Acne vulgaris, or acne, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin. Although it most often appears on the face, acne can be present on the neck, chest, back and upper arms. Acne is a chronic condition and even with adequate treatment, it will tend to flare up from time to time.
Types of Acne
- Comedonal Acne (Blackheads and Whiteheads) – Forms when sebum, a component of skin oil, and dead skin cells block the pores. When these blockages get large enough, a blackhead or whitehead appears.
- Inflammatory Acne – After blockage, the bacteria normally present on skin infect the gland resulting in an inflamed red bump (papule) or a pimple (pustule).
- Cystic Acne – If blockage occurs deeper in the gland, or if the gland ruptures under the skin, a nodule or cyst occurs.
In patients with acne, hormones, genetics, inflammation, bacteria, excessive skin oils and other unknown factors affect oil production and the shedding of skin cells. This leads to the oil glands being clogged with excess oil and skin cell debris. If left untreated, acne can leave permanent scars.
If your acne does require treatment, your dermatology care provider will work with you to establish the most effective plan of care. Because all patients respond differently to treatment, it may take some trial and error to find the best regimen for you. For best results, it is important that you use medications as directed.
BE PATIENT! It typically takes six to eight weeks to see improvement with any acne medication. Blackheads and whiteheads have to come to the surface to go away. As a result, you may feel you are getting worse at first, but this is the process necessary to achieve clear skin.
If desired, an acne facial treatment using steam and extractions to remove blackheads may help to improve stubborn acne lesions and speed up the clearing process.
Treatment options include but are not limited to:
- Topical medications
- Isotretinoin (formerly known as Accutane)
- Light Therapy Treatments
- Chemical Peels
Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema is the result of inflammation of the skin and it can lead to very itchy, uncomfortable rashes. Eczema and atopic dermatitis affect over 15 million people in the United States, ten to twenty percent of whom are infants.
Symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin. In some cases, these patches turn to blisters or open sores. In patients with a tendency to have eczema certain things such as excessive hand washing, harsh soaps and inadequate use of moisturizers, excessive heat or sweating, contact with chemicals or irritants, and environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites and animal dander. Stress also seems to make eczema worse.
Dr. Judge and Central Florida Dermatology Associates offer numerous several eczema and atopic dermatitis treatments including:
- Application of Moisturizing Lotions and Creams
- Non-prescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments
- Prescription of immunomodulatory, corticosteroid medication, and nonsteroidal emollient or barrier repair creams
- Antibiotics to combat infection
- Antihistamines to relieve itching
Rashes, Allergies and Skin Irritation
A rash is an area of “upset” skin, which can appear in many different ways. Some rashes are itchy, red, painful, and irritated. Some types of rashes can develop bumps, blisters or patches of peeling, scaling, or raw skin. Some rashes tend to come and go, while others are more chronic and difficult to control.
A rash is not a specific medical diagnosis and may be caused by many different things. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes, but commonly a rash is a symptom of another medical problem.
One example of a common type of rash is contact dermatitis, which develops when the skin comes in contact with an irritant, such as a chemical; or an allergen, such as a plant, like poison ivy. The skin may turn red, burn, itch, or develop bumps or blisters. Treatment could require prescription creams or oral medication.
Because rashes can be caused by so many things, it’s important to figure out what kind you have so it can be treated effectively. Some rashes are easily identified by their history, appearance and pattern. Others may require a skin biopsy for diagnosis.
Dermatologists a specifically trained to recognize, diagnose and treat rashes.
Psoriasis encompasses a group of chronic skin disorders that can affect any part of the body. It is most frequently found on the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. Psoriasis affects over 7 million men and women of all ages in the United States and the effects range from mild to severe. It can be categorized into the following types: plaque, pustular, erythrodermic, guttate, and inverse psoriasis.
- Itching and burning
- Red scaling bumps or plaques on the skin or scalp
- Pits, spots or other abnormalities on the nails
- Joint aches
There is no cure for psoriasis, but it can be treated. Dr. Judge and the team at Central Florida Dermatology Associates have years of experience treating psoriasis and other chronic skin conditions. A treatment plan will most often include one or more of the following:
- Topical Medications
- Oral Medication
- Injectable Medications (for severe cases only)
Rosacea, or adult acne, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin on the face and the neck, usually most prominent on the central face. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Rosacea is more commonly found in people with a fair complexion, but can be a problem in people of all ethnic backgrounds. There are certain things, called trigger factors, which can flare or worsen rosacea. These trigger factors include alcohol, stress, extreme temperatures, spicy or warm foods, hot drinks, wind, sunlight, and exercise. Rosacea affects every patient differently. Not all trigger factors are a problem for every rosacea patient, and it is not always possible to avoid these trigger factors. Patients must make an effort to use their medication daily and avoid trigger factors as much as possible.
Patients may have only one or many of these signs and symptoms:
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to cosmetic products and lotions.
- Red, thickened skin on nose and cheeks.
- Progressive changes in texture, pore size, and color of the skin.
- Small, visible blood vessels on skin surface.
- Small blister like breakouts around the mouth and/or nose (perioral dermatitis).
- Enlarged oil glands on the face (Sebaceous Hyperplasia).
- Small raised pimple-like bumps (papules).
- Flushing of cheeks, nose and forehead that is persistent.
- Small white blisters with pus (pustules).
- Change in the level of skin oil produced, can either become more oily, or more dry.
- Facial tenderness.
- Avoid triggers such as alcohol, especially red wine, hot liquids, hot or spicy foods, stress, sunlight and extreme temperatures.
- Women should avoid oil-based makeup; use water-based makeup or mineral powders.
- Use a skin care routine designed to help avoid flares. Our staff can recommend one for you.
- The earlier the treatment can be initiated, the better. It is easier to try to prevent the gradual changes in the skin than it is to try to reverse damage that is already done.
- There are several different types of topical medications that are typically prescribed for long term control.
- Oral antibiotics may be needed in stubborn cases or for severe flares.
- Cortisone medications may help with severe irritation, but used long term may make the condition worse. Avoid overuse of corticosteroid creams.
- IPL or LASER treatment may be necessary to improve the redness, flushing, and enlarged veins in the skin. Medications do not usually improve this component of the rosacea. We will be happy to give you more information on these treatments if you are interested.
Symptoms can usually be controlled with prompt treatment, but be aware that this is a disease that is chronic and even with treatment will intermittently flare and subside.