Melanoma Awareness: What Is It? What Are The Signs?
May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Melanoma may not be the most common type of skin cancer, but it is considered to be the most serious by the medical community due to its high probability of spreading and becoming fatal. The main risk factor for developing it is overexposure to the sun, so being mindful of time spent outdoors and always taking care to use a strong sunscreen are effective ways to reduce the risk of developing it. Those with moles are also more susceptible to this type of skin cancer, making self-monitoring crucial for early detection.
What Is It?
Cancerous growths develop when the DNA of skin cells experiences extreme damage. This is typically caused by intense exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or tanning beds. The damage triggers maladaptive genetic mutations, causing the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These often take place in moles but can affect other areas of the skin as well. In fact, when melanoma develops, it often takes the form of a mole, though the coloring can be very different.
Causes and Prevention of Skin Cancer
Genetics, as well as skin type, can cause a person to be more prone to developing this type of skin cancer. The following factors have been shown to increase your susceptibility:
- High mole and/or freckle density
- The presence of atypical moles, age/sun/liver spots or birthmarks
- Having pale or fair skin
- Having red, orange, or light-colored hair
- Getting sunburned fairly regularly
- Frequent exposure to the sun
- Family history of this or other skin cancers
Unfortunately, many of these factors are unavoidable and out of an individual’s control. However, regulating the amount of time you spend in the sun, as well as practicing proper skin care strategies when in the sun, are factors that a pre-disposed person can take extra care to control. Avoid tanning beds at all costs, wear clothes that prevent the penetration of the sun’s rays, opt for sunscreen with a minimum 4-star UVA protection rating, and regularly (and liberally) reapply it, especially after swimming.
Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms
The first signs and symptoms present as atypical moles or irregular marks on the surface of the skin. Dermatologists advise patients to use the ABCDE self-examination strategy in order to monitor their moles and be aware of any changes. Using this method, the most common signs and symptoms can be noticed early, making your overall prognosis better.
- Asymmetry- An easy way to detect asymmetry is to mentally draw a line down the middle of a mole. Do the two sides match? If not, this is a big red flag.
- Borders- Normal (benign) moles have smooth, even borders. A mole with notched or uneven borders is a cause for concern.
- Color- Most moles are an identical shade of brown. Having a variety of shades and/or colors is another big warning sign, especially if those colors include red, white, or blue.
- Diameter- Benign moles typically have a small diameter. The diameters of atypical lesions often exceed the size of a pencil tip eraser.
- Evolving- Common moles do not change much over time. When a mole begins to evolve in any way, contact a doctor.
Skin Cancer Types
There are four types of melanomas. The most common, ‘Superficial Spreading’, presents on the abdomen, back, or limbs. Cells grow slowly at first before spreading across the skin. ‘Nodulars‘ grow more quickly than others and tend to turn red. ‘Lentingo Malignas‘ are less common and typically affect older people. Starting as a type of stain or freckle, it grows slowly and is less dangerous than other types. The final, ‘Acral Lentiginous’, is the rarest type and usually appears on the palms, under the nails, or on the soles of the feet.
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
After noticing changes in the moles or skin, seek medical help immediately. Dermatologists like those at Universal Dermatology & Vein Care can use microscopic or photographic tools to examine the lesion (‘skin abnormality’). If the doctor suspects the presence of skin cancer after this examination, he/she may refer you to a cancer specialist in order to undergo a biopsy, which involves taking a sample of the lesion in order to test the cells in the laboratory. A biopsy will confirm or deny the presence of cancerous traits in your lesion.
Skin Cancer Treatment
For the most part, methods for treating skin cancer are similar to those that treat other types of cancer. However, unlike with many cancers that affect the body internally, skin cancer is easier to remove completely, as it is presented on the outside of the body. Removal surgery is the most common treatment. The procedure involves cutting out the lesion as well as the tissue surrounding it.
If the lesion is too large for this procedure- meaning it covers an extensive area of the skin- a skin graft may become necessary. Skin grafting is a surgical procedure by which normal, healthy skin is removed from one part of the body and is transferred to the affected area. In the event that it has spread to the lymph nodes, a biopsy may also be performed there. Chemotherapy, biological therapy (using drugs to strengthen the immune system), and photodynamic therapy (using drugs, light, and radiation) may also be used in treatment, though they are less common.
