The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can really take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may actually indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10 percent of all skin conditions, affecting a large number of older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be affectively treated with proper diagnosis from a dermatologist.
Mirror on Health
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by changes in the nails, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes and anemia. That’s why it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes in your nails.
Basic Nail Care
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but with basic nail care, you can help keep your fingernails and toenails looking and feeling great. Here’s how:
- Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from building up under the nail.
- Cut fingernails and toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and trauma.
- Avoid tight-fitting footwear.
- Apply an anti-fungal foot powder daily or when needed.
- Avoid biting and picking fingernails, as infectious organisms can be transferred between the fingers and mouth.
- Wear gloves to protect your fingernails when doing yard work or cleaning house to protect the nails from harsh chemicals and trauma.
- When in doubt about self-treatment for nail problems, visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care.
Always notify a dermatologist of nail irregularities, such as swelling, pain or change in shape or color of the nail. Remember, your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, and a dermatologist can help determine the appropriate treatment for any of your nail problems.
If you spend time outdoors, then you’ve probably come into contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac at some point in your life. The plants’ oily sap, known as urushiol causes many people to break out in an itchy rash. Urushiol is colorless or pale yellow oil that exudes from any cut part of the plant, including the roots, stems and leaves.
The intensely itchy rash is an allergic reaction to the sap and can appear on any part of the body. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person, depending on how much sap penetrates the skin and how sensitive the person is to it. The most common symptoms include:
- Itchy skin
- Redness or streaks
- Small or large blisters
- Crusting skin when blisters have burst
When other parts of the body come into contact with the oil, the rash may continue to spread to new parts of the body. A common misconception is that people can develop the rash from touching another person’s poison ivy rash. However, you cannot give the rash to someone else. The person has to touch the actual oil from the plant in order have an allergic reaction.
When to See Your Dermatologist
Generally, a rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac will last 1 to 3 weeks and will go away on its own without treatment. But if you aren’t sure whether or not your rash is caused by poison ivy, or if you need treatment to relieve the itch, you may want to visit a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care. You should also see your dermatologist if the rash is serious, in which case prescription medicine may be necessary. Swelling is a sign of serious infection.
Other signs that your rash may be serious include:
- Conservative treatments won’t ease the itch
- Rash begins to spread to numerous parts of the body
- Pus, pain, swelling, warmth and other signs of infection are accompanying the rash
- Facial swelling, especially on the eyelids
- Rash develops on face, eyelids, lips or genitals
- Breathing or swallowing becomes difficult
To avoid getting the rash caused by poison ivy, oak or sumac, learn how to recognize what these plants look like and stay away. Always wear long pants and long sleeves when you anticipate being in wooded areas, and wear gloves when gardening. If you come into contact with the plants, wash your skin and clothing immediately.
Poison ivy, oak and sumaccan be a real nuisance and often difficult to detect. As a general rule, remember the common saying, “Leaves of three—let them be.” And if you do get the rash, visit our office for proper care.
The more time you spend in the sun, the higher your skin cancer risk. Our Indianapolis, Batesville and Tipton, IN, dermatologist, Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson, shares a few tips that will help you avoid this potentially dangerous disease.
Long sleeves, pants, and hats prevent the sun's rays from penetrating your skin. Stay comfortable by wearing lightweight fabrics that are made with tightly woven fibers to limit penetration.
Wearing sunscreen 365 days a year reduces your risk of developing skin cancer. Although many people don't worry about the effects of the sun during the winter months, burns or skin damage can occur even if it's cold outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Remember to reapply the product frequently, especially if you've been in the water.
Enjoy the shade
Find the shadiest spot you can when you spend time outdoors. Although shade doesn't completely protect you from the sun's rays, it will reduce your exposure to the sun.
Protect your eyes
Skin cancer can also occur in and around your eyes. Protect your vision by wearing sunglasses that prevent most of the dangerous rays from reaching your eyes. Wraparound sunglasses offer the highest level of protection, although wearing any type of sunglasses will help reduce your cancer and cataract risk.
