A dermatologist is a physician who specializes in treating disorders and diseases of the skin , hair, nail and mucous membranes.
They may also address cosmetic issues, helping to revitalize the skin , hair, and nail appearance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) reports that 39 million visits to office-based dermatologists, who were not employed by the federal government, were made in the United States in 2010.
Below, we explore common issues that dermatologists encounter, the treatments they offer, and the qualifications involved.
What is dermatology?
Dermatology is a medical discipline that focuses on health problems that affect the skin , hair , nails, and mucous membranes.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It is also the first line of protection against pathogens and disease, and may be a strong overall health indicator.
Before visiting a dermatologist, it is important to know that he has a full license or certification. Some practitioners call themselves dermatologists in spas and beauty clinics but don’t have the necessary accreditation.
In the US, the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada will certify a qualified dermatologist.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), with more than 20,000 members, is the largest membership dermatology organization in the USA.
A dermatologist must complete both college and medical school as either a medical doctor (MD) or as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) to qualify for registration with the AAD. They’ll also have a residency that requires 1 year of hands-on work.
Some dermatologists have their names after the initials FAAD. This abbreviation stands for: American Academy of Dermatology Fellow. The dermatologist is indicated as:
- has a license to practice medicine
- has passed exams given by either the American Board of Dermatology or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
- is a member of the AAD
The AAD offers a search tool to help a nearby dermatologist find people with skin , hair, or nail conditions.
Being a dermatologist needs a great deal of clinical knowledge, including the numerous internal health conditions that can cause symptoms of the skin, for example.
Dermatologists are likely to treat more than 3,000 conditions. Below are some examples of the ones they most frequently see:
Dermatitis and eczema: dermatitis is a skin inflammation, and usually leads to swelling of the itchy rash. There are a variety of forms, including atopic dermatitis, which is the most common type of eczema.
Fungal infections: This is a common and sometimes involving the skin, nails, and hair. A group of yeast called Candida can cause a variety of fungal infections, including oral thrush, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and balanitis.
Hair loss: About 80 million people in the US have hair loss heredity. Various health problems can also cause hair loss, including head lice, which affects approximately 6-12million children aged 3-11 years in the US each year.
Warts: It is contagious, benign skin growth that appears when a virus has infected the upper layers of the skin. A dermatologist can use a variety of treatments to remove warts persistent.
Nail problems: Dermatologists also treat the health problems that damage the skin around and under the nails. ingrown nails, fungal infections, and other conditions can cause this damage.
Vitiligo: This involves the skin to lose melanin, the pigment. As a result, some patches of skin lighter in color than the others.
Psoriasis: a chronic autoimmune disorder accelerate until the growth of skin cells, so that the skin patches may be thick, red, purple, or silvery and scaly. There are several types of psoriasis.
Rosacea: It causes redness in the face, sometimes with pus-filled bumps, visible blood vessels, and swelling of the eyelids. Symptoms can be spread from the nose and cheeks to the forehead, chin, ears, chest and back.
Shingles, or herpes zoster: infection with this virus causes a rash that may be painful. It may be evident within a few weeks without treatment, but medical intervention can help speed recovery and prevent complications, which can be severe.
Skin cancer: About 1 in 5 people in the US develop a type of skin cancer at age 70. The most common forms are basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Dermatologists use a range of medical and cosmetic treatments to treat skin , nails, and hair related issues.
Medications and non-invasive therapies can treat many skin conditions, while more invasive methods are needed for others. These procedures can take place in an outpatient setting, such as the doctor’s office, or in a hospital.
This involves applying a chemical solution that causes a skin layer to peel off, revealing the typically smoother, regenerated skin beneath.
This technique is used by dermatologists to treat sun-damaged skin and certain cases of acne. It may also contend with cosmetic complaints, such as age spots and under-eye lines.
Injections can temporarily address wrinkles, scarring, and reduced facial fullness. During a visit to an office a dermatologist may inject Botox or fillers such as collagen and fat.
