Posts for category: Skin Condition
Find out what this autoimmune disorder means for your skin health.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans and five million people globally have some form of lupus. While lupus can affect both men and women, about 90 percent of those with diagnosed lupus are women between the ages of 15 to 44. Even though this chronic autoimmune disease affects millions, significantly less than half of people are actually somewhat familiar with the disease.
So, what exactly is lupus, how can you contract this disorder and what treatment options are available?
Our immune system is meant to attack foreign agents in our body to fight diseases and other infections. However, if you have been diagnosed with lupus then your immune system actually responds by attacking the healthy cells within your body. This ultimately causes damage to certain organs in the body like your heart, skin and brain.
There are different types of lupus; however, the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosis. Discoid lupus is known for causing a persistent skin rash, subacute cutaneous lupus causes skin sores when exposed to the sun, druginduced lupus is the result of a certain medication and neonatal lupus affects infants.
Know that you aren’t alone when it comes to handling your lupus symptoms. While symptoms can be severe and affect your daily life talk to your dermatologist about the best ways to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Lupus Risk Factors
While anyone can develop lupus, women are more likely to develop this condition. Also, African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian women are at an increased risk over Caucasian women. While the cause is unknown, some research has found that perhaps genes play an influential role in the development of lupus; however, there are several factors that could be at play.
Those with lupus may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin rashes, most commonly found on the face
- Chest pain when breathing deeply
- Loss of hair
- Pale fingers and toes
- Sun sensitivity
- Mouth sores
- Extreme fatigue
- Leg or eye swelling
- Swollen glands
These symptoms may not be present all the time. Those with lupus have flareups in which the symptoms will appear for a little while and then go away. Also new symptoms may also arise at any time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus then you will most likely need to see several specialists regarding your condition. If you are dealing with skin sores and rashes, then you will want to talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment plan for you. About 40 to 70 percent of those with lupus experience symptoms when exposed to sunlight.
When you come in our office for treatment our goal is to find certain medications that can reduce pain, swelling and redness and prevent further flareups. Furthermore, we will recommend a sunscreen and other lifestyle changes that can help to protect your skin from damaging sun exposure.
Scars left behind from acne, surgery, chicken pox, burns or other injuries, especially when they appear on your face, can be disfiguring physically and emotionally.
Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, and most small scars fade over time to become nearly invisible. The larger and more severe the skin damage and the longer it takes to heal, however, the more prominent the scar will be. If the appearance of a scar bothers you, a visit to your dermatologist may be in order.
Today, dermatologists offer many cosmetic treatment options that can significantly reduce the appearance of large, raised scars. Although scars cannot be eliminated entirely, modern cosmetic techniques can significantly minimize their visibility for an improved appearance.
Leading cosmetic dermatology options include:
- Dermabrasion: A technique that involves removing the upper layer of the skin, allowing new skin to regenerate.
- Laser scar removal: Using a high-energy light, a dermatologist can remove or reshape disfigured scar tissue. Different types of laser scar removal are used for different types of scarring.
- Microdermabrasion: A non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that applies microscopic crystals. This gently exfoliates and smooths the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing younger, healthier looking skin.
- Chemical peels: Typically administered as a facial peel, this treatment involves applying an acid solution to remove and smooth the scarred outer layers of skin.
- Topical cream, gel or ointment: Special creams can be applied directly to a scar to soften the tissue and promote healing.
In some cases, more than one treatment, or a combination of procedures, may be recommended to attain your optimal results. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment for your specific goals and degree of scarring.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your scars, visit your dermatologist. Most scarring is highly treatable by an expert. We can assess the scar, review treatment options, and help you select the most effective therapy for significantly reducing your scars’ visibility.
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.
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.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic and often frustrating skin condition that causes skin scaling, inflammation, redness and irritation. The exact cause is unknown, but psoriasis is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system, which causes the skin to form inflamed, scaly lesions. These patches of thick, red skin may be itchy and painful. They are often found on the elbows and knees, but can also form on the scalp, lower back, face and nails.
Symptoms of psoriasis are different for every person and can vary in intensity over time. Some people may even go months or years without symptoms before flare-ups return. Symptoms of psoriasis can manifest in many ways, including:
- Rough, scaly skin
- Cracks on fingertips
- Simple tasks are painful, such as tying your shoe
- Brown, uneven nails
- Flaky skin
- Joint pain or aching
- Severe itching
The onset of psoriasis can occur at any age, although it most often occurs in adults. The disease is non-contagious and is thought to be genetic. Because psoriasis is a persistent, systemic autoimmune disease, people with psoriasis will have it for a lifetime. Most people who suffer from psoriasis can still lead healthy, active lives with proper management and care.
Coping with Psoriasis: Your Dermatologist can Help
Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis, but with the help of your dermatologist, you can learn how to cope with the condition, reduce psoriasis symptoms and keep outbreaks under control for an improved quality of life. Treatment depends on how serious the psoriasis is, the type of psoriasis and how the patient responds to certain treatments.