Find out what this autoimmune disorder means for your skin health.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans and five million people globally have some form of lupus. While lupus can affect both men and women, about 90 percent of those with diagnosed lupus are women between the ages of 15 to 44. Even though this chronic autoimmune disease affects millions, significantly less than half of people are actually somewhat familiar with the disease.
So, what exactly is lupus, how can you contract this disorder and what treatment options are available?
Our immune system is meant to attack foreign agents in our body to fight diseases and other infections. However, if you have been diagnosed with lupus then your immune system actually responds by attacking the healthy cells within your body. This ultimately causes damage to certain organs in the body like your heart, skin and brain.
There are different types of lupus; however, the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosis. Discoid lupus is known for causing a persistent skin rash, subacute cutaneous lupus causes skin sores when exposed to the sun, druginduced lupus is the result of a certain medication and neonatal lupus affects infants.
Know that you aren’t alone when it comes to handling your lupus symptoms. While symptoms can be severe and affect your daily life talk to your dermatologist about the best ways to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Lupus Risk Factors
While anyone can develop lupus, women are more likely to develop this condition. Also, African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian women are at an increased risk over Caucasian women. While the cause is unknown, some research has found that perhaps genes play an influential role in the development of lupus; however, there are several factors that could be at play.
Those with lupus may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin rashes, most commonly found on the face
- Chest pain when breathing deeply
- Loss of hair
- Pale fingers and toes
- Sun sensitivity
- Mouth sores
- Extreme fatigue
- Leg or eye swelling
- Swollen glands
These symptoms may not be present all the time. Those with lupus have flareups in which the symptoms will appear for a little while and then go away. Also new symptoms may also arise at any time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus then you will most likely need to see several specialists regarding your condition. If you are dealing with skin sores and rashes, then you will want to talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment plan for you. About 40 to 70 percent of those with lupus experience symptoms when exposed to sunlight.
When you come in our office for treatment our goal is to find certain medications that can reduce pain, swelling and redness and prevent further flareups. Furthermore, we will recommend a sunscreen and other lifestyle changes that can help to protect your skin from damaging sun exposure.
Find out how your dermatologist can improve the appearance of your facial scars.
From traumatic injuries to acne, there are a variety of reasons why you may be dealing with facial scars; however, it doesn’t mean you have to live with them for the rest of your life. Your dermatologist offers up a range of cosmetic treatment options that can improve the appearance of your skin and reduce the look of your scars. If you’re ready to get newer, healthierlooking skin, find out more about what treatments could help you.
Dermabrasion: This cosmetic procedure uses a handheld device to remove the outermost layer of the skin. By abrading this top layer, we are able to remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of healthy new skin. Dermabrasion is used to effectively reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores and acne scars. However, this treatment is not effective against deepset scars.
Laser Resurfacing: By using a highpowered laser, we can remove damaged skin and surface scars, helping to minimize the appearance of unsightly dermatological problems like lines, wrinkles, age spots, pigmented areas and scars caused by acne, injury or surgery.
Chemical peels: This treatment requires your dermatologist to apply a strong chemical solution over your skin to remove the top, damaged layer of skin and exfoliate the healthier, smoother-looking layer of new skin that is revealed. Chemical peels are another great way to dramatically reduce wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots and acne scars.
If you are dealing with superficial scars that are close to the surface of the skin, you will benefit greatly from this cosmetic procedure; however, those with deeper scars will not experience a significant improvement.
Injections: Your dermatologist is happy to offer both collagen and cortisone injections to help shrink and reduce the appearance of scars. By increasing the collagen in your face, we can give your skin more fullness to smooth out visible scars.
If you are interested in any of these dermatological treatments talk to your dermatologist today. Don’t let facial scarring affect your selfesteem. Make the choice to improve your skin and your confidence!
What are the symptoms of and treatments for this painful dermatological condition?
Did you know that anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, and that those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop this condition? Approximately one out of three Americans will have shingles at some point in their lives. Read on to learn more about this common problem.
What is shingles?
Shingles is caused by a virus known as the varicellazoster virus, which is the same virus known to cause chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before the virus never truly goes away. Instead it lies dormant within the nerves of the spinal cord and brain. When the virus is reactivated, it manifests as shingles.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
The main symptom of shingles is a red, painful rash that usually appears on one side of the body. The rash may be tender to the touch and typically causes intense itching. The rash is made up of blisters that burst and crust over. Your rash may also be accompanied by malaise, fever, or headache.
