Learn more about psoriasis, its warning signs and how to treat it.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can impact a person’s appearance, health and quality of life. You should turn to a dermatologist if you suspect that you might be dealing with psoriasis. While there is no cure for this disease, there are ways for a dermatologist to help you better manage your symptoms and provide you with relief.
What is psoriasis?
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 7.5 million adults in the US are living with psoriasis. This immune disorder causes widespread inflammation, particularly of the skin, which results in the development of raised, scaly red plaques on the skin. These plaques may also sting or burn and typically appear on the knees, elbows and scalp.
In some cases, some people with psoriasis may also develop joint stiffness, swelling and pain. This condition is known as psoriatic arthritis, and it’s essential that you turn to a doctor right away if you notice symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis.
What can cause psoriasis to flare up?
Psoriasis comes and goes, so it’s essential to recognize what triggers your flare-ups to avoid them as much as possible. Common triggers include,
- Other infections, including skin infections
- Cold, dry weather
- Injuries to the skin such as a bug bite
- Alcohol consumption
- Steroid use
- Certain drugs, such as high blood pressure medication
- Smoking or being around smoke
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you notice red, cracked or dry patches of skin on your body, it’s a good idea to have your dermatologist look to determine whether or not you could have psoriasis. Suppose you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis. You may wish to turn to a dermatologist regularly if your current treatment plan isn’t working or noticing new or worsening flare-ups.
How is psoriasis treated?
The fast turnover of skin cells leads to the formation of these plaques. To prevent this rapid turnover, there are a variety of lifestyle, topical treatments and therapies that a dermatologist can provide you. Common treatment options for psoriasis include,
- Topical steroids
- Salicylic acid
- Biologics (for severe and treatment-resistant forms of psoriasis)
Suppose you live with psoriasis or think you might be dealing with psoriasis. In that case, it’s important that you turn to a dermatologist who can provide you with a proper diagnosis and customized treatment plan.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your skin safe and protected.
Summertime means more fun in the sun while keeping your skin protected during beach days, outdoor runs, and backyard BBQs. Luckily, it’s not all that challenging to keep your skin safe—all it takes is a little know-how. If you have concerns about your skin, you notice changes in a mole or you’re simply looking for the best sunscreen for your skin type, a dermatologist can help.
Apply Sunscreen Daily
Whether the weather is sunny or rainy, you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect against the sun’s damaging UV rays. You’ll want a broad-spectrum sunscreen that states that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply an ample amount of sunscreen (with at least an SPF of 15) to your face and body about 20-30 minutes before going outdoors. Make sure to reapply every two hours (but you may need to reapply sooner if you go swimming or are sweating).
Seek Shade When Outdoors
The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am – 4 pm. While it’s best to avoid being outdoors for any length of time, we also get that you may wish to lie by the pool or at the beach, and you shouldn’t be deprived. In this case, make sure to not only lather on the sunscreen (and keep reapplying) but also stay in the shade. You can sit outside but do so under an umbrella that can block some of the sun’s rays.
Wear a Hat
While wearing sunscreen is necessary for protecting your skin from the sun, it’s also essential that you wear the proper gear. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the garden, walking around the neighborhood, or even chilling on the beach will keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your face, ears, and neck from getting burned.
Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses
The skin around your eyes is incredibly thin and delicate, so you also want to ensure that it’s not getting damaged by the sun (these areas are particularly vulnerable). To block the sun’s rays from damaging your eyes and the skin around your eyes, make sure that you are wearing sunglasses when you’re outdoors. Find sunglasses with lenses that truly block UV rays. It’s worth the investment.
A dermatologist is an ideal specialist for all of your skincare needs, whether it’s time to schedule your annual skin cancer screening or if you have other concerns.
Are you properly caring for your acne-prone skin?
While acne usually appears during puberty, adults well into their 50s can even develop acne. Acne is one of the most common skin problems, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans. Furthermore, the American Academy of Dermatology also reports that almost 85 percent of all people will experience acne. If you’re dealing with acne, then you are most likely looking for ways to get clearer skin. Along with visiting a dermatologist for medications and other treatment options, here are some helpful tips that could improve your acne from the comfort of home.
Avoid Over-Washing Your Face
At the first sign of a pimple, you might feel the need to scrub your face as clean as possible. However, over-washing can strip skin of the essential oils, making acne worse. Plus, acne washes contain strong chemicals which dry out the skin. Try this approach instead: wash acne twice a day with only a mild face wash and lukewarm water. This will help reduce irritation.
Only Use Oil-Free Products
Oil-free cleansers won’t cause acne or clog pores, so they are the best choice for anyone, particularly those prone to acne. When shopping for acne products, look for words like “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic.”
