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.
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.
While the cause of psoriasis has yet to be discovered, suspected triggers include emotional stress, skin injury, systemic infections and certain medications. There is a possibility that susceptibility to psoriasis is inherited.
Psoriasis cannot be cured but it can be treated successfully, sometimes for months or years and occasionally even permanently. Treatment depends on the type, severity and location of psoriasis; the patient's age, medical history and lifestyle; and the effect the disease has on the patient's general mental health. 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. There are also cosmaceuticals, such as Avene's Diroseal, which feature a green tint that can neutralize redness and minimize swelling. Oracea is an oral medication that helps reduce the bumps and blemishes so common in rosacea. For more persistent cases, the Vbeam pulsed dye laser can safely, comfortably and effectively treat rosacea, virtually eliminating the redness and lesions associated with this condition.
Age spots, which develop on the skin, are a common sign of aging. Also known as brown spots, liver spots and solar lentigines, they are flat, oval areas of pigmentation that ranges from light brown to black. Age spots tend to appear on the parts of the body, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders and feet, that are exposed to the sun. Most common in people older than 40, they can be freckle-sized or more than a half-inch in length. When age spots are grouped together, they appear even larger.
Freckles are small, circular spots of darkened skin that tend to appear most frequently on the face, arms and shoulders of people with fair complexions. They may appear on children as young as a year old, but may continue to appear randomly, especially after exposure to sun. Freckles occur as a result of an increased pigment called melanin that is distributed unevenly through the skin. The occurrence of freckles tends to be hereditary. The proliferation of freckles can be limited to a certain extent by using sunscreen, sunblock, or other protection against prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Freckles are usually harmless and do not need to be treated or prevented. However, those who are prone to freckling also have an increased risk of skin cancer and should therefore have regular skins checks by a dermatologist. Individuals who freckle easily should also check their own skin periodically. Patients with excessive freckling may choose to lighten or reduce their freckles for cosmetic reasons. This can be done with topical bleaching agents, laser treatments, chemical peels or retinoid creams.
Scar revision is performed to reduce the appearance of scars caused by injury or previous surgery. While many scars fade over time and eventually transform to become barely noticeable, many patients experience disruptions to the healing process that cause scars to become red, raised, indented or otherwise deformed.
Scars are by definition permanent, but certain treatments can narrow, fade and otherwise reduce the appearance of severe or unattractive scarring, which is especially helpful in areas of cosmetic importance such as the face and hands. There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location. These include surgical excision, skin grafts, and flap surgery. The best procedure for each patient will vary depending on the location and severity of the scar, as well as the age, overall health and extent of revision desired by the patient.
Melanin is the dark pigment present in skin and is produced by melanocytes. Pigmented lesions occur when an abundance of melanocytes are found in the skin. When dark pigment multiplies, it forms freckles, brown age spots and moles. Lentigines, are an example of a pigmented lesion.
A vascular lesion is formed by abnormally large or numerous blood vessels located directly under the surface of the skin. These vessels may be visible through the skin or result in a red appearance of the skin. Spider veins (telangiectasia), are the most common vascular lesions. Vascular skin conditions are caused by many factors. The most common are heredity, sun exposure, overweight, and pregnancy.