10 Tips to Manage Psoriasis and Eczema This Winter

PRWEB.COM Newswire Roslyn Heights, NY (PRWEB) November 19, 2014
A shocking number of Americans have psoriasis and eczema–39 million adults and children–which is more than four times the population of New York City, the largest city in the US. According to dermatology specialists Dr. Joshua Fox and Dr. Robert Levine with Advanced Dermatology, PC, the seasonal change to cold, dry air creates difficulties for people dealing with these chronic skin disorders.

“It is important to manage symptoms,” says Dr. Fox, who has served on the board of the National Psoriasis Foundation. “Psoriasis and eczema can be painful. They can make everyday actions uncomfortable for adults and children, men and women, and they carry a stigma that can lead to a loss of self-esteem, depression, and other health complications.”

psoriasis

Psoriasis on the elbow

Symptoms

Psoriasis appears on the skin as red or white, scaly patches that often itch and bleed. The patches can also look scaly or silvery in color. Nails can become yellow, ridged and separate from the nail bed. Up to 30 percent of people with the disease develop psoriatic arthritis, and recent studies indicate that patients with moderate to severe disease are also at increased risk for other associated health conditions, including heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and hypertension.

Eczema, a hypersensitivity disease, inflames the skin, causing pain, itching, dryness, swelling, cracking, weeping and scaling. Eczema lesions can bubble, ooze, and crust over if scratched. Skin infections can occur if bacteria invade the skin lesions.

Diagnosis

“Once patients understand their psoriasis or eczema is not contagious, they seem to be relieved,” says Dr. Fox. “They are comforted to know there is help for their symptoms.”

Psoraisis is an autoimmune disease apparently cause by an overactive immune system that overproduces skin cells. Eczema, on the other hand, is caused by a deficient immune system in which an imbalance of skin proteins creates skin sensitivities. “This is a significant distinction because it informs treatment,” explains Dr. Fox. “A dermatologist will diagnose the condition and provide the most effective care for individual patients.”

Psoriasis treatments:

  • Topical creams, such as corticosteroids, calcipotriene, anthralin, salicylic acid, and coal tars, to reduce inflammation and dissolve skin lesions
  • Laser therapy with ultraviolet (UVB) light
  • Systemic medications taken orally or by injection that suppress or control the immune system

Eczema treatments:

  • Topical creams, such as corticosteroids (severe) and hydrocortisones (mild), to reduce inflammation
  • Immunomodulator creams that control inflammation and immune system reactions
  • Systemic pills that suppress the immune system
  • Prescription strength moisturizers that restore the skin barrier
  • Oral antihistamines to relieve inflammation
  • Diluted bleach baths and antibiotics to treat infection

Dr. Fox’s and Dr. Levine’s tips for managing psoriasis and eczema throughout the winter

  • Moisturize. Use a non-irritating, fragrance-free moisturizer. Thick ointments are best for locking in moisture and repairing the skin barrier.
  • Limit bathing. Take warm (not hot) baths not more than once per day. Pat the skin dry with a towel (do not rub) and apply moisturizer immediately following.
  • Choose a mild, non-irritating soap. Use sparingly.
  • Use a humidifier indoors. The ideal range is 45-55 percent humidity.
  • Wear loose, soft clothing. Choose cotton over wool, denim, or other harsh fabrics. Wear gloves and scarfs outside to protect exposed skin.
  • Avoid sweating. Sweat can trigger flare-ups. Wear wicking fabrics and change out of damp or snowy clothes as soon as possible.
  • Keep fingernails short. This decreases the likelihood that scratching will tear the skin and lead to infection.
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water.
  • Reduce stress. While this is easier said than done during the busy holidays, stress can trigger flares.
  • Identify and eliminate possible triggers. Some common triggers include wool, soaps, fragrance, pet fur, cosmetics, and household cleaners. Some patients have found relief by altering their diets.

Dr. Levine counsels that people with either psoriasis or eczema should consult their dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis and discuss the pros and cons of different treatments options.

Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D. is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery

Robert Levine, D.O., F.A.O.C.D. is experienced in many areas of medical and surgical dermatology with an interest in cosmetics.

Top Skin Conditions For People of Color

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Top Skin Conditions For People of Color

People of African, Asian, Latin and Native American backgrounds know that their skin, hair and nails are subject to conditions that do not affect lighter skinned people. “While most of these are not serious, they may be disturbing, troubling or unsightly,” says Joshua Fox, MD, a leading dermatologist, founder of Advanced Dermatology and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

“Fortunately, your dermatologist is well acquainted with these conditions and can help people with dark skin to diagnose and treat their concerns early and quickly,” says Dr. Fox. He offers the following listing of the top skin conditions faced by people of color and how it differs from lighter-skinned individuals.

