Posts for category: Skin Condition
What is an irregular or atypical mole?
Medically referred to as dysplastic nevi, these irregular moles are benign but having them could put you at an increased risk for developing melanoma over your lifetime. These moles can develop anywhere on the body but are most often found on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Since these moles vary greatly in appearance it’s important to monitor your moles regularly so you can recognize when unusual changes are occurring and call your dermatologist.
What does an irregular mole look like?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) offers a simple ABCDE guideline to follow to be able to spot unusual or suspicious changes in a mole. Here’s what the ABCDEs stand for:
Asymmetry: when the halves of the moles don’t match each other in shape or appearance this could be a sign of a cancerous mole
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you have any concerns about a mole don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist to have it checked out. The sooner melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are detected and removed the better. Of course, everyone can benefit from visiting a dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. You should also be performing self-exams once a month to keep track of your moles.
If you have an irregular mole or a mole that’s changing in appearance, it’s best to play it safe and schedule an evaluation with a dermatologist who can examine the mole to make sure it hasn’t turned cancerous.
Dealing with dry skin? Here’s what might be to blame:
About 75 percent of people are living in a chronic state of dehydration. So, chances are that if you are dealing with dry skin you should closely evaluate how much water you’re drinking every day. If you’re not drinking enough water, this is an easy fix. You should be getting anywhere from 11-16 cups a day, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences.
You are Washing too Much
Be aware of over washing. Yes, that is a thing, and it’s one of the main reasons people end up dealing with tight and overly dry skin. That’s because our skin contains oils that help keep it moisturized. When you wash too often (or too aggressively) you strip the skin of its natural oils. Look for oil-based cleansers if you are dealing with dry skin and maybe only wash your face at night right before bed.
You are Dealing with a Skin Condition
Sometimes dry skin is a sign of a skin disorder, more commonly eczema and psoriasis. However, other health problems may also make someone prone to dry skin such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). In this case, it’s important to treat the underlying problem. This is where having a dermatologist will come in handy, especially if you are dealing with eczema or other chronic skin problems.
There is nothing like cold, dry air to make dry skin worse. If you are already prone to dry skin, you must be protecting your skin from further problems during the winter months. One way to do that is to wear gloves and to protect your face. Harsh winds and cold weather can easily cause cracks in the skin, which can bleed or even result in an infection. Protect your skin during the winter and perhaps give your skin a little extra TLC by using more intensive moisturizers and cleansers.
If dry skin is causing your discomfort or if you are feeling self-conscious about your dry, scaly skin, then it’s time to talk with your dermatologist about what’s going on and how to best get it under control.
Wondering what’s causing those itchy red spots and whether you should see a dermatologist about your rash? Most rashes are harmless and usually go away on their own; however, some rashes may require further treatment. Here are some of the different kinds of rashes and how they are treated,
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema causes a red itchy and weepy rash to develop. While eczema can develop just about anywhere on the body it is more common on the elbows, face, neck, and ankles. It’s important to recognize triggers (e.g. dry skin; pet dander; household cleaners) to reduce flare-ups.
Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines can be used to manage flare-ups; however, you may want to turn to a dermatologist for steroid creams, light therapy, and other treatment options to better manage your eczema.
Has your child developed an intensely itchy rash all over their body and face? If they haven’t been vaccinated against chickenpox than this viral infection may be to blame for these insanely itchy spots. Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that appears most often in school-age children. The rash may itch and ooze for a couple of days before crusting over.
It usually takes about a week for a chickenpox rash to go away. If you suspect that your child might have chickenpox it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. While the infection will just need to run its course there are ways to ease symptoms at home through special ointments, creams, and soothing oatmeal baths.
Hives or urticaria causes red itchy welts to appear. These flat bumps can be extremely itchy and may continue to disappear and appear over the course of several hours. Most cases of hives usually go away within 12 hours. Stress, drugs, food allergies, insect stings, and bites, and certain infections can also trigger hives.
