Tips

  • Acne
  • Corns and Calluses
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Excess Hair Growth
  • Fungal Nail Infection
  • Hair Loss
  • Heat Rash
  • Hives
  • Ingrown Toe Nail
  • Lice
  • Melasma
  • Mouth Sore
  • Poison Ivy
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Scars and Healing
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • Seborrheic Keratosis
  • Skin Warts
  • Sunburn
  • White Patches

What is acne? — Acne is the disease that affects the skin’s oil glands and causes pimples. Acne occurs when pores get blocked with dead skin and oil. The bacteria inside can then build up and cause the skin to become inflamed.

How can I reduce acne? — Yes, taking care of your skin can cause your acne to improve.

  • Use warm water to wash your face and use a gentle non-soap facial skin cleanser instead of harsh soaps. Scrubbing your face can damage the skin and make the problem worse.
  • Don’t try to touch your skin and do not pick or squeeze pimples. This can make acne worse and cause scars.
  • Oil-based make-up and skin products can make acne worse. Moisturizers labeled as “non-comedogenic” are better for acne.

Can I treat acne without seeing a doctor? — Mild acne can be self-treated with over the counter acne products. Using a combination of products may be needed and is more effective to treat acne than a single product. You might have an allergic reaction to acne products, so for the first 3 days, try them on just a small area. If the acne does not improve over 3 months or becomes worse contact your doctor for further treatment.

How is acne treated? — Acne can be treated by a variety of different medications. You might need to try different medications to find what works best for you.

The prescription products include:

  • Products that help skin shed – Salicylic acid and glycolic acid causes the skin to shed more rapidly and open up the clogged pores.
  • Antibiotics you put on the skin – Antibiotics kill the bacteria inside pimples. These antibiotics can be available as a topical cream or ointment that can be applied on the skin. Some examples would be erythromycin, clindamycin, and dapsone.
  • Azelaic acid can kill the bacteria that infects the skin pores and can also reduce dark spots caused by acne.
  • Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and can treat acne. Benzoyl peroxide is also available over the counter. Benzoyl peroxide can cause increased skin sensitivity to sunlight. Irritation can be avoided by applying sunscreen prior.
  • Antibiotics you take in a pill – Oral antibiotics work in a similar way to the antibiotics you apply on then skin. However, oral antibiotics tend to be stronger and have more side effects.
  • Birth control pills– Some of the skin reactions and changes are associated with hormone production. Sometimes, birth control pills can help to reduce acne.
  • Retinoids– Retinoids reduce oil production and can be available as a topical gel or cream. Some examples include tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. These medicines can also help improve dark spots on the skin caused by acne.
  • Isotretinoin Pills– Isotretinoin is an oral retinoid and is very effective at treating severe acne. Isotretinoin has been shown to cause serious side effects and birth defects. Women who are taking this drug must not get pregnant and must get monthly pregnancy tests.

What if I want to get pregnant? — Talk to your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant while taking medications for acne.

Will my diet affect my acne? — Some studies show that the prevalence of acne is increased in populations that drink milk, but more research is needed to confirm the connections between acne and diet.

What are corns and calluses? — Corns and calluses are thick and hardened areas of the skin that develop over time from repeated pressure or friction.

Corns are usually painful and appear as a small bump with a hard center surrounded by irritated skin. Corns typically appear on the top and sides of feet.

Calluses are not usually painful and commonly appear under the heel and ball of your foot, on your palms, or on your knees.

What causes corns and calluses? — Corns and calluses can be caused from because of wearing unfitted shoes, wearing shoes without socks, walking barefoot, and continuous friction with your hands or feet.

Is there a test for corns and calluses? — Corns and calluses can easily be seen and identified by a doctor or nurse. Sometimes an X-ray may be taken if there is a suspected bone problem.

Can I prevent corns and calluses? — Yes, wearing shoes that fit properly, wearing socks or gloves, and using pads inside your shoes can help your corns and calluses to heal and prevent future corns or calluses.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — If the corn or calluses is causing severe pain and is not improving you should see a doctor or nurse. It could be something else or could need further treatment.

