Monday, March 31, 2014

A Fungal Infection May Actually Be A Sign of Skin Cancer

When it comes to skin issues, a lot of people tend to self-diagnose. They either do not have the time or the money to invest in a visit to the dermatologist. This can lead to major issues, especially when a self-diagnosis is a misdiagnosis, and a seemingly minor infection is actually a symptom of something worse.

In a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Dermatology Association, scientists discovered that treatment-resistant fungal infections on the skin should be biopsied. These infections, they learned, can mimic or coexist with malignancies that can lead to skin cancer.

When it comes to your skin, it is extremely important to seek the opinion of a dermatologist and undergo a proper skin biopsy. The sooner you receive an expert diagnosis, the sooner your condition can be treated. Early diagnosis can also help prevent future problems and the need for intensive treatment.

While biopsies are most often performed to identify cancerous areas, they can also help to detect other conditions that could be harmful to an individual’s health. A skin biopsy will help a dermatologist determine the best therapy or treatment option for a specific individual.

According to Afsaneh Alavi, MD, FRCPC, a dermatologist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and one of the presenting authors of the study, sometimes multiple biopsies are necessary for a proper diagnosis.

In addition to early diagnosis, it is also important to recognize the signs of skin cancer. If you have any moles or lesions that are asymmetrical, uneven or have changed in color, size or shape, you should seek an expert opinion immediately.

If you have a fungal infection or have shown any possible signs of skin cancer, please schedule an appointment with Greenville Dermatology today by calling (864) 242-5872.   

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guidelines for Treating Pediatric Acne

Acne has begun to affect children at increasingly younger ages. Experts believe this trend may be linked to the earlier onset of puberty occurring with newer generations. One study of 9- and 10-year-old girls found that more than 75 percent had pimples.

Pediatric acne is not usually cause for alarm, but it can be embarrassing and may cause psychological distress in some adolescents. Acne typically involves the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads around the chin, forehead and nose. While pediatric acne is unlikely to be a sign of a hormonal abnormality, it may signal that more serious acne problems will occur during the individual’s teen years.

The American Acne and Rosacea Society recently developed—and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed—the first detailed and evidenced-based recommendations for pediatric acne in an effort to standardize management across primary and specialty care practices. The hope is that these recommendations will lead to improved care for children of all ages suffering from acne.

As a basic rule of thumb, it is best to wash your face gently twice a day with a soap-free pH-balanced cleanser. Facial toners can also help clear away oil but should be used in moderation because they can irritate the skin. Additionally:

·         Mild acne can often be treated with over-the-counter face washes, lotions and products containing benzoyl peroxide, which helps kill bacteria while also preventing antibiotic resistance.

·         For moderate acne, prescription medications like Avita, Differin and Retin-A are highly effective topical treatments. These medications contain Vitamin A, which helps to speed skin cell turnover and unclog pores. Use a moisturizer afterwards to minimize skin irritation and dryness.

·         Moderate to severe acne might require adding oral antibiotics to your regimen to help eliminate the bacteria that lives on the skin. When pores become clogged with oil and skin cells, bacteria can grow and cause inflammation. Antibiotics help by killing the bacteria and soothing inflammation. However, increased use over time can cause certain bacteria to build up immunity to the drugs.

It is also important for parents to help their children dispel myths about acne. For example, acne is not caused by dirt or poor hygiene, and roughly scrubbing your face will only irritate your skin more. Also, while there is some evidence that suggests food plays a role in acne, it is still not clear if a change in diet will help clear up skin.

If your child suffers from pediatric acne, schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists by calling (864) 242-5872. Stop by our office at 369 Woodruff Road to browse our acne treatment products and speak with one of our skincare experts today. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Look Younger and Treat Acne with LED Light Therapy

LED (light-emitting-diodes) Light Therapy is a painless, non-invasive skincare treatment that plumps up aging skin by boosting collagen production and treats mild to moderate acne.

This particular type of therapy was discovered by NASA’s space program. NASA scientists found that “LEDs stimulated wound-healing at near-infrared wavelengths of 680, 730, and 880 nanometers. Furthermore, near-infrared LED light has quintupled the growth of fibroblasts and muscle cells in tissue culture.” In other words, various colored LED lights stimulate and energize cellular activity, which creates collagen and elastin for anti-aging benefits. Red LED light is responsible for stimulating the fibroblasts that produce collagen, while blue LED light kills the bacteria deep in the skin that is responsible for acne.

LED Light Therapy has been thoroughly tested, evaluated and validated by hundreds of universities and medical labs. More than 2,000 reports and documents have been written on this technology, and studies show LED Light Therapy has a 90 percent success rate. The recommended professional LED protocol is six treatments a week or two apart, followed by a maintenance treatment every month or two. On average, people begin to see a noticeable difference between 10 days and two weeks after treatment.

LED Light Therapy is one of the safest, quickest and most affordable ways to achieve younger-looking skin. Because the light used is not focused, non-coherent, and doesn’t generate heat, LED Light Therapy is much safer than laser therapy. There is no record of adverse side effects, and the light does not damage the skin in any way.

If you are interested in learning more about LED Light Therapy, call Greenville Dermatology at (864) 242-5872 or stop by today for a consultation with one of our skin care experts. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Article: Dermatitis Herpetiformis—A Skin Rash Caused by Gluten Intolerance

The following is a preview of an article Dr. Miller wrote for Click here to read the full article.

Health problems that blame foods containing gluten are being heard of more frequently in the media lately. In fact, many foods now contain labels stating "gluten free." While many health issues are attributed to gluten sensitivity, there is a skin rash that can occur in some people with gluten intolerance called dermatitis herpetiformis.

What Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Dermatitis herpetiformis is a blistering skin eruption that occurs characteristically on certain areas of the skin. The rash appears as tiny blisters or vesicles that are clustered together giving it the appearance of a herpes virus eruption, and hence the name dermatitis herpetiformis. However, dermatitis herpetiformis is not related or caused by herpes at all.

How Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis Caused By Gluten Intolerance?
In some people, ingestion of foods containing gluten stimulates an immune response by the body to attack the lining of the intestines. The lining of the intestines becomes damaged to the point where food and nutrients are not absorbed correctly and that can lead to symptoms of gaseousness, bloating and cramping. However, up to 40% of adults can have gluten intolerance and intestinal damage and not experience any gastrointestinal symptoms. The same immune response that attacks the lining of the intestines can also attack how the skin is attached to the body, causing the itchy small blisters to form on the skin.

How Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis Treated?
The treatment of dermatitis herpetiformis is to avoid foods that contain gluten. Several weeks after starting a gluten-free diet, people begin to see results. There is a medication called dapsone that can relieve the symptoms of itching on the skin until a gluten-free diet is maintained for several weeks to months. For some, even cheating on the gluten free diet for one meal will be enough to go into remission.  

For more information about Dermatitis Herpetiformis, click here to read the rest of Dr. Miller’s article. If you think you might have Dermatitis Herpetiformis, schedule an appointment with Greenville Dermatology today by calling (864) 242-5872.