What Is The Cause Of Acne And How Can It Be Treated And Prevented?

Do you suffer from acne? It can be stressful and can take a toll on your self-esteem and your social life. Don’t worry though, you are not alone! Millions of Americans suffer from acne, as well as many more people all around the world. Being the number one skin affliction, acne comes in many forms; white and/or blackheads and blemishes. Typically, teenagers are the age group that suffers from acne the most, not just in terms of numbers but also in terms of severity. However, the truth is many adults have issues with acne also. Acne can be very mild and acute or it can be very severe, painful and chronic.

WHAT CAUSES ACNE?

The cause of acne isn’t exactly known. There are theories that changes in hormones during puberty is the main cause of teenage acne. Pregnancy and pre-menstrual changes in women may contribute to acne also, due to the hormonal changes that happen in those instances. Dermatologically speaking, there are two classifications of acne:

  • Inflammatory Acne: This acne is characterized by pimples that are swollen or inflamed that create red bumps on the surface of the skin. These bumps are referred to by doctors as “papules.” This type of acne can be more painful.
  • Non-inflammatory Acne: Blemishes commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads are both included in this category.

Most people who experience acne will experience both types. Acne can affect any part of the body but typically plagues the face, shoulders, back or chest.

WHAT CAN TRIGGER AN ACNE BREAKOUT?

There are various triggers for acne breakouts. From physical and emotional factors to environmental causes. The following list are some things that may trigger an acne breakout:

  • Wearing hats, headbands or other clothing and/or accessories that rub against the skin causing sweat to get trapped and the skin to become irritated.
  • Applying make-up that is oil based
  • If you live or spend time in a humid climate or area
  • Using certain medications like Lithium, Phenytoin and steroidal medications, as well as others.
  • Being exposed to excessive dirt and dust
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

HOW CAN ACNE BE PREVENTED?

Not all acne can be prevented. Acne caused by hormonal changes and stress cannot be treated with face washes and other over the counter products. Acne flare-ups can be prevented, mostly, if they are caused by environmental factors. Some ways to combat acne before it happens includes:

  • Use of oil-free makeup
  • Washing your face and body after working out or other activities that cause sweating.
  • Wear sunscreen, especially if taking medications that may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
  • Cleanse your face with proper products twice daily.
  • Try to avoid excessive exposure to dirt and/or dust.
  • If at all possible, keep as much stress at bay.
  • To prevent scarring; do not pick or squeeze pimples.

WHAT ARE SOME TREATMENTS FOR ACNE?

As with any other condition or disease, the best treatment is always prevention, this includes acne. If your acne is bothering you, you should see your doctor and based on the cause and the severity, he or she will help you to devise a strategy to help combat your acne breakouts. Many times doctors will recommend certain over the counter cleansers. These cleansers come in many forms such as; bars, foams, liquids, creams and wipes. They also contain one or more of the following active ingredients; Benzoyl peroxide, Sulfur combined or not combined with Resorcinol, and Salicylic Acid. Here is a brief introduction to each of these active ingredients to help you understand how they work and what side effects you may experience.

  • Sulfur products: Sulfur based products seem to manage and treat acne by stunting the growth of pimples and easily helping to remove dead skin and oils. Some sulfur products contain Resorcinol or Sulfacetamide. These two active ingredients have been known to cause redness and drying of the skin and in severe cases, skin may begin to peel. Sulfur products must be used very carefully and only for short periods of time, as it can cause scaly dark skin. This scaling and darkening of the skin, typically happens to people with darker complexions, but can happen to anyone. Sulfur products also have a bad odor and terrible texture.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This active ingredient is the most distributed over the counter treatment, since it treats both classifications of acne. Benzoyl peroxide destroys P Acnes (Propionibacterium). This is a bacteria that is the main cause of inflammatory acne. On top of killing acne causing bacteria, Benzoyl peroxide takes the excess oils from the skin and removes excess oils from the skin and pore clogging dead skin cells. As great and as widely used as this product is, it does not come without its own side effects. The product has the ability to cause extreme skin dryness, a burning sensation (especially in any cuts or sores), and must be carefully used around the eyes, mouth and nose. Also, just like Hydrogen peroxide, Benzoyl peroxide can bleach clothing etc., so it should be handled with care.
  • Salicylic Acid: Salicylic Acid slows dead skin cells from clogging pores by falling into hair follicles. This is most commonly the active ingredient in many facial soaps, washes and creams. Although it is relatively mild, Salicylic Acid can still cause redness and/or a burning or stinging feeling.

You must be patient when beginning a regimen for your acne. These skin care products are not magic. However, if you use the above products as directed and do not see positive results after a couple of months, it may be best to seek out the advice of your doctor. He or she may put you on an oral or topical prescription acne treatment. Before doing so, your doctor must be aware of your current medications and allergies, as well as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is really important that you know and understand the risks, benefits and side effects of taking an acne medication, be it an over the counter wash, cream or wipe or a prescription medication.

Types Of Skin Infections

There are many types skin infections, but they usually fall into three categories: Fungal, Bacterial and Viral. Each of these come with their own symptoms, issues and treatments.

FUNGAL SKIN INFECTIONS

Fungal skin infections are very common and may include candidiasis, athlete’s foot, ringworm and jock itch.

Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

This type of skin infection is caused by yeast. There are several different species of candida, with the most common type being candida albicans. They can live on just about any surface of our body and can wreak havoc on our skin and nails.

Sporotrichosis

Most of the time this type of fungus is closely related to the yeast that is used to brew beer or that which is found on moldy bread. It is found on rose bush thorns, sphagnum moss, hay, tree twigs and in soil. It is more commonly found among people who work outdoors and spend a lot of time working in the dirt, with roses, hay and moss.

Fungal Nail infections

This type of infection has a tendency to attack toe and fingernails or the nail bed (the skin under the nail).

Athlete’s Foot

This is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of fungal skin infections. While it has earned the name athlete’s foot, you don’t have to be an athlete to end up with it. It can be quite annoying and is most common in between the toes and the soles of the feet. It can cause cracking, peeling, itching, and other symptoms.

Ringworm

An actual worm does not, contrary to popular belief, cause ringworm. It is a skin infection that usually appears as a raised red ring on the skin. It is caused by dermatophytes.

BACTERIAL SKIN INFECTIONS

Carbuncles

Carbuncles are red, swollen and painful clusters of boils that are interconnected under the skin.

Leprosy

This bacterial infection is caused by Mycobacteriumleprae (M. Leprae) that is slow growing. It is also known as Hansen’s disease, named for the scientist who discovered it in 1873.