Results continue to last for a few months and it needs daily injections to sustain the results. Some people however develop Botox antibodies that make the injections ineffective.
Cryotherapy can be a quick treatment for a lot of benign skin problems, including warts.
The treatment involves freezing skin lesions to kill the infected cells — sometimes with liquid nitrogen.
Dermabrasion can help to reduce scar tissue, fine wrinkles and tattoos, and potentially precancerous skin areas.
A dermatologist extracts the top layer of skin using a high-speed rotating brush
Excision of lesions
Dermatologists excise skin lesions for several reasons. They may cut away these lesions:
- to prevent a disease from spreading
- for cosmetic reasons
- to prevent reoccurring infection
- to alleviate symptoms
- to diagnose an underlying issue
The individual may be given a local or general anesthetic prior to removal, depending on the size of the lesion.
Hair removal or restoration
Dermatologists can also use laser surgery to treat a variety of skin issues or cosmetic complaints, including:
- unwanted tattoos
Superficial veins on the leg are small, dilated veins on the surface. People sometimes call them spider veins, and may ask to remove them.
Sclerotherapy appears to be the treatment of choice for the spider-vein. It involves either injecting foam or a particular solution into the vein which irritates the lining, causing the vein to shut down, then becoming less distinct or disappearing.
Dermatologists use liposuction with a tumescent to remove fat. This requires injecting large amounts of local anesthetic into fatty tissue and then sucking it out of the body itself.
Tumescent liposuction is not an obesity treatment-it is a body contouring cosmetic procedure.
Dermatologists can also selectively blast fat cells using lasers.
Skin grafts and flaps
Dermatologists can restore missing skin using skin from elsewhere on the body.
Or, they may repair skin loss by creating a flap of skin from a nearby area and using it to cover the damaged patch.
- Shave biopsies remove small sections of the top layer of skin.
- Punch biopsies remove small, circular sections of skin, including deeper layers.
- Excision biopsies remove entire areas of skin that seem to be unhealthy.
PUVA stands for: psoralen combined with ultraviolet A radiation.Psoralen is a drug that makes the skin more sensitive to the radiation treatment.
Dermatologists use PUVA to treat skin diseases, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and vitiligo.
Mohs surgery is a treatment for skin cancer.
First, the dermatologist removes skin layers to get rid of cancer cells and then scans them under a microscope.
They then eliminate successive layers until cancerous cells have ceased to exist. It takes specialized training to perform this surgery.
When to see a dermatologist
If the symptoms of skin , hair or nail do not respond to home care, then it may be time to seek medical help.
A person may seek out a specialized cosmetic dermatologist if concerns are cosmetic.
It is important for people to speak with their insurance companies about any future dermatological treatments, which often do not fund cosmetic procedures.
Be sure you have copies of all medical records, consultation notes and diagnostic test results you inform the provider of the treatment’s medical necessity.
Varicose eczema: All you should know
Stasis dermatitis, often known as varicose eczema, is a kind of eczema that affects people who have varicose veins. It occurs as a result of inadequate circulation. It commonly affects the lower legs, with sores developing as a result.
Other names for the same condition include gravitational dermatitis and venous eczema.
Adults are more likely to experience it, especially if they are overweight. According to studies, it affects 20% of people over the age of 70.
When blood flow in the lower legs is impaired, the valves in the veins weaken, allowing blood to leak into body tissues, stasis dermatitis develops.
This is known as venous insufficiency, and it can lead to the development of stasis dermatitis symptoms.
Initially, the symptoms will be felt in the ankles. There might be:
- Swelling that appears toward the end of the day and lessens after sleeping overnight
- Varicose veins covered with dry, itchy, or irritated skin
- Red, swollen, and painful skin, which may be weeping and crusty
- Heavy or aching legs when standing for a prolonged period
Other symptoms develop when the disorders go upward to the calf of the leg.
- Purple or red sores, or venous ulcers, on the lower legs and the tops of the feet
- Skin that is dry, cracked, shiny, and itchy
Sores that leak and crust become scaly on the skin. Bacterial infection and skin color changes are possible. Scabs and scars emerge when the wounds heal.
