Rashes will happen to most people at some point during their lifetime, whether it’s from coming in contact with poison ivy while on a camping trip or from an allergic reaction to a skincare product. While most rashes aren’t anything to worry about, we know that the other symptoms that accompany them—redness, itching and burning—can be annoying. Find out the most common causes for rashes and when your rash requires an evaluation from a dermatologist.
What causes a rash?
There are a variety of reasons rashes develop. Your rash could be caused by:
- Contact dermatitis
- Certain medications
- Heat rash
- Viral infections
- Asthma or allergies
- Bug bite
- Poison ivy, oak and sumac
When do you seek medical attention?
Most rashes will go away on their own and won’t require medical attention; however, while all rashes might look the same it’s also important to be able to recognize when a rash is serious enough that it needs to be evaluated by a skin doctor. Since there are so many different things that can cause a rash it’s important to have a proper diagnosis so you know exactly how to treat it.
You should have a rash checked out if:
- It’s all over your body
- It’s accompanied by a fever
- It’s painful
- It’s showing signs of an infection (oozing; warm to the touch; swelling)
- It’s blistering
- It appears suddenly and continues to spread quickly
How do you treat a rash?
The treatment plan your dermatologist creates for you will really depend on the cause of your rash. Sometimes over-the-counter creams such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion can help manage itching and other symptoms until the rash goes away. Oatmeal baths can also be soothing for rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak. While the rash heals, avoid using any products on your skin that contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Try not to cover the rash, as it needs to be able to breathe.
If you do have to come in for an evaluation, we will provide you with the proper medication or treatment necessary to get rid of the root cause of the rash. It’s important that you follow the treatment as prescribed in order to effectively get rid of the rash.
Learn some fun facts about these common skin blemishes.
Birthmarks are extremely common, appearing on about 80 percent of babies at birth. Even if you don’t have a birthmark, chances are good that you know someone who does. However, how much do you actually know about these dermatological markings? There are a lot of facts and folklore surrounding birthmarks and why they appear. Find out how much you really know!
Your Birthmark Is Not Caused By Your Mother!
There are many folk tales surrounding the expectant mother’s influence on whether or not her child has a birthmark. Some cultures believe that a birthmark is associated with the mother’s unfulfilled want or need, while others believe that certain foods that the mother eats or activities that she participates in can cause birthmarks to appear on her newborn. However, many doctors believe that birthmarks actually form before the child is even born.
Does a Birthmark Tell You Who You’ll Be?
Are you always looking for the next amazing adventure? Do people revel over all your successes? If so, some people might believe your birthmark has something to do with it. A birthmark on the back is believed to signify that the child is openminded, while a birthmark on the right foot means you are born to be a traveler. While there is certainly no scientific evidence to prove any of this, it’s a fun superstition nonetheless.
All lore aside, many birthmarks are benign; however, it is best to see your dermatologist to have it evaluated and to make sure it isn’t malignant. There are several different kinds of birthmarks:
- Congenital melanocytic nevus: This more rare birthmark can be found anywhere on the body and is usually light brown or sometimes black, depending on the person’s skin color.
- Mongolian spots: A bluishgray marking that may look similar to a bruise.
- Port wine stain: A purple or red blemish that often appears on the face.
- Telangiectatic nevus: Sometimes referred to as a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these slightly red patches are often found on the face or back of the neck.
- Hemangiomas: A raised, red mark sometimes referred to as a “strawberry mark”
- Café au lait spots: This birthmark is characterized by circular, light brown spots
- Silvermark: A silver or white streak in the hair.
If you are unhappy with or embarrassed by your birthmark then you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Both surgery and laser treatments may be options for having your skin blemish removed.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that produces itchy rashes that are scaly, dry, and leathery. It can appear anywhere on the body and most often appears in the creases of the arms, legs, and face. Something that many people may not know is that there are multiple types of eczema. They all share some common symptoms but are all different depending on the nature of what triggers the reaction and the location of the rash.
Types of Eczema
This is the most frequent and common form of eczema and it’s thought to be caused by the body’s immune system functioning abnormally. It’s characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and typically runs in families. Atopic Dermatitis usually flares up and goes away intermittently throughout a person’s life.
This is caused when the skin comes in contact with an irritant such as certain chemicals. Finding what triggers a breakout is important so that it can be prevented in the future. Triggers may be things like laundry detergent, body soap, fabrics, poison ivy, and more.
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis usually affects the palms and soles of the feet. It is characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn and occurs frequently during summer months and in warm areas.
This form of eczema is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a cycle of scratching to a localized itch, such as a mosquito bite or spider bite. It’s characterized by scaly patches of skin, usually on the head, lower legs, wrists, and forearms. The skin may become thickened and leathery.