Staph Infection and Cellulitis

These infections begin in several ways including infected cuts and being tattooed with non-sterile tattoo equipment. A staph infection can manifest itself as a small boil or anti-biotic resistant flesh-eating infection that is very difficult to get rid of.

Impetigo

This is a highly contagious skin infection that can appear anywhere on the body, but attacks exposed areas. It causes blisters on the neck, hands, face and diaper area. It is caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus pyogenes. There are two forms of impetigo non-bullous which causes crusting of the areas and bullous which causes large blisters.

Boils

Boils usually begin in the hair follicle or oil gland and appear as a red, swollen lump that is often tender to the touch. Within a week, it may turn white as pus forms under the skin. These often resemble very large pimples and can be very painful.

Pilonidal Cysts and Abscesses

This type of cyst is normally found at the base of the tailbone and become pus-filled. Once they have become infected and are filled with pus they are called pilonidal abscesses.

VIRAL SKIN INFECTIONS

Molluscum Contagiosum/ Warts

This is a viral skin infection that can cause single or multiple raised papules on the skin. These papules often resemble small pearls or bumps – They spread quickly.

Chickenpox

This is a viral illness that manifests its symptoms on the skin. It appears as a very itchy red rash and is very common in children and the elderly. Most people do not contract chickenpox more than once. Recent studies have shown that the chickenpox virus can lead to shingles later in life.

Shingles

Also known as Herpes Zoster, it has recently been found that this viral infection is caused by exposure to the chickenpox virus earlier in life. Shingles appear when the Varicella virus is reactivated. It causes a painful rash and usually appears as a single strip of blisters that wraps around the right or left side of the torso.

Everything You Need To Know About Athlete's Foot And Ringworm

Fungal infections come in many forms and levels of severity.  Two of the most common diagnoses are athlete’s foot and ringworm, both of which are part of the tinea family of fungal infections. Even though they are of the same family and grow in similar damp and warm conditions, the signs and symptoms of each disease is different.

ATHLETE’S FOOT (TINEA PEDIS)

Tinea Pedis or athlete’s foot is a very common and contagious member of the tinea family. This fungal infection attacks the feet and lives on dead tissue around the toenails, between the toes and overall surface of the skin. There are different types of athlete’s foot and each attack the feet differently.

The first and most common type is toe web infection, also known as InterDigital athlete’s foot. You may experience symptoms such as itching, burning, and foot odor when the infection first sets in. Moderate cases can cause skin to crack, peel and develop a scaly texture. In severe cases, a bacterial infection can develop which can lead to a skin infection of the ankle and lower leg. In many cases, toe web infections result in a blister (vesicular) infection; the onset is often sudden and without warning.

The second type of infection is moccasin-type infection. It usually begins with mild irritation such as dryness, itching, burning and a scaly skin texture. In some people, it begins with a scaly texture of the skin which can progress; when this happens the skin appears cracked on the heel and sometimes the soles of the feet.  In more severe cases, moccasin type infections can attack the toenails, causing them to thicken, crumble and possibly fall out. In the event that this type of tenia goes untreated it can spread to the palms of the hands. It is often chronic, and treatment is sometimes difficult.

The final type of athlete’s foot is vesicular infection and normally starts as a sudden rash of blisters that can become red and inflamed. It can affect the feet, ankles and hands. In many cases there is a bacterial infection present, usually caused by an untreated case of toe web infection.

TREATMENT OF ATHLETE’S FOOT

Treatment for athlete’s foot varies depending on the severity of the infection and its type. No matter which type you have, it is important to keep your feet clean and dry at all times to prevent further growth of fungi. In most mild cases, it can be treated with over the counter topical medication. In more severe cases oral medication may be required as well.

PREVENTATIVE CARE

As with most diseases, certain measures can be taken to prevent the onset of an attack. A few preventative measures include:

  • Wear protective footwear in public places such as locker rooms, public pools and showers
  • Wash your feet every day
  • Make sure your feet are thoroughly dry after you shower or swim
  • Only use footwear that will allow your feet to breathe
  • Clean your home shower on a regular basis to prevent the growth of bacteria on surfaces.
  • Change shoes daily.

RINGWORM (TINEA CORPORIS)

Tinea corporis, better known as ringworm is an infection that attacks the skin. It is found in people of all ages and is highly contagious. It can be contracted from contaminated people, animals, surfaces or items.

In the event that you contract ringworm you may notice an itchy rash that appears as a red ring. However, there have been documented cases where it just appears as an itchy, red rash. If you suspect that you have ringworm, you should contact your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. The dermatologist Dr. Rapaport at Cosmetic Skin can assist you in diagnosing and treating it.

TREATMENT OF RINGWORM

In most cases, ringworm can be cleared up with a simple over the counter cream. However, it can sometimes become persistent and needs to be treated with oral medications, as well as topical ointments or creams.

PREVENTATIVE CARE

There is no sure-fire way to prevent ringworm, but there are several preventative measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of an attack or recurrence of the fungus.

  • Thoroughly dry your body after showering or swimming, including your feet
  • Wear protective footwear in areas that are damp and warm such as public showers and locker rooms.
  • Use clean socks and underwear every day
  • Do not share towels, sheets, clothing, or other personal items with others who may be infected.

Poison Sumac, Oak And Ivy

Poison Sumac, oak and ivy are all plants in the Toxicodendron family. They often cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, which often results in an itchy, red rash that often takes the form of tiny blisters. Contact dermatitis is the most commonly diagnosed skin problem in people who have been in contact with plants.

WHAT CAUSES THE RASH?

The rash caused by one of these plants is caused by skin contact with the oils in them. They are called urushiol (pronounced Yoo-ROO-shee-all), which is commonly found all types of in poison sumac, oak, and ivy plants. There are a few ways to get a rash from them including:

  • Touching or rubbing up against any part of the plants, including the stems, flowers, leaves, stocks, berries or roots.
  • Touching any items that have come into contact with the plants such as camping and sporting gear, clothing, gardening tools, and pets.

A rash caused by poison sumac, oak or ivy cannot be spread from person to person even if you touch the liquid inside of the blister. When you or someone else breaks out in a rash, it is from coming into contact with the oil. You immune system sees it as a threat and act immediately. Some people have more severe reactions than others.

SYMPTOMS

If you think you have come into contact with one of these plants and have a rash you should look for the following symptoms:

  • Small bumps or hives
  • Blisters which leak fluid, they can be of varying sizes
  • Red areas or streaking across your skin where you can into contact with the plant.
  • Itching

In some cases a reaction to one of these plants is quite severe. For those who have a severe reaction, even a small amount of the oil can cause serious symptoms such as the following:

  • Swelling in the face, mouth, tongue, genitals and neck
  • Large blisters that become widespread and leak a large amount of fluid.
  • Eyelids that have swollen shut

If you’ve never had a reaction to poison sumac, oak or ivy a rash may take one to two weeks to manifest itself. Once you have had an initial reaction to the plant, future contact usually causes a rash in one to two days. You may find that the rash has popped up on several parts of your body over the course of the first week or so, but you won’t get a rash in any place that the oil didn’t touch your skin.