Eczema can affect other parts of the body in certain people.
If left untreated, the condition might deteriorate over time.
This can result in:
- Deeply pigmented skin
- Red and scaly skin in the affected area
- Intense itching in the skin
- Hard areas of thickened, fibrotic skin
- Shrinking of the lower part of the leg
The situation may then get much more complicated.
Bacterial infection can infiltrate the skin through the gaps and poor skin condition. Cellulitis can develop in the leg and spread throughout it. Cellulitis is an illness that affects the deeper tissues of the body.
The combination of the effects of stasis dermatitis on the skin and the usage of various drugs can make it exceedingly sensitive and painful to touch. Contact dermatitis is the medical term for this condition.
Risk factors and causes
Blood can be pushed upward toward the heart through valves in the legs. These valves fail as people age, allowing blood to flow out and pool in the lower leg, resulting in swelling and a condition known as venous insufficiency.
Blood leakage and cell death can result from these circulation issues, which can contribute to stasis dermatitis.
Those who have, or have had, the following conditions are at a higher risk:
- A blood clot, for example, deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Surgery to the area
- Kidney failure
- Venous insufficiency
- Varicose veins
- High blood pressure or a heart condition
The following are some lifestyle aspects to consider:
- Excess body fat
- A lack of exercise
- Standing or sitting for a long time, for example, at work
People who are overweight or obese, as well as women who have had many pregnancies, are at a higher risk. The veins in the legs are strained even more as a result of extra weight during pregnancy.
A physical examination will be performed by the doctor. The condition will be indicated by obvious signs and symptoms. They’ll inquire about the patient’s past medical history, including blood clots, surgery, heart disease, and previous damage to the afflicted area.
Tests may be performed to determine the cause of poor circulation.
These may include the following:
- Heart function tests
- Ultrasound to detect any blood flow problems
- Blood tests
Because a person with stasis dermatitis is more likely to develop a skin allergy, allergy testing may be performed.
Treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms.
- Swelling can be reduced and circulation improved by compression stockings or dressings. The patient’s legs should likewise be lifted above the level of their heart.
- Raising the legs can be beneficial. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that patients elevate their legs for 15 minutes every 2 hours and sleep with them propped up on a pillow.
- To minimize inflammation, including redness, swelling, and discomfort, a corticosteroid or a topic calcineurin inhibitor (TCI) may be administered.
- Special dressings may be required for ulcers or weeping sores. The dressing must be changed every 2 to 3 days at first, but after that, once or twice a week will enough.
- Cellulitis, erosions and ulcers, and other forms of infection will necessitate the use of antibiotics. A skin graft may be required for a big ulcer.
- Itching can be relieved with antihistamines.
- Moisturizers and emollients can aid in the prevention of dry skin. The ADD suggests using petroleum jelly or a thick lotion that says “fragrance free” on the label. Options might be discussed with a doctor, dermatologist, or pharmacist.
- Varicose veins, which cause pain, irritation, and ulcers, can be removed by surgery.
If your skin gets discolored, a dermatologist can help you find ways to lighten it.
Management and prevention
The majority of people who have stasis dermatitis will have it for the remainder of their lives.
The following steps are included in the treatment of the condition:
- Using medication for skin care and when symptoms flare up
- Keeping the legs raised when possible
- Using compression stockings
Stasis dermatitis may be avoided by taking care of the legs.
Among the measures are:
- Avoiding bath products and soaps that dry the skin
- Using emollients or moisturizers to keep the skin supple
- Not standing or sitting for prolonged periods
Stasis dermatitis and a variety of other illnesses can be avoided by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Does Dead Sea salt help with eczema?
For ages, people have bathed in the Dead Sea for medicinal purposes. People may now buy Dead Sea salt and utilize it at home. According to a few studies, this may help with eczema.
A prior study from 2011 revealed that a topical lotion mixed with Dead Sea minerals enhanced the skin barrier function in 86 children with eczema. However, there is currently no larger-scale research available.
