Medical Dermatology is the science of skin disease, which sounds simple enough. However, there are hundreds of skin diseases, which can vary in appearance. Skin diseases can also evolve over time, making them even harder to treat. When you visit our office with a rash, you can expect that we will approach your skin disease as follows:

  • The History: Please be aware of the following questions: when was onset of rash, what was the location, is there a family history, what are your allergies, what is your occupation, have you had previous treatment?
  • The Exam: We will then examine your skin by giving you a gown and looking at all of your skin–both normal and abnormal.
  • The Plan: We will formulate a plan of therapy.
  • The Testing: We will consider diagnostic testing which includes biopsies, skin scrapings, and laboratory testing. We also can perform patch testing to rule out allergic reactions.

Common Conditions

Acne is a common skin condition that can be triggered by bacteria, hormonal changes, lifestyle and other causes. Acne is typically caused by excessive sebum oil production, which gets trapped inside the pore. Acne commonly appears as red and inflamed bumps, an acne cyst, or a nodule.

Eczema is an autoimmune disorder that results in red and flaky skin. Eczema is often accompanied by a persistent itch, which gets worse when triggered by allergies like pet dander, sweat, infection, and more. Eczema is likely genetic, although scientists are still not sure why it occurs.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the buildup of excessive skin cells. These skin cells create scaly discolored patches that can feel itchy.  Psoriasis is genetic, although scientists are still not sure of the exact causes of this disease.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that often appears similar to a rash, as it’s typically reddish in color and looks scaly. These red and scaly patches can be itchy or feel as though they’re burning. They typically appear on the face, although they’ve been known to appear on the upper chest, back, armpits, and genitals.

Urticaria is the medical diagnosis for hives, which appear as raised bumps.  Urticaria can be chronic or acute; in the latter case, it’s usually caused by recent illness, travel, sun exposure, alcohol ingestion, and more.

Dermatitis is a term is used to describe a broad variety of skin conditions; it typically shows up as red, itchy, and dry skin. Some serious cases of dermatitis involve cracked or oozing blisters. Dermatitis is a type of inflammation that can be caused by allergies or irritants.

Actinic Keratosis is a precancerous lesion caused by extreme exposure to the sun’s UV rays. If left untreated, actinic keratosis can transform into squamous cell carcinoma. People with actinic keratosis should be under the care of a dermatologist.

Basil cell carcinoma is a common type of skin cancer that grows slowly; however, it’s important to treat as soon as possible. Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a red dome-shaped growth on areas that have been exposed to the sun.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a common skin cancer that appears as a rough bump or lump on areas of the body that are commonly exposed to the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma is easily treatable if caught early.

Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer that can be fatal if left untreated or not caught early enough. Symptoms of melanoma include atypical moles that have irregular borders or are not symmetrical in shape. It’s important for melanoma to be caught early in order to be treated.

A solar lentigo is a dark freckle that’s caused by exposure to UV rays.  While solar lentigo lesions may be benign, they should be considered an early warning sign that a person is getting too much sun exposure.

Seborrhic keratosis is a skin growth that’s common for people in their middles ages. These growths can range in appearance from a wart-like lesion to a small brown spot. These skin growths are harmless and not contagious.

An angioma is a skin growth that consists of tiny blood vessels. Angiomas can be triggered by the aging process or by hormonal changes, like pregnancy. When present in large amounts, angiomas can be a sign of liver damage. They’re not harmful; however, they should be treated if they start bleeding.

Alopecia refers to hair loss; hair follicles typically fall out in round patches on the scalp. In addition to the scalp, alopecia can occur on the body. Hair can grow back after a bout of alopecia, but it’s likely to fall back out again.

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common skin condition caused by a virus. It’s characterized by flesh-colored bumps on the skin. As the name suggests, molluscum contagiosum is highly contagious; many adults get this skin condition through sexual contact or via a weakened immune system.

Herpes zoster – also known as shingles – is a dormant virus that lives in people who have had the chicken pox. Shingles occur when the virus becomes reactivated in later years; scientists are not sure what triggers the virus.

Herpes simplex is a common viral infection that results in oral sores.  Herpes simplex (HSV-1) is different from HSV-2, which causes genital herpes. Cold sores can be highly contagious and are often triggered by an infection, stress, and more.

This serious type of pimple is caused by a blocked pore that’s super irritated. Cysts are formed by a white pus liquid. Cysts can be caused by bacteria or by hormonal changes.

Scabies are human itch mites that can cause extremely itchy rashes. Human itch mites travel from person to person; therefore, most people get scabies through contact. Scabies are easily treatable by a dermatologist.

These benign skin growths are caused by a virus that affects the top layer of the dermis. Warts are highly contagious and can be spread via touching. Warts typically grow around the fingers and usually feel like rough bumps.

Moles are very common; in fact, most adults have moles. Moles should only be a cause for concern if they start to itch, bleed, or change shape.  Moles can be removed due to cosmetic concerns.

A skin tag looks like a soft flap of skin hanging off the top layer of the dermis. Skin tags commonly occur on the eyelids, under the breasts, on the neck, and along the groin and armpits.

Wound healing can often lead to scars. These scars can be reduced by keeping the wound clean, using petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist, and changing the bandage daily.

Procedures

Biopsies

A biopsy is a sample of tissue taken from the body in order to examine it more closely. A doctor should recommend a biopsy when an initial test suggests an area of tissue in the body isn’t normal.

Excisions

Excision is the removal of a skin cancer along with some of the healthy skin tissue around it (margin). For this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area.

Cosmetic Removal

Cosmetic Removal of moles, skin tags, warts, unwanted hair, and scars.

To learn more about our treatments for common skin conditions or to schedule your consultation at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, P.C., serving the Philadelphia metro area, including The Main Line, Chestnut Hill, Blue Bell, Gwynedd, and Flourtown, please fill out the form on this page or call (610) 828-0400.