For most people a rash from one of these plants only lasts one to three weeks, but could last up to six weeks in more extreme cases.

DIAGNOSES

A dermatologist or doctor can usually diagnose a rash from poison sumac, oak or ivy simply by looking at it and obtaining answers to the following questions:

  • Have you been exposed to any of these plants, if so, when?
  • How long did it take for the rash to develop?
  • Have you had any rashes that were similar in the past
  • How do you spend time outdoors?
  • What are your work and hobbies as they relate to the outdoors?

TREATMENT

Most people do not go to the dermatologist for treatment of a rash caused by these plants. They are usually simple to take care of. In the event that you develop a rash you can do the following at home to treat it.

  • Soak the area in cool area or apply a cool wet washcloth
  • Calamine lotion will help to relieve itching
  • Do not scratch, this will only make the rash worse and puts you at risk for skin infections.

The itching associated with these rashes can be quite severe but there are certain medications you should avoid as they can cause allergic reactions by themselves.

  • Topical anesthetics such as benzocaine (Lanacane)
  • Topical antibiotics such as neomycin (Neosporin)

If the rash covers a large portion of your body or you have other severe symptoms you should consult your doctor immediately. They may prescribe a corticosteroid cream to help get rid of the rash. If the rash is severe or refuses to go away, you may be given corticosteroid pills or injections.

Proper Nail Care

The condition of your nails says a lot about your overall health and many conditions can affect the way they look, grow, and how strong they are. Trauma and repeated injury can cause them to become predisposed to infection through yeast and other bacterium. In order to maintain the overall health and appearance of your nails there are a few things you should do to care for them.

  1. Avoid injury and excessive manicures to your nails and the skin surrounding them.
  2. Keep your nails short, but do not cut them all the way. In addition, don’t push nail files or other objects into the quick under your nails.
  3. If you happen to have your nails professionally cared for at a salon, bring your own tools and cosmetic products. In addition, leaving acrylic nails on for too long can cause your natural nails to thin out. If you leave nail polish on your nails for too long, it can cause your natural nails to turn yellow (temporarily).
  4. Do not remove the cuticles surrounding your nails. They are there to protect your nails and the skin around them from chemicals and infection causing bacteria.
  5. Avoid washing your hands excessively and apply lotion to your hands, feet and nails at least two times a day. If you wash your hands more than this you should apply lotion every single time
  6. Always wear protective gloves when doing any type of work that involves liquids, chemicals, raw foods, citrus and other irritating substances.
  7. Avoid formaldehyde containing nail lacquers and polishes. Removing these and other types of nail cosmetics is best when done with acetate nail polish remover.

Head Lice: Just A Nuisance Or Something More Dangerous?

Head lice (plural of head louse) is one of the most common issues in households with school-aged children. They are quite annoying, hard to treat, and very contagious. Most of the time they only cause mild irritation and itchiness of the scalp.

When you discover head lice, you should act immediately to prevent them from spreading to everyone else in your family. There are several different methods for treating them including over the counter, home remedies and prescription treatments.

SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

Lice feed off of the human scalp, most are sensitive to their saliva which causes an itching, tingling, or tickling sensation. Some may complain that it feels like something is crawling all over their head.

Scratching and complaints of an itchy scalp are the most common symptoms of head lice. In addition, you may find small red bumps, scratch marks or sores on the persons’ head.

Upon inspection of the person’s head, you may not see lice. Instead, you will see lice eggs (nits). They look somewhat like dandruff but are small, round and either white, brown, tan or yellow in color. They will not detach when hair is shaken or brushed. They can usually be easily viewed on the scalp of a person with dark hair. To inspect the scalp of someone with light colored hair you will need a bright light and possibly a magnifying glass.

In extreme cases, excessive scratching can lead to a bacterial infection of the scalp. If you are dealing with an extreme case of head lice that you cannot get rid of, or there are signs of infection, you should call us to schedule an appointment immediately. The dermatologist Dr. Rapaport can give a proper diagnosis, advice on things you can do at home, and prescribe any necessary medications.

TREATMENT

In most cases, head lice treatment consists of a combination of things. In the event that you discover head lice or a diagnosis from a doctor you will need to do the following things to treat it thoroughly.

  • Seal up anything that can’t be put in the dryer for at least 20 minutes in a bag and put them in a storage shed or another area for at least two weeks
  • Spray all bedding (including pet bedding) and stuffed furniture with head lice spray. This can usually be found in most pharmacies with other head lice treatments.
  • Wash any clothing and bed linens in hot water and dry in a tumble dryer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Place pillows in the dryer for at least 20 minutes on high heat
  • Use head lice medication on the person’s scalp, after treatment time, is up, use a lice comb to help remove bugs and nits.
  • Re-check the persons head every two to three days and use a lice comb.
  • If the head lice medication does not kill eggs, you will have to re-treat your home and any infested persons in six to nine days when new eggs are likely to hatch.
  • Check everyone else’s head who lives in the household and treat if necessary.
  • Clean and Soak combs and brushes in very hot water (at least 130 F) for at least ten minutes
  • Vacuum your house thoroughly

It is important that you treat all areas of your house because head lice travel rather quickly and can hitch a ride on pant legs, socks and shoes.

PREVENTION

If you have school aged children or work in this type of setting, it can difficult to completely avoid it. However, there are a few steps you can take to lessen you or your child’s chances of becoming infested.

  • If you have long hair, keep it pulled up
  • Do not share hair brushes, combs, or other accessories
  • Avoid head to head contact when working or playing closely with others
  • Do not share hats, scarves or bedding
  • Do not lie or sit in areas that have recently been used by infested people
  • Some say that coconut scented shampoos can repel head lice, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

CONCLUSION

Although head lice are not generally dangerous, they can be quite annoying and difficult to get rid of. It is important to properly treat your home and anyone who is infested to prevent further issues and to keep it from spreading. If head lice are persistent you should make an appointment with a dermatologist, especially if you suspect an infection is present.

Diaper Rash: What It Is And How It Can Affect Your Loved Ones

Diaper rash affects millions of adults and children every year. It is most common in children under the age of two, elderly people, and those who are bedridden. If not properly treated it can lead to more serious issues such as infection, scarring or worse.

