General Dermatology


Full-Body Skin Exams

Full-body skin exams are an important tool in screening patients for benign or cancerous lesions that they may not have been able to see or recognize on their own. From head to toe and back to front, we inspect the skin for any suspicious growths. This quick and painless preventive measure is an invaluable tool in the early detection of skin cancer as well as many other dermatological conditions.

Skin Cancer Screening

Early detection is valuable in successfully treating skin cancer. Regular full body screening is recommended as well. A biopsy is performed to properly diagnose suspected cancerous growths.

Skin cancer can often be identified as a new or changed growth on the skin that may often occur on the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands or legs. The appearance of the growth depends on the type of cancer, but can appear as:

  • Pearly or waxy bump
  • Flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
  • Firm, red nodule
  • Crusted, flat lesion
  • Large brown spot with darker speckles
  • Mole that changes shape or color
  • Shiny, firm bumps

Acne

Acne is the term for the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress.

Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, as well as the patient's skin type, age and lifestyle. Options include:

  • Topical Medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Accutane
  • Blackhead Extraction
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Photodynamic Therapy
  • Skin Care
  • Blu-U Light Treatments
  • Laser Treatments

Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways as well. These include:

  • Chemical Peels
  • Dermabrasion/Microdermabrasion
  • Soft Tissue Fillers
  • Laser/Pulsed Light Treatments

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are those that occur when the immune system reacts abnormally and attacks its own body. Proteins called antibodies, produced by white blood cells, are used to identify and destroy foreign bacteria or viruses. When normal substances are mistaken for foreign, the antibodies end up attacking the body and causing an autoimmune disease.

The cause of autoimmune diseases is not known, but is believed to be affected by exposure to microorganisms or other environmental causes. These diseases are more common in women, who account for 75 percent of cases. Some people may be genetically predisposed to autoimmune diseases.

There are more than 150 different autoimmune diseases. Some attack certain specific organs while others affect multiple organs or the entire body. They can be mild or life-threatening, but every disease is rooted in an immune system malfunction. The common symptoms among these diseases include fatigue, dizziness, malaise and fever.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis involves an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a foreign substance. Common triggers of contact dermatitis include poison ivy, certain foods, cleaning products, detergents, cosmetics and latex rubber. When a patient comes in contact with one of these triggers, he/she may experience a red rash, blistering, itchiness, dryness and more. Symptoms caused by contact dermatitis may a result of an immune system reaction or from an external allergic reaction to the specific trigger.

Most cases of contact dermatitis do not require treatment and will go away on their own within a few weeks. Patients can help relieve symptoms by avoiding the trigger, washing the affected area and applying hydrocortisone cream or taking oral antihistamines.

Eczema

Eczema is a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.

Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress.

Treatment involves the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments. If this proves insufficient, physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines. Phototherapy is a common procedure that uses light to reduce rashes. For severe cases, drugs such as cyclosporine A may be recommended.

Hair Loss

Hair loss can occur as a result of aging, heredity, medications or an underlying medical condition, and can affect men and women of all ages. It may leave you with pattern baldness, patchy spots or thinned hair. Most people are troubled by this undesired change to their appearance and may be frustrated that there is no cure available for this condition.

While many people are forced to deal with hair loss and let the condition progress naturally, there are several treatments available to help promote hair growth or hide hair loss. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the location and extent of the hair loss, but may include hair growth medications, wigs and hairpieces, and hair transplant or scalp reduction surgery.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a skin cancer of the melanocytes, the cells that make melanin (brown pigments). Accounting for more than 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Early detection and treatment greatly increase the likelihood of total freedom from melanoma.

The earliest, most common symptoms of melanoma are abnormal growths on the skin or changes in existing moles. It is therefore important to seek medical attention upon noticing any abnormal changes in your skin.

Melanoma is usually diagnosed through a full skin exam and a biopsy of the suspicious-looking area. If melanoma is found, a stage will be assigned to it; stage I melanoma is the earliest stage, while stage IV indicates that the cancer has spread elsewhere on the body, making treatment more difficult. Melanoma is typically treated by surgically removing the melanoma; later stages of melanoma may also include chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy all cancer cells.