Common Skin Problems

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Acne | Eczema | Rosacea | Psoriasis | Skin Cancer | Fine Lines/Wrinkles | Sun Damage | Age Spots | Spider Veins

Acne

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Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, minor lumps or any plugged pores that occur on the face or upper torso. While most major acne problems occur during adolescence, this condition can occur before and after the teenage years. While acne can affect males and females, males tend to have more severe, longer lasting types of the condition and many females will have frequent flare-ups of acne during hormonal shifts (such as their menstrual cycle). Minor acne often results in low self-esteem because it can mar the natural beauty of the facial features. In general, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently between the ages of adolescence and tapering off in regularity thereafter. More extreme acne can lead to serious permanent scarring, which is the result of tissue injury. In some cases, acne can continually afflict a person later in life.

Many people are concerned with acne prevention. Medications are available to lessen the severity of outbreaks, and your doctor can recommend changes in habit that may reduce outbreaks. If you do have acne, there are ways to prevent acne scarring. Treating acne inflammation at the onset of the condition will help lessen the severity of the injury to your tissue, which will prevent or decrease scarring. If over-the-counter medication is not working for you, your doctor can prescribe stronger, more intensive medication.

Eczema

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis. It is actually a group of skin conditions that can affect you at any age. It is not contagious but can be uncomfortable because it makes the skin hot and itchy. In severe cases, it can even cause bleeding. There are several types of eczema and each type requires different treatment methods. Eczema can occur because of irritation, allergic reaction or hereditary conditions. The most common variety is atopic eczema, which can be treated with steroids to reduce inflammation and creams to relieve the itchiness and dryness. In some cases, light treatments and dietary changes have been shown to help. While there is no cure for eczema, many people grow out of it. In addition, using the proper medications and staying clear of substances that cause eczema to flare up can greatly reduce your discomfort and can lessen the severity of the condition. Only your doctor can correctly diagnose and analyze your condition. It is important to consult with your physician to make sure that you receive the most effective and efficient treatment possible.

Rosacea

A chronic skin and eye condition, rosacea’s symptoms include redness and pimples in the early stages and thickened skin and sometimes an enlarged nose in the advanced stages. People with this condition experience frequent facial flushing, accompanied by swelling or burning. Although doctors are still exploring the cause for this condition, it is clear that the blood vessels in afflicted people dilate far more easily than normal, which stimulates many of the symptoms. When rosacea affects the eyes, people experience dryness, itching, burning sensations and swelling in and around their eyes. Some also complain of light sensitivity and blurred vision. In most cases, outbreaks of rosacea occur around the facial areas. Many doctors believe that heat exposure, strenuous exercise, stress, alcohol consumption and spicy foods may all contribute to increased redness.

Rosacea has no cure, but a variety of treatments are available. Treatments are intended to control outbreaks and they are also intended to improve physical appearance. Antibiotics are generally used to regulate the condition. Laser surgery or electro-surgery options are available for more severe cases.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic disorder that creates itchy, red marks on the body. These areas form multi-layered “scales” that vary in severity. Psoriasis can occur at any age in both males and females. It is not contagious, though there does seem to be a hereditary connection. It is not a life-threatening condition, and in most cases, people who have mild symptoms may not even know that they have psoriasis. Cuts, scratches, infections and dry skin seem to cause flare-ups. In addition, lack of sun exposure and certain medications may cause psoriasis to flare up. Often, psoriasis affects the same area repeatedly. Elbows, arms, knees and legs are commonly afflicted areas.

Generally, your doctor can diagnose you merely by examining your skin, but he or she may also perform a biopsy if needed. Steroids, oils, sprays, medications, vitamins, light therapy and many other treatments are available. Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor will consult with you to find the treatment that’s best for you. It is important to treat this condition, both to alleviate pain and to help significantly improve your quality of life.

Skin Cancer

Understanding Skin Cancer

At Allen Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, we’re dedicated to providing each and every one of our patients with the professional treatment & care that they deserve. Using the most advanced treatment technology and procedures, paired with personalized care from our doctors and staff, we ensure that our patients are comfortable throughout the entire treatment process. We offer a wide range of skin cancer treatment options, with Drs. Allen & Hall creating personalized treatment plans for our patients that meet their individual needs.

The first steps in treating skin cancer are gathering an understanding the different types of skin cancer there are, and what treatment options are available to you.