Prognosis of Skin Cancer
Although it is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer, it can still be treated successfully. When recognized and treated early enough, it is almost always curable. However, neglecting to take care of your skin (especially if it is sensitive or relates to any of the risk factors listed above) and failing to monitor and report changes can allow the skin cancer to advance and spread to other parts of the body. Like other cancers, if melanoma spreads, it becomes much more difficult to treat. Preventative care and early action greatly improve your prognosis and, as such, are invaluable tools for beating this type of skin cancer.
If you have any questions about skin cancer prevention or detection, contact the experts at Universal Dermatology & Vein Care!Lear More
Rosacea Awareness: What is Rosacea? What Does it Look Like?
According to the National Rosacea Society, rosacea is a progressive acne-like condition that starts from the face and over time, may spread to other parts of the body including the chest and neck. The condition causes painful pimple-like bumps to appear on various parts of your face including the ears, eyes, nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin.
In addition to being painful, the condition may also cause facial swelling. When left untreated, it may cause the capillaries (small blood vessels) on your face to dilate and become visible on the skin. Furthermore, it may cause your skin to become hard and thick, causing your nose to appear enlarged.
Currently, this condition affects more than 15 million people in the US alone and about 45 million people worldwide. The risk factors for it include age, hereditary factors, gender, and race. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at this potentially life-disruptive skin condition.
The Different Types of Rosacea
As mentioned above, rosacea is a progressive skin condition, meaning its symptoms tend to get progressively worse over time. In essence, rosacea progresses in four distinct stages, with the signs and symptoms of the disease varying at each stage. Because of this, researchers have classified rosacea into four subcategories. These subcategories include:
Erythematotelangiectatic or Vascular
Erythematotelangiectatic or vascular rosacea is essentially early-stage rosacea (pre- rosacea), meaning it is a mild condition. The signs and symptoms of erythematotelangiectatic rosacea include chronic skin redness, flushing of the skin and in some cases, telangiectasia (visible capillaries). The treatment options for this type of rosacea include laser treatment and oral or topical rosacea medications, such as minocycline and doxycycline. However, it is important to note that these treatment options do not completely cure the disease. In other words, they only relieve the symptoms of the disease.
Inflammatory Rosacea or Papulopustular
This is the second stage of the disease. At this stage, pustules and papules will appear on your face, causing you to experience persistent facial redness and flushing. To relieve the symptoms, use topical gels such as metronidazole.
At the third sage (phymatous rosacea), the symptoms include all the symptoms for stages one and two, as well as the growth of new skin tissue on the affected areas, causing your skin to become hard and thick. Moreover, the excess skin tissue may cause your nose to grow bigger and become bulbous, a condition called rhinophyma. To get rid of the excess skin tissue, you would need to undergo surgery or laser treatment.
This is the fourth and final stage of the disease and as the name implies, it primarily affects the eyes. The signs and symptoms associated with this type of rosacea include a burning sensation of the eyes, blurred vision, recurrent styes, swollen eyelids, tearing and dry eye. It is worth noting that, when left untreated, ocular rosacea can easily damage the cornea, eventually causing blindness. Physicians usually use low-dose antibiotics to manage this condition.
At this point, it is important to note that you can develop all the aforementioned types of rosacea either in sequence or at once. In fact, it is quite common for patients to develop multiple types of rosacea at once. Additionally, it is worth noting that, although rosacea is a progressive condition, it does not always progress from one stage to another. However, the symptoms tend to get progressively worse over time. For this reason, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, even for early-stage rosacea.
While rosacea can affect virtually anyone, certain people are more susceptible to the disease. According to surveys by the National Rosacea Society, the risk factors for rosacea include:
- Age – A survey by the National Rosacea Society found that rosacea mainly affects people aged 30 years or older. Specifically, the survey revealed that people between the ages of 30 and 50 account for nearly 45% of all new rosacea infections, people above the age of 50 account for nearly 40% of all new infections and people under the age of 30 account for only 17% of new infections.
