Frequently Asked Questions
Acne is a very common inflammatory reaction in the oil-producing follicles of skin. The problem may affect people of any age and accounts for 25 percent of all visits to dermatologists. Patients with severe acne often have a family history of acne. While there are many factors behind the inflammatory changes in acne, one of the most important is the different levels of bacteria found on the skin. While acne is not a bacterial infection, it's believed that inflammation results from the byproducts released by the bacterium found deep in the hair follicle. Generally CAD physicians treat acne with a topical prescription or oral medication, including antibiotics. Physicians also treat acne with Intense Pulse Light therapy to shrink the sebaceous glands associated with producing excess oils that contribute to acne.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder affecting more than 4 million people, producing silvery, scaly plaques on the skin. Psoriasis usually starts in adolescence or after age 60, affecting 2 percent of the population. The condition is mild if less than 10 percent of the body is affected, while more than 30 percent is considered severe. The location of the symptoms, more than the extent, influences how disabling the condition may be. Cycles of improvement and flare-ups are experienced, and the disease can go into remission for periods ranging from one to 60 years. The cause is still unknown, although researchers believe some type of biochemical stimulus triggers the abnormal cell growth in the epidermis. While normal skin cells take a month to mature, patients with psoriasis have skin cells that over-multiply, forcing cells to move up to the top of the skin in only seven days. As the number of cells build up, the epidermis thickens and the extra cells pile up in raised, red and scaly lesions. The inflammation is caused by the buildup of blood needed to feed the rapidly dividing cells. There is no cure but there are treatments that can clear plaques or significantly improve the skin's appearance. Treatment is aimed at slowing the excessive cell division, resulting in remissions lasting up to a year. Topical medications can be used and regular sun exposure may help clear up a case because of the exposure to natural ultraviolet light (UVB). A laser can also be used to treat and temporarily clear localized psoriasis. Newer drug treatments are in development to target and block specific parts of the body's immune reaction that leads to diseases.
Dermatitis is generally dry skin and also called eczema in its advanced stages. It is treated by taking short baths without hot water and little or no soap on the affected areas, followed by a good moisturizer such as a petrolatum-based emollient after bathing. Many patients will heal with a mild topical steroid depending on the severity of the lesions. Also see eczema.
Eczema is an inflammation of the outer layer of skin that causes itching and a red rash often accompanied by blisters that weep and then crust. Various forms of eczema include atopic, usually found in childhood and sometimes associated with family history of allergy; small well-defined areas, found on hands and feet; and eczema found on the legs that can be associated with poor circulation. Treatment depends on cause but it usually includes the use of locally applied corticosteroids. Creams, lotions and antihistamines may help stop itching. To reduce scratching and irritation, soothing ointments should be covered by a dressing and absorbent, nonirritating materials should be worn next to the skin. Fabrics such as wool, silk and rough synthetics should be avoided.
Often AK is small rough pink or flesh-colored growths as a result of sun exposure over years. Rarely does it develop into skin cancer but when it does it's known as squamous cell carcinoma. Cryosurgery can remove them by using extreme cold to destroy tissue.