General Dermatology

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h-examine.jpgGeneral Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin, nails, hair and its diseases. It is a specialty with both medical and surgical aspects. Our dermatologist treats diseases, in the widest sense, and some cosmetic problems of the skin, scalp, hair, and nails.

Full body skin exams

We recommend getting annual full-body skin exams to screen patients for possible cancerous growths. This screening helps detect potentially life-threatening growths in a timely manner. Going from head to toe and then back to front, we inspect the skin for any suspicious growths. This preventative measure is simple, quick and painless.

 

Acne treatment

Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, minor lumps or any plugged pores that occur on the face or upper torso. While most major acne problems occur during adolescence, this condition can occur before and after the teenage years. While acne can affect males and females, males tend to have more severe, longer lasting types of the condition and many females will have frequent flare-ups of acne during hormonal shifts (such as their menstrual cycle). Minor acne often results in low self-esteem because it can mar the natural beauty of the facial features. In general, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently between the ages of adolescence and tapering off in regularity thereafter. More extreme acne can lead to serious permanent scarring, which is the result of tissue injury. In some cases, acne can continually afflict a person later in life.

Many people are concerned with acne prevention. Medications are available to lessen the severity of outbreaks, and your doctor can recommend changes in habit that may reduce outbreaks. If you do have acne, there are ways to prevent acne scarring. Treating acne inflammation at the onset of the condition will help lessen the severity of the injury to your tissue, which will prevent or decrease scarring. If over-the-counter medication is not working for you, your doctor can prescribe stronger, more intensive medication.


Age spots

Solar lentigines can go by many names, such as “age spots”, “brown spots”, “liver spots” and “sun spots”. Regardless of what you may call them, these spots have one cause: exposure to the sun. Especially for people with light skin, the cells in our skin that causes pigmentation to protect us from the sun, called melanocytes, can be damaged by overexposure to the sun, causing a deposit of the pigment melanin to form, resulting in a solar lentigo. They often form in areas most prone to sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, and upper back and chest. Treatments for these spots include a variety of lasers, and are usually very effective in minimizing or eliminating the appearance of solar lentigines.

Allergic skin conditions


Contact dermatitis

When your skin comes in contact with an irritant and becomes inflamed, this is known as contact dermatitis. The inflammation causes a red, itchy rash that is not contagious. There are many substances that can cause the irritation, including soaps, make-up, certain metals used in jewelry, or plants like grass, weeds, poison ivy or poison oak. Once you determine what is causing your rash, avoid coming in contact with it. The rash should clear up in 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile, you can use anti-itch creams to relieve your skin.

Hives

Hives are raised, red, itchy welts or swellings that can appear as small spots or large blotches several inches in diameter. Hives can be either acute or chronic. Acute hives typically last less than a day and up to six weeks. Chronic hives generally last longer than six weeks, sometimes for months to years. Hives can be triggered by physical factors such as different foods, medication, pollen, latex, animal stings, stress, exercise and hot and cold temperatures. Hives also can be one symptom of a systemic (whole-body) allergic reaction to something that was inhaled, ingested or injected.

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac

These plants contain an oil, Urushiol, that irritates the skin of those who come in contact with it and causes an itchy rash. The first symptom is a severe itching of the skin, followed by a red inflammation and blistering. In severe cases, oozing sores develop and swelling may occur. It takes a few weeks for the rash to go away.

Collagen Vascular Disease


Lupus

This skin condition is categorized as a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease, capable of damaging any part of the body including skin, joints, and/or organs within the body. This disease occurs when your immune system attempts to fight off a virus, bacterium, or germ, but instead attacks your own tissues and organs. In other words, your immune system cannot distinguish between the foreign body and healthy tissue. Lupus results in inflammation of the skin, joints, organs, and blood cells.

