Posts for category: Skin Condition
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.
If you’ve suddenly noticed your skin breaking out in a red, itchy rash, you could be dealing with dermatitis, a common skin condition that often leads to a red, swollen rash, or dry and intensely itchy skin. Sometimes dermatitis can even cause oozing or scaling blisters to form. This condition may be embarrassing but don’t worry—it isn’t contagious.
The most common types of dermatitis include:
- Contact dermatitis: occurs when an allergen comes in contact with your skin
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis: most commonly inherited
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis: often appears on the hands and feet
- Seborrheic dermatitis: a type of dermatitis that often affects the scalp (dandruff)
The causes really depend on the type of dermatitis you have. For example, contact dermatitis occurs when you come in contact with an allergen such as certain detergents, poison ivy, or nickel. Eczema most often runs in families and occurs more frequently in those with allergies or asthma.
With dermatitis, it is common to experience flare-ups with bouts of remission. Common symptom triggers include environmental or hormonal changes, stress, or certain irritants (e.g. new detergents; perfumes).
Since the symptoms of dermatitis are similar to other skin conditions, it is important to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Some types of dermatitis can be diagnosed through a simple physical exam; however, if your dermatologist believes that your symptoms are due to an allergic reaction, then allergy testing may be necessary to determine what’s causing your dermatitis.
Those with mild symptoms may find relief through over-the-counter antihistamines and topical creams to stop itching and redness; however, a dermatologist can create a customized treatment plan based on the type of dermatitis you are dealing with and your symptoms. Along with home care (e.g. oatmeal baths; cold compresses) and over-the-counter medications, a dermatologist may also prescribe stronger antihistamines, topical steroids, or oral medication to ease more serious flare-ups.
Your dermatologist can also discuss ways to prevent flare-ups including treating and preventing dry skin, using a proper moisturizer, and implementing necessary dietary changes. Some patients also find that alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage therapy help reduce the number and severity of flare-ups.
If you are experiencing symptoms of dermatitis, it is important that you see your dermatologist right away for care. The sooner you seek treatment the sooner you will experience relief.
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.
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.