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  Skin diseases

Acne is a skin condition that afflicts most people, especially during the teen years. The disease is by no means restricted to just teenage people. Many adults in their 20's or 30's have acne throughout their life. One mistake people make thinking that because acne is common, treatment is unnecessary. Don’t wait to outgrow acne. Medical treatment cannot only make you look and feel better, it can prevent scarring that can be with you your whole life.

Skin diseases
Skin diseases

Several things, including a combination of things instead of any one specific problem, can cause acne. One of the most common problems is rising hormone levels in adolescence that cause an enlargement and over-activity of the oil glands in the skin that can become blocked and cause inflammation.

You may be told to wash frequently, but don’t think that acne is caused by dirt. Wash your face with a mild antibacterial soap twice a day. You can get good recommendations from your dermatologist. Even if you are tempted to wash more often, be careful, over washing and scrubbing tends to irritate the skin and will just make your acne worse. Also, stay away from abrasive cleaners or cleansing pads. Another thing you may not have considered is your hair. If your hair is oily, be sure to shampoo it regularly, and to keep it off your face to avoid contact with the oil in your hair.

Use water based cosmetics, and avoid Vaseline, cocoa butter, cold cream, vitamin E oil, and other greasy items. Should you need a moisturizer, consult your dermatologist for a good, non-clogging choice.

Though it was once believed that diet – particularly greasy foods – aggravated acne, studies have shown that very few people show any relationship between diet and acne.

While acne may not be curable, it is usually controllable, and your dermatologist can recommend a personalized regimen that will help reduce scarring and incidents of breakouts.

Mild cases of acne are usually treated with one or more creams or solutions. These medicines will prevent new blemishes from forming, and are applied to the entire treatment area, not just current pimples.

Moderate or severe acne may be treated with the topical medicines, along with antibiotic pills. Your dermatologist will usually want to see you every month to month and a half to evaluate and adjust your treatment.

In addition, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments to speed healing and clearing of your acne: acne surgery; Intralesional Corticosteroid Therapy; or Accutane Therapy.

Don’t think that because you already have ugly scarring from acne that there is nothing you can do about it. If left alone, the body will soften and fade the scar – usually within 4 months to a year. If you are truly bothered by your scars, there are treatments you can try to help approve their appearance.

Chemical peels cause the outer layer of skin to be removed, and work very well for superficial scarring and irregular pigmentation. Laser Resurfacing uses high energy light to remove several layers of skin and is used to treat more prominent scarring. Punch Excision and/or Grafting can help narrow, pitted scars that are too deep to be removed by other methods. They are removed with an instrument called a punch, then closed with a tiny skin graft or other method. Punch Excision is often followed by chemical peels or laser resurfacing for patients with more than one type of scarring.

Collagen Implantation helps patients with soft depressed scars. Collagen is a natural protein and is injected under the skin of the scar to make it level with the surrounding skin.

Though acne is a common problem, it is not recommended that you let “nature take its course”. Visiting a good dermatologist and carefully and consistently following his instructions will reduce or eliminate any acne you may have, and help to avoid ugly scars in the future.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an extremely itchy skin eruption, that usually appears in young adults. Symptoms include intense burning, stinging and itching around the elbows, knees, scalp, buttocks and back.

DH looks like small clusters of red, itchy bumps. There are tiny water blisters, and there is usually a burning feeling right before they form. Even if they scab and heal over in one or two weeks, new spots continue to appear. DH is a lifelong condition, but remission may occur in 10 to 20 percent of patients.

Regardless of what the name may suggest, the herpes virus does not cause DH, instead, it is an allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat and some other grains. Unfortunately, the usual allergy treatments are useless.

Dapsone is a drug used to improve DH in days. Because there can be side effects, the dose of Dapsone is usually started at a small amount, and then raised up over a few weeks until all symptoms are suppressed. If Dapsone cannot be used, you doctor may use sulfapyridine or tetracycline, though these drugs do not work as well.

Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes areas of red, itchy skin. This condition usually starts in childhood, especially when there is a family history. Allergies leading to an overactive immune system and hereditary dry skin are among the most common factors.

To treat this disease, you need to work with your doctor to identify and reduce the triggers that cause flare-up the disease. These are different for each person, so no one therapy is appropriate for all eczema patients.

