COVID-19 Niagara Dermatology Notice/What you need to know. COVID-19

    ACNE

    Acne is an inflammatory condition of hair follicles that is prompted by occlusion (clogging) of pores.  Treatments are thus directed at opening the pores and controlling the inflammation.  Acne is stimulated at puberty when increased oil production occurs under hormonal influence (particularly androgens such as testosterone).  Oil leads to occlusion and is a source of nutrients for bacteria that live on the skin.  When the bacteria feed on the oil they break it down into factors that cause inflammatory cells to migrate into the follicle.  Understanding these processes will help you understand the basics of acne treatment. 

    Treatments for follicular occlusion (clogged pores).  Follicular occlusion leads to whiteheads and blackheads.  Factors affecting this include oil production and a build up of dead skin cells around the opening of the follicle (the pore).  Treatments include keratolytics that break up these dead skin cells such as the common over-the-counter treatments benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolyic acid.  Treatments that break up oil include various cleansers.  The gold standard for treating follicular occlusion are the Vitamin A-derived topicals called retinoids.  Retinoids both decrease oil production and decrease the stickiness of dead skin cells around the pore.  Retinoids can be either over-the-counter topicals such as adapalene 0.1% or prescription topicals such as higher strength adapalene, tretinoin or tazarotene.

    Treatments for inflammation.  Anti-inflammatory strategies include antibiotics to decrease bacterial presence on the skin as well as products that work directly to inhibit inflammatory pathways.  Antibiotic therapies include many topicals such as the facial cleansers as well as benzoyl peroxide; prescription topical antibiotics include clindamycin, erythromycin, and azelaic acid.  Products that inhibit inflammation directly include the prescription topical dapsone.  When inflammation is severe, oral antibiotics are often considered.  The most common class of oral antibiotics is the tetracycline family which includes doxycycline and minocycline; tetracyclines are both anti-bacterial and have an ability to inhibit inflammatory pathways directly.

    Severe cases of acne: In cases in which the standard therapies have failed to control the severest form of acne (nodulocystic), isotretinoin, an oral retinoid commonly known by its previous brand name Accutane, can be considered.  Because of the many potential side effects of this medication, this drug should only be prescribed by the professionals in a dermatology office.

    Other strategies:

    spironolactone and certain oral contraceptives (OCPs) for women:  these reduce levels of pro-acne testosterone; these agents are particularly helpful for women who have acne in the beard area and who have pre-menstrual flares

    photodynamic therapy (PDT) (Blu-U): PDT can decrease oil production in the skin and appears to kill bacteria as well; it is used for moderate to severe acne

    As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.

    Eczema is a general term used to describe an inflammation of the skin. In fact, eczema is a series of chronic skin conditions that produce itchy rashes; scaly, dry and leathery areas; skin redness; or inflammation around blisters. It can be located anywhere on the body, but most frequently appears in the creases on the face, arms and legs. Itchiness is the key characteristic and symptom of eczema. When scratched, the lesions may begin to ooze and get crusted. Over time, painful cracks in the scaly, leathery tissue can form.

    Eczema affects people of all races, genders and ages. It is thought to be hereditary and is not contagious. The cause of eczema remains unknown, but it usually has physical, environmental or lifestyle triggers. Coming into contact with a trigger, such as wind or an allergy-producing fabric, launches the rash and inflammation. Although it is possible to get eczema only once, the majority of cases are chronic and are characterized by intermittent flare-ups throughout a person's life.

    For mild cases, over-the-counter topical creams and antihistamines can relieve the itching. In persistent cases, a dermatologist will likely prescribe stronger medicine, such as steroid creams, oral steroids (corticosteroids), antibiotic pills or antifungal creams to treat any potential infection.

    The best form of prevention is to identify and remove the trigger. You should also use mild cleansers and keep your skin well moisturized at all times. Also avoid scratching the rash (which can lead to infection) and situations that make you sweat, such as strenuous exercise.

    Leading Types of Eczema

    Eczema takes on different forms depending on the nature of the trigger and the location of the rash. While they all share some common symptoms – like itchiness – there are differences. Following are some of the most common types of eczema.

    Atopic Dermatitis

    The most frequent form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is thought to be caused by abnormal functioning of the body's immune system. It is characterized by itchy, inflamed skin. Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families. About two-thirds of the people who develop this form of eczema do so before the age of one. Atopic dermatitis generally flares up and recedes intermittently throughout the patient's life.

    Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin comes into contact with an allergy-producing agent or an irritant, such as chemicals. Finding the triggering allergen is important to treatment and prevention. Allergens can be things like laundry detergent, cosmetics, jewelry, fabrics, perfume, diapers and poison ivy or poison sumac.

    Dyshidrotic Dermatitis

    This type of eczema strikes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It produces clear, deep blisters that itch and burn. Dyshidrotic dermatitis occurs most frequently during the summer months and in warm climates.

    Neurodermatitis

    Also known as Lichen Simplex Chronicus, this is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a continuous cycle of scratching and itching in response to a localized itch, like a mosquito bite. It creates scaly patches of skin, most commonly on the head, lower legs, wrists or forearms. Over time, the skin may become thickened and leathery.

    Nummular Dermatitis

    This form of eczema appears as round patches of irritated skin that may be crusted, scaly and extremely itchy. Nummular dermatitis most frequently appears on the arms, back, buttocks and lower legs, and is usually a chronic condition.

    Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition that causes yellowish, oily and scaly patches on the scalp, face or other body parts. Dandruff, in adults, and cradle cap, in infants, are both forms of seborrheic dermatitis. Unlike other types of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis does not necessarily itch. It tends to run in families. Known triggers include weather, oily skin, emotional stress and infrequent shampooing.

    Stasis Dermatitis

    Also known as varicose eczema, this form of eczema is a skin irritation that appears on the lower legs of middle-aged and elderly people. It is related to circulation and vein problems. Symptoms include itching and reddish-brown discoloration of the skin on one or both legs. As the condition progresses, it can lead to blistering, oozing and skin lesions.


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