Anaphylaxis is a very severe allergic reaction that can occur after skin
contact, inhalation, or ingestion of an allergen (such as peanuts or bee
Symptoms: Anaphylaxis can come in many
different forms, but in dermatological terms, usually appears as a rash or
welt at the site of contact or injection. A drop in blood pressure, nausea,
and vomiting may also accompany the rash.
Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated quickly. Someone suffering from
anaphylaxis should immediately head to the emergency room for a shot of
epinephrine, which will help diminish the reaction.
Melanoma is the most deadly and undetected forms of
skin cancer. It is categorized as a malignant tumor of melanocytes (pigment
cells). While rare, melanoma accounts for
75 percent of all skin cancer deaths, and should be treated as quickly as
Symptoms: Melanoma usually appears in
the form of moles or beauty marks that grow abnormally. Dermatologists
usually use the "ABCD" method to help determine whether or not a mole is
cancerous: Asymmetrical, Borders are irregular, Color (malignant moles are
usually multi-colored), Diameter (if greater than the size of a pencil
eraser). These are merely guidelines; any suspicious moles or lesions should
be checked out by a dermatologist.
Surgery is usually required to remove the cancerous mole or lesion in order
to make sure all the cancer cells are eliminated.
Punches or biopsies
can sometimes remove the cancer cells entirely, but oftentimes further
surgery is needed. For more difficult cases, chemotherapy can be used to
help remove the cancer cells.
Actinic Keratoses are dry, scaly, rough
patches of skin that appear on the outer layer of skin due to continued exposure
to sunlight. They may be skin-colored or reddish-brown, and may range in size.
Some cases disappear after time and limited sun exposure, but since they are an
early stage of skin cancer, other cases may develop into
squamous cell carcinomas, which is a fatal form of skin cancer.
Symptoms: Actinic Keratoses appear as dry patches on the skin, and
will be rough to the touch. Sometimes the keratoses will even itch or bleed.
Treatment: Not all actinic keratoses must be removed, but if a
dermatologist determines that it is precancerous, it's recommended to treat
actinic keratoses as early as possible to avoid progression.
Cryosurgery is a popular way to remove actinic keratoses, as it uses
liquid nitrogen to freeze off the cells and is a relatively quick procedure.
Dermatologists may also remove the lesions by performing a biopsy or shave
removal, or administering a chemical peel to slowly remove the keratoses.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes
red, scaly, dry patches to appear on the skin. It is categorized as areas of
inflammation and a build-up of skin production.
Psoriasis usually appears on the elbows and knees, but can appear anywhere
on the skin. The dry, rough patches may be raised off the skin. A
dermatologist will usually diagnose it judging by its appearance or through
Treatment: Psoriasis varies from patient
to patient, and its causes aren't fully known, so treatments differ. Topical
treatments are the most common, and usually require the use of moisturizers
and bath solutions to reduce the dryness. Creams and ointments may also be
applied to reduce inflammation. Dermatologists have also discovered that
phototherapy (short exposure to sunlight) can help clear up psoriasis.
Acne Vulgaris is more commonly known as acne,
and occurs when dead skin and oil block up pores and become inflamed. Acne is
very common in young adults, but even full-grown adults can experience flares.
For the most part, acne is harmless and can be treated easily.
Symptoms: Acne appears as red spots or raised bumps on the skin.
They may be classified as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or blemishes.
More severe forms can cover the entire body, but commonly acne appears on
the face and neck, particularly in the oil-prone "T" zone (forehead, nose,
Treatment: There are plenty of helpful
treatments used to clear up acne. Over the counter creams and cleansers with
benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can dry up acne and prevent pores from
clogging. If the acne is severe, prescription treatments such as retinoids
can be used. For women, taking certain birth control pills may eliminate
acne as well. For some severe forms of acne, like cystic acne, stronger
medicines such as Accutane may be used. However, this medication is known to
cause depression, so it should only be taken in extreme circumstances with
Dermatitis is a general term for any
inflammation of the skin, but the most common form is eczema. Eczema is
classified as a serious of recurring rashes and dry patches on the skin. It is a
very persistent skin condition.
suffering with eczema may experience swelling, redness, itching, bleeding,
and flaking of the skin. Inflamed patches may become red and dry.
Treatment: There is no known cure for eczema; right now the only
option is to keep the skin moisturized and reduce inflammation and itching.
Corticosteroids are the most common form of treatments: ointments are
very effective in reducing the symptoms of eczema, while oral steroids and
injections may also be used. Immunomodulators are often prescribed to
suppress the immune system in the areas most affected by eczema.
Antihistamines are often used to relieve the itching and pain during an
eczema flare up. As a last resort, when no other treatments are responsive,
may be used. Immunosuppressants impair the immune system and usually provide
a dramatic improvement in eczema symptoms. However, immunosuppressants have
severe side effects - since the immune system is down, the body is very
prone to infection.
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