1. Acne – Many dark skinned women suffer from acne vulgaris, sometimes combined with hyper pigmentation, or skin darkening in spots or patches, which occurs in response to the outbreak of acne. Unlike fairer-skinned individuals, the discoloration plays an integral role in treatment. Surprisingly, these patients are more bothered by the discoloration than the acne itself. Treatments may include topical skin lightening creams for dark spots, sunscreen and topical, prescription acne medications.

2. Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra – These brown or black raised spots, which commonly affect African American women and people of Asian descent, may look like moles or flattened warts. They are always benign, never lead to skin cancer and are not harmful. However, some people do have them removed for cosmetic reasons. Typically, up to 50 percent of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra patients have a family history of the condition, and up to 35 percent of adult blacks in the United States have it. They are easily removed with minimal to no marks.

3. Eczema – Very common among those with brown skin, eczema is an itchy, irritating rash that can occur in skin of any type or color. However, according to the National Eczema Society, it is found twice as often in black skin. When it does occur, differences in the structure of black from Caucasian skin can cause related problems including excessive pigmentation and a thickening of the skin that can also cause changes in skin color. “Because eczema is harder to identify in dark skin, and is often confused with psoriasis or fungal infections, getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be difficult,” Dr. Fox says. “Once the correct diagnosis has been made, topical medicines are quite helpful.”

4. Keloids – Scar tissue caused by abnormal healing of the skin occurs frequently in individuals with brown skin. Any time dark skin is injured, the risk of keloids is dramatically increased. According to Skin & Aging magazine, up to 16% of black and Asian people suffer from keloids. Keloids can develop immediately following an injury or take a long time to grow. Sometimes they itch, are painful and burning or feel tender to the touch. Treatments include cortisone and other injections, radiation therapy, pressure dressings, silicone gel applications and several types of lasers are extremely helpful. Keloids can also be removed via traditional or laser surgery.

5. Traction Alopecia – This hair loss condition is caused by damage to the hair follicle from constant pulling or tension over a long period of time. It is most common in African Americans who braid their hair tightly, but can also be caused by over processing of the hair through dyes, bleaches or straighteners. According to the National Institutes of Health, some 17% of African-American schoolgirls (6-21 years) and more than 30% of women (18-86 years) suffer from traction alopecia. While this condition can be reversed if diagnosed early, it can lead to permanent hair loss if it is undetected for a long period. These people – mainly women – should change to looser, gentler hair styles and should see a dermatologist. Unfortunately, no medical treatment is available to reverse late-stage traction alopecia; hair grafts, transplants or wigs have been identified as the only practical solution.

6. Melanoma — Those with brown skin often have a false sense of security when it comes to skin cancer. “While increased skin pigmentation offers some protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays,” Dr. Fox says, “melanoma can and does occur,” unlike in the lighter-skinned individual, it occurs especially on the palms, soles, fingers and toes, nails and mucous membranes (such as the mouth or nose). “A new dark mark or a mark that changes in size, shape or color in these areas should be seen by a dermatologist immediately. Even people with dark skin should always use a sunscreen when spending extensive time in the sun,” he says.

7. Pigmentation – Women with brown skin, particularly those of African and Latino descent, have a high incidence of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease and thus take medications for those medical problems. These, as well as other commonly used medications (LIST MEDICATIONS THAT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS) can cause various types of allergic reactions that frequently lead to hyperpigmentation, or dark patches. While the dark spots can fade over time, women should seek treatment early. Procedures such as chemical peels and skin bleaching, designed to lighten the darkened areas, can help, as can diligent use of sunscreen. The new Fraxel™ is the first laser approved for treatment of melasma – a type of pigmentation disorder of the face.

8. Vitiligo – Skin gets its color from pigment cells. When those cells are damaged or destroyed, they no longer produce pigment, causing white or colorless spots to appear. The spots can grow larger over time and eventually blend together so that large portions of the skin have no color at all. While no one knows why this occurs, many suspect it is related to problems within the autoimmune system. Vitiligo also may be hereditary. While people of any skin color can develop Vitiligo, it is most obvious and therefore debilitating on dark skin. One common treatment is PUVA — a repigmentation therapy involving the drug psoralen combined with exposure to UV light. A simpler, newer and equally efficacious treatment is narrowband UVB light treatment. The newest laser treatment though is that of the Excimer laser 308nm which markedly shortens the number to treatments and spares unwanted streaks. This process help increase the amount of pigment cells at the skin’s surface. Other treatments include prescription-strength corticosteroid cream, light/laser treatments and, in rare instances, skin grafting.

