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Posts for: March, 2022

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
March 28, 2022
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Actinic Keratosis  
Actinic KeratosisIf you’ve ever spent time basking in the sun or even in a tanning bed, then you’ve exposed your skin to UV rays, which can be incredibly damaging to the skin and increase your risk for skin cancer. If you’ve spent extensive amounts of time exposed to UV rays, then you’re at an increased risk for developing actinic keratosis, a rough scaly patch of skin that’s also a form of precancer.

What does an actinic keratosis look like?

These small, scaly flat patches of skin are often felt before they are seen. They can be flesh-colored, white, tan, or pink and most often show up on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the lips, ears, hands, face, or shoulders. Since most squamous cell carcinomas begin as actinic keratosis (AK), it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist if you are concerned that you might have actinic keratosis.

Am I at risk?

If you have a history of unprotected sun exposure or exposure to artificial UV light (e.g. tanning beds), if you are fair-skinned, or if you have a family history of actinic keratosis, it’s a good idea to examine your body and face once a month to keep tabs on any changes you may see. You should also see a dermatologist once a year for a comprehensive checkup and skin cancer screening.

What can I do to protect myself?

One of the best ways to reduce your risk for actinic keratosisis to limit sun exposure and to wear a full-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you are also wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses if you do plan to spend any time out in the sun.

How is actinic keratosis treated?

The good news is that your dermatologist caught your actinic keratosis before it had a chance to turn into a squamous cell carcinoma, which also means removing this precancerous patch is quick and easy. Actinic keratosis may be treated with cryotherapy (to freeze off the lesion), topical medication, or laser therapy. Your dermatologist will discuss the best way to remove your actinic keratosis. Since actinic keratosis can come back, it’s important that you come in at least once a year for a skin exam.
 
Actinic keratosis is more common than you might think, affecting tens of millions of Americans. If you notice any changes to your skin it’s important that you turn to a dermatologist for an evaluation. Even if you aren’t noticing changes, it’s still a good idea to visit a dermatologist once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening.

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
March 28, 2022
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Carbuncle  
CarbuncleA boil is an infection of the hair follicle that develops under the skin. When multiple boils develop this is known as a carbuncle. In a carbuncle, this cluster of boils is interconnected under the skin and can lead to pain, inflammation, and redness. This infection most often develops on areas of the body that contain hair such as the neck, back, or armpits, but can also develop on the thighs and groin. Here’s what you should know about this condition, as well as how a dermatologist might treat this infection.

What causes a carbuncle?

Most of the time, bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus are to blame for carbuncles. This bacteria is already present on the skin, but can easily get into a hair follicle through a cut or opening. Since a carbuncle is the result of a bacterial infection, the infection can be spread to others by sharing items such as towels or through skin-to-skin contact. It’s important to cover the area and keep it clean so that it heals properly.

Who is at risk for carbuncles?

There are many risk factors that can cause someone to be prone to carbuncles. These risk factors include:
  • Chronic skin problems
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Poor hygiene
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system
Of course, people don’t have to have these risk factors to develop this skin infection. Many health individuals deal with this issue too. For example, those in community settings such as a dorm room may be more at risk for spreading this infection.

How should I treat a carbuncle?

It is important that you do not pick at or squeeze the bump, as this can spread the infection even further or lead to scarring. Apply warm compresses to the area several times a day. Make sure to keep the area clean (wash with soap and water) and cover the area. Since heat can help to facilitate natural drainage, you may want to use a heating pad on the area for up 20 minutes at a time.

Should I see a dermatologist?

Since there are many infections and conditions that can lead to painful bumps and growths, it’s important that you see a dermatologist if you’ve never been diagnosed with a carbuncle before. If the carbuncle doesn’t drain after a few days or if it’s very painful or in a sensitive area such as the nose or eyes, it’s important that you see your dermatologist right away so they can drain it and properly treat it.

If you are dealing with any new or worsening bumps or growths on the skin that have you concerned, know that a dermatologist is going to be the best specialist to turn to for diagnosis and treatment. When in doubt, call your dermatologist to schedule an evaluation.

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
March 28, 2022
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Blisters  
BlistersMost people experience blisters on their feet, often due to friction or pressure from tight or poorly fitted shoes; however, blisters can develop just about anywhere on the body. If clothes are too tight or you are running you may find a blister on other parts of the body, as well. Whether your blisters are due to physical activity or you think they might be caused by an underlying skin problem, a dermatologist is going to be the best medical professional to turn to for answers and care.

Treating Blisters

If you are a healthy individual then you can easily treat blisters with simple first aid and home care; however, those with diabetes or weakened immune systems should call their dermatologist for treatment. Even minor skin injuries such as blisters can lead to an infection if you have certain preexisting conditions.

To treat a blister at home here are some helpful tips:

Cover the area: Just as you would place protective padding over a bunion or a callus, you should do the same for a blister. This will provide an additional layer of protection to prevent shoes or clothes from rubbing against the blister to make it worse.

