Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is an inflamed skin condition which can be identified as patches of blistering, red, scaly and sometimes thickened skin. Atopic eczema is usually associated with allergies and is very common across the world. Normally beginning as early as infancy, atopic eczema can be limited to a few areas or spread across the body. A dermatologist can determine what the best course of treatment for each case is. Treatment can include prescription medicines (both internal and external) to reduce the inflammation and the itching or UV light treatments for more severe cases.
Rosacea is also referred to as “adult acne” with redness and swelling on the face. Becoming worse without proper treatment, rosacea can first appear as the tendency to blush easily and later progress into small red bumps and enlarged blood vessels on the face. The condition is most commonly found in people with fair skin and is more common in women than men. While the cause of rosacea is still unknown, there are ways to prevent it, such as the avoidance of facial products that cause irritation, hot drinks and spicy foods. It’s also important to maintain good sun protection while outdoors and exercising in a cool area. Treatment options often include gels and creams or oral antibiotics. In more severe cases, laser surgery may be an option.
While most prevalent during the teenage years, adults can also suffer from acne later in life. At Dermatology of the Berkshires, PC, we are accustomed to treating acne of all types at all ages (from 8 years old to 80 years old). Pimples, clogged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pustules, and even deeper nodules and cysts can appear on the face and in areas such as the neck, chest, shoulders and back. Acne can sometimes clear up on its own several years down the road, but oftentimes, people seek out treatment to prevent permanent scarring and to decrease self-consciousness. Commonly used topical medications include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids and salicylic acid. Commonly used oral medications include tetracycline antibiotics, hormone therapy for women and Accutane for severe, cystic or resistant acne. In-office treatments may also be used. Chemical peels work quickly to get acne under control and work particularly well on those with normal to oily skin. For those who do not want to take medications, we offer Blue Light Therapy as an alternative. In an acne “emergency” (which commonly occurs before weddings and proms) small injections are used to stop pimples in their tracks. In addition to a proper medication regimen, it is equally important to maintain a proper skin care regimen. Ask us about a skin care regimen uniquely recommended for your skin. We address each patient individually to consider the type of acne and the type of skin to tailor a treatment regimen that is best suited to each person.
For some individuals, acne can leave pigmentary changes and permanent scars. Generally pink, purple, tan and brown marks will very gradually fade over time but there are some ways to speed the process. Sunscreen, bleaching creams, retinoids, beta hydroxy acids and chemical peels all work to decrease recovery time. Different types of scars include ice pick scars, rolling and boxcar scars. Today, there are several effective products to help diminish the scars and improve overall skin quality. These treatments include spot treatments with trichloracetic acid, punch excisions, and CO2 laser resurfacing.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and affects 100,000 Americans every year. The cancer mostly appears in areas most often exposed to the sun but can appear anywhere on the body. If left untreated, the cancer can break through to the tissue underneath the skin’s surface and spread to other tissues and organs. This type of cancer is generally caused by overexposure to the sun and can sometimes occur in areas that had been previously injured or exposed to chemicals or X-rays. Fair-skinned people are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma than darker-skinned individuals. The condition can be identified as thickened, scaly lesions in the affected area and may sometimes resemble warts or open sores. There are several treatment options, including excisional surgery, radiation and laser surgery. When diagnosed early, squamous cell carcinoma is almost always curable.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer can affect 800,000 people in America every year. Overexposure to the sun is the common culprit behind basal cell carcinoma and is predominantly found in areas such as the face, neck and ears, Fair-skinned individuals and those without outdoor occupations are more at risk of developing this type of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma can present itself in a variety of fashions, such as an open sore, reddish patch or pink growth. Self-examination is vital for early diagnosis and should occur once a month for those at a higher risk. A biopsy on the suspected area can confirm the diagnosis, and there are several methods of treatment. Many factors, such as type, size and location, will determine the best course of treatment. Options may include excisional surgery, electrosurgery, cryosurgery or radiation therapy.