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.
Type-specific symptoms include:
- Plaque Psoriasis: the most common type, raised, thickened patches of red skin covered with silvery-white scales
- Pustular Psoriasis: pus-like blisters
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: intense redness and swelling of a large part of the skin surface
- Guttate Psoriasis: small, drop-like lesions
- Inverse Psoriasis: smooth red lesions in the folds 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.
Normally the outer layer of skin, which consists of keratinocytes, is replaced unnoticeably, about once a month. This process is faster in people with psoriasis; keratinocytes reach the skin surface too quickly, before they can be properly incorporated into surrounding tissue or even before they are fully mature. As a result, the skin flakes off. This sped-up process is called parakeratosis.
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).
We are now offering XTRAC laser therapy in our office, which is a great treatment option for all locations of plaque psoriasis!
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.
Vitiligo is a skin condition involving a loss of melanin that occurs when the cells that produce this substance die or malfunction, resulting in increasing areas of depigmentation on the skin and hair. The specific cause of this condition is unknown, but is linked to immune system disorders, hereditary factors or single instances of emotional distress.
In order to diagnose vitiligo, your doctor may perform a blood test or remove a small sample (biopsy) of affected skin in order to detect any abnormalities within the area. While there is no cure for vitiligo, there are several treatment options available to slow progression of the condition and allow patients to once again feel confident and happy about the way they look.
We are now offering XTRAC laser therapy in our office, which is a great treatment option for vitiligo!
Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Risk factors include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and regular sun exposure. Fortunately, skin cancer is almost always curable if detected and treated early.
The most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Most skin cancers, 80-85%, are basal cell, affecting the uppermost layer of the epidermis. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in 10% of all skin cancer patients and affects cells in the middle layer of the epidermis. The most serious, and most rare, of skin cancers are melanomas. Melanomas are dangerous since they can metastasize quickly. Melanomas are the leading cause of skin cancer deaths.
Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined immediately by a physician. Early intervention is essential to preventing the cancer from spreading.
Warts are skin growths caused by viruses. Different warts respond to different treatments; some go away on their own. Salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels, pads and bandages) can help self-treatment of many warts by dissolving the keratin protein that makes up the wart and the dead skin above it. Others can be removed via liquid nitrogen freezing or electrical stimulation. Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.