Stay away from tanning beds
Contrary to popular belief, tanning beds aren't a safer alternative to sunbathing. If you don't like pale skin, try a spray tanning product instead.
Don't assume you're safe
Maybe you only tan and never burn, or perhaps you're sure that your skin tone protects you from the effects of the sun. Unfortunately, anyone can get skin cancer, even people who never burn or have darker skin tones.
Plan your beach visits
Visiting the beach in the early morning or evening will reduce your sun exposure. Stay away from Indianapolis, Batesville, and Tipton, IN, beaches from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. when the sun's rays are the most intense. If you are on the beach during these hours, reapply sunscreen frequently, use a beach umbrella or canopy, wear a rash guard when you swim and cover-up as soon as you exit the water.
Decrease your skin cancer risk by following these tips. If you happen to notice a strange spot or a change in a mole, call our Indianapolis, Batesville, and Tipton, IN, dermatologist, Dr. Campbell Johnson, to schedule an appointment.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the face that affects an estimated 16 million Americans. Because rosacea is frequently misdiagnosed and confused with acne, sunburn or eye irritation, a large percentage of people suffering from rosacea fail to seek medical help due to lack of awareness. It’s important to understand the warning signs of rosacea and need for treatment to make the necessary lifestyle changes and prevent the disorder from becoming progressively severe.
Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, you may be more susceptible to rosacea if:
- You are fair-skinned
- You blush easily
- You are female
- You have a family history of rosacea
- You are between the ages of 30 and 50
A frequent source of social embarrassment, for many people rosacea affects more than just the face. Rosacea is a chronic skin disease, which means it lasts for a lifetime. Learning what triggers your rosacea is an important way to reduce flare-ups and manage symptoms. This may include avoiding stress, too much sunlight, heavy exercise, extreme temperatures and certain foods or beverages.
What Are the Symptoms of Rosacea?
Rosacea frequently causes the cheeks to have a flushed or red appearance. The longer rosacea goes untreated, the higher the potential for permanent redness of the cheeks, nose and forehead. Symptoms of rosacea will not be the same for every person. Common symptoms include:
- Facial burning and stinging
- Facial flushing and blush that evolves to persistent redness
- Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead
- Small, visible broken blood vessels on the face
- Acne-like breakouts on the face
- Watery or irritated eyes
If you recognize any of the warning signs of rosacea, visit your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. A dermatologist will examine your skin for common warning signs and tailor a treatment plan for your unique condition. Treatment will vary for each individual, ranging from topical medicine, antibiotics and lasers or light treatment. While there is currently no cure, with proper management patients can learn how to avoid triggers, prevent flare-ups and manage their condition to live a healthy, active life.
Say goodbye to your razor with laser hair removal. You no longer have to endure daily shaving, painful waxing or tedious electrolysis treatments. Laser hair removal is a quick and easy method for permanently reducing unwanted body hair. In Indianapolis, laser hair removal treatments are available at the office of Dermatology Associates. There, Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson and her staff can help you decide if laser hair removal is right for you.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a method for eliminating unwanted body hair long-term. A safe, gentle light is beamed across the skin in the treatment area. Melanin in the hair follicles absorbs this light and, subsequently, destroys hairs that are in the growth stage. Laser hair removal can be used to eliminate unwanted hair under the arms, on the face, on the arms and legs, in the bikini line area and almost anywhere else a patient desires. In Indianapolis, laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to remove hair long-term without damaging the surrounding skin.
Patients of all skin types can benefit from laser hair removal. Hair color, skin type and hair texture can affect how many treatments are needed. Some patients might achieve satisfactory results in just a few treatments, while others will need more. The average number of treatments needed by most patients is generally between three and six sessions to achieve the desired results. Multiple treatment sessions are needed since hair grows in cycles and not all hairs are in the growth stage at the same time.
Laser hair removal is a convenient way to remove unwanted hair without the regular hassles associated with shaving, waxing and other methods. If you are finally ready to say goodbye to your razor, visit Dermatology Associates in Indianapolis for laser hair removal. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson, call the office at (317) 257-1484 or email at email@example.com
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