- Fair skin – the aforementioned survey also found that people with fair skin account for more than 70% of all rosacea infections.
- Blushing and flushing – People who tend to blush and flush easily are nearly six times as likely to develop rosacea compared to people who do not blush or flush easily.
- Hereditary factors – People with a family history of rosacea are more likely to develop the disease.
- Ancestry – Although rosacea affects people of all racial backgrounds and nationalities, Americans of Eastern European, Scandinavian, Scottish, Irish and English ancestry are particularly prone to the condition.
- Gender – The disease is more common in women than in men.
Oral and Topical Therapies
Currently, there is no cure for this long-term skin condition. However, oral and topical therapies can help manage the condition and ease the symptoms of the disease. Long-term use of topical therapy is particularly important to maintain remission. In certain cases, dermatologists use both invasive and non-invasive surgical techniques to manage the condition. This includes laser skin treatments that we offer at our office.
You can use a gentle-skin care routine to manage the condition. In essence, you should clean your face with a non-abrasive cleanser and lukewarm water. After cleaning your face, blot it dry with a soft cotton towel instead of rubbing it with a rough washcloth. At the same time, always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when outdoors in the sun.
Things that increase blood flow to the surface of your face can actually aggravate the condition. For this reason, you should identify and avoid triggers.
Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects people ages 30 and older. The signs and symptoms of the disease include pimples that appear on the face, neck, and chest. Researchers do not yet know what causes this condition. As a result, there is no current cure for the condition. The available treatment options, including oral, topical and surgical therapies, only manage the symptoms of the disease. If you suspect you have rosacea, contact us for a consultation today.
Common Skin Contact Allergens
Every year, Americans spend $18 billion for allergy-related ailments. This number, based on data presented by the American College of Allergy, is quite alarming. While this $18 billion spent on said conditions covers allergies from skin contact allergens to drug reactions and everything in between, a sizable portion of this amount is spent on skin allergies.
Many households in the United States spend a portion of their income to treat skin allergies. This can be for their own allergies or those experienced by their children. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology notes that in 2012, 8.8 million children were recorded to have suffered from skin allergies. This is something to take note of because even if allergic reactions are usually mild, it is still best to visit a physician immediately because some rashes can be early symptoms of more serious ailments. While such instances are rare, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that what you are experiencing or what your child is experiencing is just a common reaction to common skin contact allergens.
Common Skin Contact Allergens and Irritants
Many allergies are caused by fragrances, household cleaners, soap, facial creams, sunscreen, and food. The question is, how do they enter our doors and later on, our system? Most people are busy and examining every product’s chemical composition is next to impossible. If you don’t know which items are causing your rashes, here are some of the most common skin irritants.
Although they are not intended for the skin, chemicals in household cleaners can cause allergic reactions when you are exposed to them. All-purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, toilet disinfectants and the like can cause skin allergies. To ensure that you don’t introduce skin irritants to your skin, wearing gloves when using these products is advised.
Soap is a good way to get rid of oil, germs, and dirt but using it excessively can result in dry skin. Many often overlook this issue, but if the skin is too dry, it can crack and bleed. Donald V. Belsito, MD, a University of Missouri clinical professor of medicine, notes that excessive hand washing is a problem. He adds that since we live in a germaphobic society, we keep using soap without attempting to truly protect our skin.
Facial creams can be effective if they are right for you. However, the ones that sting and burn will likely cause irritation if you continue using them. If you suspect that your current facial cream is irritating your skin, check for preservatives, alpha hydroxyl acids, and ascorbic acid because any of these three can be the culprit.
Rough fabrics can cause atopic dermatitis. This form of eczema involved skin inflammation and red and itchy skin. The National Eczema Association states that 18 million (72%) adults have atopic dermatitis and 9.6 million (13%) children develop it.
If you feel that a certain fabric is irritating your skin, it is best to throw them in the trash. Experts like Belsito suggest that you choose cotton poly fabrics and cotton to avoid skin irritation.
Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets
We love the smell of fresh sheets but sometimes, those wonderful fragrances in fabric softeners can cause irritation. If you suspect that your fabric softener is causing allergic reactions, it is time to switch to a fragrance-free product.
Many people have fragrance allergies, but since there are around 5,000 fragrances and many combinations, it can be difficult to determine which fragrance you are allergic to. This is why picking fragrance-free products is always a good move for people with sensitive skin.
Plants are lovely but some of them can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy are among the most common plant irritants in the country. They can cause itching and rashes that can last for 5 to 12 days.
Skin Testing for Allergies
Do you want to determine what you are allergic to? To avoid the guesswork, talk to your dermatologist about patch testing.
Patch testing involves testing a range of extracts that can cause allergic reactions. A specialist applies these extracts to the skin and if there is a reaction, they can tell you what you are allergic to.
Allergic Reactions: What to Do
Whenever a certain substance irritates your skin, your immune system reacts by creating antibodies to fight said substances. It can be anything from your food, medication, or the products you use.
While most allergies are mild and can wait, some skin allergies are life-threatening. These rashes are rare but when they happen, it is best to go to the emergency room immediately.
If you are suffering from a mild allergic reaction or have in the past, schedule a consultation with 0ne of our offices to discover what is causing it and how to prevent reactions in the future. If you are currently suffering from a severe allergic reaction, go to the hospital immediately or call 911 for help.
Identifying 21 Common Red Spots on Skin
There are many skin conditions that cause red spots on the skin. It can be easy to confuse conditions at first glance, so we would like to take a closer look. Here are 21 conditions that cause common red spots on the skin and how to treat them.
1. Acne Bumps
Causes: Characterized by pimples, oily skin, scarring and hyperpigmentation, whiteheads, and blackheads. Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) occurs when oil, dead skin cells, and hair follicles are clogged within the skin.
Treatments: Acne treatments can vary from one person to the next depending on the severity of the condition. However, treatments are usually a combination of OTC and prescribed topical medication and possible dietary changes (such as avoiding sugary and oily foods and consuming more water, fruits, and vegetables).
Causes: Rosacea is a common condition that causes redness of the skin. It is similar in symptoms and signs to other conditions like acne and eczema. Doctors will perform tests to rule out those other conditions, and pay special attention to the patient’s historical skin patterns.
Treatments: The patient will need to use a combination of skincare and prescription medication to treat rosacea. One of our certified dermatologists will have to diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment.
3. Pityriasis Rosea
Causes: Pityriasis Rosea usually occurs in people between 10 and 35. Researchers suspect that is stems from a virus, and not by a bacteria, fungus, or allergic reaction.
Treatments: Treatments include using skin lotions and lubricants to soothe the itch. In severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe corticosteroids.
4. Tinea Versicolor
Causes: Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast that lives in the skin. Oily skin, excessive sweating, having a weak immune system and living in hot climates can all result in this condition.
Treatments: Simply observing the rash or using an ultraviolet light test can diagnose the condition. A combination of topical lotions, creams, shampoos, as well as pilled-medication, can be used to treat this condition.
5. Hair follicle infections (Folliculitis)
Causes: Folliculitis can appear on any part of the skin having hair and occurs whenever hair follicles are inflamed because of yeast, other fungi or bacteria. Shaving, wearing clothing that irritates the skin, sweating, oils, and makeup can all result in these small red spots on the body. Commonly affected areas include legs, arms, buttocks, back and the beard area of the face.
Treatments: Mild forms of the condition can heal on its’ own over a two-week period during which it can be soothed with a warm compress. However, more severe forms of Folliculitis can be treated with medicated shampoos and/or prescribed antibiotics.
Causes: Petechiae can appear on account of brown, purple or red spots on the legs, arms, stomach, buttocks or on the inside of eyelids and the mouth. This happens when capillaries (tiny blood vessels) break and the blood leaks into the skin. Infections of various kinds and reactions to medication are two common causes of red Petechiae blood spots on the skin.
Treatments: Depending on the nature of the condition, antibiotics, corticosteroids, immune suppressants and even chemotherapy in the instance where cancers like Lymphoma are among the causes.
