Acne is the term for the blocked pores, pimples, and deeper lumps that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. 17 million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. It affects mostly teenagers, although adults of any age can have it.
Not only is acne unattractive, it can also cause permanent scarring and emotional distress. Fortunately, several treatment options are available. Patients with mild acne may be treated with ClearLight or prescription medications. For severe cases, Accutane, laser treatment or photodynamic therapy may be recommended.
Acne scarring can be treated in a variety of ways including chemical peels, laser treatments, soft tissue fillers, microdermabrasion or Thermage.
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Generally, age spots are caued by sun exposure, which increases melanin production and encourages the formation of uneven pigmentation on exposed areas of the skin.
Increased deposition of melanin can be stimulated by UV light from the sun, or artificially, from tanning salons. So, if you're a sun worshipper or don't protect your skin from UV rays, age spots are probably in your future.
The antiaging breakthrough of the decade, according to many doctors, is a skin-resurfacing treatment known as CO2 fractional laser therapy. Combining the effectiveness of traditional carbon dioxide lasers -- long thought to be the gold standard in wrinkle removal -- with a new application technique, it delivers powerful results without the traditionally harsh side effects.
Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation and age spots, are a common skin problem that grow increasingly more common with age. They can be frustrating to deal with as they seemingly appear out of nowhere, and they can also be a somewhat embarrassing indicator of age.
For albinism, healthcare providers advise people to cover up, use sunscreen and avoid excess sunlight to prevent skin cancer. People with albinism also must wear protective sunglasses and, in some cases, prescription corrective lenses. Surgery may be necessary to correct visual impairments.
To treat vitilgo, physicians may prescribe a combination of photo-sensitive medications like trimethylpsoralen and ultraviolet light therapy to darken the spots. If the person has depigmented patches covering more than 50% of the body, doctors also may be able to use skin bleaching agents like monobenzone to give the skin a lighter, more uniform appearance. Other options include cosmetic concealers and skin grafting.
Skin-lightening creams are available for hyper-pigmentation disorders. Doctors also advise staying out of the sun. Counseling with a dietitian may help in cases caused by poor nutrition. For lichen simplex chronicus, doctors could prescribe antihistamines and topical steroid creams to stop the itching. If a mole or birthmark appears suspicious, physicians often will surgically remove it to prevent skin cancer.
Eczema is a term used to describe a group of inflamed skin conditions that result 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 for the condition, but it appears to involve an overactive immune system in the presence of certain materials and often occurs in people susceptible to allergies. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which, when scratched, tend to break out in rashes. Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress. Avoidance of those triggers is the simplest way to minimize flare-ups.
Wrinkles are caused by sun damage, loss of volume, and progressive changes to the skin through continual muscle movement, like smiling!
Wrinkle information and treatment tips
There are two important substances of the skin that play a role in wrinkle formation, collagen and elastin. If you were to look at skin under a microscope, you could witness changes in the amount and organization of these substances over time. Aside from genetic predisposition and aging, factors like sun exposure, smoking, and perhaps even conditions such as air pollution can accelerate the loss of collagen and elastin.
The dermatologist treats a variety of conditions. Skin cancer is one of the most common. Suspicious lesions may be diagnosed as benign after examination, eliminating the need for biopsies. However, prevention is the most important step in conquering skin cancer. Regular self-examination and appropriate sun protection used judiciously can go a long way in preventing skin cancer.
Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.
One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours. Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.
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