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Posts for category: Skin Conditions

By Joy McElroy MD FAAD
June 05, 2020
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Rashes  

RashesWondering 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,

Eczema

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.

Chickenpox

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

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.

Heat Rash

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.

Athlete’s Foot

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.

By Joy McElroy MD FAAD
March 13, 2020
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Dermatitis  

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.

By Dr. Joy McElroy MD FAAD
May 17, 2019
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Rosacea  

Does your face sometimes appear extremely red and flushing? While a slight blush is certainly nice, if the blush is severe or widespread you may be dealing a common condition known as rosacea. People with rosacea often liken their redness to looking like they are sunburned even though they are not, and the redness often appears across the nose and cheeks but can spread to the forehead, as well.

Along with redness those with rosacea may also experience:

  • Sensitivity
  • Stinging or burning
  • Hard bumps that look similar to acne
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Thicker skin (in more advanced cases)

Rosacea is more common in women than men, as well as those over 30 years old. Rosacea is characterized by flare-ups of redness that may go away and then come back when in contact with certain triggers. Common rosacea triggers include:

  • Sunlight
  • Heat or cold
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Certain skincare products
  • Wind
  • Certain medications
  • Exercise

It’s important to note when you experience triggers to figure out what might be causing your flare-ups so you can avoid them whenever possible.

Treating Rosacea

There are no over-the-counter medications designed to treat rosacea, so the only way to get the proper treatment you need to get your symptoms under control is to see a dermatologist. There are certain prescription medications that may be prescribed to lessen your symptoms. These medications include:

  • Certain drugs and topical medications that reduce redness
  • Oral antibiotics (to kill the bacteria responsible for inflammation)
  • Isotretinoin (for severe and unresponsive rosacea cases)

In some cases, your skin doctor may also recommend laser therapy to reduce redness and the appearance of blood vessels. Common laser therapies for rosacea include dermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy.

Along with medication and laser therapy it’s important to be gentle with your skin and to always wear sunscreen before going outside. Choose a sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection and has an SPF of at least 30. Even on cloudy or windy days you should apply sunscreen. Also be aware of certain products and makeup that could also be causing flare-ups. There is also makeup on the market that can conceal redness.

If you think that your redness may be the result of rosacea isn’t it time you got answers? Schedule a consultation with our trusted dermatologist today.

By Dr. Joy McElroy MD FAAD
March 19, 2019
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Hyperpigmentation  

HyperpigmentationBrown spots and skin discoloration are frequent complaints for many people. The most common form of irregular pigmentation is hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Some people have abnormal skin pigmentation from a young age, and for others it is brought on later in life by sun damage or injury to the skin. Individuals of all ages, ethnicities and skin types can be affected, although those with darker skin tones are more prone to develop it.

Hyperpigmentation usually appears as brown spots and dark patches on the face, chest, arms and hands. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Sun exposure, acne, genetics and hormonal changes can trigger or worsen irregular pigmentation.  

Not all pigmentation problems can be avoided, but you can follow preventive measures to control and reduce dark spots from forming. It is especially important to use adequate sunscreen, manage your acne and discontinue the use of any oral medications that may be contributing to the problem.

How Can I Combat Hyperpigmentation?

The good news is that skin hyperpigmentation isn’t dangerous, and proper treatment can help rejuvenate troubling patches on the skin. There are many treatments at your dermatologist’s disposal, ranging from topical creams and dermabrasion to chemical peels and laser procedures. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and problem.  

Although a frustrating condition, your skin complexion can be improved and corrected. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.

By Dr. Joy McElroy MD FAAD
March 05, 2019
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Psoriasis  

What is Psoriasis?

Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to Psoriasis are itchy, painful plaques that appear on the skin.symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!

The Background on Psoriasis

While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.

Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:

  • Skin infections
  • Skin injuries
  • Heavy stress
  • Regular tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides

Treatment Options

Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:

  • Steroid cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
  • Ultraviolet therapy
  • Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
  • Methotrexate (only for serious cases)

Need Relief? Give Us a Call!

You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!