Posts for: December, 2019
Do you have itchy, scaly rashes? If so, you could have eczema, a common skin condition that could be effectively treated by your dermatologist. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and it can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to harsh chemicals. Dry skin can also affect your skin’s ability to form a barrier to allergens, which can lead to eczema. Another common cause of eczema is genetics. If someone in your family suffers from eczema, it increases your chances of developing eczema as well. Immune system problems can also cause eczema.
Both adults and children can develop eczema, however, children are most often affected, especially before they reach the age of five. Eczema develops into a chronic skin condition, with intermittent flare-ups. These flare-ups can often be accompanied by hay fever or asthma.
There are many common signs and symptoms of eczema, including:
- Reddish-brown patches on your feet, hands, ankles, knees, chest, elbows, face, and scalp
- Chronic, severe itching which often worsens at night
- Inflamed, raw, red, sensitive, and swollen skin
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin patches on various areas of your body
- Bumps appearing on your skin which drain fluid and crust over later
For mild cases of eczema, there are a few simple home remedies you can try, including:
- Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications
- Smoothing calamine or other anti-itch lotion over your skin
- Applying moisturizer when you take a shower
- Applying cool, wet dressings and bandages to affected areas
- Taking a warm baking soda or oatmeal bath
- Placing a humidifier in your home to moisten dry air
- Wearing breathable, cool, cotton clothing
For moderate to severe cases of eczema, you should visit your dermatologist. There are several effective professional treatments your dermatologist may recommend, such as:
- Prescription-strength oral and topical medications to stop itching
- Antibiotic medications to eliminate any underlying infection
- Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain
- Corticosteroid dressings to reduce inflammation
- Natural light or ultraviolet therapy to reduce or eliminate skin patches
You don’t have to suffer with eczema when relief is just a phone call away. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eczema by calling your dermatologist today!
Vitiligo is a skin condition that affects more than 200,000 men and women in the United States each year, with half of those affected noticing symptoms before age 20. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, it is thought to be an auto-immune condition. In fact, it often occurs in combination with other auto-immune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the condition is directly linked to hereditary causes in about one-third of cases.
When you have vitiligo, you will have patches of white skin, caused by loss of melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for skin color. It can start on the feet, hands, or face, and become progressive over other areas of the body. The condition can cause problems with your skin, eyes, inner ear, hairs, and mucous membranes, causing white blotches in these areas.
Vitiligo cannot be cured, however, your dermatologist can help treat its symptoms and minimize its impact on your life. Treatment for this condition generally aims to restore normal skin color by repigmenting the skin. New melanocytes may be transferred from other areas of the body, including the base of hair follicles, or the edge of the affected area. Repigmentation is a gradual process that can take months to years.
Other treatments for vitiligo include prescription steroid creams or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams, These creams are applied twice each day and begin to show results in three-to-six months.
Lasers are also an effective treatment to promote repigmentation of the skin. The Excimer laser is a common tool that uses ultraviolet B light. A series of laser sessions is required with touch-up maintenance sessions later on.
Vitiligo can also be treated with some cosmetics to create a more uniform skin color and hide white patches. Sunless tanning products can also help darken the white patches, creating a more harmonious skin color. For extensive areas of pigmentation loss, depigmentation therapy might be recommended to bleach out all pigmented skin, producing an even skin tone.
If you have been struggling with vitiligo, call your dermatologist today to learn about your treatment options!
Skin cancer affects more adults in the U.S. than any other type of cancer. Early detection of skin cancer can result in a better prognosis since treatment can begin early before cancer spreads. One way to detect skin cancer early is by undergoing a skin cancer screening regularly. At The Belleville Dermatology Center in Belleville, skin cancer screenings are performed by Dr. Joseph Eastern and our dermatology staff.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, such as having a weakened immune system. Everyone should undergo an annual skin cancer screening, but it is especially critical for patients with any of the following risk factors:
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of past sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- History of using tanning beds
- Not using sunscreen regularly
- Having several moles on the skin
- Having fair skin
How can skin cancer screenings help?
Skin cancer screenings at our Belleville dermatology practice can help save your life. All skin cancer is serious, but some types are especially of concern. For example, melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer but is the most deadly. During a skin cancer screening, our dermatologist looks for possible signs of skin cancer. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin and the easier it is to stop cancer from spreading.
What signs do you look for during a skin cancer screening?
There are several signs our dermatologist looks for when conducting a skin cancer screening. These signs can be an indication that skin cancer might be present. If you have had regular screenings, one sign that will be looked for is any change in your skin since your last screening. Other signs the dermatologist will look for include:
- Changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles
- The formation of new moles on the skin
- Sudden itching or bleeding of existing moles
- The development of speckled brown spots on the skin
- Patches of pink or red scaly lesions on the skin
- Waxy, translucent cone-shaped growths on the skin
- Black or brown streaks under the fingernails or toenails
What happens if skin cancer is suspected during a screening?
If any signs of possible skin cancer are observed during a skin cancer screening, a biopsy can be performed to determine if cancer cells are present. If cancer is present, then a course of treatment will be recommended. Different treatment options are available and the appropriate course of treatment can depend on the type of skin cancer, as well as the seriousness of it. Skin cancer treatments include prescription medicated creams, radiation therapy, surgical excision, curettage and desiccation, cryosurgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery.
Undergoing skin cancer screenings regularly helps with early detection of the disease. Early detection is important for stopping the cancer from spreading. For skin cancer screenings in Belleville, NJ, schedule an appointment with Dr. Eastern by calling The Belleville Dermatology Center at (973) 751-1200.