Acne

Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne. Acne is made up of two types of blemishes: Whiteheads/Blackheads, also known as comedones, are non-inflammatory and appear more on the face and shoulders. As long as they remain uninfected, they are unlikely to lead to scarring. Red Pustules or Papules are inflamed pores that fill with pus. These can lead to scarring. Causes In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin’s surface. If the pore’s opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the pore’s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflammed, they can become red pustules or papules. It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring. Treatment Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include: Benzoyl Peroxide — Used in mild cases of acne, benzoyl peroxide reduces the blockages in the hair follicles. Oral...

Moles (Nevi)

Moles are brown or black growths, usually round or oval, that can appear anywhere on the skin. They can be rough or smooth, flat or raised, single or in multiples. They occur when cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread out across the skin. Generally, moles are less than one-quarter inch in size. Most moles appear by the age of 20, although some moles may appear later in life. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles. Because they last about 50 years, moles may disappear by themselves over time. Most moles are harmless, but a change in size, shape, color or texture could be indicative of a cancerous growth. Moles that have a higher-than-average chance of becoming cancerous include: Congenital Nevi Moles present at birth. The larger their size, the greater the risk for developing into a skin cancer. Atypical Dysplastic Nevi Irregularly shaped moles that are larger than average. They often appear to have dark brown centers with light, uneven borders. Higher frequency of moles People with 50 or more moles are at a greater risk for developing a skin cancer. In some cases, abnormal moles may become painful, itchy, scaly or bleed. It’s important to keep an eye on your moles so that you can catch any changes early. We recommend doing a visual check of your body monthly, including all areas that don’t have sun exposure (such as the scalp, armpits or bottoms of feet). Use the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDEs as a guide for assessing whether or not a mole may be becoming...

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that creates red patches of skin with white, flaky scales. It most commonly occurs on the elbows, knees and trunk, but can appear anywhere on the body. The first episode usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 35. It is a chronic condition that will then cycle through flare-ups and remissions throughout the rest of the patient’s life. Psoriasis affects as many as 7.5 million people in the United States. About 20,000 children under age 10 have been diagnosed with psoriasis. In normal skin, skin cells live for about 28 days and then are shed from the outermost layer of the skin. With psoriasis, the immune system sends a faulty signal which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. Skin cells mature in a matter of 3 to 6 days. The pace is so rapid that the body is unable to shed the dead cells, and patches of raised red skin covered by scaly, white flakes form on the skin. Psoriasis is a genetic disease (it runs in families), but is not contagious. There is no known cure or method of prevention. Treatment aims to minimize the symptoms and speed healing. Types of Psoriasis There are five distinct types of psoriasis: Plaque Psoriasis (Psoriasis Vulgaris) — About 80% of all psoriasis sufferers get this form of the disease. It is typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. It classically appears as inflamed, red lesions covered by silvery-white scales. Guttate Psoriasis This form of psoriasis appears as small red dot-like spots, usually on the trunk or limbs. It occurs most...

Rashes

“Rash” is a general term for a wide variety of skin conditions. A rash refers to a change that affects the skin and usually appears as a red patch or small bumps or blisters on the skin. The majority of rashes are harmless and can be treated effectively with over-the-counter anti-itch creams, antihistamines and moisturizing lotions. Rashes can be a symptom for other skin problems. The most prevalent of these are: Atopic Dermatitis, the most common form of eczema. Bacterial Infections, such as impetigo. Contact Dermatitis, a type of eczema caused by coming into contact with an allergen. Chronic skin problems, such as acne, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Fungal Infections, such as ringworm and yeast infection. Viral Infections, such as shingles. A rash may be a sign of a more serious illness, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, liver disease, kidney disease or some types of cancers. If you experience a rash that does not go away on its own after a few weeks, make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists to have it properly diagnosed and...

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes facial redness, acne-like pimples, visible small blood vessels on the face, swelling and/or watery, irritated eyes. This inflammation of the face can affect the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead or eyelids. More than 14 million Americans suffer from rosacea. It is not contagious, but there is some evidence to suggest that it is inherited. There is no known cause or cure for rosacea. There is also no link between rosacea and cancer. Rosacea generally begins after age 30 and goes through cycles of flare-ups and remissions. Over time, it gets ruddier in color and small blood vessels (like spider veins) may appear on the face. If left untreated, bumps and pimples may form, the end of the nose may become swollen, red and bulbous and eyes may water or become irritated. Rosacea occurs most often among people with fair skin who tend to blush or flush easily. It occurs more often among women than men, but men tend to suffer from more severe symptoms. Most patients experience multiple symptoms at varying levels of severity. Common symptoms include: flushing persistently red skin on the face bumps or acne-like pimples visible blood vessels on facial skin watery or irritated eyes burning, itching or stinging of facial skin skin roughness and dryness raised red patches swelling (edema) These symptoms may also appear on the neck, chest, scalp and ears. Research conducted by the National Rosacea Foundation found that the leading triggers for rosacea are: sun exposure hot or cold weather emotional stress wind alcohol heavy exercise spicy foods hot baths heated beverages some skin care...