People who want to try Dead Sea salt for eczema can buy the salts to dissolve in baths or use topical treatments containing the minerals.
Continue reading to find more about how and why Dead Sea salt could help with eczema, whether there are any hazards, and how to use it.
What is dead sea salt, and how does it work?
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the planet and the world’s saltiest body of water. It has a long history of being thought to have medicinal powers.
Scientists are still attempting to figure out if and how it helps with certain ailments.
The Dead Sea water contains a variety of minerals, including:
Salt may be made by evaporating water from the Dead Sea, which includes these minerals. These salts are subsequently used in goods like bath salts, body lotions, and soaps by some corporations. Dead Sea mud is used in other goods.
Is Dead Sea salt good for eczema?
There hasn’t been much research on whether Dead Sea salt can help with eczema. Two studies, however, suggest that it may be advantageous.
Dead Sea salt bathing
A 2005 scientific experiment looked at the effects of swimming in Dead Sea water containing magnesium chloride on people with atopic dermatitis, a kind of eczema.
For 15 minutes, research participants dipped one forearm in a water solution containing 5% Dead Sea salts. They dipped the second arm in the sink.
The researchers evaluated their skin quality at the start of the trial and once a week for the next six weeks. They found that individuals who soaked their skin in Dead Sea salts had greater skin hydration and less symptoms of roughness and irritation at the conclusion of the trial.
Dead Sea salt cream
An prior clinical experiment from 2011 looked at the benefits of a Dead Sea mineral-enriched lotion on children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.
The participants were divided into three groups for the study. For 12 weeks, all groups applied a cream to their entire bodies twice daily, in the morning and evening. Each group, however, utilized a cream that included different ingredients:
- One cream was a simple emollient moisturizer with no ingredients from the Dead Sea.
- One cream contained Dead Sea water.
- One cream contained Dead Sea mud.
The group that used the Dead Sea water cream had the greatest outcomes of all the groups. Over the course of the 12 weeks, this cream had the most favorable impact on the skin barrier. Improvements were seen in the other groups as well, but they were not as significant.
How might Dead Sea salt help with eczema?
The possible advantages of Dead Sea salt for eczema are thought to be owing to its mineral content, according to researchers.
The authors of the 2005 research hypothesize that the therapeutic impact of Dead Sea salt was due to magnesium, which may assist bind water to the skin and aid in skin restoration.
According to a 2020 research, the high magnesium content of Dead Sea salt contributes to its therapeutic characteristics. Magnesium, according to the authors, can:
- promote skin barrier integrity
- reduce inflammation
- boost water retention in the skin
Zinc, which is used in numerous skin healing treatments due to its propensity to aid wound healing, is also found in Dead Sea salt.
Is there a danger in utilizing Dead Sea salt?
The subjects in the 2005 and 2011 investigations tolerated the Dead Sea minerals well. This component by itself is unlikely to cause negative effects in otherwise healthy people. There are, nevertheless, certain possible dangers.
Balneotherapy is the practice of bathing in mineral water. In general, this is a safe procedure with little adverse effects. These can include the following:
- exfoliative dermatitis, which refers to the shedding of the top skin layer
- low blood pressure and fainting with prolonged immersion
- skin irritation
If a person uses Dead Sea salts at home, however, negative effects are less likely to occur since they may control how concentrated and hot the water is. Water that is extremely salty or extremely hot can be drying.
The Dead Sea has a high concentration of salt, around 34 percent. The 2005 research, on the other hand, only utilized a 5% concentration and still found a favorable impact.
Balneotherapy should not be used by some people. This comprises people with the following conditions:
- severe anemia
- an impaired sense of balance
- drug or alcohol intoxication
- a recent stroke or heart attack
- open wounds
- skin infections
- acute arthritis or other acute inflammatory conditions
- a current atopic dermatitis flare-up
- weeping lesions
- blisters or ulcers
- pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis
- cardiovascular disease
- severe high or low blood pressure
Before adopting any home remedies for eczema, people should always see a doctor, since they are not good for everyone.
