Posts for: January, 2018
If you spend time outdoors, then you’ve probably come into contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac at some point in your life. The plants’ oily sap, known as urushiol causes many people to break out in an itchy rash. Urushiol is colorless or pale yellow oil that exudes from any cut part of the plant, including the roots, stems and leaves.
The intensely itchy rash is an allergic reaction to the sap and can appear on any part of the body. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person, depending on how much sap penetrates the skin and how sensitive the person is to it. The most common symptoms include:
- Itchy skin
- Redness or streaks
- Small or large blisters
- Crusting skin when blisters have burst
When other parts of the body come into contact with the oil, the rash may continue to spread to new parts of the body. A common misconception is that people can develop the rash from touching another person’s poison ivy rash. However, you cannot give the rash to someone else. The person has to touch the actual oil from the plant in order have an allergic reaction.
When to See Your Dermatologist
Generally, a rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac will last 1 to 3 weeks and will go away on its own without treatment. But if you aren’t sure whether or not your rash is caused by poison ivy, or if you need treatment to relieve the itch, you may want to visit a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and care. You should also see your dermatologist if the rash is serious, in which case prescription medicine may be necessary. Swelling is a sign of serious infection.
Other signs that your rash may be serious include:
- Conservative treatments won’t ease the itch
- Rash begins to spread to numerous parts of the body
- Pus, pain, swelling, warmth and other signs of infection are accompanying the rash
- Facial swelling, especially on the eyelids
- Rash develops on face, eyelids, lips or genitals
- Breathing or swallowing becomes difficult
To avoid getting the rash caused by poison ivy, oak or sumac, learn how to recognize what these plants look like and stay away. Always wear long pants and long sleeves when you anticipate being in wooded areas, and wear gloves when gardening. If you come into contact with the plants, wash your skin and clothing immediately.
Poison ivy, oak and sumaccan be a real nuisance and often difficult to detect. As a general rule, remember the common saying, “Leaves of three—let them be.” And if you do get the rash, visit our office for proper care.
It’s not uncommon for a person to have a mole. In fact, some people have dozens of them all over their body. But in some cases, a mole can turn into a type of skin cancer called a melanoma. As tempting as it may be to ignore or avoid a potentially problematic mole, it’s best to go in for an examination at Choice Dermatology in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ as soon as possible for your peace of mind.
What Is a Mole?
A mole is a small gathering of cells on the skin that is usually darker in color compared to the rest of the skin. It is usually slightly raised and circular in shape, however, in some cases a mole may be what is called “atypical.” It is most common in lighter skinned people. Unlike a scab or acne sore, a mole is not something that you can easily pick or tweeze off. Sometimes a patient is born with a mole (sometimes called a “birthmark”), while in other cases it appears later in life. Moles can be hereditary.
When Should a Mole Be Checked?
Moles are usually benign, but as a patient ages the cells could begin to change. Also, constant exposure to the sun can also affect mole cells. If you have a mole that has been the same for a long time and it suddenly starts changing, whether in color, size, or shape you should have it checked by your Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ dermatologist. Also, if the mole starts to become painful or bleeds, see your doctor. If anyone in your family has a history of melanoma, you should have moles checked regularly.
Some patients want to know if a benign mole should be removed or left alone. Your dermatologist will likely recommend that you leave it alone if it is normal. A mole can be removed by a doctor using a surgical procedure called excision. If a mole contains cancer cells, it’s important to have it diagnosed as soon as possible for the treatment.
See Your Dermatologist
You can get your mole checked out at Choice Dermatology in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ. Call (908) 766-7546 or (908) 355-0112 today and make an appointment to see Dr. Marc Meulener.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition of the face that affects an estimated 16 million Americans. Because rosacea is frequently misdiagnosed and confused with acne, sunburn or eye irritation, a large percentage of people suffering from rosacea fail to seek medical help due to lack of awareness. It’s important to understand the warning signs of rosacea and need for treatment to make the necessary lifestyle changes and prevent the disorder from becoming progressively severe.
Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, you may be more susceptible to rosacea if:
- You are fair-skinned
- You blush easily
- You are female
- You have a family history of rosacea
- You are between the ages of 30 and 50
A frequent source of social embarrassment, for many people rosacea affects more than just the face. Rosacea is a chronic skin disease, which means it lasts for a lifetime. Learning what triggers your rosacea is an important way to reduce flare-ups and manage symptoms. This may include avoiding stress, too much sunlight, heavy exercise, extreme temperatures and certain foods or beverages.
What Are the Symptoms of Rosacea?
Rosacea frequently causes the cheeks to have a flushed or red appearance. The longer rosacea goes untreated, the higher the potential for permanent redness of the cheeks, nose and forehead. Symptoms of rosacea will not be the same for every person. Common symptoms include:
- Facial burning and stinging
- Facial flushing and blush that evolves to persistent redness
- Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead
- Small, visible broken blood vessels on the face
- Acne-like breakouts on the face
- Watery or irritated eyes
If you recognize any of the warning signs of rosacea, visit your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. A dermatologist will examine your skin for common warning signs and tailor a treatment plan for your unique condition. Treatment will vary for each individual, ranging from topical medicine, antibiotics and lasers or light treatment. While there is currently no cure, with proper management patients can learn how to avoid triggers, prevent flare-ups and manage their condition to live a healthy, active life.