My Blog

Posts for category: Dermatology

By Judith Silverstein, MD
December 12, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Eczema  

Do you have itchy, scaly rashes? If so, you could have eczema, a common skin condition that could be effectively treated by your dermatologist. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and it can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to harsh chemicals. Dry skin can also affect your skin’s ability to form a barrier to allergens, which can lead to eczema. Another common cause of eczema is genetics. If someone in your family suffers from eczema, it increases your chances of developing eczema as well. Immune system problems can also cause eczema.

Both adults and children can develop eczema, however, children are most often affected, especially before they reach the age of five. Eczema develops into a chronic skin condition, with intermittent flare-ups. These flare-ups can often be accompanied by hay fever or asthma.

There are many common signs and symptoms of eczema, including:

  • Reddish-brown patches on your feet, hands, ankles, knees, chest, elbows, face, and scalp
  • Chronic, severe itching which often worsens at night
  • Inflamed, raw, red, sensitive, and swollen skin
  • Dry, cracked, scaly skin patches on various areas of your body
  • Bumps appearing on your skin which drain fluid and crust over later

For mild cases of eczema, there are a few simple home remedies you can try, including:

  • Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications
  • Smoothing calamine or other anti-itch lotion over your skin
  • Applying moisturizer when you take a shower
  • Applying cool, wet dressings and bandages to affected areas
  • Taking a warm baking soda or oatmeal bath
  • Placing a humidifier in your home to moisten dry air
  • Wearing breathable, cool, cotton clothing

For moderate to severe cases of eczema, you should visit your dermatologist. There are several effective professional treatments your dermatologist may recommend, such as:

  • Prescription-strength oral and topical medications to stop itching
  • Antibiotic medications to eliminate any underlying infection
  • Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain
  • Corticosteroid dressings to reduce inflammation
  • Natural light or ultraviolet therapy to reduce or eliminate skin patches

You don’t have to suffer with eczema when relief is just a phone call away. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eczema by calling your dermatologist today!

By Judith Silverstein, MD
December 09, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Vitiligo  

Vitiligo is a skin condition that affects more than 200,000 men and women in the United States each year, with half of those affected noticing symptoms before age 20. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, it is thought to be an auto-immune condition. In fact, it often occurs in combination with other auto-immune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the condition is directly linked to hereditary causes in about one-third of cases.

When you have vitiligo, you will have patches of white skin, caused by loss of melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for skin color. It can start on the feet, hands, or face, and become progressive over other areas of the body. The condition can cause problems with your skin, eyes, inner ear, hairs, and mucous membranes, causing white blotches in these areas.

Vitiligo cannot be cured, however, your dermatologist can help treat its symptoms and minimize its impact on your life. Treatment for this condition generally aims to restore normal skin color by repigmenting the skin. New melanocytes may be transferred from other areas of the body, including the base of hair follicles, or the edge of the affected area. Repigmentation is a gradual process that can take months to years.

Other treatments for vitiligo include prescription steroid creams or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams, These creams are applied twice each day and begin to show results in three-to-six months.

Lasers are also an effective treatment to promote repigmentation of the skin. The Excimer laser is a common tool that uses ultraviolet B light. A series of laser sessions is required with touch-up maintenance sessions later on.

Vitiligo can also be treated with some cosmetics to create a more uniform skin color and hide white patches. Sunless tanning products can also help darken the white patches, creating a more harmonious skin color. For extensive areas of pigmentation loss, depigmentation therapy might be recommended to bleach out all pigmented skin, producing an even skin tone.

If you have been struggling with vitiligo, call your dermatologist today to learn about your treatment options!

By Judith Silverstein, MD
November 20, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Botox  

We all would like to find that magical solution that would keep us looking young forever. Of course, while we certainly haven’t found the Fountain of Youth just yet, advancements in cosmetic dermatology are coming impressively close. If you are looking for a fast, simple, and non-invasive way to smooth away facial lines and wrinkles, talk with our dermatologist about whether Botox could give you the results you want.