Causes: Immune system over-activity causes Psoriasis. This condition includes inflammation, flaking, and thick silvery/white or red patches of the skin.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical steroids (creams), light therapy, oral medication, occlusion, and biologics.
Causes: Arguably one of the most common groups of skin conditions, the most common form of eczema is atopic eczema and atopic dermatitis. Eczema seems to be hereditary and linked to developing various allergies, although one cause has not been pinpointed for the condition.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical treatments (like creams and gels) and dietary or other lifestyle changes.
Causes: Also known as Urticaria, Hives appear as pale red bumps or plaques that are swollen and often appear suddenly as an allergic reaction to an irritant. Chronic cases can result from conditions like cancer or hepatitis infection, as well as from the use of certain medications.
Treatments: Hives will be diagnosed with an allergy test, and a doctor will usually prescribe Antihistamines to help treat the symptoms. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and applying cool compress can all help.
Causes: Skin rashes are one of the many symptoms of Lupus. Lupus itself is not a direct skin disorder but an auto-immune condition that can damage vital organs in severe cases.
Treatments: Due to the many symptoms of Lupus, doctors need to use a combination of treatments. As far as the skin rash goes, however, the patient can use anti-inflammatory medications and topical creams to treat it.
11. Poison Ivy
Causes: An allergic reaction to direct contact with the Poison Ivy plant causes a poison ivy rash.
Treatments: Most cases of Poison Ivy can be treated at home using an over-the-counter antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, a cool wet compress pack, or frequent warm oatmeal baths. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath – or the rash stays beyond a few days – we advise that you visit an emergency room.
Causes: Shingles is a viral infection that occurs when the chickenpox virus appears for the second time in the body. It can appear on any part of the body as a painful rash that oozes and eventually crusts.
Treatments: Treatments for shingles include topical creams that relieve inflammation, as well as using baking soda and cornstarch to dry the sores. Burow’s solution and tap water are great options for cleaning crusted sore and reducing oozing and inflammation.
Causes: Lymphoma is a lymphatic system cancer where white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, fight the disease in the body. Lymphoma can appear in different areas of the body, including the skin. In Lymphomas of the skin, a common symptom is a rash on the skin.
Treatments: Like most cancers, doctors can use chemotherapy and various oral medications to treat Lymphoma.
14. Cherry Angiomas
Causes: Cherry Angiomas are a skin growth resulting from red moles or spots that can appear in most areas of your body, usually in people aged 30 years and older. Small blood vessels contribute to the red coloration, but doctors do not know the exact cause. Doctors link this condition to chemical exposure, climate, certain kinds of medical conditions, and even pregnancy.
Treatments: Most cases of Cherry Angioma do not need to be treated (unless it is an indication of something more serious like cancer). However, it can be removed for cosmetic reasons through laser surgery, electrocauterization, and cryosurgery.
15. Basal-Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Basal-cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Causes include exposure to ultraviolet light, radiation therapy, long-term exposure to arsenic, and a weak immune system.
Treatments: If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor is able to remove it surgically with a simple excision or Mohs Surgery (a specialized microscopy procedure developed for skin cancer). In rarer cases, treatments may be cryotherapy (cold application), topical chemotherapy, laser surgery, or the prescription medication, Imiquimod.
16. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type of skin cancer. The cause is usually too much sun exposure. is usually the cause.
Treatments: Squamous cell carcinoma is also commonly removed with excision or Mohs surgery. Other treatments include topical medications and various radiotherapies.
Causes: Genetics and DNA damage from too much exposure to the sun often causes Melanoma.
Treatments: Your doctor will use a biopsy to properly diagnose melanoma. A doctor will usually use surgical removal for this type of skin cancer as well. However, treatment may be more extensive depending on the number of cancerous moles present. Other treatments may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
18. Mosquito and Insect Bites
Causes: Some rashes result from insect bites including those from mosquitoes, spiders, ants, fleas, flies, and wasps. Following the insect bite is an allergic reaction in the form of a swollen, itchy bump.
Treatments: In most cases, rashes resulting from a mild allergic reaction to insect bites can go away on its’ own. However, you may need to take a trip to the emergency room or your general practitioner in the case of a more severe reaction. A doctor will prescribe a topical cream in these cases.
