Acne, vulgaris, is a skin problem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back. Or it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts).
Acne is very common among teens. It usually gets better after the teen years. Some women who never had acne growing up will have it as an adult, often right before their menstrual periods.
How you feel about your acne may not be related to how bad it is. Some people who have severe acne are not bothered by it. Others are embarrassed or upset even though they have only a few pimples.
The good news is that there are many good treatments that can help you get acne under control.
Acne starts when oil and dead skin cells clog the skin's pores. If germs get into the pores, the result can be swelling, redness, and pus.
For most people, acne starts during the teen years. This is because hormone changes make the skin oilier after puberty starts.
Using oil-based skin products or cosmetics can make acne worse. Use skin products that don't clog your pores. They will say "noncomedogenic" on the label.
Acne can run in families. If one of your parents had severe acne, you are more likely to have it.
Wash your skin once or twice a day with a gentle cleanser or acne wash. Try not to scrub or pick at your pimples. This can make them worse and can cause scars.
There are many skin treatments, such as laser resurfacing , chemical peels, micropen, to name a few that can help acne scars look better and feel smoother. Ask your doctor about them. The best treatment for you depends on how severe the scarring is.
You can help prevent acne from getting worse by the way you wash your face:
• Gently wash your face once or twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser or acne wash.
• Use gentle, circling motions rather than scrubbing your face.
• Always completely rinse your skin after you wash it, and gently pat it dry. Avoid rubbing your skin.
• If your face feels dry after washing it, use an oil free moisturizing lotion. Look for skin care products that say "noncomedogenic" on the label.
Other tips include the following:
• Shower or cleanse face as soon as you can after any activity that causes heavy sweating, especially sports.
• Try keeping your hair off your face. Having hair hanging in your face can cause a breakout. Washing your hair every day may help.
Blackheads are comedones that are open at the surface of the skin. They are filled with excess oil and dead skin cells.
Whiteheads are comedones that stay closed at the surface of the skin. This happens when oil and skin cells prevent a clogged hair follicle from opening to the surface of the skin. They are filled with excess oil and dead skin cells.
Papules are comedones that become inflamed, forming small red or pink bumps on the skin. This type of pimple may be sensitive to the touch.
Pustules are another kind of inflamed pimple. They resemble a whitehead with a red ring around the bump. The bump is typically filled with white or yellow pus.
Nodules are large, inflamed bumps that feel firm to the touch. They develop deep within the skin and are often painful.
Cysts are large, pus-filled lesions that look similar to boils. Like nodules, cysts can be painful and should be treated by a dermatologist.
Severe nodulocystic acne have multiple inflamed cysts and nodules. The acne may turn deep red or purple. It often leaves scars.
Acne conglobata is one of the most severe forms of acne. It involves many inflamed nodules that are connected under the skin to other nodules. It can affect the neck, chest, arms, and buttocks. It often leaves scars.
There are several different grades of acne and treatments available to lessen the severity of breakouts, and risk of scarring.
Contact your Dermatologist to discuss the best treatment/product options available for your specific condition.
Eczema is a blanket term for several non-contagious conditions that cause inflamed, red, dry, and itchy skin. Doctors aren't sure what makes eczema start in the first place, but they do know that stress, irritants (like soaps), allergens, and climate can trigger flares. In adults, it often appears on the elbows, hands, and in skin folds. Several medications treat eczema. Some are spread over the skin, and others are taken by
Mouth or by shot.
What Causes Eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body's immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of eczema.
In addition, eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma . Also, defects in the skin barrier could allow moisture out and germs in.
Some people may have "flare-ups" of the itchy rash in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, coming into contact with rough or coarse materials may cause the skin to become itchy. For others, feeling too hot or too cold, exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent, or coming into contact with animal dander may cause an outbreak. Upper respiratory infections or colds may also be triggers. Stress may cause the condition to worsen.
Although there is no cure, most people can effectively manage their disease with medical treatment and by avoiding irritants. The condition is not contagious and can't be spread from person to person.