How are corns and calluses treated? —Treatment usually involves removing the affected skin using medicine to soften the skin.  This process can be repeated until the corn or callus has resolved.

Non-prescription patches are available to treat the callus or corn by yourself. If the corns or calluses continue to come back, your doctor might refer you to a podiatrist to help protect your feet. Patients with diabetes should be weary of the condition of their feet and should see a doctor first before treating.

What is dermatitis? — Dermatitis is inflammation of the skin. It can be presented as a rash after contact with an irritant or something you are allergic to.

Some things that can irritate your skin include soaps or cleansers, certain medicines, cosmetics, metals, and plants such as poison ivy and poison oak.

What are the symptoms of dermatitis? — Rashes are common with dermatitis and your skin can be red, dry, and itchy. Rashes cause by allergies may also have swelling or blisters accompanying the rash. In severe cases you might experience pain, widespread swelling, and large blisters. Reaction to the irritant can happen immediately or can be delayed.

What can I do to prevent dermatitis? — To avoid having dermatitis you can avoid irritants, protect your skin from irritants, and use soothing skin products such as moisturizing cream and anti-itch lotion.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — Contact your healthcare provider if your skin reaction is severe and you do not get better after treatment.

 How are skin rashes treated?

  • Steroid creams and ointments– Topical steroid medications are used to decrease inflammation and relieve itching and redness.
  • Steroid pills – Oral steroids are used for severe rashes. Oral steroid pills should not be continued for a long time as they can cause many side effects.

Wet or damp dressings – Wet dressing can be used to treat skin rashes and help for skin that is crusting and oozing. Put a layer of damp cotton clothes over your rash followed by a layer of dry clothes.

What is eczema? — Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis. It is non-contagious and is common in children and adolescents. Eczema is an allergic condition that causes the skin to be dry and itchy.

What are the symptoms of eczema? — Eczema can present differently depending on the patient and their age. Eczema is commonly characterized by itching, rash, and flakey skin. In babies, eczema can appear on the face and is common on the arms and legs where they crawl. In older children and adults the rash can appear on the sides of the neck, back of the knees and elbows, hands and feet.

Is there a test for eczema? — There is no test for eczema, but doctors and nurses can visually diagnose eczema.

What can I do to prevent symptoms? — Keeping the skin moisturized with creams and ointments reduce irritation. Hot temperatures, excessive sweating, stress, harsh soaps, cleaning products, and certain fabrics such as wool can all worsen symptoms and can be avoided.

How is eczema treated? — There is no current cure for eczema, but the symptoms of eczema can be treated. Also, most children will grow out of eczema by the time they reach adulthood.

Some treatment options include:

  • Moisturizing creams or ointments – These products keep your skin moist. In general, preventing the skin from getting dry is effective in treating eczema.
  • Steroid creams and ointments – Steroid creams and ointments reduce inflammation and they relieve itching and redness. Steroid pills are also available, but can have many long term side effects.
  • Immune system modifiers– These medicines are for only severe cases and are reserved for patients who are unresponsive to treatment.
  • Antihistamine pills – Antihistamines are used for allergies. Some patients may find that they relieve itching for eczema while others do not. Antihistamines can make you drowsy, so taking them at night may be better than taking them during the daytime.
  • Light therapy – Exposure to ultraviolet light can be used to treat the itching and rash associated with eczema. However, exposure to ultraviolet light can increase the risk of incurring skin cancer. Therefore, this method is not commonly recommended among healthcare professionals.

Can eczema be prevented? — Eczema commonly runs in families. Babies with a family history of eczema can benefit by using moisturizing creams or ointments to prevent eczema for the first year. However, further research needs to be done to see if these methods will prevent eczema later on.

What is hirsutism? — “Hirsutism” is the condition of excess hair growth, especially in women. The hair grows in areas that men grow hair and is commonly dark and thick. Hair growth can be seen on the upper lip, chin and sides, chest, back and belly.

 What causes hirsutism? — Hirsutism can be a hormonal problem where the individual has high levels of male hormones, including androgens such as testosterone. Although all women have testosterone, some women with hirsutism may produce testosterone at a higher level. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause of increased male hormone production in women. Hirsutism can also be genetic and common in family backgrounds.

