Posts for category: Dermatology
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!
Human skin is a remarkable organ, but one we often take for granted. It does more than hold us together and look presentable. It’s a complex system that protects our internal structures from outside damage. The skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous layer (the inner layer). Components of the skin include hair and nails.
The skin is more interesting than you think. Here are just a few fascinating facts:
Skin is Your Body’s Largest Organ
The skin is the largest organ in the body, weighing 12-16% of a person’s total body weight. The average adult is covered with approximately 20 square feet of skin weighing about 6 to 9 pounds.
Skin Protects Your Body
The skin acts as a barrier between us and our environment, insulating and protecting the organs, muscles and bones from external threats - everything from dust and dirt to bacteria and viruses.
Skin Regulates Body Temperature
The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. Your skin helps control body temperature by distributing heat through the skin and by preventing dehydration.
The skin is a sensory organ, and has receptors for detecting hot and cold, touch, pressure and pain.
Other unique facts about the skin include:
- The skin is composed of approximately 300 million skin cells.
- Every half square inch of the human skin has approximately 100 sweat glands, 10 hairs, 15 sebaceous glands, and 3.2 feet of tiny blood vessels.
- A large percentage of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
- Your skin sheds a layer of dead skin cells every day and is constantly renewing itself.
- Goose bumps are actually small pimples that help retain a layer of warm air over our body.
- Human skin is the thinnest on the eyelid.
Human skin varies in type, color and texture for every person, but everyone’s skin serves the same primary purpose - to protect our insides! Your skin is very important, which means you should take care of it by protecting if from the sun, moisturizing it regularly, and practicing good daily skin care. Whenever you detect an unusual skin spot or suspect a problem with your skin, contact your dermatologist for an evaluation.
Excess facial or body hair can be troublesome for both men and women. Although common, removal methods such as shaving and waxing are temporary, time consuming, painful and often yield poor results. It’s no wonder more and more people are opting for long-lasting, convenient hair reduction via laser hair removal.
With the use of advanced laser technology, your dermatologist can treat most areas of unwanted hair successfully, conveniently and with fewer complications than other methods. Professional laser treatment is a non-invasive approach to permanent reduction of hair, which can easily treat large areas of hair growth in a short period of time.
In-Office Laser Hair Removal
Performed by an expert dermatologist, laser hair removal works by penetrating the skin with controlled pulses of light that are absorbed by the hair follicles. Without damaging the skin and with minimal patient discomfort, the laser energy destroys the hair follicles and significantly impedes their ability to re-grow. Following treatment, patients enjoy smooth, soft skin and a long-lasting reduction in unwanted hair.
Since hair grows in cycles, the total number of required treatment sessions varies by patient skin type, hair color and hair coarseness. Common areas treated with laser hair removal include the legs, arms, back, shoulders, underarms, upper lip and the bikini area. Darker-colored hair is typically more responsive to laser treatment than light colored hair.
It’s important that you always choose an experienced dermatologist for hair removal to ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency. Your dermatologist will discuss the best laser hair removal options for your specific skin type, needs and expectations.
Visit our practice for a successful diagnosis and treatment for excess hair and experience the long-lasting results available with laser hair removal.
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.