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Medical Dermatology
Acne


What is acne?
Acne is a common skin disorder that typically affects teenagers and is usually found on the face, neck, back, shoulders, or upper arms. A growing number of women have acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Although not usually detrimental to your overall health, it can be very emotionally upsetting, and in many cases untreated acne can cause permanent scarring. The actual mechanisms of acne are very complex and may differ from one person to another.

What are the symptoms?
Acne is characterized by:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Pimples
  • Deeper lumps (also called cysts or nodules)
  • Scars on the face, chest, and back

How is acne treated?
There are a number of acne treatments available, and the type of acne and the severity of your particular case generally determines the form of treatment. Some acne can be treated with over-the-counter washes and creams, but more severe cases may require more specialized treatments.

Where can I get more information?
A scheduled appointment with a dermatologist is the best place to learn about your skin, but these online sources are also great places to begin to learn about causes of acne, acne symptoms, and common acne treatments at the links below.

Mayo Clinic - Acne

To learn more about the symptoms and treatment of acne, contact Alaska Center for Dermatology here.

Eczema


What is eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, non-contagious skin disorder. Eczema is very common, and is usually more severe for children.

What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms include:

  • Red, dry, scaly patches of skin
  • Extreme itching
  • Blisters and oozing

How is eczema treated?
Like many skin conditions, atopic dermatitis is not curable. However, you can get help for eczema by managing and minimizing outbreaks and by avoiding "triggers" such as:

  • Irritating creams, lotions, and soaps
  • Rough, scratchy, or tight clothing
  • Rapid changes in temperature
  • Stress

Treatments recommended by our dermatologic professionals may include:

Where can I get more information?
A scheduled appointment with a dermatologist is the best place to learn about your skin, but these online sources are also great places to begin to learn about causes of eczema, eczema symptoms, and common eczema treatments.

To learn more about the symptoms and treatment of acne, contact Alaska Center for Dermatology here.

Psoriasis


What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic genetic skin disorder that can affect the skin and/or joints. Because it is a highly visible condition, people often think that psoriasis is contagious. Don’t worry – it isn’t. It is, however, extremely common. More than seven million people in the United States suffer from psoriasis and about 80 percent of psoriasis sufferers have plaque psoriasis. Other types of psoriasis include guttate, inverse (also called flexural psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis), pustular, and erythrodermic (also called exfoliative psoriasis). People with psoriasis can suffer from one or more types, and types can even change over time.

What are the symptoms?
What you see and feel depends on the type of psoriasis you have. There are several different types of psoriasis on the skin, each with its own set of symptoms. However, common symptoms may include:

  • Thickened, red patches on the skin, often on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back, hands, nails, feet, and genitals
  • Patches may be covered with silver/white coating
  • Itching
  • Nail problems

How is psoriasis treated?
There is no cure for psoriasis, but outbreaks can be controlled with one of several treatment options. When choosing your treatment it is important to consider the type and severity of your psoriasis as well as your individual lifestyle.

Where can I get more information?
A scheduled appointment with a dermatologist is the best place to learn about your skin, but these online sources are also great places to begin to learn about causes of psoriasis, psoriasis symptoms, and common psoriasis treatments.

National Psoriasis Foundation
Mayo Clinic - Psoriasis

To learn more about the symptoms and treatment of psoriasis, contact Alaska Center for Dermatology here.

Skin Cancer


What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer, usually caused by over-exposure to sunlight, is the most common form of cancer and affects over two million Americans every year. The three most common types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma:
    This type of skin cancer accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancer cases in the United States. Light-colored skin, sun exposure, and age can all contribute to the development of basal cell carcinoma. These cancers almost never spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, but they can cause damage by growing and invading surrounding tissue.


  • Squamous cell carcinoma:
    These tumors occur roughly one-fourth as often as basal cell carcinoma, and they affect men far more often than women. Sun exposure is the main cause of this type of cancer. While not common, squamous cell carcinomas can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body. These tumors usually begin as firm, skin-colored or red nodules.


  • Malignant melanoma:
    Melanoma is the most potentially dangerous form of skin cancer. They occur when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Melanomas may metastasize and spread to other parts of the body, and may develop in previously normal-appearing skin or in pre-existing moles.

What are the symptoms?
It is important to inspect your skin regularly. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment.

  • Basal cell carcinoma often appears as a small, shiny lump that may bleed, crust over, and then bleed again.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma typically appears as a lump or a red, scaly growth.
  • Malignant melanoma usually appears as a dark brown or black mole with uneven borders and irregular colors in shades of black, blue, red, or white.

Other symptoms may include:

  • A pre-cancerous condition called actinic keratoses, characterized by small, scaly spots commonly found on the face, lower arms, and back of the hands
  • Changes in the number, size, shape, and color of pigmented areas
  • The sudden appearance of moles, sores, growths, or discolorations

How is skin cancer treated?
One of our dermatologists will examine the area and decide if a skin biopsy is necessary. If the biopsy shows that the area is cancerous, there are several procedures that can be used. These include:

  • Mohs surgery
  • Curettage and electrodessication
  • Surgical excision
  • Laser surgery
  • Cryosurgery
  • Topical chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

Remember, when skin cancer is found and treated in its early stages, there is a successful cure rate of greater than 95 percent. Don’t hesitate to ask us about any potential symptoms that worry you.

Where can I get more information?
A scheduled appointment with a dermatologist is the best place to learn about your skin, but these online sources are also great places to begin to learn about causes of skin cancer, skin cancer symptoms, and common skin cancer treatments.

Mayo Clinic - Skin Cancer
The Melanoma Research Foundation

To learn more about the symptoms and treatment of skin cancer, contact Alaska Center for Dermatology here.

Ultraviolet Light Treatment


What is ultraviolet light treatment?
At our complete Ultraviolet Light Treatment Center, patients receive short exposures to narrow-band ultraviolet light. This phototherapy, or light therapy, involves exposing the skin to narrow-band ultraviolet light on a regular basis and under medical supervision. The key to success with light therapy is consistency. This highly effective therapy can provide relief from:

To learn more about ultraviolet treatment, contact Alaska Center for Dermatology here.