Medical dermatology includes a complete range of dermatology services to help you achieve and maintain healthy skin. Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute in Newport Beach, and Torrance, CA offers help for common skin conditions including:
- Acne is the most common skin condition in America. Treatments are directed at clearing the skin and preventing new outbreaks.
- Rashes are often the result of eczema or atopic dermatitis that results from scratching. Other common causes of a rash include infections heat, allergies, immune system disorders and some medications.
- Eczema, Itching and dermatitis. All of these names are used to refer to atopic dermatitis or AD. AD is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the skin that causes itchy, dry, inflamed, swollen patches of skin. The skin becomes hypersensitive to allergens. Itching is often severe and persistent. Most often it begins in childhood. In adults it usually affects the hands and feet. The cause is unclear, but genetics, immune system function, and environmental sources may all play a role. Many people with AD have a history of food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Scratching makes symptoms worse and increases the risk of infection. A serious rash, with fluid-filled sores that leak fluid or crust over, suggests infection and requires the attention of a dermatologist. Topical medications can help control itching and heal a rash. It is not contagious.
- Psoriasis is often a severe skin condition that affects large areas of the skin, lasts for long periods and is the result of an accumulation of dead skin cells that appear to be thick, silvery scales. It is itchy, dry and inflamed and can remit and return or flare up. Scientists believe that at least 10% of people suffer from inherited genes that trigger psoriasis. While only about 2-3% of Americans develop the disease, there are triggers that cause psoriasis to be activated. Triggers are different for each person and include: stress, medications, injury, infection that activates the immune system, allergies, diet and even weather. There are therapies to help with psoriasis, but there is no cure. An especially awful type of psoriasis is Psoriatic Arthritis. About 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis which is an inflammatory form of arthritis. It causes swelling, stiffness, pain in the joints, nail changes and severe fatigue. Studies report that delaying treatment for psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage. Oral medications and biologic drugs that target the immune system can fight the symptoms and slow joint damage.
- Rosacea is a common skin disorder affecting the face. It is estimated that over 16 million Americans have it. It appears as red-faced acne-like skin on the face that significantly impacts psychosocial interactions, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Symptoms include persistently red cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. Small visible blood vessels, bumps and pimples and watery, irritated, dry eyes. Over time, the redness tends to turn into ruddiness with more visible blood vessels. Severe cases can cause the nose to swell and develop bumps from excess tissue. Rosacea tends to affect people with fair skin who flush or blush easily. There is no cure, but symptoms can be controlled. Recent studies suggest that genetics and environmental factors contribute to rosacea. Oral and topical therapies are available. Lasers and intense pulsed light can remove visible blood vessels and reduce redness. A daily skin care regiment should be gentle and sun screen is important to protect the skin from the sun which is a trigger for rosacea.
- Skin tags and benign skin growths. Skin tags are flesh colored papules found on the neck, under arms and groin. They are harmless and can be treated with steroid injections or excision. Benign skin growths are harmless but must be examined and potentially biopsied to exclude skin cancer. Sometimes these growths are an indicator of a systemic condition, like hormone problems.
- Actinic keratosis (AKs) are scaly, crusty lesions that are caused by sun damage. They are often found on the face, bald scalp, lips and the back of the hands. Sometimes they are raised and rough. Most are red, but can be tan, pink or flesh colored. Untreated AKs can develop into skin cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma. Estimates are that over 58 million Americans have AKs. Fair skinned individuals are most at risk. Treatment is geared to eliminating AKs. Cryosurgery (freezing) is often used when there are a limited number of lesions. Topical medications are available.
- Skin cancer and melanoma screening. An annual, full body skin cancer screening is important to find skin cancer before symptoms, to increase your chance that it is caught while easily curable. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lives. It affects all people of all races and colors. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is responsible for more than 75% of all skin cancer deaths. It is caused by intense UV exposure, especially sunburns. Early detection can significantly reduce the risk of serious illness and death. Studies report that physicians are more likely to detect melanomas at an early stage, when they are thin and have not spread. Early whole body screening in the 3 years before diagnosis was associated with a 14% lower risk of deadly melanoma. Self screening is important to identify melanoma and leads to better outcomes. The symptoms of melanoma include ABCDE:
A – Asymmetry
B – Border irregularities
C – Color variation
D – Diameter less than 6 mm
E – Evolving lesions means lesions that are elevated, painful or ulcerated, itch, burn or bleed.
Dr. M. David Cole, MD, at Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute, in Newport Beach, and Torrance, California, is a board-certified dermatologist with years of clinical experience, and can help you with all your dermatology needs. When you have rashes and itching that won’t go away, or skin that won’t heal, it’s important to identify and treat your skin problems. Each treatment is individualized to your specific needs.