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Posts for category: Skin Condition

By Cullman Dermatology Clinic, P.C.
December 03, 2018
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Lupus   Sun Sensitivity  

Lupus can affect the skinFind 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?

About Lupus

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.

Lupus Symptoms

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
  • Fever
  • 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.

Lupus Treatments

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.

By Cullman Dermatology Clinic, P.C.
September 28, 2018
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Shingles   Chickenpox  

Shingles is a painful conditionWhat 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.

By Cullman Dermatology Clinic, P.C.
July 02, 2018
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Cold sores  

Cold Sores can appear on the outside of the lipWhat 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!

By Cullman Dermatology Clinic, P.C.
May 15, 2018
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Eczema  

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that produces itchy rashes that are scaly, dry, and leathery. It can appear anywhere on the body and mostEczema often appears in the creases of the arms, legs, and face. Something that many people may not know is that there are multiple types of eczema. They all share some common symptoms but are all different depending on the nature of what triggers the reaction and the location of the rash.

Types of Eczema           

Atopic Dermatitis

This is the most frequent and common form of eczema and it’s thought to be caused by the body’s immune system functioning abnormally. It’s characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and typically runs in families. Atopic Dermatitis usually flares up and goes away intermittently throughout a person’s life.

Contact Dermatitis

This is caused when the skin comes in contact with an irritant such as certain chemicals. Finding what triggers a breakout is important so that it can be prevented in the future. Triggers may be things like laundry detergent, body soap, fabrics, poison ivy, and more.

Dyshidrotic Dermatitis

Dyshidrotic Dermatitis usually affects the palms and soles of the feet. It is characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn and occurs frequently during summer months and in warm areas.

Neurodermatitis

This form of eczema is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a cycle of scratching to a localized itch, such as a mosquito bite or spider bite. It’s characterized by scaly patches of skin, usually on the head, lower legs, wrists, and forearms. The skin may become thickened and leathery.

Nummular Dermatitis

This form is characterized by round patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly, and very itchy. It frequently appears on the back, arms, buttocks, and lower legs.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is a common condition that causes yellow, oily, and scaly patches on the scalp, face, and other body parts. Dandruff is a form of Seborrheic Dermatitis. This form of eczema doesn’t always itch. Triggers can include weather, oily skin, emotional stress, and infrequent shampooing.

Stasis Dermatitis

This appears on the lower legs of older people and is related to circulation and vein problems. Symptoms can include itching and red-brown discoloration on the skin the legs. As the condition progresses it can lead to blistering, oozing, and skin lesions.

Eczema comes in all shapes and sizes and can be triggered by many things. If you have questions about eczema or want to make an appointment, call our office today!

By Cullman Dermatology Clinic, P.C.
November 01, 2017
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Rosacea  

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the face that affects an estimated 16 million Americans. Because rosacea is frequently misdiagnosed and confused with acne,Rosacea sunburn or eye irritation, a large percentage of people suffering from rosacea fail to seek medical help due to lack of awareness.  It’s important to understand the warning signs of rosacea and need for treatment to make the necessary lifestyle changes and prevent the disorder from becoming progressively severe.

Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, you may be more susceptible to rosacea if:

  • You are fair-skinned
  • You blush easily
  • You are female
  • You have a family history of rosacea
  • You are between the ages of 30 and 50

A frequent source of social embarrassment, for many people rosacea affects more than just the face. Rosacea is a chronic skin disease, which means it lasts for a lifetime. Learning what triggers your rosacea is an important way to reduce flare-ups and manage symptoms. This may include avoiding stress, too much sunlight, heavy exercise, extreme temperatures and certain foods or beverages.

What Are the Symptoms of Rosacea?

Rosacea frequently causes the cheeks to have a flushed or red appearance. The longer rosacea goes untreated, the higher the potential for permanent redness of the cheeks, nose and forehead. Symptoms of rosacea will not be the same for every person. Common symptoms include:

  • Facial burning and stinging
  • Facial flushing and blush that evolves to persistent redness
  • Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead
  • Small, visible broken blood vessels on the face
  • Acne-like breakouts on the face
  • Watery or irritated eyes

If you recognize any of the warning signs of rosacea, visit your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. A dermatologist will examine your skin for common warning signs and tailor a treatment plan for your unique condition. Treatment will vary for each individual, ranging from topical medicine, antibiotics and lasers or light treatment. While there is currently no cure, with proper management patients can learn how to avoid triggers, prevent flare-ups and manage their condition to live a healthy, active life.