What other symptoms should I watch for? — Patients should watch for other symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome. This includes irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and hair loss from the head.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — You should see a medical professional if hirsutism appeared suddenly or is not improving or if you notice symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Are there tests available? — Upon examination, your doctor or nurse can order blood tests, ultrasound tests, and CT or MRI scans. Blood tests will measure hormone levels, a pelvic ultrasound will show polycystic ovary syndrome, and imaging tests can see if a tumor is causing the increased hormone production.

Is there anything I can do on my own to reduce the hair growth? — Losing weight can decrease testosterone levels and improve hirsutism.

How is hirsutism treated? — Not all cases of hirsutism require treatment. Treatment for hirsutism can be different depending on the cause of the hair growth.

  • Birth control pills are commonly used to treat hirsutism as they adjust hormone level and make periods regular.
  • Anti-androgens can be used to decrease androgen levels or block the effects of androgens.
  • The hair can also be removed by shaving or by using chemicals and wax. Hair growth can also be slowed down by certain creams. Electrolysis is another method to remove hair by using electricity to destroy hair roots. Laser hair removal is faster and less painful and uses a laser to destroy the hair, but is more expensive.

What if I want to get pregnant? — Weight loss and certain medications can make it easier to get pregnant. You should talk to a doctor before you try to get pregnant while on medications that control hair growth.

What will my life be like? — Hirsutism often makes women feel self-conscious. There is no treatment to make all of the hair go away completely, but it is possible to reduce the amount of hair and have it grow slower.

What is a fungal nail infection? — A fungal nail infection will make the nail become discolored, brittle, and painful. Fungi generally grow in wet, warm places and fungal toe infections can be more common in people who swim or have sweaty feet. Fungal nail infections occur more commonly on the toenails and is commonly seen in conjunction with athlete’s foot.

What are the symptoms of a fungal nail infection? — Fungal infections can cause the nail to turn white, yellow, or brown. A fungal infection can cause the nail to get thick, change shape, lift up, break off, or cause pain. Fungal nail infections are generally not severe, but can have more complications in people who have diabetes or in people who are immunosuppressed.

Is there a test for a fungal nail infection? — Most of the time your doctor or nurse will be able to tell if you have a fungal nail infection based on the appearance of the nail and based on your symptoms. However, a doctor can also remove a part of the nail to look at it under a microscope and send it off for further testing.

Can I treat my fungal nail infection without seeing a doctor? — There are over the counter preparations available, but they are generally not very effective.

How are fungal nail infections treated? — In mild cases of fungal nail infections, treatment can be optional. Antifungal pills can be prescribed to treat the infection. Other options to treat the nail infection include antifungal nail polish or to surgically remove the nail. Treating fungal nail infections can take up to a few months and it may take a while for the nail to look normal again. In severe cases you may need to be referred to a specialist to treat the infection.

How can I prevent fungal nail infections? — You can avoid fungal nail infections by keeping your feet clean and dry, not sharing nail clippers, and by wearing flip-flops in public showers.

What if I am pregnant or plan to get pregnant? — You should notify your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant, because certain medications are not recommended during pregnancy.

What causes hair loss? — Hair loss is commonly caused by a condition called “androgenetic alopecia.” This condition is also known as “male-pattern baldness” when it happens in men and “female-pattern hair loss” when it happens in women.

Androgenetic alopecia presents differently in males and females. Men often develop bald areas on the front and the top of the head. Women usually have thinning hair on the top of the head, but do not go bald.

Alopecia areata is another cause of hair loss. This type of hair loss occurs when the body’s immune system starts to attack itself, especially the parts of the skin where hair grows. People with alopecia areata usually develop large, round spots of hair missing.

There are many other reasons for hair loss. Some conditions and medications can lead to hair loss.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? —  hair loss is not harmful, but do contact a health care provider if you are concerned or if:

  • You are unsure why you are losing your hair.
  • Your hair loss occurs suddenly.
  • You also have itching or pain on your scalp.
  • You feel a change in your health or energy levels.