What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
No matter which part of the skin is affected, eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does, the rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas as well.
Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.
In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that happens mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed?
A pediatrician, dermatologist, or your primary care provider can make a diagnosis of eczema. While there are no tests to determine eczema, most often your doctor can tell if it's eczema by looking at your skin and by asking a few questions.
Since many people with eczema also have allergies , your doctor may perform allergy tests to determine possible irritants or triggers. Children with eczema are especially likely to be tested for allergies.
Contact your Dermatologist to discuss topicals or treatment that will work best for you.
Herpes Zoster is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. Illness, trauma, and stress may
trigger a zoster attack. Symptoms include burning pain, tingling or extreme sensitivity in one area of the
skin (usually limited to one side of the body), and then a red rash that turns into groups of blisters. The
pain is often severe. If diagnosed early, anti-viral drugs may be prescribed and shorten the episode.
What is the most important risk factor for zoster?
Age is the most important risk factor for zoster.
99.5% of adults aged 40 years are at risk for zoster because they have had chickenpox.
Nearly all adults over the age of 50 are at risk for zoster. Risk increases with age.
How do you know which patients will be affected by zoster?
You can't know which patients will be affected by zoster.
There is no way to predict when the varicella-zoster virus will reactivate, who will develop zoster, or how severe any individual case may be.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 3 people will experience zoster in their lifetime.
Nearly 1 million new cases of zoster are diagnosed in the United States each year.
An estimated 70% of the annual cases occur in people over the ages 50 years.
How do patients describe zoster?
Almost all patients experience more than a rash.
Even though zoster generally presents as a rash, typically patients also experience pain.
Pain can occur daily and be potentially severe.
In a 2004 study designed to describe the acute pain of zoster and assess its impact on
96% of patients in this study experienced acute pain.
45% reported that they experienced pain every day.
42% reported that their worst zoster-associated pain was "horrible" or "excruciating".
Are zoster complications common, and what are they?
Chronic pain is the most common complication of zoster.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is chronic pain that follows acute zoster. PHN can last for months or even years.
Not everyone who experiences zoster suffers from PHN.
The incidence of PHN increases with age.
Patients have described PHN as: burning, throbbing, stabbing, shooting, and/or sharp pain.
In addition to PHN, other complications of zoster can vary in degree of severity:
10% to 25% of zoster patients suffer from ophthalmic zoster.
50% to 72% of patients who develop ophthalmic zoster will suffer chronic, recurring ocular disease and visual loss.
Make sure to contact your Dermatologist for further information or diagnosis
Named from the Greek word for "itch," this skin disease has no known cause. The skin becomes inflamed,
producing red and thickened areas with scales. This occurs most often on the scalp, elbows, knees,
nails, lower back, groin and genitals. Treatment varies according to the patient's health, age,
lifestyle, and the severity of the psoriasis. Moisturizing creams and lotions loosen scales and help
control itching. Topical and/or systemic medications may be used in combination with natural sunlight
or ultraviolet light. There is no cure for psoriasis, but symptoms can be controlled.
The 5 Major Types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis can appear on the skin in a variety of ways, with each type of psoriasis having very distinct symptoms and characteristics. Patients typically have only one type of psoriasis at a time.
It's important to know - and share with others - that no matter the type, psoriasis is not contagious.
This is the most common type of psoriasis. It's characterized by raised, inflamed, red lesions covered by silvery white scales. Typically, it's found on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. About 80% of those who have psoriasis have this type.
Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or young adulthood. It appears as small, red, individual spots on the skin of the torso, arms, and legs. These spots are not usually as thick as plaque lesions.
Found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in other skin folds around the genitals and the buttocks. This type of psoriasis appears as bright-red lesions that are smooth and shiny.
Primarily seen in adults, pustular psoriasis is characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus surrounded by red skin. It may either be localized to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, or covering most of the body
A particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis affecting most of the body surface, it is characterized by periodic, widespread, fiery redness of the skin and the shedding of scales in sheets.
