Melasma (also called the mask of pregnancy) is a very common condition in women. It consists of brown patches on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead and upper lip. Causes include exposure to ultraviolet light and hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy or birth control pills.
Many women are distressed by the appearance of melasma. Treatments include:
- UVA/UVB sunblocks or sunscreens
- Bleaching creams containing hydroquinone
- Glycolic acid peels
- Silk Peel microdermabrasion
- Fraxel laser resurfacing
Bacterial infections of the skin may be pustules, boils, crusted areas or painful red patches (cellulitis). Cellulitis occurs when a break in the skin allows bacteria that normally live on the surface to enter the body, causing inflammation, redness, pain, warmth, and in severe cases, fever and chills. In early cases, cellulitis can be controlled with oral antibiotics, but IV antibiotics and even hospitalization may be needed in severe cases.
Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms that live on the hair, nails, and outer layers of the skin. They may cause circular patches on the skin or scaly areas between the toes or in the groin. Infected nails are usually yellow or white and thick and crumbly. Another common infection, cutaneous candidiasis occurs in warm, moist crevices of the body. It causes diaper rash, vaginal yeast infections, and and rashes beneath the breasts in women. This type of infection is most likely to occur in people with diabetes or who are taking oral antibiotics. Treatments for all of these disorders include topical and systemic antifungal medications.
Psoriasis is a skin condition consisting of scaly, inflamed patches of skin usually on the elbows, knees and scalp. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. have some form of psoriasis. It may be mild, moderate or severe. In some cases it is associated with arthritis of the hands, knees and back.
Treatment of psoriasis depends on the type, severity and location; the patient's age, medical history and lifestyle; and the effect the disease has on the patient's general mental health. Topical treatments consist of prescription cortisone creams, tars and medications derived from vitamin D. For more severe cases, injectable medications like Methotrexate, Enbrel and Humira are utilized.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes flushing, redness, irritability of the skin and swelling of the face. The signs of the condition range from redness and visible capillaries, to pimples, styes and enlargement of the nose. Many people find that the emotional effects of rosacea - such as low self-confidence and avoidance of social situations, are more difficult to handle than the physical ones. Although it can affect all skin types, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50. It is not yet known what causes rosacea. In most cases it is successfully managed with topical and oral medications.
A rash is a change in the skin's color or texture. Simple rashes are called dermatitis, which means that the skin is inflamed, itchy and swollen. These are frequently seen as a result of an allergy to make up, perfume, nail polish or poison ivy. Various medications or medical conditions like lupus may also cause a rash.
A dermatologist is usually able to identify the rash by its appearance and asking pertinent questions about the patient's history and accompanying symptoms. Mild rashes can often be treated by changing common skin care practices, others may require prescription medications or more extensive treatment.
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