Scleroderma

This is a chronic, connective tissue disease and is classified as an autoimmune rheumatic disease. Scleroderma accurately translates to “hard skin” as it occurs when the body produces too much collagen, which results in the thickening of the skin and scarring of the internal organs. The symptoms that follow scleroderma include thickening and hardening of the skin, sores on the fingertips, red spots on the face and chest, swelling and pain in fingers and toes, muscle weakness, and diarrhea. Currently, there exists no cure for scleroderma; however, the symptoms can be suppressed and complications can be avoided.

Eczema

Also called dermatitis, Eczema is a skin condition that may affect you regardless of age. Although it is not contagious, it causes discomfort as the skin becomes inflamed with a hot and itchy rash. In extreme instances, it may also cause the skin to bleed. There are multiple types of eczema and each requires a different treatment method. Eczema may occur as a result of an irritation, allergic reaction, or hereditary conditions. Atopic eczema, the most common form of eczema, is often treated with steroids to reduce inflammation, and creams to relieve the dryness and itchiness experienced.

Although a cure for eczema currently does not exist, many people grow out of it. Additionally, using the proper medications and avoiding substances that cause this skin ailment to worsen can greatly reduce your discomfort and lessen its severity. It is imperative that those with this skin condition visit their physician as only your doctor can correctly diagnose and analyze eczema. Be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure you receive the most effective and efficient treatment available.


Fungal Infections


Ringworm

This is a common and contagious fungal infection of the skin that can affect the scalp, body, feet (athlete’s foot), or nails. Ringworm occurs as a result of several different fungus organisms belonging to a group called “Dermatophytes.” Ringworm may develop from skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or pet, indirect contact with an object or surface that had previously been touched by an infected person or pet, or by contact with soil. In most cases, ringworm is treated with antifungal creams or ointments.

Athlete’s Foot

This fungal infection of the foot causes discomfort through itchiness and flaking of the skin. Although it typically affects the feet, it thrives in a warm and moist environment and thus can spread to other areas, such as the groin. This infection is spread in common areas where people walk barefoot such as showers and locker rooms. Athlete’s foot is treatable with pharmaceutical cream prescribed by your physician.

Jock Itch

This is a common fungal infection, often experienced by athletes, affects the groin and inner thighs. Fungal infections thrive in moist and heated areas, thus jock itch best develops in tight garments that trap moisture and heat, where fungi is free to grow and flourish. Although it more commonly affects men, women may also experience this infection as well. A notable symptom that results from jock itch is a rash that may occur in moist areas, such as the upper and inner thighs, the armpits, the area beneath the breasts, and the feet (athlete’s foot).

Nail Fungus

This fingernail or toenail infection is caused by a fungus called onychomycosis. As a result of being in a warm and moist shoe all day, toenails are more at-risk and likely to become infected than fingernails. Symptoms of nail fungus including discoloration, thickening, and pain in the toes or fingertips.

Tinea Versicolor

This common skin condition is a fungal infection that results from an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. Symptoms include uneven skin color in the form of patches, and unsightly scaling that is sometimes itchy. This skin condition most commonly affects the neck, upper chest, and back as yeast normally lives in the pores of the skin and thrives in oily areas.


Hair Loss

On average, people lose up to 100 hairs a day; however, due to the amount of hair we have on our head, this amount of hair loss is not concerning. Permanent hair loss, however is often alarming, and can be the result of heredity, medications, or an underlying medical condition.

Pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss and is usually permanent. This hair loss may occur suddenly or over a period of time. Other types of hair loss may only be temporary and may affect other parts of your body as well. If you notice extreme or sudden hair loss, you should contact your physician to investigate further.

Unfortunately, there exists no cure for permanent hair loss; however, there are medications, including Rogaine or Propecia, that have proven to be effective in reducing the pace of hair loss related to pattern baldness. While curing hair loss is not an option, hiding it is. Such treatment options include surgeries that involve hair transplants and scalp reductions. Dermatology Consultants will work with each patient and develop a personalized treatment option for their individual needs and desires.

 

Herpes


Genital Herpes

This is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is almost always sexually transmitted. There is a wide array of symptoms associated with genital herpes, and the severity of each infection varies from person to person. Some individuals afflicted with the condition experience severe outbreaks of painful burning sores in the genital area. Others experience milder symptoms, such as itchiness and redness. While some people who develop the infection may not show any signs of symptoms at all.

