Disorders that affect the skin are very common, and most people will experience a skin problem at some point in their lifetime. At Carolina Dermatology, we offer the full scope of care, from evaluation to treatment of common skin problems. Some skin problems, such as those arising from infections, can be cured when the correct diagnosis is made. Others, like psoriasis and eczema, cannot be cured but can usually be successfully controlled with proper treatment.
Common general dermatology problems include:
- Acne and complexion problems
- Pigmentation disorders
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Viral skin infections such as warts and molluscum
- Bacterial skin infections
- Fungal infections of the skin and nail
- Skin cancer, including melanoma and other malignant tumors of the skin
- Benign skin growths
- Skin allergies such as contact dermatitis and hives
- Sweating disorders
- Nail problems
- Hair loss and other scalp conditions
- Autoimmune skin disease
- Venereal skin diseases such as genital warts
Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than one million new cases reported each year.
There are 3 types of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. Repeated sun exposure and genetic factors play a role in each type. The most important thing to remember is that skin cancer is curable if detected early. It is wise to get a full body skin check at least once a year. You can examine your own skin for suspicious lesions by knowing what to look for. Some clues to remember include a sore that doesn’t heal or bleeds easily, crusty or rough and red spots, and moles that change in size, shape or color. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by a professional immediately:
- Border irregularity
- Color change or variation in color
- Diameter (increase in size, or larger than a pencil eraser)
Benign & Malignant Cysts
A cyst is a fluid-filled lump that forms in the deeper layers of skin when a hair follicle becomes blocked. They can be uncomfortable and unsightly but are harmless (benign). Nevertheless, any suspicious growth on the skin should be examined by a dermatologist to determine whether it is cancerous. If infected, a cyst may require treatment with antibiotics. Patients with large or painful cysts may choose to undergo minor surgery. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body but commonly appear on the face and scalp, trunk and fingernails. They include acne whiteheads and comedones, milia, and dermoid, epidermal, trichilemmal and pilar cysts.
Psoriasis is a group of chronic skin disorders that cause itching and/or burning, scaling and crusting of the skin. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. The most commonly affected areas are the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals.
Eczema is a term used to describe a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic, relapsing and very itchy rashes. About 15 million people in the United States suffer from some form of eczema, including 10 to 20 percent of all infants. There is no known cause for the condition, but it appears to involve an overactive immune system in the presence of certain materials, and often occurs in people susceptible to allergies. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin, which, when scratched, tend to break out in rashes. 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. Avoidance of those triggers is the simplest way to minimize flare-ups.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes slight redness on various parts of the face and, less commonly, on the neck, scalp and chest. Rosacea is widely considered a cosmetic concern or a medical condition, unless it affects the eyes, in which case certain medicines are immediately employed. Rosacea can also cause other cosmetic ailments such as rhinophyma. It is commonly triggered by specific environmental and behavioral prompts.
Warts are skin growths caused by viruses. Different warts respond to different treatments. Some go away on their own. Salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels, pads and bandages) can help self-treatment of many warts by dissolving the keratin protein that makes up the wart and the dead skin above it. Others can be removed via liquid nitrogen freezing or electrical stimulation. Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.
Hyperhidrosis is a rare condition that causes excessive sweating on the hands, feet, armpits, face and genital area, or all over the entire body. The cause of this condition is unknown, although it often runs in families and begins during childhood.
Patients with hyperhidrosis may sweat all over their body or in certain areas. Their skin may become white and wrinkled or red and irritated as a result of the constant moisture, and may develop an odor as well. Living with hyperhidrosis often causes patients to feel embarrassed, awkward and self-conscious, especially during social situations.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
Most cases of hyperhidrosis are caused by other factors (secondary hyperhidrosis), including:
- Heart disease
- Hormone changes
- Blood sugar problems
- Certain medications
In some cases, there may be no known cause for this condition, which is referred to as primary or focal hyperhidrosis. This condition tends to affect both sides of the body and can occur on the hands, feet, underarms, head and face.