Your skin is dry, not because it lacks oil, but because it fails to retain water. To correct dryness, water is added to the skin, followed by a grease or oil-containing substance to help hold the water in. Soak the affected area in a basin, bath, or shower, for 15-20 minutes using lukewarm water, not hot water. Pat dry with a soft towel, and immediately apply a moisturizing cream, not lotion.

Tars and extracts of crude coal tar are often used to reduce the amount of topical steroids needed in the maintenance of eczema.

Topical steroids are generally very useful to treat the flare-ups of eczema. Apply them just on the rash, especially after a soak or bath.

Hydrocortisone ointment or cream can be used for infants and young children, or in skin folds for adults.

Ultraviolet light therapy may be of some help in treating eczema that does not respond well to other therapy. Avoid sunburn and hot or humid conditions that might make your skin even itchier.

Itching may well be the most aggravating of all your eczema symptoms. Antihistamines may provide some relief, however you should avoid the use of antihistamine creams, lotions, and gels because it may actually worsen your condition.

Fungus Infections

Tinea is the name for a fungal skin infection. Athlete's foot is the most common type of fungal infection and is spread by direct contact, most often through having bare feet in bathrooms and health clubs.

Jock itch is a rash in the groin that occurs, particularly in people who tend to sweat a lot. It usually affects more men than women.

Ringworm may be spread from person to person, from contact with an infected animal, or from exposure to fungus in the soil. Itchy red scaly patches come up anywhere the animal has rubbed. They often develop into a ring, and usually clear up with the appropriate creams.

Scalp Ringworm usually occurs mostly in children and results in scaling and patchy hair loss, but with the right treatment the hair will grow back normally.


Psoriasis is a common skin condition where the skin develops areas that become covered with silvery scales. It is a common problem, and millions of people in the United States have psoriasis. Psoriasis flare-ups may be triggered by changes in climate, infections, stress, excess alcohol, a drug-related rash, and dry skin.

Treatment is based on the severity of the disease and it's responsiveness to prior treatments. The lowest level of treatment is topical medicines applied to the skin, then ultraviolet light treatments, and finally, oral mediciations. Treatments from each level are often combined, and may be switched around every 12 to 24 months to reduce resistance and adverse reactions.


Rosacea, or acne rosacea, is a skin disorder leading to redness and pimples on the nose, forehead, cheekbones, and chin. The inflamed pimples and redness of rosacea can look a great deal like acne, except for the fact that blackheads are almost never present. Roughly one in every twenty Americans suffers from Rosacea, and it is most common in white women between the ages of 30 and 60.

The real cause of rosacea is now thought to be a tendency to flush and blush in a person with sun damage. The damaged blood vessels leak fluid when flushing occurs, resulting in blotchy red areas. Eventually the redness and swelling can become permanent.

Flushing triggers include a steady diet of hot beverages, spicy food, alcohol, excessive prescription steroids, physical and mental stress, extremes of weather, harsh soaps, exfoliating creams, and hot baths.

Rosacea can affect the eyes. Symptoms include a feeling of dryness and grittiness in the eyes and inflamed bumps on the lids. The eyelashes may develop scales and crusts, and persistent burning feelings, red eyes and light sensitivity suggest the more severe problem of rosacea keratitis. This rare complication can lead to with blindness without treatment.

Treatment includes avoidance of anything that makes one flush and known precipitants of flare-ups. Overheating-whether due to direct sun, excess clothing, hot foods-is uniformly a problem. Avoid hot showers, saunas, excessively warm environments, and extremes of weather.

Foods are also triggers, but account for less than one third of the triggers in rosacea patients. Trigger foods include vinegar, yogurt, sour cream, dry cheeses, soy sauce, yeast extract, eggplant, avocados, spinach, broad-leaf beans and pods, including lima, navy or pea, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins or figs, spicy hot food, chocolate, vanilla, and liver. Other factors include prescription medications, alcohol, menopausal flushing, chronic coughing, and emotional stress and anxiety.

The most effective treatments are oral tetracycline and similar antibiotics. Mild cases can be controlled by gels or creams, and full doses of pills are needed only for a short while. Maintenance treatments can include intermittent doses or just topical creams. For rosacea of the eyes, warm compresses on the lids for 5 minutes twice a day, liquefies the oil in the gland ducts and can be very helpful.

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