Best way to use Dead Sea salt for eczema
If your doctor thinks it’s okay, there are numerous methods to sample Dead Sea salt. People can take a bath with the salt or use topical items containing Dead Sea salt, water, or mud.
To use the salt in a bath, follow these instructions:
- Run a bath of warm, but not hot, water. For balneotherapy, the water temperature is usually in the range of 86–104°F (30–40°C).
- Add 1 cup of Dead Sea salts to the water and allow them to dissolve.
- Get into the bath and stay in the water for a short time. The National Eczema Association recommends that people with eczema limit baths to 5–10 minutes.
- After leaving the bath, pat the skin dry with a clean towel. Try not to rub or scratch the eczema.
- Gently apply an emollient to the skin immediately afterward.
If a person just has eczema on one part of their body, such as their feet or hands, Dead Sea salts can be used in a mini bath that specifically treats those regions. However, the salt should not be used as a scrub since it might irritate eczema-affected skin.
Another alternative is to use fragrance-free Dead Sea mineral creams or lotions on the skin. This should be done after washing to ensure that the cream remains on the skin as long as feasible.
Other natural solutions
There are several additional natural therapies that may assist with eczema in addition to Dead Sea salts. These are some of them:
- Colloidal oatmeal: Colloidal oatmeal can be added to bathwater to help reduce itching. Alternatively, you may form a paste and use it as a therapy on your skin before washing it off.
- Vinegar: Vinegar straight from the bottle is far too abrasive for skin application. Vinegar, when diluted in a safe amount of water, can assist in the killing of germs. To a full bath, people can add 1 cup to 1 pint (236–568 milliliters).
- Coconut oil: According to research, coconut oil decreases the number of Staphylococcus germs on the skin, lowering the risk of eczema infection. Apply virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil to wet skin once or twice a day to attempt this cure.
According to a few studies, Dead Sea salt may help enhance the skin barrier’s function and minimize the obvious indications of eczema. Minerals like magnesium and zinc may have a role in the benefits. More current and large-scale research, however, are required to prove this.
There is now no proof that it performs better than medical therapies, although it may be a valuable complement to people’s eczema treatment regimens.
Despite the fact that Dead Sea salt is typically safe, it may not be suitable for everyone. Before using, a person should consult with a doctor.
Is eczema considered an autoimmune disease?
Eczema is a blanket word that refers to a variety of inflammatory skin disorders, often known as dermatitis. Several kinds of dermatitis are caused by an immune system response, and some evidence shows that autoimmunity may play a role.
An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues by mistake. This is often distinct from other forms of immune responses, such as an allergic reaction, which occurs when the body considers a specific substance to be a threat.
However, according to research published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, atopic dermatitis (AD) can begin as an allergic reaction and proceed to an autoimmune response.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a term used to describe a collection of skin disorders that create itchy, inflammatory rashes. Eczema can show in red spots on people with light skin tones. On darker skin tones, the patches may appear brown, purple, or gray.
There are now seven forms of eczema recognized by doctors:
- contact dermatitis
- atopic dermatitis
- stasis dermatitis
- dyshidrotic eczema
- seborrheic dermatitis
- nummular eczema
The immune system appears to be linked to most kinds of eczema, although the data is limited.
This article examines the putative relationships between autoimmunity and three forms of eczema: atopic, dyshidrotic, and nummular eczema.
Is atopic dermatitis an autoimmune disease?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, (AD) is a prevalent type of eczema with no clear etiology. Researchers believe that Alzheimer’s disease develops as a result of a combination of genetics, a weak immune system, and environmental factors that cause symptoms. Autoimmunity may also have a role, according to some studies.
According to dermatologists, patients with Alzheimer’s disease have a hereditary characteristic that causes their skin to lose moisture too fast, leaving breaches in the skin barrier. This might result in dry, unprotected skin.
