Find out how this pigmented skin condition is treated.
Are you or someone you love dealing with vitiligo? The Mayo Clinic reports that there are more than 200,000 new cases of vitiligo each year in the US alone. Vitiligo is a chronic disease where the melanin, which gives your skin its pigment, either dies or the body stops producing it. As a result, there are white patches of skin all over the body. So, you may be wondering how this condition occurs or how you can treat it. This is when it’s important to turn to your dermatologist.
What causes vitiligo?
Unfortunately, researchers still do not know why some people develop vitiligo. It may be the result of an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks the melanocytes in the skin. Some researchers also believe that something as simple as a sunburn or even emotional stress could cause vitiligo; however, the cause is still unknown.
Who is at risk for developing vitiligo?
Even though this condition can appear at any time in a person’s life it more commonly occurs in your 20's. It affects both men and women of all races; however, vitiligo is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Those with autoimmune disorders are often more likely to develop vitiligo than those who do not have an autoimmune disorder. Genetics may also play a role; however, parents with vitiligo won’t necessarily pass this condition onto their child.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
Vitiligo is characterized by large white patches of skin, which may appear anywhere on the body. These patches most commonly appear on the face, hands, feet, arms, and other sun-exposed areas. Sometimes the white patches will spread over time. How quickly the patches spread will vary from person to person; however, sometimes the patches won’t spread at all.
How is vitiligo treated?
It’s important to turn to a dermatologist that you trust if you think you or a family member is dealing with vitiligo. During your consultation, your doctor will examine your skin to determine how widespread and numerous the patches are so that we have a better idea what type of treatment will be the most effective.
We will also go through your medical history and ask you questions about your condition. Treatment for vitiligo, like most skin disorders, will not work overnight. In fact, there is often a trial-and-error period to try and find the best treatment option.
The most common types of vitiligo treatment include medication, light therapies, and surgery, all of which are designed to restore pigmentation back into the skin.
Prescribed medications may be applied topically or taken orally. Certain UVA/UVB light therapy treatments may also improve your condition. Skin grafting surgery may be recommended, in which your dermatologist will remove skin from another area of the body and apply it over the patches to hide them and even out skin tone.
Your dermatologist can also recommend a full-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin when going outside, as well as any counseling and support you may need. If you or someone you love is looking for vitiligo treatment, contact your dermatologist today.
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
Does your face sometimes appear extremely red and flushing? While a slight blush is certainly nice, if the blush is severe or widespread you may be dealing a common condition known as rosacea. People with rosacea often liken their redness to looking like they are sunburned even though they are not, and the redness often appears across the nose and cheeks but can spread to the forehead, as well.
Along with redness those with rosacea may also experience:
- Stinging or burning
- Hard bumps that look similar to acne
- Visible blood vessels
- Thicker skin (in more advanced cases)
Rosacea is more common in women than men, as well as those over 30 years old. Rosacea is characterized by flare-ups of redness that may go away and then come back when in contact with certain triggers. Common rosacea triggers include:
- Heat or cold
- Spicy foods
- Certain skincare products
- Certain medications
It’s important to note when you experience triggers to figure out what might be causing your flare-ups so you can avoid them whenever possible.
There are no over-the-counter medications designed to treat rosacea, so the only way to get the proper treatment you need to get your symptoms under control is to see a dermatologist. There are certain prescription medications that may be prescribed to lessen your symptoms. These medications include:
- Certain drugs and topical medications that reduce redness
- Oral antibiotics (to kill the bacteria responsible for inflammation)
- Isotretinoin (for severe and unresponsive rosacea cases)
In some cases, your skin doctor may also recommend laser therapy to reduce redness and the appearance of blood vessels. Common laser therapies for rosacea include dermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy.
Along with medication and laser therapy it’s important to be gentle with your skin and to always wear sunscreen before going outside. Choose a sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection and has an SPF of at least 30. Even on cloudy or windy days you should apply sunscreen. Also be aware of certain products and makeup that could also be causing flare-ups. There is also makeup on the market that can conceal redness.
If you think that your redness may be the result of rosacea isn’t it time you got answers? Schedule a consultation with our trusted dermatologist today.
Cosmetic surgical procedures can produce profound, long lasting changes in facial appearance, but are invasive and have an associated recovery period. Those who are just beginning to show signs of facial aging sometimes desire improvement, but cannot justify the cost or time investment required for surgical intervention.
For these patients, the rapidly expanding repertoire of injectable treatments may perfectly meet your individual needs. Injectable fillers can be used during an office visit, rather than requiring a trip to the operating room. Some treatments require no anesthetic, while others may require topical anesthetic agents. By visiting your dermatologist, you can find the best solution for restoring your youthful appearance.
What Causes Wrinkles?
