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Anaphylaxis is a very severe allergic reaction that can occur after skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion of an allergen (such as peanuts or bee stings).

  • 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.

  • Treatment: 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 possible.


  • 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.

  • Treatment: 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
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.


  • Symptoms: 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 a biopsy.

  • 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
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, chin).

  • 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 doctor supervision.

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.


  • Symptoms: Those 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, immunosuppressants 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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