Posts for category: Skin Conditions
Find out why cracked, dry skin happens and what you can do about it.
Dry or cracked skin can be a real nuisance, and you must be giving your skin the care it needs to keep it hydrated. You may find that your feet or hands are particularly susceptible to cracking and dryness, especially during the cold winter months.
What Is Causing My Dry, Cracked Skin?
Pay attention to your symptoms so you can pinpoint what might be causing your dry or cracked skin. Dry skin may be the result of,
- Exposure to hot water (e.g., washing dishes; taking a hot shower)
- Cold weather
- Chemicals (e.g., laundry detergent; dish soap)
- Athlete’s foot
How Is Dry Skin Treated?
There are many ways to tackle dry skin depending on what’s causing it and where the dry skin is located. Luckily, dry skin can easily be treated with certain home care, including,
Using a daily moisturizer
A moisturizer will become your new best friend if you are prone to dry skin. Moisturizers lock in moisture in the skin and can be particularly helpful when applied after showering. A thick emollient moisturizer will be best for dealing with severely dry or cracked skin.
Applying petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is a simple topical remedy that can help protect the skin while healing cracks. Petroleum jelly can be beneficial when dealing with cracking skin or dry lips.
Sometimes, exfoliation can be a great way to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface and reduce dryness and cracking, particularly on the hands and feet. After soaking feet in water for about 20 minutes, exfoliation can be done with a pumice stone. Apply a moisturizer after using the pumice stone.
When Should I See a Dermatologist?
If you’ve tried just about everything to get your dry skin under control on your own and you still aren’t seeing results after two weeks, it’s time to turn to your dermatologist. You should also call your dermatologist if your symptoms get worse or if your skin shows signs of infection, such as,
- Severe or increased redness
If dry, cracked skin has become the norm, and no moisturizer seems to be helping, it’s probably a good idea to turn to your dermatologist for answers.
Learn more about psoriasis, its warning signs and how to treat it.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can impact a person’s appearance, health and quality of life. You should turn to a dermatologist if you suspect that you might be dealing with psoriasis. While there is no cure for this disease, there are ways for a dermatologist to help you better manage your symptoms and provide you with relief.
What is psoriasis?
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 7.5 million adults in the US are living with psoriasis. This immune disorder causes widespread inflammation, particularly of the skin, which results in the development of raised, scaly red plaques on the skin. These plaques may also sting or burn and typically appear on the knees, elbows and scalp.
In some cases, some people with psoriasis may also develop joint stiffness, swelling and pain. This condition is known as psoriatic arthritis, and it’s essential that you turn to a doctor right away if you notice symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis.
What can cause psoriasis to flare up?
Psoriasis comes and goes, so it’s essential to recognize what triggers your flare-ups to avoid them as much as possible. Common triggers include,
- Other infections, including skin infections
- Cold, dry weather
- Injuries to the skin such as a bug bite
- Alcohol consumption
- Steroid use
- Certain drugs, such as high blood pressure medication
- Smoking or being around smoke
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you notice red, cracked or dry patches of skin on your body, it’s a good idea to have your dermatologist look to determine whether or not you could have psoriasis. Suppose you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis. You may wish to turn to a dermatologist regularly if your current treatment plan isn’t working or noticing new or worsening flare-ups.
How is psoriasis treated?
The fast turnover of skin cells leads to the formation of these plaques. To prevent this rapid turnover, there are a variety of lifestyle, topical treatments and therapies that a dermatologist can provide you. Common treatment options for psoriasis include,
- Topical steroids
- Salicylic acid
- Biologics (for severe and treatment-resistant forms of psoriasis)
Suppose you live with psoriasis or think you might be dealing with psoriasis. In that case, it’s important that you turn to a dermatologist who can provide you with a proper diagnosis and customized treatment plan.
Wondering when a rash is a cause for concern?
We’re all going to deal with a rash at some point, and while the good news is that many of them can be treated from the comfort of your own home, sometimes you will need to turn to a dermatologist for medication. Here are the causes of a rash,
One of the most common fungal infections that result in a rash is ringworm. Fungal infections can also affect the nails and hair. Yeast infections caused by the candida fungus can also result in rashes of the mouth, groin, or vagina. Less common fungal infections may result in those with compromised immune systems (e.g., patients who have HIV).