This isn’t necessarily enough to produce Alzheimer’s disease. Other variables that may increase the likelihood of getting the illness in persons who are susceptible to it include:
- living somewhere that is cold and damp for at least some of the year
- exposure to pollution and tobacco smoke
Autoimmunity may possibly play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. According to the authors of a research published in 2021, Alzheimer’s disease may begin as an allergic reaction before evolving to an autoimmune response. They believe that persistent inflammation and relapses are caused by this.
A major population-based research from 2021 discovered that patients with one or more autoimmune conditions, particularly those affecting the skin and digestive tract, have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This shows that one may cause or enhance the risk of the other.
More study on how Alzheimer ‘s disease develops, however, is needed to clarify whether it is an autoimmune disease and, if so, what therapies could assist.
Is dyshidrotic eczema an autoimmune disease?
Small, irritating blisters appear on the soles, palms, and margins of the fingers and toes in dyshidrotic eczema, also known as pompholyx. Although the reason is unknown, many people who suffer from it also have another kind of eczema. Doctors have also discovered that dyshidrotic eczema may run in families.
The following are some of the most prevalent causes of flare-ups:
- metal allergies, especially nickel allergy
- seasonal allergies, such as hay fever
- heat and humidity
Because there have been few research on the immune response in persons with dyshidrotic eczema, it’s uncertain if it’s autoimmune.
Is nummular eczema an autoimmune disease?
Nummular eczema is characterized by coin-shaped areas that are itchy and occasionally oozing. Patches can occur on any part of the body. Experts are unsure what causes nummular eczema, although they believe it has something to do with:
- having dry or sensitive skin
- having other types of eczema
- metal allergies
- cuts, insect bites, or chemical burns
- low blood flow in the legs, if the patches appear there
Can eczema be a symptom of other autoimmune diseases?
Eczema and skin rashes are common symptoms of autoimmune diseases, however none of these symptoms alone would prompt a clinician to suspect an autoimmune illness. Eczema is a common skin condition that can develop on its own.
Eczema and autoimmune diseases can coexist, and the one can exacerbate the other. Eczema can be made worse by conditions that make the immune system more sensitive or cause inflammation.
Additionally, eczema can develop as a side effect of an autoimmune disorder. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), for example, can make it difficult to absorb nutrients.
According to a 2012 research, if certain nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, are deficient, the skin might become dry and prone to eczema.
According to a 2015 research, after taking this medicine, 29.6% of patients acquired scaling eczema and 18.5 percent had aggravated atopic eczema.
What other factors contribute to eczema?
Other causes, in addition to autoimmunity, can stimulate the immune system, including:
- irritants, such as artificial fragrance, harsh cleaning products, or smoke
- friction on the skin from itchy fabrics
- certain bacteria, viruses, and yeast
- dysbiosis, which is when the microbiome in the gut or on the skin is imbalanced
Symptoms can also be caused by things that decrease the skin’s capacity to moisturize and defend itself. Frequent hand washing, alcohol hand sanitizer usage, and hot showers, for example, can promote skin dryness. After having the skin wet, moisturizing it or applying sanitizers with moisturizers can assist.
Some of these variables have a greater impact on specific forms of eczema than others. Experts believe that seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a kind of yeast known as Malassezia.
This yeast thrives on the skin, but if it becomes too large, it might cause an immunological reaction. It may be controlled using antifungal treatments and shampoos.
To understand the causes of eczema and provide the appropriate therapies, doctors must first diagnose the precise form of eczema. People might have many types of eczema in different parts of their body, requiring different treatments.
Eczema can appear a lot like other skin illnesses including infections, psoriasis, and actinic keratosis, which is a precancerous skin rash.
If you haven’t received an official diagnosis or if conventional eczema treatments aren’t working, consult a dermatologist.
Eczema is a catch-all word for a group of seven inflammatory and itchy skin disorders. Each is unique and can be triggered in a variety of ways.
More study into Alzheimer’s disease might lead to new medicines that tackle the underlying process.
Consult an eczema specialist for a diagnosis and treatment options that can help you manage your symptoms.