Causes: Cysts can occur in several parts of the body. Skin cysts (also known as sebaceous (epidermal) cysts) are sacs (bump or lump) under the skin which are full of sebum (a fluid that is a greasy and cheese-like material). One cause of cysts is a plugged hair follicle duct. These cysts can also result from an infected injury or hormone stimulation.
Treatments: Treatments for cysts include cleaning the affected area with antibacterial soap, applying a warm washcloth for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day (up to four) to increase blood circulation and speed healing. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if there is no change within a week, or if the cysts begin to pus.
20. Port Wine Stains/Birthmarks
Causes: Port Wine Stains or birthmarks are present at birth and are usually red or brown in their appearance.
Treatments: A specialist may use a variety of laser treatments to remove Port Wine Stains. The type of laser treatment used is dependent on the type of Port Wine Stain and the anatomical location. A doctor may suggest a series of treatments in order to obtain the best results. It is best to treat Port Wine Stains early in life. This is because they get thicker and darker over time and can lead to bleeding as a person ages.
Causes: Warts, wherever they appear, are an infection resulting from the Human Papillomavirus family.
Treatments: Removing warts is not always necessary. In the case of treating warts, chemical peels, some laser therapies, freezing or topical creams are great. Your doctor will discuss treatment options that will help remove warts without creating scar tissue. Salicylic acid can help with home treatments.
If you are experiencing any of these red spots on your skin or have other skin concerns, contact us to schedule an appointment.Lear More
Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis
Have you experienced redness and irritation after using a skin-care product or trying out a new detergent? How about a skin reaction with no explanation? If so, you may have suffered from contact dermatitis, which occurs when contact with chemicals causes irritation or allergic reaction. Although most cases are not severe, contact dermatitis can be unpleasant and also frustrating if the cause is not clear.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is an immune response to an allergen. It can be itchy and can also make the skin dry, flaky, or scaly. However, the symptoms associated with this allergic reaction depend on your skin’s sensitivity. This substance may bring about other symptoms including oozing blisters, redness, leathery appearance, burning sensation, hives, sun sensitivity, and swelling.
Patch Testing and Why It’s Necessary
If you already know what you’re allergic to, that’s great! It will be much easier for you to avoid these chemicals and ingredients. However, if you came in contact with an allergen by accident, it is best to consult with a dermatologist to get the skin treatment you need. For those who suddenly develop patches of dermatitis due to unknown causes, patch testing is necessary.
Metals, leather, rubber, and cosmetics, for example, contain a number of chemicals that can cause allergic reactions. Through patch testing, you and your doctor will be able to identify the allergen. This will help your dermatologist determine which treatment is right for your skin and will be able to help you avoid the allergen in the future.
How Does Patch Testing Work?
An experienced dermatologist will perform the patch test. During the test, small amounts of certain substances are applied to your skin and secured with hypoallergenic tape. These are usually placed on the upper back to ensure they are not disturbed. You will need to come back after 48 hours to get the patches removed. At this time, your dermatologist will do a thorough examination of your skin’s reaction to the substances. Two additional days later, the specialist will examine the spots again to see if there is any delayed reaction.
Dermatologists have a standard set of substances they test on individuals with suspected Allergic Contact Dermatitis. This includes Balsam of Peru, benzocaine, lanolin or wool alcohols, rosin, rubber accelerators, quaternium-15, formaldehyde resin, formaldehyde, p-tert butylphenol, plants, paraben mix, paraphenylenediamine, nickel, neomycin, fragrances, imidazolidinyl urea, ethylenediamine, cobalt, epoxy resin, clioquinol, and chrome. This list includes additives in leather, ointments, clothes, and other items we come in contact with on a regular basis.
Please note that if your dermatologist suspects other allergens, more patches will be added for testing. This can include substances that you come in contact with in your workplace or substances contained in your specific makeup or creams. Bringing in samples of the products you use would also be useful to your doctor, especially if you suspect one of these products is causing the allergic reaction.