Are there tests I should have? — Most people with hair loss do not need tests. But your health care provider recommend tests to make sure your hair loss is not caused by a hormonal issue or another medical condition.

How is hair loss treated? — Treatments vary depending on the type of hair loss you have. If your hair loss is caused by a health problem, treating that problem can usually help improve hair conditions. Medications that go on the scalp or taken by mouth can be used to treat hair loss depending on the type. Sometimes surgery is used to treat people with areas of hair that cannot grow back.

  • Androgenetic alopecia – These are example medications that can help hair regrow in people with androgenetic alopecia:
    • Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine) – This medicine can be used in men and women. It can be purchased over the counter in a liquid of foam form. These are applied to the area and take time to work.
    • Finasteride (brand name: Propecia) – This medicine is intended use in men. Doctors may also prescribe it to women who have been through menopause. This medication requires a prescription and is a  pill taken by mouth.
    • Spironolactone (brand name: Aldactone) – This prescription medication comes in a pill and is used to help regrow hair in women who do not respond to minoxidil. Since this medication is not safe during pregnancy, birth control is usually taken at the same time to prevent pregnancy.
  • Alopecia areata – These are some examples of medicines that can help regrow hair in people with alopecia areata:
    • Medicines called steroids, which come in injections or creams and lotions. (These steroids are different from the ones athletes take to build up muscle.) These steroid medications slow or stop the immune response that causes alopecia areata.
    • Topical immunotherapy is a treatment usually given by dermatologist. The doctor puts a special medicine leading to a mild allergic reaction on the spots of hair loss. Multiple treatments are usually required to before topical immunotherapy will work.

What if I am upset about my hair loss? — Losing your hair can be a very stressful and difficult process. If you feel sad or anxious because of your hair loss, speak to your health care provider. He or she can connect you with resources that can provide support.

What is heat rash? — Heat rash is common in hot, humid weather. Sweat can get trapped in your pores and block the release of sweat. This can irritate the skin and make it red and itchy. There are three types of heat rashes. Miliaria crystalline is the most common and appears as clear white bumps on the skin. Miliaria Rubra, also called prickly heat, appears as red itchy bumps. Miliaria profunda is the least common skin rash and appears as hard skin-colored bumps.

How can I prevent heat rash? — Reducing sweating can prevent heat rash from occurring. Possible strategies include, staying in a cool dry place, taking cold baths, washing the affected area with cold water, and wearing loose clothing.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — Most of the time a heat rash is not a severe to warrant a doctor’s visit. However, patients should be wary of an infection. You should see a doctor if you have a fever above 100.4°F, chills, pain, swelling, or discharge.

How is heat rash treated? — Heat rash usually gets better without treatment. Certain drugs can ease itching or help with the swelling. In the case of an infection the doctor might prescribe antibiotics.

What are hives? — Hives are raised bumps on the skin that are generally very itchy. Hives are usually caused by an allergic reaction. Hives will usually go away after a few hours. However, hives can cause in some people increased swelling and can close off the airways. In severe cases of allergic reactions you should see a doctor or nurse immediately.

What causes hives? — Hives can be caused by an allergic reaction to something. If your hives are because of an allergy, you should avoid whatever caused your hives. Hives can also be caused by infections or by changes in body temperature. Chronic hives is a case that lasts six weeks or more. Often the cause for chronic hives is unknown and medication can be used to control the symptoms.

How are hives treated? — Not all cases of hives require treatment. The majority of cases will be gone within a few days or weeks. Antihistamines are medications that can help control the swelling and itching. If the case of hives is severe or recurrent, corticosteroid medications can be used. Corticosteroid medications will decrease the inflammation and itching. Corticosteroid medication should only be used for a short period of time, because they have many long term side effects.

What is an ingrown toenail? — An ingrown toenail is when the edge of the nail grows into the skin.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail? — An ingrown toenail can be very painful and the area can have redness and swelling.

 Is there a test for an ingrown toenail? — Tests and x-rays are generally not needed and ingrown toenails are generally identified based on appearance and symptoms.