WHAT IS DIAPER RASH?

Diaper rash is a red rash that affects the diaper area of an adult or child. Although it is most prevalent in small children and infants, elderly people can sometimes end up with a rash if they wear adult diapers or frequently lose control of their bowels or bladder. It will usually appear after prolonged exposure to moisture or bodily fluids and appears as a raised red area in the form of dots or small pustules. In extreme cases, diaper rash is known to cause large welts, bleeding, and blistering.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

A multitude of things can cause diaper rash. The most common is excessive exposure to feces and urine, especially if the person is sick or has an infection. Another cause is skin sensitivity or allergies to chemicals in wipes and diapers themselves. Lastly, overuse of cream, oil, lotion, or powder can cause irritation that leads to diaper rash. There are some who believe that foods containing high levels of acid such as tomatoes can cause diaper rash or make it worse.

FORMS OF DIAPER RASH

There are two main types of diaper rash that most suffer with. The most common is irritant diaper dermatitis and will appear as a red rash with raised bumps or welts that range in size. Many things can affect this type of rash including prolonged exposure to bodily excretions, diet, eczema, and allergies.

The second most common type of rash is candidiasis which is caused by at type of yeast known as candida albicans. This type of yeast causes infection in any area that is warm and moist and is common when there is an imbalance of good and bad bacterium.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

In most cases, treatment of diaper rash is a simple matter of purchasing over the counter cream or salve. However, some cases require prescription anti-fungal creams or another medication. The dermatologist Dr Rapaport at Cosmetic Skin can diagnose and treat ongoing and severe cases that haven’t been cleared up by traditional over the counter medications. Some common home remedies, over the counter and prescription treatments include:

  • A&D ointment
  • Creams containing zinc oxide
  • Diaper rash paste (for extreme cases)
  • Cornstarch
  • Karaya powder
  • Petroleum based ointments
  • Anti-fungal creams (to treat candidiasis)
  • Use water instead of baby wipes to clean diaper areas
  • Soaking the affected area in a warm oatmeal bath for ten minutes
  • Thoroughly dry the area before re-diapering
  • Pat the skin instead of rubbing it
  • Allow the area to breath by not re-diapering immediately
  • Bleach baths

Most diaper rash creams contain ingredients that moisturize the skin, reduce swelling, and provide certain vitamin compounds or anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties that can speed healing and relief in the affected area.

PREVENTATIVE CARE

Most of the time diaper rash can be prevented by frequently changing diapers and making sure the diaper area stays dry. On average diapers should be checked at minimum every two hours, if soiled, they should be changed immediately. In the event that you discover a rash, you should immediately clean the area and apply an over the counter medication. If you suspect that the wipes you are using may be causing the rash, stop using them immediately and switch to an alcohol-free, gentle wipe. At night, a thin layer of petroleum based ointment should be applied to protect skin. Lastly, using a more absorbent disposable diaper can help wick moisture away from the skin, helping to prevent diaper rash from occurring.

In the event that the rash persists or worsens over the course of 72 hours with treatment, you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for diagnosis and proper treatment. You should also watch out for certain symptoms that could mean something more serious is going on. Some symptoms include scales and lesions in the rash area, blisters or pimples in areas outside of the diaper area, fever and fatigue.

CONCLUSION

In most cases, diaper rash is quite easily treated with over the counter medications and other remedies. However, in extreme cases where the rash will not clear up or is an on-going problem you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport. He will be able to diagnose the rash accurately, give you a treatment plan and prescribe any necessary medications.

Treating Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

Hyperhidrosis, more commonly known as excessive sweating affects individuals in numerous ways. It can cause psychological emotional disturbance and reluctance to go out and participate in activities with friends and family. The affected person may hide themselves away. It affects both men and women equally and is sometimes difficult to treat. It is most commonly diagnosed in the palms of the hands, feet, face, and armpits. Luckily there are a number of different therapies to help control its symptoms including:

  1. Topical treatments that clog sweat glands. These only work for mild cases of hyperhidrosis and often cause burning and stinging sensations upon application.
  2. Oral medications to treat the condition work but often cause side effects such as migraines, dry mouth, flushing, constipation, and trouble urinating.
  3. In more moderate cases, BOTOX is used and usually requires several injections in the area to be treated. The downside to this type of treatment is that it has to be repeated every six to twelve months and is not a good option for those with neuromuscular disorders.
  4. Iontophoresis is a treatment for hyperhidrosis that involves sending an electrical current to the affected area. Unfortunately, it can’t be used on all areas of the body including the armpits.
  5. Laser assisted treatment can help reduce sweating of the armpits. It is a mildly invasive surgery that is capable of destroying the sweat glands by way of heat generated from the procedure.
  6. The last and most invasive form of treatment is thoracic sympathectomy. It is an invasive surgery. However, this option cuts nerve fibers that transmit the signals to and from the brain that tell your body to sweat. There are several risks associated with this procedure including anesthetic reactions, and other complications. The patient’s lungs must be deflated during the surgery so that the doctor is able to access the nerves. In addition, patients can develop compensatory hyperhidrosis which will cause excessive sweating in other parts of the body such as the face, hands, and feet. This procedure is somewhat effective but may seem extreme for the varied results.

Sunscreen Info

There are certain times of the year like spring and summer where everyone must be extra mindful about taking precautions and protecting their skin from ultraviolet light which can cause your skin to age prematurely and make you more susceptible to skin cancer.  Here are a few tips to help keep you protected from the sun.

  1. Make sure any sunscreen you use has at least 30 SPF and that it is labeled as a “broad spectrum” sunscreen which means it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. For additional information about the new sunscreen labeling system visit the American Academy of Dermatology website: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/health-and-beauty/general-skin-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-labels
  2. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and if you have been in water even if you have water resistant sunscreen.
  3. Ultraviolet rays are the most powerful around noon so if it’s possible avoid any exposure to the sun between 10am and 2pm. Instead of soaking in the rays you could grab a quick lunch indoors to pass the time.
  4. Protect yourself from the sun even more by using an umbrella and wearing protective clothing like wide brimmed hats.
  5. If you have been using sunscreen and believe you could be allergic to sunscreen you can seek out professional help and ask Dr. Rapaport for any suggestions or recommendations.

Summer Skin Cancer Information

Being sure that you wear sunscreen regularly, washing and moisturizing your skin daily is a great habit. However, really protecting your health and your skin from skin cancer by regularly checking your skin, looking for the potential signs of cancer is an even better habit!

WHAT ARE THE FIRST SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER?

