmetic and medical skin conditions than sun exposure, whether it’s from being outside too often or from using a tanning bed. Repeated overexposure to UV rays without proper protection, such as sunscreen, can lead to a wide variety of conditions, including actinic keratosis (AKs).
When patients are young, if UV rays damage the skin, the body can repair the damage. As patients get older, it becomes harder and harder for the skin to recover from UV damage. When UV rays contact previously-damaged skin, AKs form, which are thick, rough, scaly, dry patches of skin.
Who is at risk for developing AKs?
Anyone who has prolonged sun exposure is more likely to develop actinic keratosis. Regions where people spend a lot of time in the sun, such as California and Florida, have more patients with AKs. Other common characteristics of people with AKs include:
- Light/fair skin
- Blond/light hair color
- Light-colored eyes: blue, green hazel
- Skin that freckles easily when in the sun
- Skin that burns easily when in the sun
- 40 years of age or older
- Weakened immune system, from a major surgery, another condition/disease or HIV/AIDS
- Exposure to substances that contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), like coal or tar
Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis. It is actually a group of skin conditions that can affect you at any age. It is not contagious but can be uncomfortable because it makes the skin hot and itchy. In severe cases, it can even cause bleeding and blisters.
There are several types of eczema, and each type requires different treatment methods. Eczema can occur because of irritation, allergic reaction or hereditary conditions. The most common variety is atopic eczema, which can be treated with steroids to reduce inflammation and creams to relieve the itchiness and dryness. In some cases, light treatments and dietary changes have been shown to help. While there is no cure for eczema, many people grow out of it. In addition, using the proper medications and staying clear of substances that cause eczema to flare up can greatly reduce your discomfort and can lessen the severity of the condition.
Many times nails can become infected, inflamed or deformed, which is known as onychosis. Onychosis is inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the nail, especially in the creases where the nail attaches to the skin. The inflammation is usually the result of an infection.
Other diseases include onychocryptosis or “ingrown nails,” where the nail digs into the surrounding tissue and causes an infection; onychodystrophy, where the nail is deformed and discolored; and onychogryposis, where the nail thickens, develops deep ridges and turns brown.
How do you treat severe fungal infections?
If one of your nails has recurring fungal infections, this can cause a portion or the entire nail to die. If this happens, we can surgically remove the nail. You will receive an injection in the finger or toe so you won’t feel any pain. The nail is then loosened from the surrounding skin, and the doctor will place a tool between the nail and skin in order to remove the nail. If you wish to keep the nail from growing back, thereby avoiding future infections, we can place a chemical on the wound that destroys the nail’s matrix. After the procedure, an antibiotic will be applied, and the wound will be bandaged.
Most everyone loses up to 100 hairs a day, but due to the amount of hair we have on our head, losing 100 strands shouldn’t cause alarm. However, alopecia is a medical condition that causes severe hair loss.
The most common type of hair loss occurs in patches, which is called alopecia areata. This is evident with patterned baldness, which is usually permanent and affects approximately one-third of all men. It may occur suddenly or over a period of time.
Other types of hair loss include alopecia totalis, where the patient loses all the hair on the scalp, or alopecia universalis, where the patient loses all the hair on his/her entire body. While alopecia areata affects nearly a third of all men, approximately only 5 percent of all patients experience alopecia totalis or universalis.
Each type of alopecia can be temporary, and the condition is not contagious. For unknown reasons, the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, causing strands to fall out. This condition is not a result of stress. However, please contact us if you notice extreme, sudden hair loss.
Are moles harmful?
Moles can appear anywhere on the body. Though most moles are brown, they come in a variety of colors, such as black, pink or red. Moles can be round or oval shaped, and flat, raised or smooth. Typically, most moles are smaller than the width of a pencil eraser.
Though most moles are harmless and require no treatment, some can become cancerous. If your dermatologist determines that a mole is cancerous, he/she will remove it and some surrounding tissue. There are two ways to remove a mole; surgical excision or surgical shave.
If you notice any changes, consult your primary doctor or a dermatologist.
What does a mole removal entail?
We offer many different mole removal services.
- We can excise, or cut, your mole off using a scalpel. The skin is closed using sutures.
- During a surgical shave, the dermatologist will numb the area surrounding the mole, and cut around and under the mole using a small blade. This method is generally used for small moles, and sutures are not needed.
- On smaller, not-as-deeply-rooted moles, we can use a laser to remove them.
The best way to tell if a mole could potentially become cancerous is to examine your skin carefully each month for changes in color, shape and diameter of the mole. If your mole has un-even edges or you notice it is growing in size, please visit the office to have it biopsied. If your mole is non-cancerous, there is no need to remove it other than aesthetic purposes.
As a parent, what should I know about moles on children?
Children can and usually will develop moles as they get older. As the child grows, typically the moles will grow, too. Sometimes a mole will darken, and other moles can lighten with age. For children, moles are typically not a warning sign of skin cancer, so do not be alarmed if you child develops a mole.
