Psoriasis is a term that encompasses a group of chronic skin disorders that affect any part of the body from the scalp to the toenails, but most frequently affect the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. Over seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. In addition it may be categorized into different types: plaque, pustular, erythrodermic, guttate or inverse psoriasis. Most forms involve an itching and/or burning sensation, scaling and crusting of the skin.
Type-specific symptoms include:
- Plaque psoriasis (the most common type): raised, thickened patches of red skin covered with silvery-white scales;
- Pustular psoriasis: pus-like blisters;
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: intense redness and swelling of a large part of the skin surface;
- Guttate psoriasis: small, drop-like lesions;
- Inverse psoriasis: smooth red lesions in the folds of the skin.
While the cause of psoriasis has yet to be discovered, suspected triggers include emotional stress, skin injury, systemic infections and certain medications. There is a possibility that susceptibility to psoriasis is inherited.
Psoriasis cannot be cured but it can be treated successfully, sometimes for months or years and occasionally even permanently. Treatment depends on the type, severity and location of psoriasis; the patient’s age, medical history and lifestyle; and the effect the disease has on the patient’s general mental health. The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, photochemotherapy (PUVA), and oral or injectable medication (for severe symptoms).
Goldsboro Skin Center offers the highly effective XTRAC® Excimer Laser treatment which is now available for mild, moderate and severe psoriasis.
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes redness and swelling on the face and occasionally on the neck, ears, chest, back and eyes as well. The specific cause of rosacea is unknown, but is suspected to involve a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, and is most common in fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Certain triggers, such as consuming alcohol or spicy foods, may worsen symptoms of rosacea.
Treatment for rosacea aims to relieve symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. This can be done through a combination of approaches, including topical and oral medications, antibiotics, Accutane®, or surgery for severe or permanent symptoms. Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan after a thorough evaluation of each patient's individual condition. While there is no cure for rosacea, many patients can achieve effective symptom relief for long periods of time.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and involves abnormal growths of skin cells that can form anywhere on the body, but most frequently appear on skin that is exposed to the sun. There are more than a million new cases of skin cancer in the US each year. Although most cases of skin cancer can be successfully treated, it is still important to keep skin safe and healthy and try to prevent this disease.
There are three major types of skin cancer that affect associated layers of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma affects the squamous cells, which are just below the outer surface of the skin and serve as the inner lining. Basal cell carcinoma affects the basal cells, which lay under the squamous cells and produce new skin cells. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and affects the melanocytes, which produce melanin.
Everyday, skin cells die and new ones form to replace them through DNA-controlled processes. Skin cancer can form when this process does not work properly, due to damaged DNA. When these processes do not function properly, tumors may form. DNA damage is often a result of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps. Since skin cancer can sometimes affect areas not exposed to the sun, heredity may also be a factor. Certain factors, such as fair skin, moles, a weakened immune system and age, can also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Medical attention is necessary after noticing any skin changes, as early detection is valuable in successfully treating skin cancer. Regular full body screening is recommended as well. A biopsy is usually performed to accurately diagnose suspected cancerous growths.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, size and location of the tumor. Most options remove the entire growth, are usually effective, and can be performed in an outpatient setting. Skin cancer treatment methods include freezing, excision, laser therapy, radiation therapy, Mohs surgery and chemotherapy.
Although most skin cancer treatments are successful, recurrence is still possible. It is therefore important to practice preventive measures and see your doctor regularly. Self skin exams are also a good idea to spot any changes promptly.