What We Treat
Our dermatology providers diagnose, treat and prescribe medication for over 3,000 conditions.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.
Effective acne treatments are available, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up.
Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.
Acne signs vary depending on the severity of your condition:
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores)
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin (cystic lesions)
Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.
If you've tried over-the-counter (nonprescription) acne products for several weeks and they haven't helped, ask your doctor about prescription-strength medications. A dermatologist can help you:
- Control your acne
- Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
- Make scars less noticeable
Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating bacterial infection. With most prescription acne drugs, you may not see results for four to eight weeks. It can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely.
The treatment regimen your doctor recommends depends on your age, the type and severity of your acne, and what you are willing to commit to. For example, you may need to wash and apply medications to the affected skin twice a day for several weeks. Topical medications and drugs you take by mouth (oral medication) are often used in combination. Treatment options for pregnant women are limited due to the risk of side effects.
Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of medications and other treatments you are considering. And make follow-up appointments with your doctor every three to six months until your skin improves.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person and include:
Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Atopic dermatitis most often begins before age 5 and may persist into adolescence and adulthood. For some people, it flares periodically and then clears up for a time, even for several years.
See a doctor if you or your child:
- Is so uncomfortable that the condition is affecting sleep and daily activities
- Has a skin infection — look for red streaks, pus, yellow scabs
- Continues to experience symptoms despite trying home remed
No lab test is needed to identify atopic dermatitis (eczema). Your doctor will likely make a diagnosis by examining your skin and reviewing your medical history. He or she may also use patch testing or other tests to rule out other skin diseases or identify conditions that accompany your eczema.
If you suspect a certain food caused your child's rash, tell the doctor and ask about identifying potential food allergies.
Atopic dermatitis can be persistent. You may need to try various treatments over months or years to control it. And even if treatment is successful, signs and symptoms may return (flare).
It's important to recognize the condition early so that you can start treatment. If regular moisturizing and other self-care steps don't help, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
Creams that control itching and help repair the skin. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Overuse of this drug may cause side effects, including thinning skin.
Other creams containing drugs called calcineurin inhibitors — such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) — affect your immune system. They are used by people older than age 2 to help control the skin reaction. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Avoid strong sunlight when using these products.Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream if your skin has a bacterial infection, an open sore or cracks. He or she may recommend taking oral antibiotics for a short time to treat an infection. For more-severe cases, your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids — such as prednisone. These drugs are effective but can't be used long term because of potential serious side effects.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. It is thought to be an immune system problem that causes the skin to regenerate at faster than normal rates.
Psoriasis is a common, long-term (chronic) disease with no cure. It tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a while or going into remission. Treatments are available to help you manage symptoms. And you can incorporate lifestyle habits and coping strategies to help you live better with psoriasis.
Psoriasis signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
- Itching, burning or soreness
- Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. The most commonly affected areas are the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles of the feet, scalp, face and palms.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into remission.
There are several types of psoriasis, including:
- Plaque psoriasis
- Nail psoriasis
- Guttate psoriasis
- Inverse psoriasis
- Pustural psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis
Many people who are predisposed to psoriasis may be free of symptoms for years until the disease is triggered by some environmental factor. Common psoriasis triggers include:
- Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
- Weather, especially cold, dry conditions
- Injury to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, a bug bite, or a severe sunburn
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain medications — including lithium, high blood pressure medications and antimalarial drugs
- Rapid withdrawal of oral or systemic corticosteroids
Psoriasis treatments aim to stop skin cells from growing so quickly and to remove scales. Options include creams and ointments (topical therapy), light therapy (phototherapy), and oral or injected medication.
Which treatments you use depends on how severe the psoriasis is and how responsive it has been to previous treatment. You might need to try different drugs or a combination of treatments before you find an approach that works for you.Topical treatments include:
Corticosteroids: These drugs are the most frequently prescribed medications for treating mild to moderate psoriasis. They are available as ointments, creams, lotions, gels, foams, sprays and shampoos. Mild corticosteroid ointments (hydrocortisone) are usually recommended for sensitive areas, such as your face or skin folds, and for treating widespread patches.
Vitamin D analogues: Synthetic forms of vitamin D, such as calcipotriene and calcitriol (Vectical) slow skin cell growth. This type of drug may be used alone or with topical corticosteroids. Calcitriol may cause less irritation in sensitive areas. Calcipotriene and calcitriol are usually more expensive than topical corticosteroids.
Retinoids: Tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage) is available as a gel and cream and applied once or twice daily. The most common side effects are skin irritation and increased sensitivity to light.
NOTE: Tazarotene isn't recommended when you're pregnant or breast-feeding or if you intend to become pregnant.
Calcineurin inhibitors: Calcineurin inhibitors — such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) — reduce inflammation and plaque buildup. They can be especially helpful in areas of thin skin, such as around the eyes, where steroid creams or retinoids are too irritating or may cause harmful effects.
NOTE: Calcineurin inhibitors are not recommended when you're pregnant or breast-feeding or if you intend to become pregnant.
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid shampoos and scalp solutions reduce the scaling of scalp psoriasis. It may be used alone, or to enhance the ability of other medications to more easily penetrate the skin.