Rashes appear when the skin has mild redness, small red bumps, and in severe cases, redness, swelling and blisters. Many rashes are caused by skin irritants and can also be classified as contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with an irritant and becomes inflamed. The itchy rash is not contagious. There are many substances that can cause irritation, including soaps, make-up, certain metals used in jewelry, or plants such as grass, weeds, poison ivy or poison oak. Once you determine what is causing your rash, avoid coming in contact with it. The rash should clear up in 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile, you can use anti-itch creams to relieve your skin.
In other cases, rashes appear in conjunction with a viral infection, a fungal infection, a bacterial infection, exposure to certain bugs, or exposure to extreme heat.
A chronic skin and eye condition, rosacea’s symptoms include redness and pimples in the early stages and thickened skin and sometimes an enlarged nose in the advanced stages. People with this condition experience frequent facial flushing, accompanied by swelling or burning. Although dermatologists are still exploring the cause for this condition, it is clear that the blood vessels in afflicted people dilate far more easily than normal, which stimulates many of the symptoms. When rosacea affects the eyes, people experience dryness, itching, burning sensations and swelling in and around their eyes. Some also complain of light sensitivity and blurred vision. In most cases, outbreaks of rosacea occur around the facial areas. Many doctors believe that heat exposure, strenuous exercise, stress, alcohol consumption and spicy foods may all contribute to increased redness.
Who is at risk for developing rosacea?
Rosacea is probably more common than you think. Approximately 14 million people in the United States have rosacea. Patients who are more at-risk for this condition are:
- Between 30 and 50 years old
- Fair-skinned, typically with blond hair and blue eyes
- Have Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry
- Have a family history of rosacea
- Have had many acne cysts
While these are the most common candidates for rosacea, it can occur in any patient – any age, gender or race.
How do you treat rosacea?
Rosacea has no cure, but a variety of treatments are available. Treatments are intended to control outbreaks, and they are also intended to improve physical appearance. Antibiotics are generally used to regulate the condition. Laser surgery or electro-surgery options are available for more severe cases.
Scabies is a rashy skin condition caused by small, eight-legged mites. They are so small, you cannot see them on your skin with the naked eye. The mites burrow under the top layer of skin, causing an itchy reaction which develops into a rash. The mites live for approximately 48 to 72 hours without human contact.
Although this condition is caused by a bug, anyone can get scabies – any age, race or income level. Even people who are extremely clean and tidy can contract scabies. The mites are typically spread from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. You can also contract scabies from infested bedding, furniture and clothing, but this is less likely.
We can diagnose a case of scabies and prescribe an effective topical ointment for treatment.
There are three basic forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Anyone can be diagnosed with cancer at any age. Doctors link these forms of cancer to overexposure to the sun. Tanning booths can also increase your risk, as can exposure to radiation or high altitude. Because each type of skin cancer has a different look, effect and treatment, it is important to alert your dermatologist if you notice unusual changes in the size and shape of spots, the coloration of your skin or the sensitivity and comfort of your body. Time is of the essence, and when caught early, many forms of skin cancer can be successfully treated.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent form of skin cancer. It appears as an irregularly shaped blemish or blister that crusts over or bleeds without healing. In some cases, this cancer can cause the lashes of the eyelids to fall out. While this form of cancer is rarely life threatening, failure to treat it in a timely manner can cause serious damage to your tissue and bones.
Squamous cell carcinoma often originates on the face and surrounding areas. It can appear as waxy or shiny patches or as small red or white bumps on the skin. If not treated, it can spread to the internal organs and become a life threatening condition.
Malignant melanoma is by far the deadliest form of skin cancer. This form of cancer generally begins within moles. While it occurs less frequently than the other forms of skin cancer, it is more dangerous because, if not treated quickly, it can spread throughout the entire body, proving fatal.
Warts are the result of a virus that causes many cells to grow on the external layer of skin. They are typically skin-colored and tough, but sometimes they are dark brown, flat and/or smooth. Warts are not dangerous to your health or cancerous, and they usually fade away on their own over time. Typically found on your hands and feet, common warts can make patients feel self-conscious and want them removed. Removing the warts will keep them from spreading, but they might come back as they can be a recurring problem.
Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the patient sweats in excessive amounts. While sweating is a natural bodily function that helps cool the body and prevent overheating, patients with hyperhidrosis sweat when cooling is not needed.
Typically, patients with hyperhidrosis sweat from one or two areas, including palms, feet, underarms or head/neck. Even if the rest of their body is dry and at a normal temperature, the affected areas are dripping with sweat.
Hyperhidrosis can be a very embarrassing condition. The sweat can prohibit normal, everyday activities, such as turning a door knob or shaking someone’s hand. Underarm sweat can soak through clothing, causing anxiety and self-consciousness. Also, infections can form when a certain area of skin stays wet for a prolonged period of time.
Botox® can be injected into the underarm areas to prevent excessive sweating. Approved by the FDA, the Botox temporarily blocks the chemicals that trigger the sweat glands. Patients usually notice the effects 4 to 5 days after the injection, and results can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months or longer. Once excessive sweating begins again, the patient can receive another treatment.
Prescriptions medications can also treat hyperhidrosis. These medications affect the entire body and temporarily prohibit the body from creating sweat. Even though these medications are effective, we strongly recommend that athletes, people who work outside, and residents of warm/hot regions take precaution when using these medications.