Limit Sun Exposure
The sun’s rays can dry out the skin and aggravate acne. Not to mention sunbathing can cause wrinkles and even skin cancer. If you are using prescription acne medications, you’ll most certainly want to avoid the sun (medicines often come with warning labels about sun exposure), as it can make you more sensitive to UV rays.
Don’t Pick or Touch Your Face
When you notice a pimple, your first inclination might be to pop or squeeze it; however, think twice before touching your skin. Our fingers and hands carry a lot of germs, which only get transferred to the skin. Plus, popping that pesky pimple could only push bacteria further into the skin, causing infection and scarring. Talk to your dermatologist about extractions.
Know Your Treatment Options
Suppose you aren’t happy with how your acne responds to over-the-counter treatments. In that case, a dermatologist has various options, from effective cleansers to hormonal treatments to extractions and antibiotics. We can get you on the road to clearer skin.
If you are having trouble clearing up acne on your own, then a dermatologist will be the ideal medical specialist to help you determine the cause of your acne and how to treat it effectively. If at-home care isn’t effective enough, call your dermatologist for a consultation.
Wondering when a rash is a cause for concern?
We’re all going to deal with a rash at some point, and while the good news is that many of them can be treated from the comfort of your own home, sometimes you will need to turn to a dermatologist for medication. Here are the causes of a rash,
One of the most common fungal infections that result in a rash is ringworm. Fungal infections can also affect the nails and hair. Yeast infections caused by the candida fungus can also result in rashes of the mouth, groin, or vagina. Less common fungal infections may result in those with compromised immune systems (e.g., patients who have HIV).
Minor fungal infections may be treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or ointments. A dermatologist should treat more severe or persistent fungal infections.
The most common virus to produce a rash is the herpes simplex virus, both type 1 and type 2. Type 1 usually causes cold sores of the lips and nose, while type 2 leads to sores on the genitals. Those with an HSV flare-up may develop a tender rash on the palms. Chickenpox and shingles (caused by the herpes zoster virus) also result in itching, burning, and painful rashes.
Epstein-Barr virus, best known as mononucleosis or “mono,” can also lead to a mild rash that appears within a few days of being infected. If you develop a rash, a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and a fever, you should see a doctor.
Staphylococcus (e.g., folliculitis; cellulitis; impetigo) and streptococcus (e.g., strep throat; scarlet fever) are two common bacterial infections that lead to a rash. Sometimes Lyme disease is characterized by a bull’s eye-like rash surrounding the tick bite.
Parasites that cause a rash include lice and scabies, which can be passed from person to person. Lice most commonly affect the scalp, while scabies can cause an itchy, pimple-like rash that usually appears on the armpits, wrists, elbows, beltline, and buttocks.
Noninfectious rashes are also caused by drugs, eczema (e.g., atopic dermatitis), allergic dermatitis, autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus), and food allergies.
It isn’t easy to tell what’s causing your rash, but if you are dealing with new, worsening, or severe symptoms or the rash is spreading, it’s always good to turn to your dermatologist for treatment.
When should you turn to a dermatologist?
Minor skin, hair or nail issues may be treated by your general physician; however, they won’t have the same expertise and knowledge as a dermatologist. After all, a dermatologist is a medical specialist who understands the complex inner workings and function of the hair, skin and nails. This also means more knowledgeable, well-rounded care. Here are just some of the top benefits of turning to a dermatologist.
They Can Help You Get Acne Under Control
Acne is certainly not an easy thing to treat and sometimes over-the-counter options just aren’t enough. Luckily, a dermatologist understands the different causes of acne and can provide the proper treatment based on whether your acne is due to hormones, bacteria or inflammation. A dermatologist can also prescribe stronger oral and topical medications, as well as other therapies and treatments options to improve your acne-prone skin.
They Can Detect Skin Cancer Early
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that must be detected early. The best way to detect both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer is through annual skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist. They are painless and only take a couple of minutes. A screening simply involves examining your skin from head to toe, checking for any suspicious growths or moles that may require further testing.
They Can Treat Hair Loss
Skin isn’t the only thing that dermatologists are experts in, they also know hair and nails. So if you are dealing with hair loss you may want to turn to a dermatologist for answers. After all, hair loss can be distressing and nothing is more important than figuring out what’s causing hair loss so you know how to treat it. Everything from hormones to heredity to certain medical conditions can be to blame, and a dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss and provide a variety of treatment options.
Provide Recommendations and Advice
We all know that when it comes to caring for skin, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Everything from acne and sun damage to wrinkles and eczema can impact the health and appearance of your skin and a dermatologist can provide recommendations and tips customized to fit your needs and skincare goals.
If you are dealing with any injuries, conditions or issues that are impacting the health of your skin, hair or nails, a dermatologist is going to be the ideal medical professional to turn to. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Get the treatment you deserve to get your issues under control.
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