Each season has its pros and cons when it comes to your skin. We have rounded up the biggest skin issues that affect you during summertime and ways they can be treated.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Many people think that acne is just pimples but a person who has acne can have many blemishes which includes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, cysts and nodules. Acne can appear on the face, back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks. Acne appears when a pore in our skin gets clogged which begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum, or oil, that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore.
There are many effective acne treatments however this does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. But it does mean that virtually every case of acne can be controlled. Treatment for acne includes topicals such as a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Other treatments include antibiotics, which helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, as well as birth control pills and isotretinoin, which is the only treatment that works on all the causes of acne. Procedures that treat acne include lasers, chemical peels and extractions.
2. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis Suppurativa, or HS for short, is an inflammatory disease that causes bumps to appear on the skin and typically in the underarms and groin. HS can affect people of any age although it is most common in individuals between 15 and 30. Women, people who are overweight or obese, and smokers have a higher risk of developing HS. HS forms when the hair follicles and certain sweat glands become clogged with dead skin cells and other substances. HS is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene.
Treatment for HS can include antibiotics, antimicrobial washes and medications, bleach baths, corticosteroids, diabetes medication, hormone therapy, biologics such as Humira, oral retinoids, radiation therapy, incision and drainage, excision or laser procedures. Some tips to manage HS include losing weight if you are overweight, do not smoke if you are currently a smoker, do not shave where HS forms, wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid sweating and overheating.
3. Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum Contagiosum is a relatively common skin disease that is caused by a virus and can be easily spread from person-to-person. It is most likely transmitted through infected items that are touched and shared such as towels, diving boards and clothing. Molluscum is usually harmless but does cause small, pink, dome-shaped bumps to appear on the skin which can appear several weeks or even a few months after exposure to the virus. Molluscum can last for several years after exposure.
Treatments for Molluscum include topical solutions, freezing the bumps with liquid nitrogen or curettage, where the dermatologist will scrape the growths from the skin.
4. Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac
Poison Ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain an oil called urushiol and when the oil penetrates the skin, it can cause a rash to develop which is due to an allergic reaction. The rash takes time to appear and may not appear for 12 to 21 days after contact with one of these plants. The allergic reaction can cause intensely itchy skin or red, swollen lines, streaks or patches and usually with blisters.
Treatments for these allergic reactions include soaking the skin with lukewarm water immediately after contact as this inactivates and removes the oil. You can apply calamine lotion to the skin to calm the itching, take cool showers, apply a cool compress and take an oral antihistamine. Hydrocortisone cream can relieve mild cases. If the itching or rash is intense, you can see the dermatologist or visit an emergency room as you may need to be prescribed a topical steroid.
Don’t let these skin issues ruin your summer fun! Come in and see Dr. Flanagan, our nurse practitioner, Dana McCullar, or one of our estheticians who can all help treat these skin conditions.