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Medical Dermatology

Our physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails. This includes everything from acne, warts, eczema, rosacea, alopecia and hair disorders, herpes, and psoriasis to infections, rashes, moles, and skin cancer. We perform surgical procedures, including sclerotherapy, electrocautery, surgical excisions, cryosurgery and laser surgery.


Acne

Acne is the term for blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it. Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress.

Basic skin care, with the use of mild cleansers twice a day, is usually helpful to control mild cases of acne. Over the counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may also be helpful. More difficult cases of acne may need prescription oral antibiotics or systemic retinoids, such as Accutane. Results on average are visible in six to eight weeks.


Eczema

Eczema is a group of inflammatory skin conditions that results 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, but it appears to involve an overactive immune system and often occurs in people susceptible to allergies.

Triggers for eczema outbreaks may include rough materials touching the skin, excessive heat and sweating, soaps and detergents, certain foods, dust mites and animal dander, upper respiratory infections and stress. Avoidance of those triggers is the simplest way to minimize flare-ups. It can also be helpful to apply moisturizers regularly, avoid sudden temperature changes, use mild soaps on skin and clothing, dress in breathable clothing and avoid scratching.

Your physician may prescribe corticosteroid medications, topical immunomodulators, antibiotics, or sedative antihistamines to help with a flare. For severe cases, phototherapy treatments may be started or stronger more suppressive drugs may be recommended


Moles & Birthmarks

Moles and other birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains). Though most birthmarks are harmless, they may develop into cancer. Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by a professional immediately:

  • Larger than six millimeters
  • Itches or bleeds
  • Rapidly changes in color, size or shape
  • Has multiple colors
  • Is located where it can't be easily monitored, such as on the scalp

Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient’s skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive birthmarks may take the form of laser or surgical excision.


Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin condition that involves a rapid production of skin cells that builds up on the surface of the skin and forms red scaly patches. Over seven million people in the US are affected by psoriasis which includes men and women, children and adults of all ages.

This condition develops as a result of an autoimmune disorder, in which skin cells replace themselves every three to four days, rather than every 15-30 days. Areas most likely to be affected are the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. While many cases of psoriasis are merely a cosmetic annoyance, some also cause severe pain, especially when associated with arthritis. While there is currently no cure available for this chronic condition, there are several treatment options that can effectively relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. These can include topical treatment with corticosteroids, oral medications, injectable medications such as Enbrel, light therapies or a combination of these treatments.


Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than a million new cases each year. It involves the abnormal growth of skin cells that can form anywhere on the body, but most frequently on skin that is exposed to the sun.

Skin cancer can often be identified as a new or changed growth on the skin and can appear as a:

  • Pearly or waxy bump
  • Flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
  • Firm, red nodule
  • Crusted, flat lesion
  • Mole that changes shape or color

It is important to see your doctor if you notice any skin changes. A biopsy, or removal of a small sample of skin, is performed to properly diagnose suspected cancerous growths.

Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, size and location of the tumor. Most options remove the entire growth and are usually effective. Removal procedures are usually simple and require only a local anesthetic in an outpatient setting.

 


Warts

Warts are skin growths caused by viruses. Warts may resolve on their own or need treatment to make them go away. Over the counter salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels, pads and bandages) can help resolve many warts. Others can be removed by your doctor via liquid nitrogen freezing, electrical stimulation or laser therapy. Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.

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