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.
Rashes will happen to most people at some point during their lifetime, whether it’s from coming in contact with poison ivy while on a camping trip or from an allergic reaction to a skincare product. While most rashes aren’t anything to worry about, we know that the other symptoms that accompany them—redness, itching and burning—can be annoying. Find out the most common causes for rashes and when your rash requires an evaluation from a dermatologist.
What causes a rash?
There are a variety of reasons rashes develop. Your rash could be caused by:
- Contact dermatitis
- Certain medications
- Heat rash
- Viral infections
- Asthma or allergies
- Bug bite
- Poison ivy, oak and sumac
When do you seek medical attention?
Most rashes will go away on their own and won’t require medical attention; however, while all rashes might look the same it’s also important to be able to recognize when a rash is serious enough that it needs to be evaluated by a skin doctor. Since there are so many different things that can cause a rash it’s important to have a proper diagnosis so you know exactly how to treat it.
You should have a rash checked out if:
- It’s all over your body
- It’s accompanied by a fever
- It’s painful
- It’s showing signs of an infection (oozing; warm to the touch; swelling)
- It’s blistering
- It appears suddenly and continues to spread quickly
How do you treat a rash?
The treatment plan your dermatologist creates for you will really depend on the cause of your rash. Sometimes over-the-counter creams such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion can help manage itching and other symptoms until the rash goes away. Oatmeal baths can also be soothing for rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak. While the rash heals, avoid using any products on your skin that contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Try not to cover the rash, as it needs to be able to breathe.
If you do have to come in for an evaluation, we will provide you with the proper medication or treatment necessary to get rid of the root cause of the rash. It’s important that you follow the treatment as prescribed in order to effectively get rid of the rash.
Many people are bothered by the small, unsightly clusters of purple, red and blue veins that commonly appear on the legs. These blemishes are called spider and varicose veins. Factors that lead to the formation of these veins include heredity, gender, and pregnancy. Prolonged standing, obesity, hormones, and physical trauma may also contribute to the development of varicose veins.
In addition to the visual appearance of the veins, many people may experience the following symptoms:
- Leg pain
- Leg fatigue or heaviness
- Burning sensations in the leg
- Swelling/throbbing in the leg
- Tenderness surrounding the veins
Varicose veins may remain merely a cosmetic issue or can progress to more serious health complications. Delaying treatment may cause leg discoloration, swelling and ulceration, or predispose to blood clots. It’s important to consult your regular physician when you first notice signs of varicose veins.
For patients troubled by the appearance of their veins, there is help. Varicose veins can easily be removed with the help of a dermatologist. A time-tested treatment, sclerotherapy is a simple, safe, and effective non-surgical procedure used to treat unwanted varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy diminishes the appearance of varicose veins by injecting a “sclerosing agent” into target veins to shrink the vessels and minimize their appearance. While a specific treatment plan can only be determined following a consultation with your dermatologist, most patients notice a significant reduction, if not total elimination, of their unwanted veins over the treatment period.
Sclerotherapy has been used for generations by dermatologists to help patients eliminate spider and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and improve your self-confidence. Visit your dermatologist for an initial consultation and find out if you are a good candidate.
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.