Posts for category: Skin Health
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
What are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flulike symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.
When should I see a doctor about cold sores?
While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.
If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.
What treatments are available for cold sores?
While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also overthe-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.
Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.
While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes afflicts more than 25 million children and adults in the United States. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease. At some point in their lives, about 1 in 3 people with diabetes will develop skin problems related to the disorder.
Most skin conditions suffered by people with diabetes are due to immune-system deficiencies caused by high blood sugar. These outbreaks can be as harmless as dry skin or a rash, or may result in a serious infection. Diabetics tend to get the following skin conditions more easily:
- Bacterial infections--such as styes, boils and nail infections
- Fungal infections--such as athlete’s foot and ringworm
- Neuropathy--which can lead to foot ulcers, and in severe case, amputation
If not cared for properly, a minor skin condition in a person with diabetes can turn into a serious problem with severe consequences. The good news is that most skin problems can be prevented and treated with proper care and early detection. The role of your dermatologist can be very important in early recognition of skin conditions associated with diabetes.
Tips for controlling your diabetes and improving your skin health:
- Control your blood glucose level. Manage your diabetes by following a proper diet, exercising and checking your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Moisturize. Prevent dry skin by using a lotion after washing.
- Inspect your feet. Feet are especially vulnerable to injuries due to poor circulation and lack of sensation that is associated with diabetes. Make sure your shoes fit properly, never walk barefoot, use extra precaution when cutting toenails and check your feet daily for minor injuries that can often go unnoticed.
- Keep skin clean and dry. Keep your skin clean by washing regularly in warm water and using mild soap. Gently pat your skin dry, paying extra attention to places where water can hide.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from burning and blistering that can lead to serious infections.
- Inspect skin daily. Check daily for any changes in your skin, paying special attention to known problem areas such as the feet. Changes in skin color or temperature, swelling, pain or open sores that are slow to heal may signify a problem. Notify your dermatologist right away if you suspect a problem.
Keeping your diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin-related complications of diabetes. Follow your health care provider's advice regarding nutrition, exercise and medication. A dermatologist can help diabetic patients identify skin conditions and recommend the best course of prevention and treatment.
When school is in session, it’s easy for students to pick up a number of bad habits between late nights of studying and long sports practices. From poor eating habits to a lack of sleep and increased stress, unhealthy lifestyles can lead to unhealthy skin.
Whether you’re in middle school, high school or college, students everywhere can benefit from healthier skin. With a little extra care and attention, you can keep your skin blemish free all year long.
Keep your skin clean
This may sound obvious, but keeping your face clean is one of the most important things you can do to improve its health. Get in the habit of washing your face twice a day with warm water and a mild soap to remove the dirt and debris that accumulate throughout the school day.
Avoid touching your face with your hands throughout the day as your hands contain oils that cause breakouts. Never pop pimples as this can irritate the skin, make acne worse and increase your risk for scarring.
Moisturizers seal moisture into the skin to prevent skin from drying out. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best moisturizer for your skin type.
Avoid excessive sun exposure
Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and avoiding overexposure. Too much sun can damage the skin leading to future breakouts and even skin cancer.
Improve your physical well-being
Your skin reflects what you eat, so remember to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Learn to manage stress as it can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. Get plenty of rest every night; approximately 7-8 hours of restful sleep is essential for healthy skin.
By maintaining a consistent daily regimen that includes washing and a healthy diet, you can achieve clear, healthy skin throughout the entire school year. Whenever you have a question or concern about your skin, talk to your dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help prevent and treat acne and other skin conditions. We can help you find the treatment method that's best for you.