Herpes Simplex Type 1

Herpes Simplex Type 1 is a viral infection of the skin that causes cold sores and fever blisters on the lips and mouth area. One of the first symptoms to set in on contraction is itchiness and tingling at the site of the infection (usually on the edge of the lips). Soon after the itchiness begins, blisters will start to appear, which will develop into crusted sores.

 

Shingles

The Shingles infection is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once people have had chickenpox, the virus goes dormant inside of their body. Shingles is the reactivation of that virus. The disease generally affects the elderly, although it can occur in younger people, particularly if they have an immunodeficiency. The first sign of Shingles is usually a tingling feeling, itchiness, or stabbing pain on the skin. After a few days a rash appears on the side of the face that looks like a band or patch of raised dots.

If untreated, this rash develops into small, fluid-filled blisters that begin to dry out and crust over within several days. When the rash is at its peak, symptoms can range from mild itching to extreme and intense pain. Shingles can spread from person to person; however, if you have not had chickenpox before you cannot catch Shingles. Contact with a person who has Shingles may cause chickenpox, though.

 

Rosacea Treatment

Rosacea is a chronic skin and eye condition. Symptoms include redness and pimples in the early stages, and thickened skin and sometimes an enlarged nose in the advanced stages. People with Rosacea experience frequent facial flushing, accompanied by swelling or burning. In most cases, outbreaks of Rosacea occur around the facial areas. When Rosacea affects the eyes, people experience dryness, itching, burning sensations, and swelling in and around their eyes. Some Rosacea patients also suffer from light sensitivity and blurred vision.

Doctors are still exploring the exact cause of this condition. However, one notable commonalty is that blood vessels in a Rosacea patient dilate far more easily than normal, thus stimulating many of the symptoms. Many doctors believe that heat exposure, strenuous exercise, stress, alcohol consumption, and spicy foods may all contribute to increased redness in Rosacea patients.

Rosacea has no cure, but a variety of treatments are available. Treatments are intended to control outbreaks and improve physical appearance. Antibiotics are generally used to regulate the condition. Laser surgery or electro-surgery options are also available for more severe cases.

 

Pediatric Dermatology

Pediatric dermatology provides skin care for infants, children, and adolescents. It involves the diagnosis and treatment of skin issues that are more prominent in young people, taking into account their growing needs. Children, for example, are often at risk for fungal and bacterial skin infections, as well as a wide array of other acquired and congenital conditions.

 

Geriatric Dermatology

As you get older, your skin ages. It loses its elasticity and becomes more prone to developing different harmful conditions. At Dermatology Consultants we can help treat these skin conditions that occur as you age. Some conditions we treat include: sun damage, liver spots, age spots, wrinkles, Shingles, bruising, and cancerous and precancerous growths. Some treatment options we offer for counteracting lost skin elasticity, for example, are: Botox® injections, laser rejuvenation, and chemical peels.

 

Moles & Birthmarks

Moles are growths that can develop on your skin. They usually are brown or black, can form anywhere on the body, and may appear on their own or in groups. A birthmark, meanwhile, is a colored mark on the skin that appears soon after you are born.

Most moles and birthmarks pose no health risk. However, some people choose to remove them for a variety of reasons (for example to improve appearance). Although the majority of moles and birthmarks are completely benign, your general dermatologist recommends monitoring them for changes just in case.

