The skin is the largest organ of the body, and just might have the most conditions to treat. No matter the complaint or ailment, it all starts with a correct diagnosis followed by a customized treatment plan. Dr. Steven Swengel of Refined Dermatology in Los Gatos is here to help with a variety of skin conditions and provide treatment that is safe and effective for your skin type. Although the conditions are many, here are a few of the most common skin conditions.
Got itchy, irritated skin that seems to pop up at the most inopportune time? It might be a rash, but that’s the four-letter-word any condition is called. Real rashes are something like a fungal infection, and the term “rash” can encompass a host of conditions. Athlete’s foot, molloscum contagiosum, scabies, hives, dermatitis, shingles (ow!), and jock itch are all rashes. There’s also folliculitis, which looks like a cyst and might need to be treated like a cyst. Most rashes can be treated with oral or topical medications to clear up the infection.
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Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is most common in children but can happen to anyone. It’s also chronic, but you only get symptoms during a flare-up. You’ll know it by the red spots, dry or cracked skin, itching, and little red bumps. Sometimes it’s tied to allergies or asthma. Skin needs moisture to be healthy, and moisture battles irritants, allergens, and bacteria. However, with eczema there’s a gene variation that keeps skin from staying naturally protected.
There’s no cure for eczema, but treatment can minimize outbreaks. The symptoms can be intense, disrupting your work and sleep. With an infection, fluids can start to leak. Medications are available, and daily skin care regimens can reduce flare-ups.
Patches, lumps, and spots are common at birth. They can be any shape, size, or color, and not all are permanent. The most common birthmarks that will fade are salmon patch and hemangioma.
Most birthmarks are perfectly safe, but they can sometimes be a sign of a skin disease or internal issue. They’re caused by over-active pigment cells, and the dark brown birthmarks are the most suspicious. Always get birthmarks checked by a dermatologist to rule out an underlying issue. Some patients want to treat or remove birthmarks for esthetic purposes, especially those common port wine “stains.” Treatment depends on patient age and type of birthmark, but medication and laser options are the most common.
The first sign of nail fungus is usually white spots on the nails or a change in the nail color. Fungal infections love warm, moist environments, which is why you can pick them up from locker rooms, saunas, and pools so easily. Highly contagious, something as simple as stepping in a puddle or walking around in soaked socks can lead to nail fungus.
As the issue progresses, the nail can turn brown or green. Nails can thicken, lift, or crumble away from the nail bed. Those with compromised immune systems or diabetes can suffer debilitating side effects from nail fungus, and should seek immediate medical attention.
Don’t listen to your toddler, because warts aren’t caused by frogs. They’re a type of viral infection in the top layer of skin. Caused by the human papillomavirus, they are highly contagious. Most are skin colored and rough to the touch, but they can also be brown, black, or smooth.
Warts on the fingers are usually around the nails and on the back of the hands. They often have “seeds” that look like small black dots, making them really pop and ruin your manicure. Foot warts, or plantar warts, grow in clusters. Located on the soles of the feet, they are usually flat or concave and can make you feel like you’re walking on pebbles. These also have “seeds.”
Wart treatment includes creating a blister to suspend the lesion that is then removed, or covering the wart with cantharidin. Cryotherapy may be used (liquid nitrogen), or in some cases the wart is removed with an excision. The wart virus has no cure, so once you get it you might battle warts for life. The best strategy is fast treatment.
We all have cysts in our body. These closed sacs are normal, and there are three primary kinds: epidermal or sebaceous, trichilemmal or pilar, and milium. There are also a number of less common cysts. Trouble starts brewing when these cysts get out of control.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition that occurs when someone’s immune system doesn’t send the right signals to the skin cells that are growing. They grow too quickly, in days instead of weeks. This leads to skin pile-up. There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic.
All psoriasis can be treated with medication to reduce symptoms.
Like any condition, the quicker you seek treatment, the better. There are no awards for suffering through skin conditions. Refined Dermatology offers a variety of services for men and women, ranging from the most common skin conditions to the most obscure. Call us today at 408-384-3845 and get your skin back to optimal health.