The most common chronic skin condition in the United States, acne generally develops during puberty but can continue beyond age 40.
Common Causes of Acne
While the cause of acne can be patient-specific, generally the four main causes are bacteria, clogged hair follicles, excessive oil production, and excessive androgen production. Yet, other factors such as certain medications, hormonal changes, and stress also play a role in the development of acne.
Acne is the broad term used to describe the various lesions which are characteristics of the condition. These include:
- Cystic lesions;
- Pustules; and
These lesions can develop anywhere on the body where hair follicles are connected to oil glands. Acne generally develops on the chest, face, forehead, shoulders, and upper back due to the prevalence of sebaceous glands under the skin surface.
Acne is generally diagnosed through an examination by one of our dermatologists. The type and severity of the lesions will determine the treatment plan going forward.
All acne treatment plans used by your skin specialist are customized to your specific needs and situation. This chronic skin condition is usually treated with a combination of at-home care and supervised treatment. At-home treatment may include:
- Using noncomedogenic or water-based makeup;
- Washing your face and skin with a mild soap twice-a-day; and
- Not picking, squeezing, or touching affected areas.
Over-the-counter medications may also help manage acne. Ingredients in these medications include:
- Benzoyl peroxide which dries out pimples and prevents new lesions from forming;
- Salicylic acid which helps pores stay free of dirt and debris; and
- Sulfur which helps reduce the amount of oil produced by the skin.
A dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center may prescribe other medications which help manage or reduce your specific acne symptoms, along with other procedures such as photodynamic therapy.
An autoimmune disease, psoriasis affects 125 million people globally, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. This skin condition generally develops between ages 15 and 25.
Common Causes of Psoriasis
The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully understood but the condition may be related to abnormal function of white blood cells, including T-cells. With psoriasis, T-cells mistakenly attack healthy skin cells which trigger a chain reaction that produces the common symptoms. It’s believed environmental factors and genetics have a role in the abnormal cell function.
Common symptoms of psoriasis frequently include:
- Silvery, thick scales of skin covering a patchy, red area;
- Cracked and/or dry skin;
- Burning, itching, or sore skin;
- Pitted, ridged, and/or thickened nails; and
- Stiff and swollen joints.
Psoriasis is diagnosed with a physical examination and review of your medical history. A skin biopsy is used to determine the specific type of the condition, such as:
- Psoriatic arthritis; and
Treatment for psoriasis focuses on managing the symptoms and severity of flare-ups, such as skin inflammation. While your skin specialist with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center will determine a treatment plan specifically for your needs, common treatments include:
- Topical corticosteroids;
- Topical retinoids;
- Light therapy, such as UVB phototherapy; and
- Injected and/or oral medications.
Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition often mistaken for acne and/or an allergic reaction. While it can affect men and women at any age, it’s more common in women with fair skin tones.
Common Causes of Rosacea
A specific cause of rosacea is unknown, but the condition may be triggered by genetics, an overactive immune system, and exposure to the Demodex mite. This mite is commonly found on the cheek and nose skin of patients with rosacea.
Rosacea is divided into four subtypes. Each subtype shares some symptoms, such as facial flushing and redness, but has symptoms specific to the subtype.
Characterized by facial flushing and redness, along with visible blood vessels, erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is also known as Subtype 1. Other symptoms frequently include dry, rough, or scaling skin; burning or stinging sensation in the skin; swollen skin; and tendency to easily blush or flush.
Also called Subtype 2, this type of rosacea has acne-like breakouts that come and go and appear on the surface of extremely red skin. Patients with papulopustular rosacea often also have plaques which are patches of raised skin.
A rare form of rosacea, patients with phymatous, or Subtype 3, generally first develop symptoms of another subtype before these specific symptoms appear. Symptoms include:
- Bumpy skin texture;
- Skin thickening in the facial region; and
- Larger than usual pores.
The fourth subtype, ocular rosacea affects the eyes. Patients may experience the feeling of grit or sand in their eyes; burning, itching, or stinging sensations; light sensitivity; and blurry vision. If diagnosed with ocular rosacea, your dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center will refer you to an ophthalmologist for additional treatment.
A patient is generally diagnosed with one of the four subtypes of rosacea but may have more than one type at once. Diagnosis is performed through a physical skin examination and review of symptoms and test results. Multiple tests are frequently used to rule out other conditions whose symptoms are similar to those of rosacea.
The focus of rosacea treatment is the control and management of symptoms. Your dermatologist will customize a treatment plan to meet your specific needs and may use a combination of at-home skin care and medications, such as oral antibiotics or redness-reducing medications.
Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema is most often found in children but can develop at any age. It appears in periodic episodes, and asthma, hay fever and allergies can cause it to flare up.
Common Causes of Eczema
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but the condition is believed to be related to abnormal immune system function, environmental factors, and genetics. This chronic skin condition has a tendency to run in families which increases the risk of development. Yet, eczema may appear when a patient is exposed to a trigger, such as:
- Bacterial infections;
- Certain cleansers and soaps;
- Makeups and perfumes; and
- Living in climates with low year-round humidity.
Symptoms vary widely between patients but generally include:
- Dry, itchy skin;
- Patches of skin that range from red to brownish-gray;
- Raised, small bumps that ooze fluid when scratched; and
- Cracked, scaly, and/or thickened skin.
Your dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center can diagnose eczema through a comprehensive skin examination and review of your medical history. To rule out other skin conditions or diseases, patch testing may be used.
Without appropriate treatment, eczema can affect your daily life. The condition is generally controlled using a combination of lifestyle changes, at-home skin care, and prescription medications. Your dermatologist may recommend eczema treatment therapies such as light therapy to reduce the number of or time between flare-ups.