Q: How severe can psoriasis become? A: It can be mild, moderate, or severe. The National Psoriasis Foundation considers mild psoriasis as affecting less than 3% of the body, 3-10% is considered to be moderate, and more than 10% is considered severe.
Q: What can trigger my psoriasis to flare? A: Psoriasis triggers vary from person to person and can include stress, injury to skin, some types of infections, and certain medicines.
Q: What parts of the body are most affected? A: Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body, but symptoms are most common on the scalp, knees, elbows, and torso.
Q: Is psoriasis just a skin condition? A: It's a chronic immune disease that appears on the skin.
Up to 30% of psoriasis patients develop psoriatic arthritis, which impacts your joints and skin.
Q: Can my symptoms get worse in the winter? A: Yes. Dry air, decreased sunlight exposure, and colder temperatures can contribute to psoriasis flare-ups
in the winter.
Living With Psoriasis
Living with psoriasis can affect many aspects of day-to-day life, and can sometimes have an impact on your overall physical and emotional health.Take a look at the information below for insights on overall health while living with psoriasis. You should discuss the following topics with your dermatologist to develop a strategy that's right for you.
Diet and psoriasis
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can be beneficial for everyone's overall health. But diet and exercise can have a positive impact for psoriasis patients in particular.
•You should be aware that, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, overweight psoriasis patients – specifically those who are obese – are more likely to have severe psoriasis.
Hungry for a healthy diet?
Everyone knows that eating a healthy diet is good for you, but it's easier said than done. Want to find out how healthy you're really eating? Try keeping a food diary. If you see yourself not eating as well as you'd like, start substituting some healthier options into your diet.
Check out the lists below for a few factors to consider when maintaining a healthy diet.
• Fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains
• Low-fat dairy products
• Lean meats and fish
• Red meat
• Full-fat dairy foods
• Refined & processed foods
Some people may need to follow a different diet due to certain medical conditions or dietary restrictions. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Stress and psoriasis
Stress is a common psoriasis trigger. But how do you avoid stress when having psoriasis itself can be stressful?
While you can't always avoid stress, you can be aware of it. Speak with your doctor about the best ways to manage your stress and psoriasis.
• Identify what stresses you
Identifying the stressors that triggered previous flare-ups can help you not only avoid them in future situations, but also deal with them more constructively.
• Take time to relax
It may be easier said than done, but relaxation is important. Techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep-breathing exercises can lower stress in some people. Talk to your doctor about the relaxation techniques you're considering.
• Open up
Keeping your feelings bottled up inside can add to your stress and worsen your psoriasis symptoms. Be open and honest about your psoriasis, especially with your doctor. It's important for your doctor to be aware of the impact psoriasis has on you.
Stressed about getting dressed?
When you're living with psoriasis, a lot of thought can go into choosing clothing beyond just "how does it look?" How do you look fashionable and stay comfortable if you're worried about hiding plaques and flaky skin?
Here are a few tips for dressing smart with psoriasis:
• Avoid dark, solid colors
Dark, solid colors like black don't hide flakes very well. Try multicolored clothing or patterns like stripes or herringbone.
• Choose soft fabrics
Fabrics like soft cotton can feel soothing to the skin and don't chafe. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool and some synthetics; they can sometimes irritate plaques.
• Keep breathing
Many people with psoriasis feel uncomfortable wearing shorts or short sleeves during the summer time because of their plaques. But covering up has the potential to make things worse because perspiration can sometimes irritate psoriasis symptoms. Try wearing loose fitting clothing that minimizes rubbing against the skin, and look for newer, more breathable fabrics that are soft and moisture-wicking.
Often characterized as a tendency to flush or blush easily, rosacea typically progresses to persistent
redness in the center of the face, and may gradually involve the ears, chest, and back. Small blood
vessels and tiny pimples may appear on and around the reddened area. The best prevention may be to
avoid things that trigger the redness and flushing. Examples include hot drinks, spicy foods, caffeine
and alcoholic beverages. Oral antibiotics and topical medications can stop the progression of rosacea,
but the improvement generally is not noticeable for 3-6 months.
