What's up Doc? a Blog

Living with Psoriasis? We Can Help!

Did you know there are more than 125 million people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis all over the world? Psoriasis is a common inflammatory disease, caused by abnormal T-lymphocyte function, most often characterized by raised, red, scaly patches. These patches or plaques are usually found on the elbows, knees and scalp but may appear on any part of the skin. Joints and nails can be affected as well. This happens because skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate which causes a buildup of the psoriasis lesions; these lesions are NOT infectious or contagious but may frequently itch or burn.

Psoriasis most often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, effects men and women at equal rates and occurs in all racial groups. Psoriasis is also known to have a strong genetic link, often running in families.  Many psoriasis patients often develop arthritic symptoms as well.  This can lead to permanent bone changes when they occur.  Nails may also be affected, leading to pitting of the fingernails.

Although psoriasis may be stressful and embarrassing, it can also be painful and limit your activities. With appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within a few months. If you think you have psoriasis, or especially, if you already have arthritic pains related to your psoriasis, make an appointment to see Dr. Baker to see what treatment options are available.  In addition to the topical creams of the past, advances have led to new pills and injections that may eliminate many of your psoriasis symptoms.

Posted in Dermatology Tips, Psoriasas, Realm Staff Blog, The Skinny on Skin, What's up Doc? | Leave a comment

All About Alopecia

Did you know hair grows everywhere on your skin but your palms? You have about 100,000-150,000 hairs on your head and lose up to 100 of those per day. So finding a few stray hairs on your brush or pillow is not necessarily cause for concern. However, if you’re experiencing sudden hair loss or more hair loss than usual, it could be indication of a medical condition that requires a visit to Dr. Baker.

Alopecia is a general name for hair loss. Sometimes it is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your hair follicles. This attack causes your hair to fall out. Some people lose a lot of hair while others lose hair in just a few spots. There are different types of alopecia:

  • Alopecia areata refers to patchy hair loss on the scalp
  • Alopecia totalis refers to loss of hair on the entire scalp
  • Alopecia universalis refers to loss of hair on the entire body, including eyebrows

Identifying which type you’re suffering from will be Dr. Baker’s first step in determining treatment options. Although there is no cure for any of these forms of alopecia, there are medicines that can help re-grow hair. Corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system, can be administered through injections or as a topical application. There are other medicines that can be prescribed and sometimes a combination of treatments works best.

Hair loss can also be hormonal or genetic.  In these cases it is called, androgenic Alopecia.  This can affect both men and women (usually close to menopause). It can be treated with topical medications like minoxidil, or oral medications like finasteride or spironolactone.  Dr. Baker can help you decide which medication may be best for you.

Sudden hair loss is sometimes the result of Telogen effuvium.  This condition is often seen 2-3 months after a stressful event to the body.  Stress to the body can be emotional (work change, death in family, etc.) or physical (flu, diet change, recent surgery).  Dr. Baker can help you determine the cause, and possible treatments to provide your body the best chance at a full recovery.

We know that hair loss can be embarrassing and even affect your mental well-being causing anxiety and/or depression, but Dr. Baker can help. Call today for an appointment!

Posted in Alopecia, Dermatology Tips, Realm Staff Blog, The Skinny on Skin | Leave a comment

Understanding Acne

Did you know acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S.? Nearly 80% of people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It most often appears as an outbreak of pimples on the face, neck, back or shoulders. Although acne is most commonly see in teenagers, it can affect people of all ages, race, and gender. So what exactly is acne and why does it occur?

Acne forms in your pores, or hair follicles. Sometimes oil, dirt, and dead skin cells get trapped inside the pores and clog them. There’s a bacteria that lives on your skin known as P.acnes that can get inside these clogged pores and cause them to swell into bumps called acne. But don’t worry- there are treatments that can help!

It’s important to see Dr Baker to figure out what treatment works best for you. He might suggest topical treatments such as creams, lotions, or soaps that contain acne fighting ingredients. Or it could be that you need a combination of topical and oral medications. There are also in-office procedures that are very effective such as lasers and other light therapy, chemical peels, extractions, and enzyme facials.

Isotretinoin is the most effective therapy for severe or cystic acne. It can often clear severe acne that has been non-responsive to other treatments. It’s in a class of medications called retinoids and works by decreasing oil production (sebum) that’s naturally made by the glands in the pores of your skin. It also helps by reducing bacteria and inflammation and opening clogged pores. It can have side effects however which Dr Baker will discuss with you if he feels this is the right medication for you. Just remember – be patient! It may take weeks to see results from any medication and acne can often get worse before it gets better.

Posted in Dermatology Tips, News, The Skinny on Skin | Leave a comment

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