What can I do to relieve some of the pain? — Soaking your feet in warm soapy water or placing a small piece of cotton or dental floss underneath the nail can help reduce the pain.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — Contact your health care provider if there is severe pain and swelling or if your toe looks infected.

How is an ingrown toenail treated? — Ingrown toenails can be cut by a doctor.  In this case it is important to keep the area clean with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water as well as put antibiotic ointment on the toe.

Can an ingrown toenail be prevented? — Wearing proper sized shoes and properly cutting your toenails straight across can prevent ingrown toenails from growing.

What are lice? — Lice are small insects that can grow and lay eggs, called nits, on a person’s hair and skin. There are three main types of lice. Head lice can live on your scalp and hair, body lice are not common and can live in your clothes, and pubic lice can live in pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, beards, and other places. Lice cannot fly or jump from one person to the next, but are spread by direct contact to another person or through clothing.

How do you know if you have lice? — Lice can make your skin and hair itchy. Pubic lice can cause blue spots on the lower stomach and upper thighs, and itching or swelling around the eyes. Although uncommon, some people may not experience symptoms and only notice the presence of small white nits in their hair.

How can I get rid of my lice? — Special fine-toothed combs are designed to remove nits and lice from your hair. Over the counter creams and lotions are available to put on your hair and kill the lice. Alternative treatments such as using mayo or olive oil are generally not recommended. Aside from removing the lice from your hair and your skin you may also remove the lice around your home to prevent recurrence. It is recommended to wash clothes, bedding, and towels in hot water. It is also recommended to vacuum the carpets and furniture and to seal anything that cannot be cleaned in plastic for 2 weeks. If you have lice all of the people in the household should be checked for lice and the school nurse should be notified if your child has lice. If you have pubic lice, both you and your partner should be tested for pubic lice and other diseases.

When should I see a doctor? — If you cannot get rid of your lice you should see a doctor or nurse. He or she can prescribe a stronger medication to remove the lice.

How can I avoid getting lice? — You can avoid getting lice by not sharing clothes or touching with someone who has lice. You can prevent pubic lice by not having sex with someone who has pubic lice.

What is melasma? — Melasma is patches of dark skin that appear on the face. Both men and women can develop melasma, but it is more common in women, people with darker skin, and people who live in sunny places.

What are the symptoms of melasma? — Melasma usually presents as brown patches of skin on the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. The patches can vary in color and can be light or dark brown.

When should I see a doctor? — If you notice colored patches on your skin you should talk to your doctor.

Is there a test for melasma? — There is no test for melasma. It is usually diagnosed based on visual exam.

How is melasma treated? — Creams are available to lighten the dark patches of skin. Sunscreen will protect against ultraviolet rays and can help treat the melasma. When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to select one with at least SPF 30 and to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Wearing a hat can also protect your face from the sun. In treatment resistant melasma, products such as glycolic acid can be used to peel the top layer of skin off to remove melasma patches. Melasma can be permanent and may not go away after treatment.

What causes mouth sores? — There are different conditions that can cause mouth sores. Canker sores are open sores that are formed by food, infections, or by wounds. Oral cancer can also cause sores inside the mouth or lips and can turn the inside of the mouth dark. Leukoplakia can cause white patches inside the mouth and can be caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. Cheilitis can cause the lips become chapped and cracked and can lead to mouth sores.

When should I see a doctor, dentist or nurse? — You should see a doctor if you have a growth inside your mouth, white or dark spot inside your mouth, or if your sores are recurrent or last longer than 2 weeks, if you have mouth pain, or if your dentures do not fit well.

Will I need tests? — A doctor may be able to diagnose your condition based on symptoms and a visual exam. However, sometimes they might order a biopsy, where a sample of the sore will be examined and tested.

How are mouth sores treated? — Mouth sores are treated differently depending on the cause. Canker sores usually get better by themselves. Over the counter medicines are available to soothe the canker sore and prescription mouthwash and medicine can also be used. Mouth cancer is more severe and can be treated with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Leukoplakia can be treated with surgery to remove the white patches. Cheilitis can be treated by applying petroleum jelly to the lips or by using an antibiotic ointment if there is an infection.

