At The Dermatology Center our providers are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. Read below for a review of some of the more common dermatologic conditions that we treat.
Actinic Keratosis (Pre-cancers)
These are sun-induced dry scaly patches with a sand-paper feel that form on sun exposed areas of the skin including the scalp, face, ears, hands, and arms. These lesions can develop into skin cancer if not diagnosed and treated early. There are several treatment options available including cryosurgery, topical medications, and photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, minor bumps 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. In general, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently in 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 dermatologist 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 dermatologist can prescribe stronger, more effective medications.
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 dermatologists 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.
When your skin comes in contact with an irritant and becomes inflamed, this is known as contact dermatitis. The inflammation causes a red, itchy rash that is not contagious. There are many substances that can cause the irritation, including soaps, make-up, certain metals used in jewelry, or plants like grass, weeds, poison ivy or poison oak. Once you determine what is causing your rash, avoid coming in contact with it. The rash should clear up in 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile, you can use anti-itch creams to relieve your skin. When more severe or unresponsive to treatment, see your dermatologist.
Most everyone loses up to 100 hairs a day, but due to the amount of hair we have on our head, this amount of hair loss shouldn’t cause alarm. However, severe hair loss, also known as alopecia, may eventually lead to complete baldness for some men. Hair loss can happen as a result of heredity, medications or an underlying medical condition.
The most common type of hair loss is pattern baldness, which is usually permanent and affects approximately one-third of all men. This may occur suddenly or over a period of time. Other types of hair loss may only be temporary and can affect other parts of your body as well. You should contact your physician if you notice extreme, sudden hair loss.
To this day, there is no cure for permanent hair loss, but certain medications, such as Rogaine or Propecia, have proven effective in reducing the pace of hair loss. Surgeries including hair transplants and scalp reduction are treatment options for hiding hair loss. We will work with each patient individually to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs and desires.
Rashes occur when the skin has mild redness, small red bumps, and in severe cases, redness, swelling and blisters. Many rashes are caused by skin irritants and can also be classified as contact dermatitis. In other cases, the rash appears in conjunction with a viral infection, a fungal infections, bacterial infections, exposure to certain bugs, or exposure to extreme heat.
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema is sometimes called atopic 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 dry and itchy. In severe cases, it can even cause bleeding due to scratching. 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 topical steroids to reduce inflammation and emollient creams to relieve the itchiness and dryness. 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 dermatology provider 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.
Psoriasis is a chronic disorder that creates itchy, red plaques on the skin. 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. There are known associations between psoriasis and arthritis, and more recently heart disease. 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 dermatologist can diagnose you merely by examining your skin, but he or she may also perform a biopsy if needed. Topical steroids, oils, sprays, medications, vitamins, light therapy and many other treatments are available. Based on the severity of your condition, your physician 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 and hopefully prevent the development of arthritis and heart disease.
While nails are attached to the skin, the diseases that can affect nails are different than skin diseases. Many times nails can become infected, inflamed or deformed, which is known as onychosis. Onychosis is inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the nail, especially in the creases where the nail attaches to the skin. The inflammation is usually the result of an infection. To name a few, some other diseases include onychocryptosis or “ingrown nails” where the nail digs into the surrounding tissue and causes an infection, onychodystrophy where the nail is deformed and discolored, and onychogryposis where the nail thickens, develops deep ridges and turns brown.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease. It takes place when your immune system tries to fight off a virus, bacterium or germ and cannot distinguish between the foreign body and healthy tissue. Instead of only attacking the foreign body, the immune system also attacks the healthy tissue. Lupus causes inflammation the skin, joints, organs and blood cells.
Lumps, Bumps & Moles
Lumps and bumps may be a normal part of aging, but they can also damage the smooth skin that we remember from our childhood. Moles, warts, and benign skin growths fall under the ‘lumps and bumps’ category and all can be upsetting to look at and cause social and psychological unease for anyone who develops unwanted growths of any kind. What’s more, with the prevalence of skin cancer, these growths are a cause for potential concern and should be evaluated. That’s why it’s important to seek a consultation with one of our providers at The Dermatology Center to evaluate any growths you may have.
Moles are the most common type of skin bump. Moles are formed by a cluster of the skin’s pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. Moles often appear as brown, black, pink or flesh-colored, and they can also be raised or flat.
There are people born with moles, but most people develop them with age. Certain factors can increase your risk of developing moles, including:
- Sun exposure
- Certain medications
Most moles are harmless but with any new or changing mole, it’s important to have it evaluated to check for signs of melanoma. Moles can be easily removed if they meet the following criteria:
- Potential skin cancer
- Aesthetically unappealing
- Uncomfortable (for example, rubs against clothing)
Efficient Mole Removal
Moles can be easily removed using the following techniques:
- Surgical excision: The mole is excised from the skin and our practitioner stitches the skin closed.
- Shave: With the shave mole removal technique, a surgical blade is used to remove the mole.
Warts are another type of growth that can occur anywhere on the body and are caused by an exposure to viruses that belong in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. When there is a break in the skin, the human papillomavirus can enter the body and cause an infection of the cells underneath the skin, resulting in a wart.
The most common type of wart is usually non-cancerous but, as with any new growth, it’s important to have them assessed by one of our professionals at Nashville Skin to make sure they are benign. In some cases, warts may disappear on their own but it can take several months or even years for them to fade.
Because warts are caused by a virus, there is a chance of additional growths spreading on your body or even spreading to other people. Luckily, there are a number of appropriate treatments our practitioners can utilize to help remove warts.
Warts can be removed using the following treatments:
- Cryotherapy: With this technique, the wart is frozen off using liquid nitrogen.
- Electrosurgery: Using this technique, we eliminate the wart with an electric current.
- Salicylic Acid Preparations: With a salicylic acid preparation that comes in the form of gels, pads, drops or plasters, the protein and the layer of skin that makes up the wart is destroyed in about 6-12 weeks. Sometimes, a compounded salicylic acid preparation is prescribed for more recalcitrant warts.
- Cantharidin: Cantharidin is an extract from a “blister beetle”. It is applied to individual warts and left on for several hours. The area is then cleaned with soap and water. Usually a blister forms and peels the wart away.
- Bleomycin: Bleomycin is diluted in a saline solution and then injected directly into the wart. A blood blister soon forms with the wart in the roof of the blister. The wart turns black and after a few weeks falls off. Additional injections may need to be given every three or four weeks until clearance has been achieved.
- Immune modulating modalities: Candida Antigen is an allergenic extract that is injected into one to two warts to induce an immune response in someone that has multiple warts. On average, three visits spaced one month apart are needed.
Dermatofibromas are often mistaken for moles because they present as firm brown bumps that can feel hard under the skin. Usually, these skin bumps are caused as a result of a bug bite or skin injury that stimulates fibroblast production under the skin, which causes the creation of a sore-like lesion.
Dermatofibromas are harmless skin bumps and non-cancerous. However, as with any skin growth, they can become bothersome by catching on clothing or getting in the way during shaving. Sometimes, dermatofibromas can also become itchy and painful but they can be successfully removed with cryotherapy, cryosurgery, lasers, and excision. However, dermatofibromas can recur, thus removal is not always warranted if the lesion is not causing discomfort.