Acne consists of comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, (and almost all teenagers have some form of acne), adults of any age can have it as well. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause permanent scarring and emotional distress.
Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, as well as the patient's skin type, age and lifestyle. Results are usually visible in six to eight weeks with medical treatment. Options include:
Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways as well. These procedures include:
- Fraxel (R) laser resurfacing
- Soft Tissue Fillers
Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is an inherited skin condition in which patients develop inflamed, itchy patches on the skin, most often the extremities, trunk, and face. Eczema can be associated with asthma, hay fever, and allergies in the patient or family members. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants.
Objects and conditions that trigger outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat, soaps, detergents, dust mites and stress.
Routine skin care and maintenance involve the use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cool compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams. In case of a more severe flare, physicians may prescribe stronger corticosteroid creams, antibiotics to combat infection, and sedative antihistamines. Occasionally, short courses of oral corticosteroids are needed.
A cyst is a nodule filled with a thick white material that forms in the deeper layers of the skin. Cysts can be uncomfortable and unsightly but are harmless (benign) growths. Nevertheless, any suspicious growth on the skin should be examined by a dermatologist to determine whether it is cancerous. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body, but commonly appear on the face, scalp and trunk. The two most common types of cysts are epidermal and pilar or sebaceous cysts.
Should a cyst rupture and become inflamed, it needs to be lanced and drained. Sometimes antibiotics are also required.
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a pox virus. It's quite common among children, and is usually spread by skin to skin contact. In adults, the virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Molluscum are painless, raised papules on the skin that look like pink pearls. They frequently appear on the face, neck, arms, and chest, although they may develop nearly anywhere on the body, including the groin. The growths often have a slight indentation in the center and a round waxy core. Scratching can spread the infection, leading to lines or clusters of them on the skin. They can be successfully treated with topical medications, liquid nitrogen or surgical removal.
Warts are benign skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus. Many treatments are available for warts, the simplest being over-the-counter salicylic acid solutions and patches. In office treatments include freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, applying a stronger medication than the over-the-counter variety, or using injections of Bleomycin. A medication may also be prescribed by your physician to boost your immune system to fight off the wart virus. Warts usually need multiple treatments for total resolution. Sometimes surgical removal is required.
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