What is poison ivy? — Poison ivy is a plant that can cause a very itchy rash. The rash is caused by the sap of the plants and can also be found in poison oak, poison sumac, ginkgo fruit, and mango peels.

How can I get poison ivy? — You can get poison ivy by directly touching a poison ivy plant, coming into contact with the plant’s oils, or come into contact with airborne sap when the plants are burned.

How can I identify poison ivy? — Poison ivy and poison oak are distinguished by having 3 leaves coming off a single stem. A saying to help you remember is “leaves of 3, let them be.” The leaves can vary in color and can appear green, red or brown.

What will happen to my rash? — The rash should go away by itself within a few weeks. The rash can form blisters and can show up in different places on your body. When blisters form it does not mean that the rash is spreading.

How can I reduce the itching? — You can reduce the itching by avoiding scratching, placing a cold and wet cloth on top of the rash, using calamine lotion, or by using an aluminum acetate containing skin product on popped blisters.

When should I see a doctor or nurse? — You should see your health care provider if your rash is severe, if your rash oozes pus or looks like it is infected, your face or genitals are affected, or if your rash does not get better after a few weeks. If you have a very severe rash an oral or topical steroid may be prescribed depending on the severity.

Is there anything I should avoid using on my skin? — Some of the ingredients in certain lotions and creams can irritate the skin. These include products that contain antihistamines, benzocaine, and antibiotic ointments that have neomycin or bacitracin.

How can I avoid getting poison ivy? — To avoid getting poison ivy you can stay away from the poison ivy plant, wear long sleeves and pants when around places with poison ivy, wearing thick vinyl gloves, washing your clothes that are in contact, and washing yourself with soap and water after contact.

What is psoriasis? — Psoriasis has no known cause. Psoriasis is presented as thick red skin that can form white scales

What are the symptoms of psoriasis? — Psoriasis can make the skin look dry or red and can be covered with white scales. Psoriasis can also cause rashes and itching around the body as well as nail changes. People with psoriasis often feel embarrassed by their skin and become depressed or anxious. If you notice this happening, tell your healthcare provider.

Is there a test needed for psoriasis? — Psoriasis is generally diagnosed based on the appearance of your skin and your symptoms. Although rare, a skin sample can be taken to check to see what the problem is.

How can I reduce my symptoms? — Keeping the skin moisturized with moisturizing creams and ointments can help reduce symptoms.

How is psoriasis treated? — Psoriasis cannot be cured, but there are treatments available to relieve the symptoms. Treatment works by slowing the growth of skin or by controlling the inflammatory immune response. There are various medications that can be used but topical steroids are common. Many people will need to try a variety of products to see what works best for them.

What is psoriatic arthritis? — Sometimes people with psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis and can cause pain and swelling in the joints. Medications, exercise and physical therapy can all help to reduce pain and swelling.

What is rosacea? — Rosacea is usually red flushing and raised bumps on the face and most commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 30-60 years old. Rosacea is a long-term condition and will get worse without treatment.

What does rosacea look and feel like? — Rosacea affects various parts of the face and can cause redness, blushing, red pumps, swollen blood vessels on the skin, a burning feeling in the eyes, and a swollen nose. Rosacea flare ups can be triggered by things such as eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol, being too hot or cold, sunlight, or stress.

How is rosacea diagnosed? — There is no test for rosacea, but healthcare providers can diagnose rosacea based on appearance and symptoms.

How is rosacea treated? — There is no cure for rosacea but the symptoms can be controlled. Treatment for rosacea include both medicine and lifestyle changes.  Treatment for rosacea has 2 parts. Some topical formulations can be used to reduce flare ups and decrease symptoms. Similarly avoiding triggers can prevent flare ups.

When should I see a specialist? — You should see a dermatologist if the symptoms are very severe and persists despite treatments. A specialist will recommend additional therapies.

What if I want to get pregnant? — Let your healthcare professional know if you are or plan to be pregnant. Some medications are not safe to take while pregnant.

What is a keloid? — A keloid is a growth that can form after any injury that breaks the skin. It can be painful and itchy and look different than a normal scar. Keloids are common in people with dark skin in people who have a family history of keloids.