Rosacea can vary substantially from one patient to another. The following photographs reflect common patterns of signs and symptoms, known as subtypes, and many patients have characteristics of more than one subtype at the same time.
Visit your Dermatologist for additional information on how to treat and manage your symptoms.
Subtype 1: Facial Redness (Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea)
Rosacea sufferers often experience flushing and persistent facial redness. Small blood vessels may also become visible in some patients, and stinging, burning, swelling and roughness or scaling may occur.
Subtype 2: Bumps and Pimples (Papulopustular Rosacea)
In addition to persistent redness, bumps (papules) and/or pimples (pustules) are common in many rosacea sufferers. Some patients may also experience raised red patches known as plaques.
Subtype 3: Enlargement of the Nose (Phymatous Rosacea)
Rosacea may be associated with enlargement of the nose from excess tissue, a condition known as rhinophyma. This may include thickening of the skin and irregular surface nodules, which in rare cases may also develop in areas other than the nose.
Subtype 4: Eye Irritation (Ocular Rosacea)
Rosacea affects the eyes in many patients, and may result in a watery or bloodshot appearance, irritation and burning or stinging. The eyelids may also become swollen, and styes are common.
Any questions you have about Skin Cancer, Sun Protection/Prevention, should be discussed with your Dermatologist.
Do not try to self diagnose as these are just examples of different types, and should be examined by your Dermatologist.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers. Sun avoidance is the best
defense against skin cancer and early detection is the key to a cure.
The Dangers of Tanning
A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a bed, or through incidental exposure, is bad news, any way you acquire it. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you've sustained skin cell damage.
No matter what you may hear at tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer. In fact, indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.
The number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking.
• In the US alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning. Out of this number, 6,199 are melanoma cases.
The Skin Cancer Foundation's Position:
The study results demonstrate that tanning bed use, particularly among young people, is an alarmingly widespread behavior. In the US, 35% of adults and 55% of college students have tanned, and the study found there are more than 419,000 new skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning each year. Worldwide, there are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self examination of their skin, so that they can find any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable. Learn about the warnings signs of skin cancer and what to look for during a self examination. If you spot anything suspicious, see a doctor.
Performed regularly, self examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer. It should be done often enough to become a habit, but not so often as to feel like a bother. For most people, once a month is ideal, but ask your doctor if you should do more frequent checks.
You may find it helpful to have a doctor do a full-body exam first, to assure you that any existing spots, freckles, or moles are normal or treat any that may not be. After the first few times, self examination should take no more than 10 minutes – a small investment in what could be a life-saving procedure.
Types of Skin Cancer
DYSPLASTIC NEVI (atypical moles)
Unusual benign moles that may resemble melanoma. People who have them are at increased risk of developing single or multiple melanomas. The higher the number of these moles someone has, the higher the risk; those who have 10 or more have 12 times the risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population. Dysplastic nevi are found significantly more often in melanoma patients than in the general population.
Medical reports indicate that about 2 to 8 percent of the Caucasian population have these moles. Heredity appears to play a part in their formation. Those who have dysplastic nevi plus a family history of melanoma (two or more close blood relatives with the disease) have an extremely high risk of developing melanoma. Individuals who have dysplastic nevi, but no family history of melanoma, still face a 7 to 27 times higher risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population—certainly a great enough risk to warrant monthly self-examination, regular professional skin exams and daily sun protection.
Actinic Keratoses (AK)
Actinic keratoses (AK), also called solar keratoses, are scaly, crusty growths (lesions) caused by damage from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. They typically appear on sun-exposed areas such as the face, bald scalp, lips, and the back of the hands, and are often elevated, rough in texture, and resemble warts. Most become red, but some will be tan, pink, and/or flesh-toned. If left untreated, up to ten percent of AKs develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer. In rarer instances, AKs may also turn into basal cell carcinomas, the most common form of skin cancer.