Minor fungal infections may be treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or ointments. A dermatologist should treat more severe or persistent fungal infections.
The most common virus to produce a rash is the herpes simplex virus, both type 1 and type 2. Type 1 usually causes cold sores of the lips and nose, while type 2 leads to sores on the genitals. Those with an HSV flare-up may develop a tender rash on the palms. Chickenpox and shingles (caused by the herpes zoster virus) also result in itching, burning, and painful rashes.
Epstein-Barr virus, best known as mononucleosis or “mono,” can also lead to a mild rash that appears within a few days of being infected. If you develop a rash, a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and a fever, you should see a doctor.
Staphylococcus (e.g., folliculitis; cellulitis; impetigo) and streptococcus (e.g., strep throat; scarlet fever) are two common bacterial infections that lead to a rash. Sometimes Lyme disease is characterized by a bull’s eye-like rash surrounding the tick bite.
Parasites that cause a rash include lice and scabies, which can be passed from person to person. Lice most commonly affect the scalp, while scabies can cause an itchy, pimple-like rash that usually appears on the armpits, wrists, elbows, beltline, and buttocks.
Noninfectious rashes are also caused by drugs, eczema (e.g., atopic dermatitis), allergic dermatitis, autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus), and food allergies.
It isn’t easy to tell what’s causing your rash, but if you are dealing with new, worsening, or severe symptoms or the rash is spreading, it’s always good to turn to your dermatologist for treatment.
What causes a carbuncle?
Most of the time, bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus are to blame for carbuncles. This bacteria is already present on the skin, but can easily get into a hair follicle through a cut or opening. Since a carbuncle is the result of a bacterial infection, the infection can be spread to others by sharing items such as towels or through skin-to-skin contact. It’s important to cover the area and keep it clean so that it heals properly.
Who is at risk for carbuncles?
There are many risk factors that can cause someone to be prone to carbuncles. These risk factors include:
- Chronic skin problems
- Older age
- Poor hygiene
- Liver disease
- A weakened immune system
How should I treat a carbuncle?
It is important that you do not pick at or squeeze the bump, as this can spread the infection even further or lead to scarring. Apply warm compresses to the area several times a day. Make sure to keep the area clean (wash with soap and water) and cover the area. Since heat can help to facilitate natural drainage, you may want to use a heating pad on the area for up 20 minutes at a time.
Should I see a dermatologist?
Since there are many infections and conditions that can lead to painful bumps and growths, it’s important that you see a dermatologist if you’ve never been diagnosed with a carbuncle before. If the carbuncle doesn’t drain after a few days or if it’s very painful or in a sensitive area such as the nose or eyes, it’s important that you see your dermatologist right away so they can drain it and properly treat it.
If you are dealing with any new or worsening bumps or growths on the skin that have you concerned, know that a dermatologist is going to be the best specialist to turn to for diagnosis and treatment. When in doubt, call your dermatologist to schedule an evaluation.
How is vitiligo treated?
There is currently no cure for vitiligo but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to target and add pigment back into these depigmented patches of skin. Some of these treatment options include:
UVB Light Therapy
This is one of the oldest and most commonly used treatment options for vitiligo, which exposes areas of the body to light therapy multiple times a week. This narrow-band light therapy works by triggering the production of melanocytes, a skin cell responsible for producing pigmentation in the skin.
Various topical creams can repigment the skin. Your dermatologist will look at the size and location of your vitiligo patches to determine the best topical medications for the job. Common topical medications include corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, calcipotriene, and depigmentation medications.
Steroids are topical anti-inflammatories that can slow vitiligo and allow the body to produce more melanocytes. It can take up to a month to start seeing results. When steroids aren’t the ideal option, which is particularly common if a patient has patches of vitiligo in more sensitive areas such as the genitals or lips, your dermatologist may recommend calcineurin inhibitors.
If the majority of your body contains vitiligo patches, the best option may be to lighten the rest of your skin to reduce the appearance of these depigmented patches. This can be done with a topical depigmentation medication or light therapy. Medications are often recommended in conjunction with light therapy, but if light therapy isn’t being used then your dermatologist may recommend two or more medications to be used at the same time.
You don’t have to deal with vitiligo alone. A dermatologist can be the best medical specialist for helping you treat and manage your vitiligo symptoms. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation, call your dermatologist today.