Once the test results are in, your dermatologist will be able to give you details on what caused your recent allergic reaction. Your dermatologist will give you advice on how to avoid the substance you are allergic to. If the results reveal that you do not suffer from allergic contact dermatitis, you will be able to rule it out and your doctor can proceed with other tests to determine what is causing the skin irritation.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
If an irritant caused the contact dermatitis, the symptoms are slightly different. This can include skin blistering and cracking because of extreme dryness, stiff or tight skin, swelling, ulcerations, and open sores. This form of contact dermatitis is caused by skin injuries due to environmental factors, chemicals, or friction. The severity of the condition can vary depending on the strength of the irritant, frequency or length of exposure, and skin susceptibility.
Solvents you have come in contact with including detergents, metalworking fluids, adhesives, acid, alkalis, friction, and water can also cause it. Sometimes, two or more of these irritants act together in irritating the skin.
Anyone can experience irritant contact dermatitis if they come into contact with an irritant. However, those who suffer from atopy (a predisposition to allergic reactions) are more susceptible to the condition.
Testing for Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Because this condition can coexist with allergic contact dermatitis, your dermatologist may decide to perform the test to rule this out. The rash typically heals on its own as long as you avoid exposure to the irritant, but special treatment is available if needed. Be sure to contact your dermatologist to get the right treatment for the condition.
If it’s necessary that you handle the irritant again, make sure to cover up and protect your skin. However, try to avoid them altogether if possible.
Patch testing is important to prevent and treat redness, irritation, and itching caused by contact with an allergen or irritant. If you think you may be experiencing contact dermatitis or would like to prevent it, contact us today.Lear More
Psoriasis: What It Is & How to Treat It
Healthy skin can make us feel better about ourselves as we put our best face forward. After all, our skin is the first thing others will notice about us in any given social situation. Skin that is obviously irritated by acne, eczema, psoriasis or other conditions that can negatively affect our appearance can cause anxiety and lack of confidence. Below, we take a closer look at one such condition – psoriasis.
Psoriasis: What Is It?
Psoriasis is a condition where scales and patches that are often dry, flaky, red, silvery appear on the skin. Psoriasis can appear just about anywhere on the skin but is typically found on the lower back, knees, elbows, and scalp. In most cases, Psoriasis patches are small and affect adults under the age of about 35. They can also be itchy and sore on account of the drying of the skin of the affected area.
The severity of the effects or symptoms of Psoriasis can vary from one person to the other. The condition can affect men and women equally and is thought to result from an immune system that attacks healthy skin cells and there is a build up of skin cells resulting from the same. Still, the condition can be effectively treated although there is no cure.
How to Treat It?
Psoriasis is normally treated using topical treatments – primarily corticosteroids creams and ointments. These creams and ointments are usually used as directed by a physician or dermatologist, directly on the affected areas. In cases where Psoriasis is more severe, exposing the skin to special kinds of ultraviolet light is used as treatment. This process is known as Phototherapy. Finally, in extreme cases, injections or oral medications are used as treatment.
Contact Us For Treatment Options
If you or a loved one you know suffer from mild to extreme cases of Psoriasis, then you have come to the right place. Our team of dermatologists at Universal Dermatology & Vein Care will be more than happy to assist you. Contact us for your Psoriasis treatment options today and let us set you on the path to having glowing, healthy skin.Lear More
May Is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month: Here’s What You Need to Know
It is often said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. This old saying is one that remains true as far as it relates to the detection and treatment of Melanoma. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one person dies of melanoma every 52 minutes.
Early detection can decrease your risk of being diagnosed with Melanoma. While prevention is always preferred, the good news is once the condition is detected early in those who have it, and is subsequently treated; the Melanoma has a higher chance of being cured.
Preventing Melanoma: What You Need to Know
Being that the leading known cause of Melanoma is coming in contact with the direct Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, limiting one’s exposure is the best place to start with your efforts to prevent Melanoma. In this case, prevention can be as simple (and as difficult) as adjusting your daily habits. Here are Melanoma prevention tips you should practice in your everyday life:
- Staying out of the sun as much as possible, to avoid direct contact with UV rays.