Finding cancer in the earliest stage, no matter what type it is, is always better as far as the prognosis goes. Having skin cancer can vary in symptoms in correlation with what kind of skin cancer you may have. Things you need to look for are symptoms such as:

  • Patches of skin that are scaly and cannot be treated with lotion or cream.
  • Red bumps that feel hard and appear on your arms, hands, face or neck
  • Moles that bleed, begin to get larger or have irregular borders
  • Bumps on the face or neck that look waxy

Skin cancers are typically found on areas of the body that are more exposed to the sun. That includes parts of the body such as; the scalp, lips, arms, legs, hands, neck and face. However, skin cancer can be found anywhere even in your mouth, between toes and fingers, on your eyelids and underneath your fingernails and toenails. The signs of skin cancer may come about very slowly while others can develop rather suddenly.

Skin cancer does not discriminate. Your gender, skin color, or race make no difference. You still have the same chance of finding skin cancer on your body, no matter who you are.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU NOTICE ANY SUSPICIOUS SIGNS THAT MAY POINT TO SKIN CANCER

According to Dr. Sumayah Jamal, who is the assistant professor of microbiology as well as, dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, “Some early signs that skin cancer could be present include a mole that is getting darker or lighter or has different colors within it.” Other signs can be flaky skin that never improves no matter how often you treat it with lotions or creams and sores that refuse to heal.

Dr. Jamal recommends to check the ABCDEs of moles in order to guide you as to how to confirm if a mole may be suspicious. If any of these signs are present, call your doctor immediately. Here is the mole alphabet:

A is asymmetry. Moles that are not round or the same on both sides
B is border. The outer edges of the mole are not smooth.
C is color. Areas inside a brown or black mole that are red, blue or white in color.
D is diameter. Moles should not be larger than a pencil eraser.
E is evolution. Any moles that have changed in the way they look and/or in their size.

SPOTTING CANCER IN UNUSUAL PLACES

“Skin cancers can appear anywhere on the skin. Skin cancers linked to sun exposure are more likely to appear on areas that are chronically or intermittently exposed to the sun.”

Points out Dr. Jamal. If the mole ABCDEs are applicable to spots anywhere unusual, you should still contact your doctor to have it evaluated.

MAKING AN APPOINTMENT WITH A DERMATOLOGIST

Since Dermatologists are specialists, making an appointment can be hard to get and sometimes very frustrating. In fact, do not be surprised if it takes you weeks or months to get an appointment scheduled to see the doctor, since the type of appointment you need is considered cosmetic. However, the seriousness of the problem requires immediate attention. Call your family physician or dermatologist and tell them what you’ve discovered and that you need to be seen sooner.

Dr. Jamal recommends that people get a yearly skin cancer check from their family doctor or dermatologist.

Check your moles and the rest of your skin frequently and if you discover anything suspicious or abnormal, get in to see a doctor, as soon as possible. Skin cancer is a very serious disease and just by checking your skin a lot, who knows, it may just save your life.

Say What About Warts?!

Can you remove a wart with duct tape? According to one study, it was indicated that warts were better obliterated by the industrial tape rather than by traditional freezing. The study was conducted by placing duct tape over the wart for almost a week. After about six days, the warts were rubbed with a pumice stone or something abrasive and soaked in warm water. The process was done again and again for up to eight weeks. Other studies could not corroborate the findings that duct tape was effective in treating warts. However, before treating warts at home, its best to confirm with a healthcare professional that what you have is a wart and not some other kind of skin growth. This will insure that you don’t injure yourself.

Treating warts at home is easy with over the counter treatments from a pharmacy. There are solutions and patches that are seventeen percent Salicylic Acid. These treatments need to be used every day for multiple weeks.

Dr. Scholl markets a product named “Freeze Away.” It advertises that it can remove warts “with as few as one treatment.” A couple of other products that can be used are Occlusal-HP and Compound W.

Warts are infectious and contagious. They are caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus). If someone who had the virus touches a surface and another person touches the same surface or object that could potentially transmit the virus to them.

You can recognize warts by their skin-like coloring and rough skin or they can be flat, dark and have a smooth surface.

Warts can sometimes contain “wart seeds” or tiny black dots of clotted blood vessels. This means they can bleed if cut or picked at. There may be a single wart or in multiple warts growing in bunches.

THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF WARTS

Warts can grow on hands near broken skin. Those who bite their fingernails can be more susceptible.

The soles of the feet are also called plantar area of the feet. Plantar warts grow in this area. If plantar warts grow in bunches on the bottom on the feet, this is called mosaic warts. Walking on these warts can push the wart up into the skin causing mild to severe pain.

Irritation from areas that are shaved like men’s faces and women’s legs are more susceptible to flat warts, although they can appear on any part of the body. These warts are smooth and grow in larger number.

Warts contracted through sexual contact are called genital warts. They can effect both outside and inside of the genitalia.

People with strong immune systems are less likely to get a cold, same goes for warts. Some people will contract warts and others will not, as the wart virus affects people in different ways.

There are a few ways to remove warts when all other over the counter treatments have not worked. Electorsurgery is the burning off of warts. The opposite of that is cryotherapy or freezing. These are laser treatments and are the last resort when less evasive treatments have not helped. Salicylic Acid can be used to peel the skin off the wart. Lastly, Retinoid which comes from vitamin A, is very good at interrupting the growth of skin cells within the wart.

Additional treatments are injections of Bleomycin. Bleomycin was originally developed as a cancer fighting medication. The injections have side effects and can be very uncomfortable. Using the body’s system to reject things, or Immunotherapy is another option for the treatment of warts.

As soon as you notice a new wart, treat it immediately to prevent any spreading of the virus to the surrounding areas.

Rosacea Is Anything But Rosy

Just like the name would suggest, rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by a “rosy” face. About five percent of Americans are living with some form of rosacea. It is most common in women, although it can occur in men as well. Menopausal women are even more susceptible. Light skinned people are more likely to have rosacea but people with darker complexion people are not immune.

Rosacea is categorized into four different categories. The first type is the least troublesome and causes redness and flushing in the face. The next subtype is characterized by spots that look like acne and redness on the face. The third is referred to as Phymatous Rosacea. This causes a thickening of the tissue on the nose and is sometimes referred to as “Brandy Nose.” This is a misnomer, as people who have this type of rosacea are not necessarily drinkers, let alone alcoholics. Lastly, the fourth type of rosacea has symptoms such as red and itchy eyes. This last category’s symptoms affect fifty percent of all rosacea sufferers. Although someone may have a mild case of symptoms from all four types, someone else may have a very bad case of only one type.