With age, it seems as if everything slows. This includes the body’s ability to make collagen, which keeps the skin firm. With less collagen, the skin loses elastin and hyaluronic acid, which allows the skin to retain water. By our 40s and 50s, the skin has lost firmness, spring, and moisture, which results in fine lines and wrinkles.
Pale skin tends to wrinkle earlier than dark skin and people with pale skin also tend to develop more wrinkles and fine lines. When lines develop in dark skin the lines tend to be deeper. Constant muscle movement can create wrinkles such as areas of the forehead or around your mouth.
Sun, tanning beds and sun lamps are other main sources for wrinkles, exposing your skin to harmful ultraviolet rays. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes many people to see wrinkles and fine lines before they reach their 40s and 50s. These same UV rays that cause wrinkles can also cause skin cancer.
A More Youthful Appearance with Injectable Fillers
For fast and long-lasting results, you may want to visit your dermatologist. Today, cosmetic dermatology offers a wide spectrum of safe and effective procedures that can help you dramatically reduce the visibility of your wrinkles, improve your overall skin health and help you achieve your skin care goals.
Collagen injections and other injectable fillers give your skin a plumper, smoother appearance. Although collagen is the best-known filler, there are many other substances doctors can use to plump up your skin. Depending on the type of filler and the depth at which it is injected, you can smooth out fine lines on the surface of the skin, fill out deep lines, augment soft tissues or even effectively augment facial bone structure.
All of these fillers are placed by an injection. Many options are currently available, with clinical differences being predominantly governed by how long the effects last, as well as how the filler “feels.”
Rejuvenate Your Facial Appearance with Botox
Unlike soft tissue fillers such as Juvederm that add volume to skin depressions, Botox blocks the release of a chemical called acetylcholine which triggers the muscle contractions that create wrinkles. Botox essentially paralyzes the muscles and stops them from contracting. Results are visible within approximately one week after treatment and remain for roughly three months.
Botox cosmetic treatments can be used to improve:
- Worry lines in your forehead
- Lines between the eyebrows
- Smile lines
- Laugh lines, from nose to mouth
- Crow’s feet
Wrinkles may be a natural part of the aging process, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for an aged appearance.
If You Are Considering Treatment For Wrinkles, Talk To Your Dermatologist At Hecker Dermatology In Tamarac, FL & Pompano Beach, FL About Your Options.
What's the most frequent cancer among Americans? It's skin cancer, according to the CDC, and although common, this potentially deadly malignancy can be cured if treated early. At Hecker Dermatology Group in Tamarac and Pompano Beach, FL, your board-certified skin doctors teach their patients to recognize possible signs of skin cancer, particularly in moles. Drs. David and Melanie Hecker know that knowledge truly is power, and in the case of skin cancer, it can save lives.
How do we develop skin cancer?
Experts at the Cleveland Clinic maintain that ultra-violet radiation from the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds, leads to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on the skin. Other predisposing factors are:
- Being fair-skinned
- Severe and/or frequent sunburns at an early age
Of the three kinds of skin cancers (squamous cell and basal cell being the other types), malignant melanoma is the most insidious and dangerous. It spreads rapidly to other areas of the skin and to major body organs. As with all skin cancers, cure rates soar when lesions are detected in their earliest stages.
Watching your moles
Each year, all people over the age of 40 should have a comprehensive skin examination with their dermatologist. However, eyes-on inspection begins at home, it is important that all patients regularly check for possible skin cancer signs and other changes once a month.
In particular, moles require due diligence. These small, round to oval spots of deep pigmentation may change into skin cancer. Moles, or nevi, often cluster in groups, and a cancerous or pre-cancerous mole may stand out from its neighbors. This is called the Ugly Duckling Sign.
Additionally, moles may exhibit other potentially dangerous deviations over time. The American Academy of Dermatology formulated the ABCDEs of mole inspection to help patients recognize and report changes that they may observe.
- A stands for asymmetry. If one half of a mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or texture, be sure to show it to Dr. Hecker as soon as possible.
- B means border. If a mole is healthy, its edges will be smooth and not scalloped or notched.
- C stands for color. Healthy moles are one color throughout—typically brown or black. Varying shades of color indicate pre-cancer or cancer.
- D means diameter. If a mole is very large (> 6 millimeters) or grows with time, show it to your skin doctor.
- E stands for evolving. Healthy moles look the same in size, color, and texture for years. If you have a mole which darkens, itches, bleeds, or otherwise changes in appearance, see your dermatologist for a skin exam.
At Hecker Dermatology Group, our professional team offers a wide range of medical and aesthetic skin services to help you keep your skin at its healthiest. Learn more about self-examination by calling for a consultation with one of our physicians today! Our number is (954) 783-2323.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.