What are the risk factors for shingles?
Anyone who has been infected by chickenpox can have shingles. However, this illness is more common in those over the age of 50 and the risk continues to increase as you age.
Also, those who have a weakened immune system due to certain chronic diseases like HIV, or those currently undergoing cancer treatment may be at an increased risk of developing shingles.
Different shingles treatments
While there is no cure for this disease there are antiviral medications you can take to promote faster healing and to reduce your risk of developing other complications. If you are experiencing severe pain, we may also recommend prescription pain medications or creams to help ease your symptoms. Most people experience shingles symptoms for about two to six weeks.
Can I prevent shingles?
There are two vaccines that we recommend for preventing shingles. The first is the chickenpox vaccine, which is recommended for children and any adults who have never had chickenpox. The second vaccine is the shingles vaccine. While these vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, they can greatly reduce your chances of developing shingles.
If your shingles rash has developed near your eye or is severely painful, then it’s time to see your dermatologist right away for treatment.
Chapped skin can happen at any time of the year, from the warmest climate to the coldest. Whether it’s harsh chemical soaps, cold temperatures, or overexposure to the sun, chapped hands are painful and inconvenient in any season.
What is to blame for this nasty problem? Unfortunately it has to do with a loss of moisture. Just washing your hands multiple times throughout the day can cause hands to peel and bleed. However, once you recognize your issue, then you can do something about it. Find out the best ways to care for your chapped hands to prevent this issue in the future.
If you want your skin to return to its once supple state, then you’re going to want to put back the moisture that you’ve robbed your skin of. Sadly, just drinking water just won’t cut it, although it is helpful. You must apply a moisturizer directly to your skin to combat this problem.
The best way to prevent chapped hands is to start a moisturizing regime even before your hands start to feel dry. This way it’s already a normal habit in your daily routine, and you can keep your hands from drying out.
Some people are dealing with such deep cracks and bleeding that a light moisturizer isn’t going to do the trick. In this case, using a thicker product can be very effective, such as petroleum jelly or a rich moisturizer that contains cocoa butter or beeswax as an ingredient. For an even deeper moisturizing experience, trying putting this product on at night, and then wearing cotton gloves to bed.
It’s vital to wash our hands, and no one is recommending giving up this healthy habit. It can, however, wreak havoc on your hands! It’s important to follow these steps when washing:
- Use a mild soap
- Avoid using hot water
- Pat rather than rub your skin dry
- Apply a moisturizer right away
While handwashing can be drying, hand sanitizer gels are even harsher on your skin. Try to avoid their use unless absolutely necessary, opting instead for a gentle wash.
If you are dealing with severely chapped hands and you can’t seem to find relief from your symptoms, then it might be time to see your dermatologist for treatment. Call us today!
Find out everything you need to know about canker sore causes and treatments.
Canker sores are small painful ulcers that appear in the mouth. You may find that your canker sore makes it difficult to eat or talk without experiencing pain. If you are experiencing sores in the mouth that you think could be canker sores, find out what might be causing this pesky little problem and what you can do to reduce your symptoms and eliminate this mouth ulcer.
Canker Sore Causes
Unfortunately experts are unsure about what causes canker sores; however, it’s been speculated that either stress or injury to the oral tissues can bring about canker sores. Some canker sores may be brought about by other health disorders that weaken the immune system.
It’s important to note that canker sores and cold sores are not the same thing. A virus known as herpes simplex type 1 causes cold sores, and these sores occur outside the mouth. Canker sores, on the other hand, can be brought on by multiple factors, and appear only inside the mouth.
Canker Sore Symptoms
The most obvious symptom is a painful sore or ulcer that appears in the mouth, whether on the tongue, the roof of the mouth or inside of the cheeks. You may also notice a burning or tingling sensation a couple days before the sore manifests. The sore is usually round or oval in nature, with a red border and a white, grey or yellow center.
Canker Sore Treatments
The majority of canker sores will go away on their own without any kind of treatment; however, if you experience pain for more than a few days you may want to talk to your dermatologist about a corticosteroid cream or prescription medication that could help alleviate your symptoms.
If you suspect that you have a canker sore talk to your dermatologist about the most effective defense against canker sores and whether there are certain things you can do to prevent this condition from recurring. Call us today!
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