Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or any clogged pores that occur on the face or body. Most acne problems occur during the adolescent years, but it can sometimes occur before or even after the teenage years.
Acne can often play a detrimental effect in one’s self-esteem because it ruins the natural beauty of a person’s facial features. Normally, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently between the ages of adolescence and becoming less thereafter. Occasionally, acne can continually cause problems for a person later in life. More severe cases of acne can lead to more serious, permanent scarring.
There are a number of techniques available today to treat acne. Oral and topical medications are also often used to lessen the severity of outbreaks. Chemical peels and extractions are also available to treat acne.
Oral and Topical Medications
There are a number of oral and topical medications available to treat mild to moderate acne. While the ingredients and directions vary from product to product, most of these medications involve either decreasing your skin’s natural oil production, or removing dirt and oil from the targeted area. This will lessen the severity and frequency of acne outbreaks.
Chemical peels remove a layer of skin with a specially formulated chemical preparation, allowing your skin to grow back smoother and clearer. There are different levels of strengths available to meet the individual needs of each patient. Depending upon the type and strength of the peel you use, you may experience several days of peeling after the procedure. Chemical peels are also most effective when performed on a regular basis, with the needed interval between peels determined by the strength and type of peel that you choose.
There are three basic forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Anyone can be diagnosed with cancer at any age. Doctors link these forms of cancer to overexposure to the sun. Tanning booths can also increase your risk, as can exposure to radiation or high altitude. Because each type of skin cancer has a different look, effect and treatment, it is important to alert your physician if you notice unusual changes in the size and shape of spots, the coloration of your skin or the sensitivity and comfort of your body. Time is of the essence, and when caught early, many forms of skin cancer can be successfully treated.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent form of skin cancer. It appears as an irregularly shaped blemish or blister that crusts over or bleeds without healing. In some cases, this cancer can cause the lashes of the eyelids to fall out. While this form of cancer is rarely life threatening, failure to treat it in a timely manner can cause serious damage to your tissue and bones.Squamous cell carcinoma often originates on the face and surrounding areas. It can appear as waxy or shiny patches or as small red or white bumps on the skin. If not treated, it can spread to the internal organs and become a life threatening condition.
Malignant melanoma is by far the deadliest form of skin cancer. This form of cancer generally begins within moles. While it occurs less frequently than the other forms of skin cancer, it is more dangerous because, if not treated quickly, it can spread throughout the entire body, proving fatal.
In situations where the cancer is relatively small, your doctor will surgically excise the cancerous flesh and then reconstruct the area. In more extreme cases, where the cancer is larger or has spread to other areas of the body, measures such as cryosurgery (where the cancer is frozen) or radiation therapy may be recommended. In addition, chemotherapy and Mohs surgery (in which the cancer is taken off in layers) have been successful in eradicating cancerous cells. The important thing is to contact your doctor immediately for a consultation if you feel that you are showing symptoms of any of these conditions. After surgery, it is important to carefully check your skin regularly for recurrences, and you should visit your doctor regularly for routine exams.
Mohs surgery, also known as microscopically controlled surgery, was developed by Dr. F. Mohs in the 1940’s. It is a common procedure used to treat certain skin cancers and to prevent the recurrence of that cancer. This precise method of treating skin cancers allows us to surgically remove the skin cancer and immediately examine the tissue to identify any remaining cancerous tissue.
Mohs surgery is often used when:
certain areas of the body affected by skin cancer doesn’t respond to other treatment options
the skin cancer is affecting an area of the body that the patient wishes to keep as much of the normal tissue as possible
the size of the skin cancer cannot be easily determined by a visual examination
cancer returns to a previously treated area.
Mohs surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and requires a local anesthetic. In addition to having a higher success rate, Mohs is also recognized for its precision, making it the most aesthetic choice for skin cancer treatment.
Recovery time depends on the size of the skin cancer. While some wounds can heal by themselves, others may require sutures, a small skin graft or in some cases, reconstructive surgery. If any discomfort should occur following this treatment, it is usually very mild and can be treated with Tylenol. While minimal bleeding is common, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience persistent, excessive bleeding.
Psoriasis is a chronic disorder that creates itchy, red marks on the body. These areas form multi-layered “scales” that vary in severity. Psoriasis can occur at any age in both males and females. It is not contagious, though there does seem to be a hereditary connection. It is not a life-threatening condition, and in most cases, people who have mild symptoms may not even know that they have psoriasis. Cuts, scratches, infections and dry skin seem to cause flare-ups. In addition, lack of sun exposure and certain medications may cause psoriasis to flare up. Often, psoriasis affects the same area repeatedly. Elbows, arms, knees and legs are commonly afflicted areas.
Generally, your doctor can diagnose you merely by examining your skin, but he or she may also perform a biopsy if needed. Steroids, oils, sprays, medications, vitamins, light therapy and many other treatments are available. Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor will consult with you to find the treatment that’s best for you. It is important to treat this condition, both to alleviate pain and to help significantly improve your quality of life.