This form is characterized by round patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly, and very itchy. It frequently appears on the back, arms, buttocks, and lower legs.
This is a common condition that causes yellow, oily, and scaly patches on the scalp, face, and other body parts. Dandruff is a form of Seborrheic Dermatitis. This form of eczema doesn’t always itch. Triggers can include weather, oily skin, emotional stress, and infrequent shampooing.
This appears on the lower legs of older people and is related to circulation and vein problems. Symptoms can include itching and red-brown discoloration on the skin the legs. As the condition progresses it can lead to blistering, oozing, and skin lesions.
Eczema comes in all shapes and sizes and can be triggered by many things. If you have questions about eczema or want to make an appointment, call our office today!
Even if you are someone who lathers on the SPF regularly, chances are good that if you’ve spent any time in the sun during your lifetime that you have some sun damage. Everything from dark spots to freckles can form as a result of exposure to the sun. Of course, if you find those dark spots becoming more visible or more widespread then you may want to consider how a dermatologist can help refresh your appear and hide those signs of sun damage.
If you are noticing more and more dark spots then it’s a good idea to seek a skincare professional who can determine the cause of these spots. There are many reasons discolorations occur and it’s important that we are able to detect early signs of skin cancer and melanoma before we decide the best course of action.
Once your dermatologist has performed a thorough screening and has determined that the dark spots aren’t cancerous, then it’s time to get down to business discussing what cosmetic option or options will work best for diminishing those dark spots, whether you are looking for at-home solutions or in-office treatments.
The number one treatment for getting rid of discolorations and dark spots is laser therapy. There are a variety of lasers available that can provide you with the results you want depending on your specific needs, goals, and skin problems. One of the most common lasers used to treat dark spots is the intense pulsed light (IPL). The goal of IPL is to reduce and even eliminate uneven pigmentation to provide a more even appearance. Another benefit to IPL is that is can also brighten the skin.
There are different wavelengths that are able to penetrate through different layers of the skin. Depending on the severity of your dark spots, your dermatologist will determine the wavelength that will provide you with the best results. As the laser is directed over the skin it will heat up and destroy the darker pigmentations of the skin. While it’s common for most people to treat their face, you can get IPL treatment just about anywhere, from your face and neck to your chest and legs.
Laser treatment can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to complete and can be performed without the need for anesthesia. The process is non-invasive and also boasts no downtime. Even though you may notice some redness afterwards, you can go right back to your daily routine. You’ll start to notice the dark spots flaking and going away over the course of a couple of weeks. You will most likely require a couple of sessions in order to get the optimal results.
Don’t let sun damage ruin the appearance of your skin. Turn to a dermatologist who can help meet your needs and provide you with the proper treatment option to give you the fantastic results you want. Laser treatment can be an amazing way to restore and revive sun-damaged skin.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes afflicts more than 25 million children and adults in the United States. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease. At some point in their lives, about 1 in 3 people with diabetes will develop skin problems related to the disorder.
Most skin conditions suffered by people with diabetes are due to immune-system deficiencies caused by high blood sugar. These outbreaks can be as harmless as dry skin or a rash or may result in a serious infection. Diabetics tend to get the following skin conditions more easily:
- Bacterial infections--such as styes, boils, and nail infections
- Fungal infections--such as athlete’s foot and ringworm
- Neuropathy--which can lead to foot ulcers, and in a severe case, amputation
If not cared for properly, a minor skin condition in a person with diabetes can turn into a serious problem with severe consequences. The good news is that most skin problems can be prevented and treated with proper care and early detection. The role of your dermatologist can be very important in early recognition of skin conditions associated with diabetes.
Tips for controlling your diabetes and improving your skin health:
- Control your blood glucose level. Manage your diabetes by following a proper diet, exercising and checking your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Moisturize. Prevent dry skin by using a lotion after washing.
- Inspect your feet. Feet are especially vulnerable to injuries due to poor circulation and lack of sensation that is associated with diabetes. Make sure your shoes fit properly, never walk barefoot, use extra precaution when cutting toenails and check your feet daily for minor injuries that can often go unnoticed.
- Keep skin clean and dry. Keep your skin clean by washing regularly in warm water and using mild soap. Gently pat your skin dry, paying extra attention to places where water can hide.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from burning and blistering that can lead to serious infections.
- Inspect skin daily. Check daily for any changes in your skin, paying special attention to known problem areas such as the feet. Changes in skin color or temperature, swelling, pain or open sores that are slow to heal may signify a problem. Notify your dermatologist right away if you suspect a problem.
Keeping your diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin-related complications of diabetes. Follow your healthcare provider's advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. A dermatologist can help diabetic patients identify skin conditions and recommend the best course of prevention and treatment.
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