Medical Spa Blog
Posts for category: Skin Conditions
Discover more about this common skin condition, and what you can do to treat your itchy symptoms.
What are hives? What are the symptoms of hives?
Also referred to as urticaria, hives are characterized by an outbreak of red bumps that suddenly show up on skin. Hives can appear anywhere on the body and often cause itching, burning and stinging. Some hives may be small, while others might form alongside other bumps to create larger swellings.
What causes hives?
The most common causes of hives are foods, medications, and infections. Hives can also be triggered by insect bites. Foods that often bring about hives include dairy, fish, nuts and eggs. Medications such as aspirin and other overthecounter antiinflammatories like ibuprofen have also been known to cause hives.
There is another form of hives known as physical urticaria, which is triggered by and external physical factor such as cold, pressure, heat, exercise or sweating. This variety of hives usually appears within an hour after contact with one of these elements.
Are hives dangerous?
The majority of hives outbreaks are not dangerous however, if you also experience dizziness, problems breathing, swelling of the face or tightness in your chest, then you should call for emergency assistance immediately! These can be signs of a lifethreatening allergic reaction.
How are hives treated?
If you know what might be triggering your outbreaks, the best thing you can do is remove the trigger right away and avoid it as much as possible. Some people are able to take overthe-counter antihistamines like Benadryl to help relieve the itching. However, those with chronic hives may need to take a stronger antihistamine in combination with corticosteroids.
If you experience a severe outbreak, an epinephrine injection will need to be administered right away. Again, seek medical attention immediately!
To help relieve symptoms until the hives go away, you can also apply cold compresses to the areas to help ease any burning or itching. Also keep your bedroom and living space cool and opt for roomier clothing that won’t rub against the infected areas and exacerbate itching.
How long do hives last?
Some cases of hives clear up in only a few hours, while some can last for a full day before starting to fade.
If you are dealing with a nasty bout of hives that overthecounter remedies don’t seem to fix, then it might be time to talk to your dermatologist about other treatment options. Call our office to schedule an appointment right away!
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that produces itchy rashes that are scaly, dry, and leathery. It can appear anywhere on the body and most often appears in the creases of the arms, legs, and face. Something that many people may not know is that there are multiple types of eczema. They all share some common symptoms but are all different depending on the nature of what triggers the reaction and the location of the rash.
Types of Eczema
This is the most frequent and common form of eczema and it’s thought to be caused by the body’s immune system functioning abnormally. It’s characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and typically runs in families. Atopic Dermatitis usually flares up and goes away intermittently throughout a person’s life.
This is caused when the skin comes in contact with an irritant such as certain chemicals. Finding what triggers a breakout is important so that it can be prevented in the future. Triggers may be things like laundry detergent, body soap, fabrics, poison ivy, and more.
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis usually affects the palms and soles of the feet. It is characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn and occurs frequently during summer months and in warm areas.
This form of eczema is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a cycle of scratching to a localized itch, such as a mosquito bite or spider bite. It’s characterized by scaly patches of skin, usually on the head, lower legs, wrists, and forearms. The skin may become thickened and leathery.
This form is characterized by round patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly, and very itchy. It frequently appears on the back, arms, buttocks, and lower legs.
This is a common condition that causes yellow, oily, and scaly patches on the scalp, face, and other body parts. Dandruff is a form of Seborrheic Dermatitis. This form of eczema doesn’t always itch. Triggers can include weather, oily skin, emotional stress, and infrequent shampooing.
This appears on the lower legs of older people and is related to circulation and vein problems. Symptoms can include itching and red-brown discoloration on the skin the legs. As the condition progresses it can lead to blistering, oozing, and skin lesions.
Eczema comes in all shapes and sizes and can be triggered by many things. If you have questions about eczema or want to make an appointment, call our office today!
If you spend time outdoors, then you’ve probably come into contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac at some point in your life. The plants’ oily sap, known as urushiol causes many people to break out in an itchy rash. Urushiol is colorless or pale yellow oil that exudes from any cut part of the plant, including the roots, stems and leaves.
The intensely itchy rash is an allergic reaction to the sap and can appear on any part of the body. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person, depending on how much sap penetrates the skin and how sensitive the person is to it. The most common symptoms include:
- Itchy skin
- Redness or streaks
- Small or large blisters
- Crusting skin when blisters have burst
When other parts of the body come into contact with the oil, the rash may continue to spread to new parts of the body. A common misconception is that people can develop the rash from touching another person’s poison ivy rash. However, you cannot give the rash to someone else. The person has to touch the actual oil from the plant in order have an allergic reaction.
When to See Your Dermatologist
Generally, a rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac will last 1 to 3 weeks and will go away on its own without treatment. But if you aren’t sure whether or not your rash is caused by poison ivy, or if you need treatment to relieve the itch, you may want to visit a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care. You should also see your dermatologist if the rash is serious, in which case prescription medicine may be necessary. Swelling is a sign of serious infection.
Other signs that your rash may be serious include:
- Conservative treatments won’t ease the itch
- Rash begins to spread to numerous parts of the body
- Pus, pain, swelling, warmth and other signs of infection are accompanying the rash
- Facial swelling, especially on the eyelids
- Rash develops on face, eyelids, lips or genitals
- Breathing or swallowing becomes difficult
To avoid getting the rash caused by poison ivy, oak or sumac, learn how to recognize what these plants look like and stay away. Always wear long pants and long sleeves when you anticipate being in wooded areas, and wear gloves when gardening. If you come into contact with the plants, wash your skin and clothing immediately.
Poison ivy, oak and sumaccan be a real nuisance and often difficult to detect. As a general rule, remember the common saying, “Leaves of three—let them be.” And if you do get the rash, visit our office for proper care.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic and often frustrating skin condition that causes skin scaling, inflammation, redness and irritation. The exact cause is unknown, but psoriasis is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system, which causes the skin to form inflamed, scaly lesions. These patches of thick, red skin may be itchy and painful. They are often found on the elbows and knees, but can also form on the scalp, lower back, face and nails.
Symptoms of psoriasis are different for every person and can vary in intensity over time. Some people may even go months or years without symptoms before flare-ups return. Symptoms of psoriasis can manifest in many ways, including:
- Rough, scaly skin
- Cracks on fingertips
- Simple tasks are painful, such as tying your shoe
- Brown, uneven nails
- Flaky skin
- Joint pain or aching
- Severe itching
The onset of psoriasis can occur at any age, although it most often occurs in adults. The disease is non-contagious and is thought to be genetic. Because psoriasis is a persistent, systemic autoimmune disease, people with psoriasis will have it for a lifetime. Most people who suffer from psoriasis can still lead healthy, active lives with proper management and care.
Coping with Psoriasis: Your Dermatologist can Help
Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis, but with the help of your dermatologist, you can learn how to cope with the condition, reduce psoriasis symptoms and keep outbreaks under control for an improved quality of life. Treatment depends on how serious the psoriasis is, the type of psoriasis and how the patient responds to certain treatments.