Common Skin Problems

Acne | Eczema | Rosacea | Psoriasis | Skin Cancer | Fine Lines/Wrinkles | Sun Damage | Age Spots | Spider Veins

Acne

Acne is a common inflammatory skin disorder consisting of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts on the face or body. Most acne problems occur during the adolescence, but it can sometimes occur before or even after the teenage years.

Because it often involves the face, acne may exert a detrimental effect on one's self-esteem. Normally, minor acne is self-limited, but there are more severe forms that may require strong medication to avert any chance of permanent scarring.

There are a number of techniques available today to treat acne. Doctors can recommend habitual changes in a person's lifestyle to help reduce the recurrence of breakouts. Medications, both topical and systemic, are used to lessen the severity of outbreaks. Advanced laser therapies and chemical peels are also used to treat acne in certain circumstances.

Eczema

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis. It is actually a group of skin conditions that can affect you at any age. It is not contagious but can be uncomfortable because it makes the skin red and itchy. In severe cases, it can even cause bleeding. There are several types of eczema and each requires different treatment methods. Eczema can occur because of irritation, allergic reaction or hereditary conditions. The most common variety is atopic eczema, which can be treated with steroids to reduce inflammation and creams to relieve the itchiness and dryness. In some cases, light treatments and dietary changes have been shown to help. While there is no cure for eczema, many people grow out of it. Using the proper medications and avoiding conditions that cause eczema to flare up can greatly reduce your discomfort and lessen the severity of the condition. It is important to consult with your physician to make sure that you receive the most effective treatment possible.

Rosacea

A chronic skin and eye condition, rosacea's symptoms include redness and pimples in the early stages and thickened skin and sometimes an enlarged nose in the advanced stages. People with this condition experience frequent facial flushing, accompanied by swelling or burning. Although doctors are still exploring the cause for this condition, it is clear that the blood vessels in afflicted people dilate far more easily than normal, causing many of the symptoms. When rosacea affects the eyes, people experience dryness, itching, burning sensations and swelling in and around their eyes. Some also complain of light sensitivity and blurred vision. In most cases, outbreaks of rosacea occur around the facial areas. Many doctors believe that heat exposure, strenuous exercise, stress, alcohol consumption and spicy foods may all contribute to increased redness.

Rosacea has no cure, but a variety of treatments are available. Treatments are intended to control outbreaks and improve physical appearance. Topical and oral antibiotics are generally used to regulate the condition. Elimination of dietary triggers is also helpful. Laser surgery or electro-surgery options are available for more severe cases.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic disorder that creates itchy, red, scaly plaques on the body. These areas form multi-layered "scales" that vary in severity. Psoriasis can occur at any age in both males and females. It is not contagious, though there does seem to be a hereditary connection. It is not a life-threatening condition, and in most cases, people who have mild symptoms may not even know that they have psoriasis. Cuts, scratches, infections and dry skin seem to cause flare-ups. In addition, lack of sun exposure and certain medications may cause psoriasis to flare up. Often, psoriasis affects the same area repeatedly. Elbows, knees and scalp are the more common locations involved but any area of the body can be afflicted.

Generally, your doctor can diagnose you merely by examining your skin, but he or she may also perform a biopsy if needed. Steroids, oils, sprays, medications, vitamins, light therapy and many other treatments are available. Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor will consult with you to find the treatment that's best for you. It is important to treat this condition, both to alleviate symptoms and to help significantly improve your quality of life.

Fine Lines/Wrinkles

One of the most noticed, and complained about, skin conditions today is the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process as the elastic bonds in your skin begin to break down, hindering your skin's ability to retain moisture. Simultaneously, the fat underneath our skin layers begins to deplete, eventually causing folds and creases in the skin, or wrinkles. There have been many advances made in just the last several years to minimize the look of wrinkles, from injections (Botox®) to dermal fillers (Juvederm®) to microdermabrasion. There are also effective means of preventing wrinkles from occurring in the first place, but the most important ways are simply to protect your skin by avoiding sun exposure and smoking.

Sun Damage

While many people think of a bronzed complexion as "healthier" than a lighter complexion, there is actually no one single factor more responsible for cosmetic and medical skin conditions than sun exposure. Repeated overexposure to the sun without proper protection such as sunscreen can lead to a wide variety of conditions, including uneven pigmentation, lentigines (age spots), solar elastosis (which causes sagging skin and vertical wrinkles), melasma, poikiloderma (reddish-brown pigmentation on the neck or cheeks), solar keratoses, and of course, skin cancer.

Age Spots

Solar lentigines can go by many names, such as "age spots", "brown spots", "liver spots" and "sun spots". Regardless of what you may call them, these spots have one cause: exposure to the sun. Especially for people with light skin, the cells in our skin that causes pigmentation to protect us from the sun, called melanocytes, can be damaged by overexposure to the sun, causing a deposit of the pigment melanin to form, resulting in a solar lentigo. They often form in areas most prone to sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, and upper back and chest. Treatments for these spots include a variety of lasers or light cryosurgery and are usually very effective in minimizing or eliminating the appearance of solar lentigines. Topical medications and sunscreens are also helpful with this condition.

Spider Veins

When you see red or blue marks resembling spider webs or tree branches on a body part (commonly the legs and face), these are typically spider veins. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but smaller and closer to the surface of the skin, while varicose veins are larger and deeper. Veins act as a way to get blood from body parts back to the heart, and come with one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards. If these flaps deteriorate or malfunction, blood can flow back into the veins and pool there, causing the visual effect of spider veins. This condition is usually associated with age and obesity, but can also be affected by hormone changes, smoking, heredity and sun overexposure. Several treatments for spider veins exist, including laser-based solutions and sclerotherapy, where a saline solution is injected into the vein in order to close it. Consult your physician regarding management for this condition.

Hurley Dermatology

  • West Chester Office - 1101 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380 Phone: 610-918-2500
  • Springfield Office - 1001 Baltimore Pike, Suite 9B, Springfield, PA 19064 Phone: 610-918-2500

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