More than 58 Million
This figure is generally accepted as the best current estimate of the number of Americans with actinic keratosis. People with a fair complexion, blond or red hair, and blue, green or grey eyes have a high likelihood of developing AKs if they spend time in the sun and live long enough. Location makes a difference: The closer to the equator you live, the more likely you are to have actinic keratoses. The incidence is slightly higher in men, because they tend to spend more time in the sun and use less sun protection than women do.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
The Most Frequently Occurring Form of Skin Cancer
BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin's basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.
BCC almost never spreads (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. Only in exceedingly rare cases can it spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. It shouldn't be taken lightly, though: it can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.
In 2010, an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC were diagnosed in the US, and the figures have continued to climb. In fact, BCC is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. More than one out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the vast majority are BCCs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The Second Most Common Form of Skin Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin's upper layers (the epidermis). SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; they may crust or bleed. They can become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if allowed to grow.
SCC is mainly caused by cumulative ultraviolet (UV) exposure over the course of a lifetime; daily year-round exposure to the sun's UV light, intense exposure in the summer months, and the UV produced by tanning beds all add to the damage that can lead to SCC.
SCCs may occur on all areas of the body including the mucous membranes and genitals, but are most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, balding scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. Often the skin in these areas reveals telltale signs of sun damage, including wrinkles, pigment changes, freckles, “age spots,” loss of elasticity, and broken blood vessels.
The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an estimated 9,940 people in the US annually.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.
Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless - but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body.
Look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.
There are five signs that suggest malignancy in pigmented lesions, often referred to as the ABCDE's of Malignant Melanoma.
Asymmetry - , If you draw a line through a mole, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma.
Border Irregularity - The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
Color - Most benign moles are all one color - often a single shade of brown. Having a variety of colors is another warning signal
Diameter - Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
Evolving - Common, benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way.
The most important step you can take, is to have a changing mole or non-healing lesion examined
by a dermatologist, so that any early Melanoma or skin cancer can be removed while still in the
Common warts (also called vurruca vulgaris)
Warts: It is common for warts to grow on the hands, but they can grow on any part of your body.
Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way.
Wart viruses are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart.
Warts are often skin-colored and feel rough, but they can be dark (brown or gray-black), flat, and smooth.
Common warts have these traits:
• Grow most often on the fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of the hands.
• Are more common where skin was broken, such as from biting fingernails or picking at hangnails.
• Can have black dots that look like seeds (often called "seed" warts).
• Most often feel like rough bumps.
Foot warts (also called plantar warts)
Plantar warts have these traits:
• Grow most often on the soles (plantar surface) of the feet.
• Can grow in clusters (mosaic warts).
• Often are flat or grow inward (walking creates pressure, which causes the warts to grow inward).
• Can hurt, feels like you have pebbles in your shoe.
• Can have black dots.
Flat warts have these traits:
• Can occur anywhere. Children usually get them on the face. Men get these most often in the beard area, and women tend to get them on their legs.
• Are smaller and smoother than other warts.
• Tend to grow in large numbers - 20 to 100 at a time.
Who gets warts?
Anyone can get warts. Some people are more prone to getting a wart virus (HPV) than others. These people are:
• Children and teens.
• People who bite their nails or pick at hangnails.
• People with a weakened immune system (the body's defense system).
In children, warts often go away without treatment. A dermatologist should treat warts that hurt, bother the child, or quickly multiply.
You can get some wart remedies without a prescription and treat the warts yourself. This may be enough to get rid of the warts. The only problem with self-treatment is that you might mistake another kind of skin growth for a wart. Some skin cancers look like warts.
You should see your dermatologist when you have:
• A suspicion that the growth is not a wart.
• A wart on your face or genitals.
• Many warts.
• Warts that hurt, itch, burn, or bleed.
• A weakened immune system.
• Never try to remove any wart on your foot if you have diabetes. If you cut or burn your skin, it could cause lasting damage to the nerves in your feet.