General Dermatology & Surgery
Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin of the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Acne affects over 17 million people in the US, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While mostly teenagers are affected, adults of any age can suffer from acne. Acne is not life-threatening, but can lead to physical disfigurement and emotional distress. There are several effective treatment methods available to help improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future breakouts from occurring.
Causes of Acne
Acne develops on the skin when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria or shedding of dead skin cells that irritate the pores and hair follicles. When these substances build up in the hair follicle, they form a soft plug that forces the follicle wall to bulge and protrude from the skin, causing a lesion to develop.
The cause of excess oil production is unknown, but is believed to be caused by a combination of several factors, including hormones, bacteria, heredity and certain medications. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate or other foods and dirt do not cause acne.
Symptoms of Acne
Patients with acne may experience:
Other forms of inflammation on the skin
Symptoms most commonly appear on the face, neck, shoulders, back or chest, although they can appear anywhere on the skin. These symptoms can come and go, and may flare up at certain times as a result of hormonal or environmental triggers such as pregnancy, menstrual periods, greasy cosmetic or hair products, high levels of humidity or certain medications.
While acne does not usually lead to any serious health conditions, it can cause permanent scarring and damaging emotional effects for patients of any age. Patients should seek dermatologic treatment for acne if symptoms do not respond to over-the-counter treatment methods or scarring develops as the acne clears.
Contact dermatitis involves an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a foreign substance. Common triggers of contact dermatitis include poison ivy, certain foods, cleaning products, detergents, cosmetics and latex rubber. When a patient comes in contact with one of these triggers, he/she may experience a red rash, blistering, itchiness, dryness and more. Symptoms caused by contact dermatitis may a result of an immune system reaction or from an external allergic reaction to the specific trigger.
Most cases of contact dermatitis do not require treatment and will go away on their own within a few weeks. Patients can help relieve symptoms by avoiding the trigger, washing the affected area and applying hydrocortisone cream or taking oral antihistamines.
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 cyclosporine A may be recommended.
For patients who do not respond to traditional topical treatments such as aluminum chloride, we use Botox ® solution which is injected under the arm or in the hands. A typical patient experiences on average a 6 month respite from this embarrassing and often disabling sweating disorder.
Fungal infections of the skin are caused by microscopic organisms that live on the hair, nails (onychomycosis), mouth (angular cheilitis/oral thrush) and outer skin layers. They are quite common; the fungal infection cutaneous candidiasis, for example, which occurs in warm, moist crevices of the body, is the usual cause of diaper rash and vaginal yeast infections. Fungal infections are most likely to occur in people with diabetes, who are obese, or who take antibiotics or oral contraceptives. They are treatable (sometimes with difficulty) but often recur. Treatments include topical and systemic antifungal medications.
Hair loss can occur as a result of aging, heredity, medications or an underlying medical condition, and can affect men and women of all ages. It may leave you with pattern baldness, patchy spots or thinned hair. Most people are troubled by this undesired change to their appearance and may be frustrated that there is no cure available for this condition.
While many people are forced to deal with hair loss and let the condition progress naturally, there are several treatments available to help promote hair growth or hide hair loss. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the location and extent of the hair loss, but may include hair growth medications, wigs and hairpieces, and hair transplant or scalp reduction surgery.
Also known as hyperpigmentation, dark spots may develop on the skin as a result of several different causes, including skin conditions, medications, scarring, sun damage, pregnancy or simply the effects of aging. These spots most often occur on areas of sun exposed skin, such as the face, hands and chest, but may appear anywhere on the body.
Many people are unhappy with the appearance of these dark spots and seek treatment to restore clear, smooth skin. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for dark spots, including topical ointments, laser procedures and other minimally invasive options. Your doctor will decide which treatment is best for you after evaluating your skin.
Melasma is a common skin condition where patches of skin on the face turn brown. The most commonly affected areas are the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead and upper lip. Melasma mostly affects women. Causes include exposure to ultraviolet light and hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy or birth control.
Treatments for melasma include:
- UVA/UVB Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher
- Sunblock Lotions
- Avoidance of Any Irritating Cleansers, Creams or Makeup Products
- Discontinuation of Birth Control
- Bleaching Creams including Hydroquinone
- Glycolic Acid Peels