What are the symptoms of a keloid? — A keloid commonly appears on the ears, neck, jaw, chest, shoulders and upper back. It can appear as a lumpy growth that can cause pain or be itchy.

When should I see a doctor? — If you notice a growth on your skin you should see a doctor or nurse. Although a keloids would not be cancer, it is important for the doctor to make sure it is just a keloid and not something else.

How are keloids diagnosed? — There is no test for keloids, but your doctor might order some tests to ensure that it is not cancer. Keloids can usually be diagnosed based on the appearance of the skin.

How are keloids treated? — There are various possible treatments for keloids. A shot can be given into the keloid to make it flatten out. Surgery can be done to remove the keloid. Adhesive can be placed on top of the keloid to reduce itchiness.  Radiation or laser treatment can be used to destroy keloids. Various topical medications can also be applied to the keloid. Keloids are generally very difficult to treat and often come back after treatment.

Can keloids be prevented? — Avoiding surgery, piercings, and injuries can prevent keloids. Keeping acne well controlled, wounds moist, and protecting scars from sunlight can all help reduce keloids.

What is seborrheic dermatitis? — Seborrheic dermatitis causes the skin to become red, scaly, flaky, and itchy. Seborrheic dermatitis usually affects areas with many oil glands such as the scalp, face, upper chest, and back. Dandruff is considered a mild type of seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap in babies and can cause redness and greasy yellow scales on the head, face, and other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis? — Seborrheic dermatitis can cause redness, oily scales, flakes/dandruff, itching, and crusty material around the eye. Seborrheic dermatitis can get worse in the winter or can get worse with stress.

How is seborrheic dermatitis diagnosed? — Seborrheic dermatitis is commonly diagnosed based on the appearance of the skin and your side effects. If a doctor is not sure about your condition a skin sample can be taken and a biopsy can be done to see if it is seborrheic dermatitis.

How is seborrheic dermatitis treated? — Topical medications can stop itching and redness. These medications can contain antifungal medications or steroid medications and can also be formulated into a shampoo. Cradle cap usually goes away on its own but can take up to a few months to resolve.

Are there any over the counter medications available to treat seborrheic dermatitis? — Over-the-counter anti-danduff shampoos are available. Use the shampoo every day until there is improvement and every other day after. Leave the shampoo on our hair for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it all off. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can be used to reduce inflammation and itching on the face or body. Use it 1-2 times a day until symptoms get better but you should see a doctor or nurse if the symptoms do not resolve after two weeks. If your baby has cradle cap you can wash the area with baby shampoo with a soft toothbrush to remove scales, or put a small amount of oil on the baby’s head to loosen the skin. Talk to your doctor or nurse if the symptoms continue to persist.

What is seborrheic keratosis? — Seborrheic keratosis causes growths on the skin and generally occurs in people older than 50. The growth can look scaly and can be tan, brown, or black.

What are the symptoms of seborrheic keratosis? — Most of the time seborrheic keratoses are asymptomatic. They are more common around the chest, belly, back, arms and face.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — If you notice any new growths on your skin you should see a doctor to make sure it is not cancer. Although seborrheic keratosis is not cancer, you should see a doctor to make sure.

How is seborrheic keratosis diagnosed? — A doctor can diagnose seborrheic keratosis by examining your skin. If the doctor is unsure about the problem he or she may take a sample of the growth to check for skin cancer.

How is seborrheic keratosis treated? — Seborrheic keratosis can be left untreated. However if they are bothersome a doctor can remove them with liquid nitrogen, a scalpel, or use electricity to remove the seborrheic keratosis.

What do skin warts look like? — Skin warts are raised round growths that can form alone or in groups. Warts can be darker or lighter than the skin and they can have tiny black dots called seeds inside of them. Skin warts commonly appear on the fingers, hands, knees, and elbows. There are different types of warts that affect different parts of the body. Periungual warts appear around the fingernails. Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the feet. Flat warts are found on the back of the hands, the face, and the lower legs

What causes skin warts? — Warts are caused by viruses and they can be spread from person to person through contact. People can get warts by walking barefoot around public pools, locker rooms, and gyms.

