Acne is the term for the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it. Today, virtually every case of acne can be resolved.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. The scalp, neck, ears, chest, back and/or eyes may also be affected. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily.
- Early Treatment Key
The best advice for anyone who thinks that he or she might have rosacea is to see a dermatologist as early as possible. Experts believe early diagnosis and treatment not only control the signs and symptoms of rosacea, but might actually reverse progression. Early treatment can prevent blood vessels from enlarging andrhinophymafrom developing. When left untreated, rosacea often becomes worse and more difficult to treat—especially if it progresses to telangiectasias and rhinophyma. People who have these more advanced signs of the disease, however, should not give up hope. They, too, can be treated and their signs alleviated.
- Available Treatments
Dermatologists, while unable to cure rosacea, have a variety of treatments that diminish the disease’s signs and symptoms. The treatment usually includes topical and oral medications, photodynamic therapy utilizing levulan gel, and Intense Pulse Light (IPL), or Vascular Lasers. IPL is used to treat the persistent redness caused by rosacea, and destroy the dilated blood vessels. Intense light and laser therapy treatments should be performed by or under the direct, on-site supervision of a physician with expertise in the skin, such as a dermatologist. Vascular lasers heat up the visible blood vessels by emitting specific wavelengths of light. The vessels collapse and are absorbed by the body. The new vascular lasers do not cause bruising or scarring, but redness and some swelling may occur for up to 48 hours after treatment. Patients undergoing vascular laser or intense light and laser therapy treatments find that multiple treatments are necessary to achieve the best results. Maintenance treatments also are necessary for long-term success.
Psoriasis is a term that encompasses a group of chronic skin disorders that affect any part of the body from the scalp to the toenails, but most frequently affect the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are many treatment options that can clear psoriasis for a period of time. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, and what works for one patient may not be effective for another. Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:
- Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis
- Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
- Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis
While each of these therapies is effective, there are also drawbacks. Dr. Alaiti will discuss the appropriate treatment for you.
Eczema, also called “dermatitis,” is not one specific skin condition. Several types of eczema exist, and sometimes a person develops more than one type. Common types of eczema include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic dermatitis, hand dermatitis, neurodermatitis, nummular dermatitis, occupational dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. The best way to find out if you have eczema is to see a dermatologist. There are several types of eczema, and other skin conditions can resemble eczema. It takes experience to accurately diagnose these conditions. Without an accurate diagnosis, treatment often is ineffective. If Dr. Alaiti suspects a patient has eczema, he will visually examine the patient’s skin, obtain the patient’s medical history if one is not already on file, and ask questions, such as when the condition first appeared. This may be all the trained eye of a dermatologist needs to diagnose eczema.
If Dr. Alaiti believes the condition is a type of eczema known as allergic contact dermatitis, a safe and effective test called patch testing may be ordered. This test can help identify what is causing the allergy. Occasionally, after looking at the patient’s medical history and skin, other tests may be ordered.