In a survey conducted in 2009, over 1200 rosacea suffers were asked about their life, in regards to the quality of it, as they live with this condition. Thirty percent said that having rosacea has a negative effect on their social life. The study was conducted by the Rosacea Awareness Program and was funded by Gladerma Canada, a pharmaceutical manufacturer. These episodes of pimples and rosy faces come and go throughout life. Since stress is a trigger, rosacea tends to flare-up and rear its ugly head at times when you want to look your best; weddings, parties, family pictures. Important things. Sometimes, if a rosacea flare-up is mild, it can be covered with makeup.

Women who are experiencing their “change of life” or menopause are commonly stricken with a rosacea episode brought on by hot flashes and hormonal changes. Some women do not even experience one break-out until they enter the first stages of menopause. Roughly fifty percent of people living with rosacea are between thirty and sixty years old. Being affected by this skin condition decreases every year you get older and any symptoms will disappear the older you get.

WHAT CAUSES ROSACEA FLARE-UPS?

The cause at this time is unknown. Doctors are beginning to think that proteins such as cytokines cause inflammation in response to the immune system overreacting. The cause at this time is unknown, but there is ongoing research about what happens in the skin during a rosacea episode. This could lead to future treatments that can stop the inflammation by helping to manage cytokines.

Some people are more likely to become affected with rosacea than others. Environment and lifestyle may be one thing to blame. Spicy and hot foods, changes in temperature, saunas, exercise, alcohol, sunlight, stress, and the use of corticosteroids are all potential triggers. Also blood pressure medications or any other pharmaceutical that opens up blood vessels could cause a flare-up.
According to Joanne Whitehead, a molecular biologist in Victoria, whom also edits the Rosacea Research and Development Institute Journal, has found other factors that can trigger out-breaks as well. A diet of processed foods may be a culprit, as a correlation between intestinal problems and abnormalities in rosacea sufferers has been discovered. As she puts it, “Research and treatment are focused on relief of symptoms such as redness, flushing, bumps and visible veins rather than on the holistic approach.” So it it’s very difficult to fund a research project to further research this correlation.

MANAGING ROSACEA: HOW TO DO IT SUCCESSFULLY

The easiest way to manage your rosacea is to use a sunscreen, not just in the summer but all year long. Doctors use antibiotics to help with inflammation to control rosacea symptoms. Medications such as tetracycline, metronidazole and doxycycline, are the most prescribed medical treatments. If your rosacea is really bad, a dermatologist may have you take one of the above oral medications and also prescribe you a topical medication as well. The anti-inflammatory will help get the rosacea managed and the topical treatment will help keep it under control. The topical medication Isotretinoin, which has potentially significant side effects, is prescribed in cases of very severe rosacea.

Dr. Yves Poulin says that forty to fifty percent of people treated with antibiotics for four weeks, rid themselves from their rosy faces. The other fifty to sixty percent of cases “…were more persistent. Some people with chronic rosacea need to keep taking medication. But almost everyone can find relief.” Dr. Poulin said of the contemporary rosacea treatments.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER OPTIONS FOR CONTROLLING ROSACEA OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED MEDICATION?

Gentle facial cleansers that are perfume-free are a good non-prescription fix for the daily management of rosacea. Products like Dove, Cetaphil and Spectro Jel are all good brands to use. These can cost anywhere from three dollars to nineteen dollars. It should be noted that treating rosacea daily with an over the counter product may take a little experimentation. So rosacea suffers should not expect to get instant results. It may take trying a few different types before finding the right one.

There are other products that are slightly more expensive but incredibly natural. Using plant extractions to soothe and soften skin and inflammation. These products are also tinted yellow or green in order to help mask any redness caused by a flare-up.

Straight Talk On Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that is estimated to affect one in ten adults and one in five children. The most commonly suffered type of eczema is known as Atopic Eczema. This type causes red and sometimes incredibly itchy bumps on the skin.
Consultant Dermatologist from Cook University Hospital located in Middlesbrough, England, Dr. Andrew Carmichael will be helping us to get some insight on the condition of eczema.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR SKIN CONDITION IS ECZEMA VERSUS SOME OTHER KIND OF SKIN CONDITION?

According to Dr. Carmichael, since eczema is a term that is often attached to various conditions of the skin that cause flaking, redness, inflammation, itching or dryness, it is important for your doctor to identify what type of eczema you suffer from. Symptoms can be very mild to severe. How uncomfortable you are and what type of eczema you have will help your doctor decide on the best course of treatment.

CAN MY CHILD OR I CATCH ECZEMA AND WHAT CAUSES IT?

Since eczema is not any type of infection it cannot be transmitted from one person to another. Eczema flare-ups are unpredictable and can be brought on by nothing at all. Other causes may be stress or humidity, as well as allergens and food intolerances. Atopic eczema is thought to be genetically predisposed. Seborrhoeic and Allergic Contact Eczema are both caused by a natural occurring yeast on the skin reacting to allergens you rub up against and get on your skin.

IS THERE A CURE? HOW MAN I MANAGE MY OR MY CHILD’S ECZEMA?

As of today, there is no known cure for eczema. However, according to Dr. Carmichael, there are many things you can do or avoid doing to keep your or your child’s eczema under control. These include:

 

  • Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle, which has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system. It is thought that a healthy immune system helps lessen the severity of flare-ups.
  • Avoiding soaps, detergents and other allergens or other things that may irritate the skin such as wool and other coarse fabrics or even shampoos.
  • Make sure you use a good moisturizer often, as skin affected with eczema can dry so much it may actually crack. Cracked skin can lead to infections of the skin, which can become very serious and even fatal if not treated.
  • Cut down on stress if possible. This isn’t always easy, but it can help the amount of flare-ups you experience.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures; hot or cold. Very hot temperatures and very cold temperatures can dry the skin quickly. Also humidity can breed infections in skin that is cracked. Windy conditions will dry skin fast as well, so it is important for someone with eczema to be prepared and properly covered.

 

By simply changing you or your child’s diet can also help control eczema. There are a variety of foods that have been found to trigger flare-ups, mostly in children with the condition. These foods include; eggs, wheat, milk and nuts. If these foods trigger a flare-up of eczema in your child or yourself, simply try alternatives like soy milk and alternative flours that are gluten free. A majority of children will out-grow this type of food intolerance and be able to eat the foods that bother them now later in life.

Scientists have also found that pregnant women who take a probiotic or consume foods containing probiotics (i.e. yogurt) can reduce the chances of their child not being affected by eczema. So much so, it decreases the chances by forty percent. Even if the child is born with the condition, and the mother had consumed probiotics during pregnancy, her child’s case will be less severe than that of a child’s whose mother did not take a probiotic.

