Acne is a condition of teenagers and some adults consisting of blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that typically appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventy million Americans have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. Acne is not life-threatening, but can cause permanent scarring and emotional stress.
Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions as well as the patient’s skin type, age and lifestyle. Options include:
- Topical Medications
- Accutane ®
- Blackhead Extraction
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Laser Treatments
Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways. The following treatments produce successful results:
- Chemical Peels
- Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
- Soft Tissue Fillers
- Laser/Pulsed Light Treatments
There are three major groups of skin diseases caused by allergy: eczema, allergic contact dermatitis and hives. Allergic contact dermatitis describes the onset of a rash, swelling, blistering or other effect after the skin touches an irritating substance such as clothing materials and dyes, latex, cosmetics, soaps, perfumes or certain plants like poison ivy.
Hives, also called urticaria, are itchy rashes with bumps resembling insect bites. They can occur in small patches or all over the body, and last anywhere from a few minutes to several months.
Eczema is a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.
Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress.
Treatment involves the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments. If this proves insufficient, physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines.
Phototherapy is a common procedure that uses light to reduce rashes. For severe cases, drugs such as prednisone and cyclosporine A may be recommended.
Psoriasis is a term that encompasses a group of chronic skin disorders that affect any part of the body from the scalp to the toenails, but most frequently affect the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. In addition, it may be categorized into different types: plaque, pustular, erythrodermic, guttate or inverse psoriasis. Most forms involve an itching and/or burning sensation, scaling and crusting of the skin.
Type-specific symptoms include:
- Plaque psoriasis (the most common type): raised, thickened patches of red skin covered with silvery-white scales;
- Pustular psoriasis: pus-like blisters;
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: intense redness and swelling of a large part of the skin surface;
- Guttate psoriasis: small, drop-like lesions;
- Inverse psoriasis: smooth red lesions in the folds of the skin.
The latest research has revealed that psoriasis is a disease of inflammation and many factors are involved that over stimulate the immune system in patients who suffer from it. The most successful current therapies work by blocking pathways in the immune system that slow down or prevent over stimulation of the skin. Topical steroid creams, ultraviolet light and the new biological drugs such as Enbrel®, Stelara® and Otezla® all work by blocking inflammatory pathways which result in calming and clearing the skin disease.
Normally the outer layer of skin, which consists of keratinocytes, is replaced unnoticeably, about once a month. This process is faster in people with psoriasis; keratinocytes reach the skin surface too quickly, before they can be properly incorporated into surrounding tissue or even before they are fully mature. As a result, the skin flakes off. This sped-up process is called parakeratosis.
The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, photochemotherapy (PUVA), and oral or injectable medication (for severe symptoms).
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and swelling on the face. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. While there is no cure for rosacea, there are plenty of effective treatments available.
First and foremost, daily use of sunscreen is essential to reduce the likelihood of rosacea flare ups. Topical treatments such as Metrogel, Finacea and sulfur creams or washes can successfully decrease the appearance of symptoms.
Oral drugs in the -cycline family such as tetracycline, doxycycline and Oracea© are very effective at reducing the inflammation and redness in rosacea through a direct anti-inflammatory function on the sebaceous glands, rather than being used for their pure anti-bacterial qualities. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL therapy) which functions like a laser is also helpful at reducing facial redness. Also, a new topical drug, Mirvaso® works by contracting the dilated capillaries that produce the flushing color. This is a simple, once a day treatment, but must be continued to maintain the benefit. It is not a permanent cure.
Warts are skin growths caused by viruses. Different warts respond to different treatments; some go away on their own. Salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels, pads and bandages) can help self-treatment of many warts by dissolving the keratin protein that makes up the wart and the dead skin above it. Others can be removed via liquid nitrogen freezing or electrical stimulation. Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.