 Should I see a doctor or nurse about my wart? — You should go to your doctor if you are not sure if you have a wart, if the wart does not go away, or if you need help treating the wart.

Are there any over-the-counter treatments for warts? — Treatment of warts can take months to treat and they can come back after treatment. Not everyone needs treatment and some warts go away by themselves. Salicylic acid liquids or patches can be put on warts. It is available in most drugstores and can applied following the directions on the label. Duct tape is another method to treat warts. Some people find that by covering the wart in tape helps. You should cover the wart with tape for 6 days and then remove the tape and soak the skin in warm water for 10-20 minutes. Afterwards use an emery board or pumice stone to gently remove the dead skin. Leave the skin uncovered for 1 night and then repeat by putting the tape on for 6 more days. This method might not work with everyone and you should stop I you do not see any improvement within 2 weeks.

How do doctors and nurses treat warts? — A doctor can use liquid nitrogen to freeze the war of, shave the wart off with a knife, or prescribe medicine to get rid of the wart.

What is a sunburn? — When a person stays exposed to the sun for too long, UV light from the sun can burn your skin leading to a sunburn. Tanning beds are also a source of UV light and can also lead to sun burns.

Are sunburns harmful? — Although the sunburn itself isn’t a major problem, it is important to avoid getting a sunburn because they increase your chance of developing skin cancer, wrinkles, and eye problems.

What can increase my chance of getting a sunburn? — Having pale skin and light colored hair make you more susceptible to sunburns. Places in high elevation that are closer to the sun put you at greater risk of developing a sunburn. Similarly, certain medications can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

What are the symptoms of a sunburn? — A sunburn can appear 3-5 hours after exposure to the sun. Sunburns generally red, cause pain, and feel hot when touched. In worse cases the sun burn can develop blisters, severe pain, and swelling.

What can I do to reduce the pain of the sunburn? — You can treat a mild sunburn by taking pain relievers, applying a cool compress to the skin, using certain lotions to soothe the skin, and staying out of the sun until it resolves.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — You should see a doctor or nurse if you have a severe sunburn.

Can sunburns be prevented? — You can prevent sunburns by staying out of the sun in the middle of the day between 10AM to 4PM. Applying sunscreen every 2-3 hours will protect your skin from the sun. When using sunscreen make sure that it has an SPF of 30 or greater, protects against UVA and UVB light, and is not expired. Wearing hats, sunglasses, and long clothing can also protect your skin from UV light.

What is vitiligo? — Vitiligo causes the skin to turn white and lose its color. The cause of vitiligo is not known, but doctors a suspect it is caused by an autoimmune response. An autoimmune response is where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells.

 What are the symptoms of vitiligo? — Vitiligo causes the skin to turn white or loses its color and tends to affect the parts of the body far from the center. There are different types of vitiligo. Generalized vitiligo affects both the left and right sides and tends to affect skin surrounding the eyes, mouth, nose and places of skin that get injured or rubbed a lot. Acrofacial vitiligo similarly affects affect skin surrounding the eyes, mouth, nose and places of skin that get injured or rubbed a lot. However acrofacial vitiligo generally only affects only one side of the body.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — You should see your healthcare provider if you notice patches of white skin on your body.

Will I need tests? — Vitiligo is commonly associated with other autoimmune problems so your doctor may order blood tests to check for other problems.

How is vitiligo treated? — The goal of treatment is to return normal color to the skin. This can be done with various ointments and creams that include drugs such as steroids or calcineurin inhibitors. Light therapy is also available. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the different medications and what treatment options are available.

Is there anything I can do on my own? — Protecting yourself from the sun and avoiding a tan will make the vitiligo spots less apparent. Cosmetic products are available to cover up the sports.

What if I am or plan to get pregnant? — If you are or plan to get pregnant, contact your healthcare provider before starting vitiligo medications.

What will my life be like? — Vitiligo goes away in 10-20 percent of people on its own. However most people experience a progressive problem that slowly gets worse over time. Talk to your healthcare provider if the spots are becoming problematic.