- Avoid using tanning beds to decrease your direct contact with UV rays.
- Wear at least SPF 30 when exposed to the sun and reapply every 1-2 hours.
- Raising your level of self-awareness by regularly inspecting your own skin as best as possible for any apparent abnormalities. (Monthly self-examinations of moles.)
- Everyone should have their skin checked by a dermatologist at least once a year.
- Wear protective clothing, like hats, and seek shade during the midday peak sun hours.
While the tips above can help decrease your exposure to Melanoma, there are numerous causes that cannot always be prevented. For example, people with a family history of Melanoma have a higher likelihood of getting it. There is also an increased risk for people who possess a genetic predisposition to Melanoma, such as people who are fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed or people who have red hair.
Getting Involved: Raising awareness in May
May is all about Melanoma and skin cancer prevention, detection, treatment and of course, general awareness. There is much you can do to raise your own level or awareness about the disease, as well as the awareness of others. For example, you can:
- Encourage accountability at the level of the family, so that family members can encourage each other to wear sunscreen and limit the times spent in the sun
- Help build awareness through schools and the formal education systems. By equipping and encouraging teachers and administrators to pass on the necessary information about Melanoma to their students.
- Organize health fairs and/or events focused on sharing information about Melanoma with your community.
Tips For Rosacea During Spring
Spring has sprung and so has flare-ups from rosacea. Many patients have difficulty with this common skin disease when the seasons change, but the changes from winter to spring seem to be the worst.
Springtime is the season where rosacea is most aggravated by the increased sun, wind exposure, temperature change, and outdoor activity. It’s essential for rosacea patients to know what triggers their condition, learn how to avoid the triggers and follow a rigorous skin care regimen when flare-ups occur. Here are some skin tips to keep your rosacea under control as the weather warms.
1. Medical Therapy
Sticking with medications and treatments recommended by your dermatologist. Oral antibiotics, as well as those applied to the skin, along with other prescribed topical treatments, can go a long way towards keeping a flare-up in check. Considering undergoing laser and other light treatments during this time.
2. Proper Sun Protection
If your rosacea is exacerbated by sun exposure, make sure you wear a wide-brimmed hat whenever you are outside. Soaking up those rays after a long winter is tempting. Make sure that you always wear sunscreen that is rated SPF 30 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Try a pediatric formulation or one for sensitive skin if sunscreen tends to irritate your skin.
3. Shield Yourself from Wind
Spring brings a lot of windy days. Whenever possible, trying to shield your skin as heavy winds trigger outbreaks in more than half of patients.
4. Moderate Exercise
It’s also tempting to go full out with exertion after a cold winter, but heavy exertion often triggers flare-ups. Try low-intensity exercise at more frequent intervals. When not exercising, avoid situations with high heat and/or humidity.
5. Lifestyle Considerations
Take care of allergies and colds as these conditions can cause flare-ups along with other conditions. Seek medical attention when appropriate. Limit stress and anxiety when possible and if certain foods tend to trigger flare-ups, also limit their intake when other conditions are present.Lear More
Eczema Treatment In Dublin, Ohio
Eczema often worsens during the fall and winter months. If you have this condition, you will likely find it more bothersome in the cold weather. Lower temperatures and exposure to winter weather can worsen the problem.
During colder seasons, indoor heating in your home and office also contributes to drying out your skin. If your eczema is mild, there are steps you can take at home. To combat indoor heating, make use of a humidifier to release moisture back into the air. Also, be sure to take warm, short showers instead of long baths. Wash with a mild, unscented soap, and use a good moisturizer after you cleanse your skin. It’s also important to reduce the stress in your life as much as possible, as stress can affect eczema and cause other health-related issues.
Severe eczema may not respond to home treatments. If you take these steps for home care and do not see results, consider visiting a specialist at Universal Dermatology. Your condition will be evaluated, and you will receive the treatment that is right for you.
Fall and winter can be enjoyable times of the year. Eczema does not have to spoil your holidays, social events, or time with your family. Eczema treatments can make you comfortable, confident, and attractive. If you suffer from eczema and would like to seek treatment and discuss options, please contact us today.Lear More