A daily struggle for people with eczema is the sometimes very intense itching. It becomes almost unbearable and the hardest part is to not allow yourself or your child to scratch at this skin. This can be very difficult, especially for children. Scratching and digging the itchy skin can cause skin damage which, in turn, could result in scarring of the skin or serious infection. In addition, many people are embarrassed of their skin and wear clothing to cover it up. For some people having eczema can cause low self-esteem, difficulty forming intimate relationships, anxiety about social events and other social obstacles and self-image problems.

Dr. Carmichael suggests that eczema sufferers avoid using laundry detergents that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This chemical can actually make skin weaker and can then cause eczema symptoms to worsen. Make sure your laundry is thoroughly rinsed (even if you have to use an extra rinse cycle) to make extra sure your clothing, sheets and towels are free from any extra soap and/or soap residue.

Ever put on a pair of earrings only to find after a while your earlobes itch, are red and have become swollen? This occurs in some people when they wear earrings containing the metal, Nickel. Some people have an intolerance to this metal and it causes an allergic variety of an eczema breakout. If this occurs with any of your earrings, simply change to earrings made of some type of hypo-allergenic metal such as silver or gold.

Lastly, hard water may also contribute to eczema flare-ups. Although the official results of a study performed at the University of Nottingham, in England, have not yet been released, current research seems to confirm that using a water softener may decrease the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups in all of those who suffer from it.

Eczema is becoming more and more common. According to Dr. Carmichael, Dermatologists are seeing a sharp influx of patients with this skin condition. The reason for this is not known, but poorer diets and more chemicals in products we use may be contributing factors.

Skin Pigmentation Disorders 101

Skin pigmentation disorders are a pretty rare occurrence. However, many people who suffer from these disorders are typically able to cover them up and live a normal life. There are two major common types of skin pigmentation disorders that this article will cover.

VITILIGO

Affecting just 1.3 percent of the population, Vitiligo is a hypopigmentary skin disorder that is characterized by white, milky spots that are non-uniform in size. These spots can begin to appear anytime between birth and death. There is no particular age group that is more susceptible, nor a gender, as Vitiligo can affect both equally. Dermatologists think that Vitiligo can be caused by a number of things such as; emotional problems, repeated trauma to one area, sunburns, physical abuse, and pregnancy. It is also thought that factors such as; immune system deficiencies, stress, and genetics can also contribute to the appearance of Vitiligo.

Vitiligo, if concentrated on just a small portion of the body can be treated by dermatologists with topical treatments (creams), however, if the Vitiligo has taken over the skin on most of the body or in large areas topical creams alone are not effective. Dermatologists will typically prescribe topical creams to be used in conjunction with ultraviolet therapy.

MELASMA

The opposite of Vitiligo, Melasma is a hyperpigmentary disease. It is a little more common, especially in the United States and Mexico. Melasma is better known as the “pregnancy mask” as it occurs in women, affecting their cheeks, upper lip, and forehead. This “mask” is brought on by hormonal changes caused by pregnancy or birth control. These hormonal changes trigger an increase in the body’s production of Melanin, the chemical responsible for the pigmentation of the skin. Once a woman has been diagnosed with Melasma, it is considered chronic. Melasma will more than likely reappear with each pregnancy and can go away a few weeks after giving birth or may take years to disappear. It is estimated that five to six million women are affected with Melasma. Up to 75% of pregnant women in the United States and up to 85% of women in Mexico.

Melasma can be treated with a three element compound topical treatment, in conjunction with applying and reapplying sunscreen multiple times a day.

Rashes 101

What many people don’t realize is that a rash is not a diagnosis. It is a blanket term for many skin conditions that cause similar symptoms, either by discoloration or by changing the feeling of the surface of the skin. A rash that lasts longer than a week and is not successfully treated with over the counter rash treatments, or is accompanied by a fever, one should seek the opinion of a dermatologist as soon as possible.

THE MOST COMMON NONINFECTIOUS SKIN RASHES

  1. Nummular Eczema: Mostly occurring in the wintertime, this type of eczema produces red, scaly circular bumps that typically are very oozy.
  2. Heat Rash: Heat rash occurs on the neck, groin, under the breasts and other places where sweat glands may be blocked off on a hot day. Heat rash appears as small pimples and the simple solution to treat heat rash is to move the affected to someplace cooler.
  3. Diaper Rash: Obviously, infants are the most likely to suffer from diaper rash. This occurs when waste is directly on the skin of the baby for too long of a period of time.
  4. Contact Dermatitis: This type of skin rash is very common as well. It occurs when an individual has some sort of contact with a chemical that he or she is allergic to. Commonly some plants, soaps and even jewelry containing nickel can cause an itchy, red and sometimes weepy rash.
  5. Seborrheic Dermatitis: The single most common rash in adults, usually producing red, itchy and flaky skin on the scalp, forehead and outer ears.
  6. Psoriasis: This rash is always a dry rash. It is usually found on the elbows, scalp and knees. It is characterized by an itchiness and dryness that result in flakes of skin that slough off when the area is scratched.
  7. Atopic Dermatitis: This is known in layman’s terms as Eczema. It is most prevalent in children, especially those who also suffer from hay fever and/or asthma. Eczema is typically found on the backs of the knees, wrists, hands and the inside of the elbows. Atopic Dermatitis is characterized by red, weepy, itchy skin.
  8. Drug Eruptions: Red, itchy rashes caused by the side effects of a medication.
  9. Stasis Dermatitis: Individuals with bad circulation in their lower legs, that leaves them with chronic swelling, can form this type of rash. It is often painful and oozy.
  10. Hives: Simply tiny little bumps that are itchy. They tend to not need treatment, but they can occur quite frequently.

Noninfectious skin rashes are not transmittable from host to host, so they can more than likely be treated with hydrocortisone, calamine lotion, an oral or topical anti-histamine, which are all available over the counter. These types of rashes should clear up over time on their own. Some, such as, Eczema and Psoriasis may be treated with a medicated ointment or treatment recommended by a dermatologist. A simple moisturizer can also be effective. Viral rashes such as Shingles are non-transmittable, unless the patient has a fever to accompany it or sores that are open. Viral rashes cannot be treated and have to run their course, although anti-itch and pain medication may be prescribed to decrease a patient’s bothersome symptoms.

THE MOST COMMON INFECTIOUS SKIN RASHES

  • Ringworm (fungal)
  • Cellulitis (Bacterial)
  • Impetigo (Bacterial)
  • Folliculitis (Bacterial)

Rashes caused by a fungus will usually affect the inside of the elbows or under the breasts, places where there are folds. Contracting a fungal infection of the skin has nothing to do with hygiene. They can be characterized by small pustules (sacks filled with pus), a very red coloring and sometimes scaly patches. Basically they are like a yeast infection of the skin. Many dermatologists and patients mistake these rashes for eczema related rashes and treat for that. Fungal rashes and eczema are treated completely differently, so if a patient’s rash was misdiagnosed, it won’t take long to figure it out.