DON’T LET THAT ALLERGEN GET AWAY!: Leading medical experts offers advice for preventing contact dermatitis in kids.

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New York , NY May 2006 – Your child has developed a red, itchy spot on her face, but you may be clueless as to the cause

Contact dermatitis – redness, swelling, itching and flaking of the skin – is the result of an allergen’s direct contact with the skin; the longer the substance remains on the skin oftentimes, the more severe the reaction.

Approximately 20% of all children at some time have contact dermatitis. Approximately 20-35% of healthy children react to one or more allergens on standard patch tests. Family history is also a good predictor. Children whose parents have contact dermatitis are 60% more likely to have positive patch test results.

“Since allergic reactions may not show up until several days after the initial exposure, the direct cause isn’t always clear-cut. One way to narrow the field is to look at the age of the child,” comments Joshua Fox, MD, dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Fox points out some of the typical irritants affecting children at various stages of development.

Infants
– Recent studies have shown that some diaper rashes may be caused by color dyes in diapers.

– The recent trend of piercing ears in infants may be the cause of nickel allergies.

– Constant exposure to saliva, from babies’ drooling, can cause irritations.

– Latex, which can also be an allergen, is found in pacifiers.

Toddlers and preschool children
– Starting to explore the outside world, this age group becomes more exposed to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

– Nickel is one of the most common metals that cause contact dermatitis; it is the most frequent contact allergen in girls over the age of eight. Costume jewelry, belt buckles, wristwatches, zippers, snaps and hooks can contain nickel.

– Latex is present in rubber toys and balloons.

Adolescents
– May develop reactions from overexposure to soaps, creams, sunscreens and lotions.

– Nickel allergies may occur from body piercing.

– Permanent hair dye and dyes used in perfumes and cosmetics can cause reactions.

– Contact lens solutions contains mercury, which can cause irritations.

– Acrylates, used in the application of artificial nails and in eyeglass frames, can be skin allergens.

– Pine resins, a sticky material found in bowling balls, baseball bats and strings on musical instruments, can cause a reaction on the fingers and hands.

Home Care
What to do? Dr. Fox suggests that if the irritation seems mild, to try home remedies:

– If you know what caused the inflammation, make sure your child avoids contact with it.

– Wash clothing and all objects that touched the allergen to prevent re-exposure.

– If your child is exposed to the allergen, immediately wash the affected area with soap and cool water.

– Apply cold, moist compresses for 30 minutes, three times a day to affected area.

– Relieve itching with OTC lotions – antihistamines, 1% hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, cool oatmeal baths and over the counter oral antihistamines.

Professional Care
If the inflammation doesn’t improve in a few days, or itching becomes unbearable, seek professional medical care. Dr. Fox explains, “A dermatologist can give your child a patch test to identify the specific cause of the contact dermatitis. After the allergens are identified, your physician will consult with you and your child on how to avoid the substances, specific substitute products that do not cause reactions, and possible medical interventions, such as immunotherapy shots and corticosteroids.”

SKIN ALLERGY OR ECZEMA?

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SKIN ALLERGY OR ECZEMA?
Patch Testing Can Tell the Difference

The cause of a skin rash (dermatitis) can be tough to figure out—even for dermatologists. That’s where patch testing comes in handy, according to leading dermatologist and founder ofAdvanced Dermatology P.C. and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery PC, Joshua L. Fox, MD. “Patch testing of the skin can tell us if a rash is being caused or exacerbated by an allergy,” he says, “and can help us to distinguish a skin allergy from other skin conditions, such as eczema, irritant dermatitis, or psoriasis.” (more…)

New Eczema Drugs: To Use Or Not To Use?

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New Eczema Drugs: To Use Or Not To Use?

Topical immunomodulators (TIMs), the first new class of drugs in over 40 years to treat eczema, were hailed as revolutionary treatments when they were first marketed a few years ago, offering new hope to the 15 million Americans suffering from this chronic, unsightly skin condition. Today, however, these miracle prescription creams are under assault because of data suggesting they may increase the risk of cancer. (more…)