What are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flulike symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.
When should I see a doctor about cold sores?
While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.
If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.
What treatments are available for cold sores?
While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also overthe-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.
Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.
While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!
Learn some fun facts about these common skin blemishes.
Birthmarks are extremely common, appearing on about 80 percent of babies at birth. Even if you don’t have a birthmark, chances are good that you know someone who does. However, how much do you actually know about these dermatological markings? There are a lot of facts and folklore surrounding birthmarks and why they appear. Find out how much you really know!
Your Birthmark Is Not Caused By Your Mother!
There are many folk tales surrounding the expectant mother’s influence on whether or not her child has a birthmark. Some cultures believe that a birthmark is associated with the mother’s unfulfilled want or need, while others believe that certain foods that the mother eats or activities that she participates in can cause birthmarks to appear on her newborn. However, many doctors believe that birthmarks actually form before the child is even born.
Does a Birthmark Tell You Who You’ll Be?
Are you always looking for the next amazing adventure? Do people revel over all your successes? If so, some people might believe your birthmark has something to do with it. A birthmark on the back is believed to signify that the child is openminded, while a birthmark on the right foot means you are born to be a traveler. While there is certainly no scientific evidence to prove any of this, it’s a fun superstition nonetheless.
All lore aside, many birthmarks are benign; however, it is best to see your dermatologist to have it evaluated and to make sure it isn’t malignant. There are several different kinds of birthmarks:
- Congenital melanocytic nevus: This more rare birthmark can be found anywhere on the body and is usually light brown or sometimes black, depending on the person’s skin color.
- Mongolian spots: A bluishgray marking that may look similar to a bruise.
- Port wine stain: A purple or red blemish that often appears on the face.
- Telangiectatic nevus: Sometimes referred to as a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these slightly red patches are often found on the face or back of the neck.
- Hemangiomas: A raised, red mark sometimes referred to as a “strawberry mark”
- Café au lait spots: This birthmark is characterized by circular, light brown spots
- Silvermark: A silver or white streak in the hair.
If you are unhappy with or embarrassed by your birthmark then you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Both surgery and laser treatments may be options for having your skin blemish removed.
Even if you are someone who lathers on the SPF regularly, chances are good that if you’ve spent any time in the sun during your lifetime that you have some sun damage. Everything from dark spots to freckles can form as a result of exposure to the sun. Of course, if you find those dark spots becoming more visible or more widespread then you may want to consider how a dermatologist can help refresh your appear and hide those signs of sun damage.
If you are noticing more and more dark spots then it’s a good idea to seek a skincare professional who can determine the cause of these spots. There are many reasons discolorations occur and it’s important that we are able to detect early signs of skin cancer and melanoma before we decide the best course of action.
Once your dermatologist has performed a thorough screening and has determined that the dark spots aren’t cancerous, then it’s time to get down to business discussing what cosmetic option or options will work best for diminishing those dark spots, whether you are looking for at-home solutions or in-office treatments.
The number one treatment for getting rid of discolorations and dark spots is laser therapy. There are a variety of lasers available that can provide you with the results you want depending on your specific needs, goals, and skin problems. One of the most common lasers used to treat dark spots is the intense pulsed light (IPL). The goal of IPL is to reduce and even eliminate uneven pigmentation to provide a more even appearance. Another benefit to IPL is that is can also brighten the skin.
There are different wavelengths that are able to penetrate through different layers of the skin. Depending on the severity of your dark spots, your dermatologist will determine the wavelength that will provide you with the best results. As the laser is directed over the skin it will heat up and destroy the darker pigmentations of the skin. While it’s common for most people to treat their face, you can get IPL treatment just about anywhere, from your face and neck to your chest and legs.
Laser treatment can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to complete and can be performed without the need for anesthesia. The process is non-invasive and also boasts no downtime. Even though you may notice some redness afterwards, you can go right back to your daily routine. You’ll start to notice the dark spots flaking and going away over the course of a couple of weeks. You will most likely require a couple of sessions in order to get the optimal results.
Don’t let sun damage ruin the appearance of your skin. Turn to a dermatologist who can help meet your needs and provide you with the proper treatment option to give you the fantastic results you want. Laser treatment can be an amazing way to restore and revive sun-damaged skin.
Warts are benign skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. They often appear as a small, unsightly, rough growth on a person’s hands or feet, but can also appear on other parts of the body. There are many types of warts, some appearing flat or raised, and others growing in large clusters.
The virus that causes most warts is called human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are usually harmless, but some strains of HPV are associated with other health complications. Wart viruses are contagious and can spread by direct contact, usually entering the body in an area of broken skin.
When should you see your dermatologist?
In some cases, a wart will disappear on its own, although it may take months or even years. Most people prefer some method of wart removal since warts are often unattractive, bothersome and even painful. In many cases, warts can be treated at home.
Common methods for self-treatment include covering the wart with duct tape or applying salicylic acid. It’s always best to consult your dermatologist before trying any at-home remedies. Wart removal by a trained dermatologist is always the most effective treatment.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends visiting your dermatologist if you have any of the following:
- Any doubt that the skin growth is a wart, as some skin cancers resemble warts
- A wart that appears on your face or genitals
- Several warts
- A wart that is painful, itchy, burns or bleeds
- A weak immune system
Because HPV is contagious, you’ll want to take a few extra precautions to keep it from spreading, including:
- Avoid scratching or picking your warts.
- Always wear shoes in public places such as showers, locker rooms or pools.
- Never touch another person’s wart.
- Keep warts on the feet dry to prevent moisture from spreading the virus.
If your warts persist, are painful or if you have several warts, you should visit your dermatologist. There are many treatment options available for warts, including laser treatment or freezing, burning or cutting out the wart, among others. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment option for your specific type of wart.
Since there is no permanent cure for HPV, warts can redevelop. In this case, its best to have your dermatologist treat the new wart as soon as it appears. Warts are a common and frustrating condition affecting both children and adults. Contact our office today and learn how you can wipe out your warts!
Excess facial or body hair can be troublesome for both men and women. Although common, removal methods such as shaving and waxing are temporary, time consuming, painful and often yield poor results. It’s no wonder more and more people are opting for long-lasting, convenient hair reduction via laser hair removal.
With the use of advanced laser technology, your dermatologist can treat most areas of unwanted hair successfully, conveniently and with fewer complications than other methods. Professional laser treatment is a non-invasive approach to permanent reduction of hair, which can easily treat large areas of hair growth in a short period of time.
In-Office Laser Hair Removal
Performed by an expert dermatologist, laser hair removal works by penetrating the skin with controlled pulses of light that are absorbed by the hair follicles. Without damaging the skin and with minimal patient discomfort, the laser energy destroys the hair follicles and significantly impedes their ability to re-grow. Following treatment, patients enjoy smooth, soft skin and a long-lasting reduction in unwanted hair.
Since hair grows in cycles, the total number of required treatment sessions varies by patient skin type, hair color and hair coarseness. Common areas treated with laser hair removal include the legs, arms, back, shoulders, underarms, upper lip and the bikini area. Darker-colored hair is typically more responsive to laser treatment than light colored hair.
It’s important that you always choose an experienced dermatologist for hair removal to ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency. Your dermatologist will discuss the best laser hair removal options for your specific skin type, needs and expectations.
Visit our practice for a successful diagnosis and treatment for excess hair and experience the long-lasting results available with laser hair removal.
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