Fungal infections of the skin will be treated by a dermatologist just as any other fungal infection in the body would be treated. This is usually with medications such as Lamisil or Lotrimin.

Many people believe that fungal infections are contracted by dogs or cats, which is however not based on fact. The fact is more people contract fungal infections from public pools, showers, spas etc.

Bacterial rashes are often more painful and over the counter medications have little to no effect on the treatment of them. Typically, bacterial skin rashes are covered in pus, are weepy and develop plaque. A dermatologist will prescribe a topical cream, such as Bactrobin and/or oral antibiotics to try to cure or relieve the symptoms.

If any of the above treatments do not help, the rash worsens or spreads, it is imperative that you make an appointment to see a dermatologist if possible, if not your family practice physician.

RASHES AND SMALLPOX

It is highly recommended by physicians, including dermatologists that those who suffer from Atopic Dermatitis and or Eczema should not get the smallpox vaccination. This is because these conditions can actually allow the smallpox vaccine to spread throughout the skin, which can become life threatening. Make sure to speak to your dermatologist about the safety of the vaccination for your type of skin condition.

Rashes can come in all different types, be caused by numerous things and can be treated in different ways. This is why it is important to have a rash correctly diagnosed so that a treatment plan can be started for you right away. Skin can be damaged by scratching at your itchy skin and by scratching you are increasing your risk for even uglier skin infections. If you have a rash, try an over the counter treatment for a few day. If you have no relief, consult a doctor.

Nail Fungus 101

WHAT IS NAIL FUNGUS?

Nail fungus is caused by fungi burrowing underneath either a finger or toe nail and causing discoloration and thickening. This can become an embarrassing cosmetic problem. These Dermatophytes, cause an infection in the nail bed underneath the nail causing all of this and sometimes even become painful.

HOW NAIL FUNGUS IS CONTRACTED

Like bacteria, fungi thrives in moist, dark and humid conditions. This means nail fungus can be contracted simply by walking barefoot at public pools or showers, in locker rooms or even getting a pedicure. Individuals with particularly sweaty feet are also more prone to contracting nail fungus. Toes are more likely to contract nail fungus because they are mostly hidden inside shoes, where the sweat from your feet keep it warm and moist. Fingernails are mostly always in the open where they have access to more light and are washed frequently. People who easily contract athlete’s foot or those with a decreased immune system are also more susceptible to fungal infections of their nails.

HOW TO TELL IF IT’S NAIL FUNGUS

The first telltale sign that there is possible nail fungus is discoloration. This discoloration will come in the form of a yellow or white spot, underneath the tip of the infected nail(s). Over time, this spot will spread throughout the nail bed and begin to darken in color. Nail fungus can, eventually push the nail up from the nail bed, giving off a foul smell, as well as causing pain to the tips of the fingers or toes.

COMMON TREATMENTS FOR NAIL FUNGUS

Nail fungus is incredibly hard to treat. Over the counter anti-fungal ointments have little effect on nail fungus. This type of fungal infection requires aggressive treatment. This may include the administration of oral anti-fungal medications such as Lamisil and others like it. These oral medications typically need six to twelve weeks to rid the nail of the infection. However, these treatments do come with side effects such as, liver damage and skin rashes. Consult a dermatologist to discuss the risks and benefits of taking oral medications.

Although it only has an effective rate of ten percent, there is a product called Cyclopirox. This is a medicated nail polish that is applied weekly for up to a year. Every week, a patient will remove the last coat of Cyclopirox with alcohol swabs and replace it with another fresh coating of the lacquer. As stated before, this type of treatment has little success, although may have more if paired with an oral medication. If the fungal infection of your nail gets too bad, your dermatologist may have to completely remove the nail.

Another way to prevent fungal infections of the nails is to keep both finger and toe nails cut short and straight across. Throw away any old shoes, especially if they have been worn previously with an infection. Lastly, before putting shoes or socks on, allow feet to dry completely after swimming, bathing, etc.

Nail fungus is a pretty common problem. For the most part, it may be ugly but it is not harmful. However, if an individual suffers from Diabetes or other circulation and feet issues, consult a dermatologist or physician just in case. Leaving nail fungus unchecked in these types of people can lead to amputation.

If one is not sure, always consult a dermatologist or physician. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Herpes Simplex 101

HOW CAN HERPES SIMPLEX BE DIAGNOSED?

Herpes Simplex is most easily diagnosed when the patient visits the doctor during an outbreak. An outbreak of Herpes Simplex is characterized by sores. If there are visible sores, most likely a dermatologist can diagnose it just by visually examining them. For a definite answer he or she may swab a sore and send the specimen to be evaluated in a laboratory. Otherwise, without the presence of sores, Herpes Simplex can be diagnosed by blood tests ordered by your dermatologist.

POSSIBLE TREATMENTS FOR HERPES SIMPLEX

Herpes Simplex is caused by a virus. This viral manifestation is incurable, but can be treated to help relieve and prevent outbreaks. Many people choose to wait out their outbreaks, as the sores will clear up on their own over time. Others choose to treat their outbreaks with prescribed antivirals in either pill or topical cream form. The topical creams will relieve the symptoms of burning, itching and tingling that often times accompany an outbreak. Oral medications such as pills, are used to shorten the length of time an outbreak lasts. When taken on a regular basis, these medications can reduce the severity of a patient’s symptoms and how they frequently they happen. These medications have the ability to also help prevent patients from spreading the virus to others. The three antiviral pills that are most commonly prescribed and have had the greatest success in the fight against Herpes Simplex outbreaks are: Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, and Famciclovir.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HERPES SIMPLEX BREAKOUTS

Not every person who contracts the Herpes Simplex Virus is going to have a major outbreak the first time. In fact, in a lot of cases these breakouts can be completely unnoticeable and will lead a person to think that, a worse break out later on down the road (maybe even years) is their first breakout.

During the first three hundred and sixty-five days after contracting the virus, a patient could have one or more outbreaks. Any outbreak after the first is referred to as a “recurrence.” As time goes on, outbreaks will become less frequent and painful or bothersome. This is because over time, a person with Herpes Simplex will develop anti-bodies to help combat the virus.

In most cases, Herpes Simplex will not cause any serious health problems. However, in the case of patients with compromised immune systems, such as those who suffer from HIV or AIDs, newborn babies and those who have undergone an organ transplant will need to seek immediate attention from a medical provider to insure that proper treatment is quickly administered.