What is Botox?

Botox is a purified, medical-grade neurotoxin that is injected directly into muscle groups of the face. When Botox is injected into the muscles, it reduces the brain-sent signals that cause the muscles to contract. As a result, this cosmetic treatment prevents muscle contractions, thus temporarily reducing the appearance of dynamic lines and wrinkles.

Botox can be used to smooth away wrinkles between the brows, on the foreheads, around the eyes (crow’s feet), and the mouth (“laugh lines”). In fact, any lines or wrinkles that are accentuated when you frown or smile can often be treated with Botox.

What is it like to get Botox treatment?

Botox is non-invasive and doesn’t require surgery or other aggressive techniques. It only takes our skin doctor a couple of minutes to administer Botox, and these thin needles are well-tolerated by our patients.

Additionally, there is absolutely no downtime associated with receiving Botox, allowing many patients to come in for treatment and return right back to work and their daily routine immediately after. It only takes about 10 minutes to administer Botox and side effects are minimal.

What kind of results should I expect with Botox?

You won’t see results immediately, as it will take the body time to respond to treatment. Most people will see results within 3-4 days and results can last anywhere from 4-6 months. If you’re happy with your results and wish they would last longer, then you can talk with your cosmetic dermatologist about how often you should come in for maintenance treatments.

Whether you have questions about receiving Botox treatment or if you want to find out if you are the ideal candidate for treatment, don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist’s office today to schedule a consultation.

By Judith Silverstein, MD
November 06, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Psoriasis  

Psoriasis doesn’t just impact someone’s appearance but it can also affect someone’s quality of life. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that leads to itching, burning patches of skin known as plaques. These plaques can be embarrassing for the sufferer and have a serious impact on their life. If you have psoriasis that is causing you to avoid social situations or you are noticing symptoms of psoriasis it’s important that you have a dermatologist that you can turn to. A dermatologist can both diagnose and treat your skin condition.

Since symptoms of psoriasis can also resemble other skin problems it’s always a good idea to see a skin doctor to find out what’s causing your symptoms. Symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Red, inflamed, and sometimes-scaly patches of skin
  • Dry skin that may crack or bleed
  • Tenderness, itching, or burning around the plaques

Plaques may be raised, dry, or contain white scaly skin. While plaques can develop anywhere on the body they are more prevalent on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp.

Certain things can trigger flare-ups including:

  • Injury to the skin
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Cold weather
  • Certain medications (e.g. beta-blockers; lithium)

Avoiding these triggers can be an effective way to reduce the amount of flare-ups a patient experiences.

Treating Psoriasis

Treatment for psoriasis includes a variety of home remedies, lifestyle modifications and medications. At-home care is focused on alleviating the itchy and burning associated with the formation of plaques. Mild to moderate itching may be relieved through:

  • Moisturizing the skin daily
  • Taking cold showers
  • Apply ice packs to the skin
  • Using skincare products containing lactic acid or urea, which can remove scaly skin

Finding the right medication and treatment plan takes time and having a dermatologist that you trust is crucial. Common medications and therapies for treating psoriasis include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Topical anesthetics
  • Steroids
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Phototherapy

Despite the fact that there isn’t yet a cure for psoriasis, a dermatologist can certainly provide you with the treatment plan you need to get flare-ups under control.

If you are dealing with psoriasis it’s important that you have a dermatologist that you can turn to for care, treatment and support. Together you and your dermatologist can create a treatment plan to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.

By Judith Silverstein, MD
October 28, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Melanoma  

Melanoma MoleMelanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.   

What Causes Melanoma?

The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.

Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:

  • Fair skin
  • Excessive sun exposure during childhood
  • Family history of melanoma
  • More than 50 moles on the skin
  • Several freckles
  • Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily

Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:

  • An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
  • A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
  • An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade

Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.

Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.