Don’t pop the blister: We know that it might be tempting to pop the blister but it’s best just to leave it alone and to let your body heal it naturally; however, we also understand that the blister may be large, painful, or in an awkward place and you may need to drain it. In this case, make sure to thoroughly sterilize a needle with alcohol before gently piercing the blister so that it can drain.

Clean the area: If you do decide to drain the blister yourself, it’s important that you keep the area as clean as possible afterward to prevent infection. This means cleaning the area with soap and water after draining it.

When to See a Doctor

In some cases, a blister may need to be treated by a medical professional; more specifically, a dermatologist. If the blister doesn’t get better in a few days or shows signs of infection, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you develop clusters or several blisters on your body, along with other symptoms such as fever and pain, these could be signs of a viral infection, skin disease, or autoimmune disorder. Conditions such as impetigo, herpes zoster, and dermatitis herpetiformis can also cause blisters.

If you are dealing with a painful or infected blister, or if you have diabetes, it’s important that you turn to a dermatologist right away for treatment to prevent complications.

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
March 28, 2022
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Vitiligo  
VitiligoAccording to the National Vitiligo Foundation, around 70 million people around the world have vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes white patches of skin. This condition is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person, but the white patches can be a source of embarrassment or isolation for some patients. If you are living with vitiligo, or know someone who is, a dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment options for improving the appearance of vitiligo.

How is vitiligo treated?

There is currently no cure for vitiligo but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to target and add pigment back into these depigmented patches of skin. Some of these treatment options include:

UVB Light Therapy

This is one of the oldest and most commonly used treatment options for vitiligo, which exposes areas of the body to light therapy multiple times a week. This narrow-band light therapy works by triggering the production of melanocytes, a skin cell responsible for producing pigmentation in the skin.

Topical Medications

Various topical creams can repigment the skin. Your dermatologist will look at the size and location of your vitiligo patches to determine the best topical medications for the job. Common topical medications include corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, calcipotriene, and depigmentation medications.

Steroids are topical anti-inflammatories that can slow vitiligo and allow the body to produce more melanocytes. It can take up to a month to start seeing results. When steroids aren’t the ideal option, which is particularly common if a patient has patches of vitiligo in more sensitive areas such as the genitals or lips, your dermatologist may recommend calcineurin inhibitors.

If the majority of your body contains vitiligo patches, the best option may be to lighten the rest of your skin to reduce the appearance of these depigmented patches. This can be done with a topical depigmentation medication or light therapy. Medications are often recommended in conjunction with light therapy, but if light therapy isn’t being used then your dermatologist may recommend two or more medications to be used at the same time.

You don’t have to deal with vitiligo alone. A dermatologist can be the best medical specialist for helping you treat and manage your vitiligo symptoms. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation, call your dermatologist today.

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
March 28, 2022
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Dry Skin  
Dry SkinFor most of the US, winter is here! Temperatures are dropping and snow is already falling. If you live in a wintry region of the country you may be finding that your skin is a little drier these days. If so, you aren’t alone. Dry skin is a common problem, particularly during the winter months. Here are some ways to improve dry skin on your own,

Pick the right moisturizer: Not all moisturizers are created equal but it’s important to quench your skin, particularly if it’s dry. Therefore, when you purchase a moisturizer look for one that contains lanolin or petroleum. These agents help to lock in moisture.

Other helpful ingredients to be on the lookout for include urea or lactic acid, which helps the skin hold water. However, those with eczema or sensitive skin may experience some stinging when applying products that contain lactic acid or urea.

Skip hot, steaming shower: While a hot shower after a long day might sound like heaven, it definitely won’t be for your skin. Hot water strips your skin of that much-needed moisture. The same goes for when you wash for face. Use warm water instead of hot and don’t linger in the shower.

Shave less frequently: Shaving can certainly be rough on skin, particularly if it is already dry. Therefore, it might be best to shave less frequently, if you can get away with it. On the days you do need to shave be sure to be generous with your shaving cream and to stick with warm, and not hot, water.

Use a humidifier: If you notice that your skin experiences more intense dryness during the winter months, then it might be time to invest in a humidifier. This household product can help add moisture back into the air, so your environment doesn’t suck all the healthy moisture from your skin.

Consider prescription medications: If you are suffering from extremely dry skin, then commercial moisturizers and other local drugstore skincare products just won’t cut it. You need to see your dermatologist for a topical prescription. We can prescribe corticosteroids and other medications that can help relieve the annoying itching and redness you experience with seriously dry skin. If over-the-counter products aren’t helping, talk to your dermatologist.

When to See a Dermatologist

It might seem strange to see a dermatologist for dry skin, but if your dry skin is severe, making you feel miserable and uncomfortable, or not responding to at-home treatments then it may be worth turning to a dermatologist for more effective treatment options.

Don’t let dry skin get you down this season when there are so many ways to get it under control. Remember that if dry skin and other issues are impacting your health, appearance, and confidence, a dermatologist can be the ideal doctor to help you feel better fast.