What Types of Skin Cancer Are There?

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common type of skin cancer, with over 4 million cases being diagnosed in the U.S. each year according the Skin Cancer Foundation. BCC usually appears as a red patch, open sore, or a pink, shiny bump on the skin. These develop due to a combination of extreme sun exposure, and just general sun exposure over time to UV rays.

While BCC usually does not spread, in some rare cases it can spread to other parts of the body, such as your nerves and bones, becoming harmful & potentially life-threatening. Early diagnosis is key to ensuring that you receive proper treatment, and that it cannot spread.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Another type of carcinoma but different from BCC, squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer with over 1 millions cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. SCC can be identified as a firm red bump, a scaly patch of skin, or a sore that regularly hears and re-opens. SCC is caused by general UV exposure.

Early diagnosis is essential, since SCC can spread deep into the skin or to other parts of the body, potentially causing damage or disfigurement if not treated properly & in a timely manner.

Actinic Keratoses (AK)

While this is not technically skin cancer, it is a pre-cancerous growth or patch of your skin that could develop into skin cancer if not watched carefully & treated properly. AK appears as a dry, scaly patch of skin, and is caused by excessive sun exposure. It can be treated by your dermatologist to prevent it from developing into skin cancer, or the skin cancer can be caught early enough to treat it.

Melanoma

This is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing over 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. The good news is that if caught early and treated, the cure rate for Melanoma is nearly 100%. The key in combating Melanoma & preventing the development of serious or even deadly skin cancer is being able to identify the early signs of it.

Melanoma usually develops in a mole, or start out looking similar to a mole as a dark colored spot on the skin. They are caused by sun & UV ray exposure and can quickly spread to other parts of the body, becoming much more difficult to treat and cure. In order to identify potential melanoma, just follow the “ABCDE’s of Melanoma” using the image below, provided by the American Academy of Dermatology:

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Visit Allen Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center

If you have any questions about the types of skin cancer and the treatment options you have, just contact us at Allen Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center to speak with one of our experienced & friendly staff members. We proudly offer our services to Macon, GA and the surrounding areas.

Fine Lines/Wrinkles

One of the most noticed, and complained about, skin conditions today is the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process as the elastic bonds in your skin begin to break down, hindering your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Simultaneously, the fat underneath our skin layers begins to deplete, eventually causing folds and creases in the skin, or wrinkles. There have been many advances made in just the last several years to minimize the look of wrinkles, from injections to dermal fillers to chemical peels. There are also effective means of preventing wrinkles from occurring in the first place, but the most important ways are simply to protect your skin by avoiding sun exposure and smoking.

Sun Damage

While many people think of a bronzed complexion as “healthier” than a lighter complexion, there is actually no one single factor more responsible for cosmetic and medical skin conditions than sun exposure. Repeated overexposure to the sun without proper protection such as sunscreen can lead to a wide variety of conditions, including uneven pigmentation, lentigines (age spots), solar elastosis (which causes sagging skin and vertical wrinkles), melasma, poikiloderma (reddish-brown pigmentation on the neck or cheeks), solar keratoses, and of course, skin cancer.

Age Spots

Solar lentigines can go by many names, such as “age spots”, “brown spots”, “liver spots” and “sun spots”. Regardless of what you may call them, these spots have one cause: exposure to the sun. Especially for people with light skin, the cells in our skin that causes pigmentation to protect us from the sun, called melanocytes, can be damaged by overexposure to the sun, causing a deposit of the pigment melanin to form, resulting in a solar lentigo. They often form in areas most prone to sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, and upper back and chest. Treatments for these spots include bleaching creams, cryotherapy and lasers.

Spider Veins

When you see red or blue marks resembling spider webs or tree branches on a body part (commonly the legs and face), these are typically spider veins. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but smaller and closer to the surface of the skin, while varicose veins are larger and deeper. Veins act as a way to get blood from body parts back to the heart, and come with one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards. If these flaps deteriorate or malfunction, blood can flow back into the veins and pool there, causing the visual effect of spider veins. This condition is usually associated with age and obesity, but can also be affected by hormone changes, smoking, heredity and sun overexposure. Several treatments for spider veins exist, including laser-based solutions and sclerotherapy, where a saline solution is injected into the vein in order to close it.