There are several different types of moles and birthmarks, including:

  • Congenital Mole (dark and irregularly shaped)
  • Atypical Mole (irregular color and undefined borders)
  • Hemangioma (reddish-purple patch or raised dots)
  • Port-wine stain (dark red and flat)

 

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that creates itchy, red marks on the body. These areas form multi-layered “scales” that vary in severity. Males and females can develop Psoriasis at any age. It can sometimes be a hereditary connection. The condition is not contagious, nor is it life-threatening. In most cases people who have mild symptoms may not even know they have Psoriasis and may mistake the red marks as a rash. Often, Psoriasis affects the same area repeatedly. Elbows, arms, knees, and legs are the most commonly afflicted areas. Some triggers that may cause Psoriasis flare-ups includes:

  • Cuts
  • Scratches
  • Infections
  • Dry skin
  • Certain medications
  • Lack of sun exposure

Generally, your dermatologist can diagnose your Psoriasis condition by simply examining your skin, but sometimes a biopsy is needed. Treating this condition will help alleviate pain and significantly improve your quality of life. Steroids, oils, sprays, medications, vitamins, light therapy, and many other treatments are available to treat Psoriasis. Based on the severity of your condition, your dermatologist will consult with you to find the best treatment for you.

 

Sun Damage

While many people covet the bronze glow of suntanned skin, the truth is that sun exposure is responsible for causing the most cases of medical and cosmetic skin conditions. Repeated overexposure to the sun without proper protection such as sunscreen can lead to a wide variety of conditions, such as:

  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Lentigines (age spots)
  • Solar elastosis (which causes sagging skin and vertical wrinkles)
  • Melasma, poikiloderma (reddish-brown pigmentation on the neck or cheeks)
  • Solar keratosis
  • And of course, skin cancer

The best defense against sun damage is preventing it from occurring in the first place. Dermatologists highly recommend wearing sunscreen on a daily basis and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, especially during midday hours when the sun is at its strongest.

 

Varicose & Spider Veins

Varicose veins are larger veins that run deep in the skin. Spider veins, on the other hand, are smaller and can be found close to the surface of the skin. When spider veins appear on the skin (commonly on the legs and face) they can be tinted red or blue and resemble spider webs or tree branches.

Veins get blood from your body parts back to your heart, and come with one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards. If these flaps deteriorate or malfunction, blood can flow back into the veins and pool there, causing the visual effect of spider veins. This condition is usually associated with age and obesity, but it can also be hereditarily-influenced, or be caused by hormonal changes, smoking, and sun overexposure. Several treatments for spider veins exist, including laser-based solutions and sclerotherapy, where a saline solution is injected into the vein in order to close it. Contact your general dermatologist for more information.

 

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disorder of damaged pigment cells. When you suffer from this condition the pigment cells (melanocytes) in your skin, mucous membranes, and retina are destroyed. As a result, white patches of skin will begin to appear on different parts of your body. Additionally, any hair growing in the areas of your body affected by vitiligo usually turns white as well. Unfortunately the cause of vitiligo is not currently known.

 

Warts

Common warts are the result of an infection in the top layer of the skin. When the virus invades your system (typically through a tiny scratch) it causes rapid cell growth on the outer layer of skin, which creates the wart. Warts are not dangerous or cancerous. In most cases they fade away on their own. Since warts are usually located on your hands and feet, many people tend to feel self-conscious about them and seek help from a dermatologist to have them removed. If you decide to see a dermatologist about removing a wart, remember that doing so will keep the infection (and the warts) from spreading, but in some case they may be a recurring problem and will come back.

 

Wrinkles

Our dermatologists have experience dealing with many types of skin issues. However the most noticed and complained about skin issue by far is the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. Developing wrinkles is a natural part of the aging process. The main reasons that wrinkles occur are:

  • The elastic bonds in your skin begin to break down, hindering your skin’s ability to retain moisture.
  • The fat under your skin begins to deplete, causing folds and creases.

In recent years there have been many dermatological advances made to minimize the look of wrinkles. Utilizing different types of injections, dermal fillers, and microdermabrasion, your dermatologist can help your skin look younger and fresher even as you age. There are also effective means for deterring wrinkles from occurring in the first place—the most important and simplest being: protect your skin from the sun and don’t smoke.

 

Get Started with a Dermatologist Today

The skilled dermatologists at Dermatology Consultants Inc. want you to look and feel beautiful. We care about the health of your skin and would be glad to discuss any of the above treatment option with you in more detail. To schedule and appointment with our Lynchburg dermatology practice, please contact us directly or fill our online form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!