While most acute cases of hives will go away, if you are dealing with symptoms that last more than six weeks or are accompanied by trouble breathing, facial swelling or other signs of a serious allergic reaction it’s important that you see a doctor immediately.
This is another common and harmless rash that appears during those hot, humid days. A heat rash will usually appear suddenly and is characterized as a cluster of red, pimple-like bumps. They can appear anywhere on the face or body but are most often found on the arms, chest, or groin. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine may help manage the itching. It’s also important to find a cooler environment and to wear lightweight clothes with breathable fabrics.
Notice a red, burning scaly rash between your toes? If so, this could be a fungal infection known as athlete’s foot. There are over-the-counter antifungal creams that can be applied directly to the infection to kill the fungus. If over-the-counter antifungal medications aren’t providing you with relief or if you’re unsure whether you have athlete’s foot it’s important that you see a dermatologist.
If you are dealing with a painful, widespread, or persistent rash it may be time to see your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. If in doubt, give your doctor a call. Based on your symptoms we can determine whether or not you should come into the office.
Psoriasis doesn’t just impact someone’s appearance but it can also affect someone’s quality of life. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that leads to itching, burning patches of skin known as plaques. These plaques can be embarrassing for the sufferer and have a serious impact on their life. If you have psoriasis that is causing you to avoid social situations or you are noticing symptoms of psoriasis it’s important that you have a dermatologist that you can turn to. A dermatologist can both diagnose and treat your skin condition.
Since symptoms of psoriasis can also resemble other skin problems it’s always a good idea to see a skin doctor to find out what’s causing your symptoms. Symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red, inflamed, and sometimes-scaly patches of skin
- Dry skin that may crack or bleed
- Tenderness, itching, or burning around the plaques
Plaques may be raised, dry, or contain white scaly skin. While plaques can develop anywhere on the body they are more prevalent on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp.
Certain things can trigger flare-ups including:
- Injury to the skin
- Cold weather
- Certain medications (e.g. beta-blockers; lithium)
Avoiding these triggers can be an effective way to reduce the amount of flare-ups a patient experiences.
Treatment for psoriasis includes a variety of home remedies, lifestyle modifications and medications. At-home care is focused on alleviating the itchy and burning associated with the formation of plaques. Mild to moderate itching may be relieved through:
- Moisturizing the skin daily
- Taking cold showers
- Apply ice packs to the skin
- Using skincare products containing lactic acid or urea, which can remove scaly skin
Finding the right medication and treatment plan takes time and having a dermatologist that you trust is crucial. Common medications and therapies for treating psoriasis include:
- Topical anesthetics
- Certain antidepressants
Despite the fact that there isn’t yet a cure for psoriasis, a dermatologist can certainly provide you with the treatment plan you need to get flare-ups under control.
If you are dealing with psoriasis it’s important that you have a dermatologist that you can turn to for care, treatment and support. Together you and your dermatologist can create a treatment plan to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Brown spots and skin discoloration are frequent complaints for many people. The most common form of irregular pigmentation is hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Some people have abnormal skin pigmentation from a young age, and for others it is brought on later in life by sun damage or injury to the skin. Individuals of all ages, ethnicities and skin types can be affected, although those with darker skin tones are more prone to develop it.
Hyperpigmentation usually appears as brown spots and dark patches on the face, chest, arms and hands. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Sun exposure, acne, genetics and hormonal changes can trigger or worsen irregular pigmentation.
Not all pigmentation problems can be avoided, but you can follow preventive measures to control and reduce dark spots from forming. It is especially important to use adequate sunscreen, manage your acne and discontinue the use of any oral medications that may be contributing to the problem.
How Can I Combat Hyperpigmentation?
The good news is that skin hyperpigmentation isn’t dangerous, and proper treatment can help rejuvenate troubling patches on the skin. There are many treatments at your dermatologist’s disposal, ranging from topical creams and dermabrasion to chemical peels and laser procedures. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and problem.
Although a frustrating condition, your skin complexion can be improved and corrected. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.