Acne is a common skin disease. It will physically and emotionally impact as much as 85 percent of the population at some point during their lifetimes. It affects both men and women, at all ages, and of all ethnic backgrounds.
Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands become clogged with sebum, oil and dead skin cells at the hair follicle, resulting in a bacterial overgrowth in the pore and subsequent inflammation. While the exact causes of acne are not known, hormonal changes are certainly triggers. Many adolescents suffer acne at puberty, and women have flare-ups during monthly cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. Stress, genetics, and dietary factors can also trigger or worsen acne.
Known by many names, acne may be called pimples, pustules, cysts, nodules, whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and comedones. Without prevention and proper treatment acne can leave permanent scars on your skin and your self-confidence.
Scarring on the face, neck, chest, and back can be left by untreated acne – depressions and irregular texture to the skin can result and uneven red and brown marks can occur. Those afflicted with serious acne may lose self-esteem, causing them to interact less effectively in social and business situations.
If you have more than mild acne, or if your breakouts don’t respond quickly to over-the-counter medications, get the situation under control quickly with the aid of your dermatologist. Dr. Westley will examine your skin and ask questions about your lifestyle, daily routine, and the severity of your breakouts. She will design an appropriate treatment and skin care program to manage your acne.
Today’s teens and adults are fortunate to have a number of acne-fighting weapons available to them. There are multiple well-tolerated topical agents that control breakouts and help with scars as well as a host of oral medications for more severe acne. Chemical peels as well as laser treatments are also used to treat the causes of acne, as well as to remediate scarring.
Eczema affects babies, children and adults and is characterized by dry, red, and itchy skin. There are typically three triggers for eczema. Eczema can be either genetic, an allergic reaction, or can be caused by a specific irritant. Genetic or hereditary forms of eczema typically do not have a specific trigger and can result in flare-ups and problems throughout a patient’s life with no immediate stimulus. Some individuals develop eczema due to an allergic reaction to a metal or some other allergen that has come in contact with their skin. Others may find that a specific irritant has caused the issue, such as a new laundry detergent, skin care product, or changes in temperature and humidity.
During a consultation with Dr. Westley, she will help determine the cause of eczema. Allergy testing can be done to narrow down the source of the problem. She will also recommend a skin care routine to help ease the symptoms and prevent flare-ups in the future. Prescription topical agents for both short-term use as well as long-term use can also be added.
There is a degree of natural hair loss that men and women experience as they age, however sometimes hair loss can be the result of an underlying medical condition. Dr. Westley will evaluate your scalp and hair to determine the cause, sometimes by ordering bloodwork or by performing a small biopsy from the scalp.
The most common causes of hair loss include alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease), androgenetic alopecia (hereditary thinning), underlying medical triggers, a recent physical or emotional stress, medications, and dieting and nutritional factors.
The treatment of the hair loss depends on the cause. Prescription as well as over-the-counter shampoos, solutions, vitamin supplements, prescription oral medication and even scalp injections can be used depending on the cause of the hair loss.
Hyperhydrosis is a medical term for excessive sweating that affects 2-3% of the population. The underlying cause is unknown, however genetics can play a role. It can be exacerbated by exercise and stress but often occurs spontaneously. It can cause physical symptoms such as skin irritation and infection and can also be emotionally troubling.
Powders as well as prescription solutions and oral medication can be tried first. for more refractory cases, Botox® injection is a minimally invasive treatment approved by the U.S. food and drug administration (FDA) in 2004 to help patients with severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating. Treatment with Botox® is administered intradermal in tiny injections into the area of severe sweating. Many people experience a 75% reduction in sweating that lasts 6-7 months. Many insurance plans cover this treatment; our office will work closely with you and your insurance plan in attempt to get coverage for the treatment.
Melasma is a common skin condition that causes dark spots or patches, typically on the face. Though this condition usually affects women, it can occasionally occur in men. Patients with a family history are more likely to develop Melasma than others. Though the exact cause is often unknown, pregnancy, birth control pills, cosmetics, hormones, certain medications and sun exposure and heat often trigger this condition.
Melasma can be treated in numerous ways, including the use of topical creams and gels. This can help reduce the appearance and fade the pigmentation over time. Chemical peels can also be used to help even out the skin tone and reduce the appearance of the pigmentation.
Prevention is important. Wearing sunscreen and following a healthy skin care regimen is essential for ensuring you are doing your best to protect your skin from the elements. Maintenance therapy can prevent Melasma from returning.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. While scientists do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions.
Psoriasis can show up anywhere—on the eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands and feet, and nails. The skin at each of these sites is different and requires different treatments.
Men and women develop psoriasis at equal rates. Psoriasis also occurs in all racial groups, but at varying rates. About 1.3 percent of african-americans have psoriasis, compared to 2.5 percent of caucasians.
Psoriasis often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. About 10 to 15 percent of those with psoriasis get it before age 10.
Light therapy or topical treatments are often used when psoriasis is limited to a specific part of the body. However, doctors may prescribe oral or injectable drugs if the psoriasis is widespread or greatly affects your quality of life. Effective treatments are available, no matter where your psoriasis is located. Dr. Westley has participated in clinical trials for several psoriasis medications and has many years of experience in treating psoriasis; her office will also make every effort in getting the appropriate medications approved through insurance if the criteria are met.
Rosacea is a common skin disease that causes redness, flushing, pimples and broken blood vessels on the face. Common triggers include hot drinks, spicy food, caffeine and alcohol. Daily sun protection is vital as this is also a very common trigger. Extreme sensitivity to skin care agents and cosmetics is also very common in rosacea.
When rosacea first develops, the redness may come and go. Some people may flush or blush and never form pimples. Small dilated blood vessels may also be present. When the skin does not return to its normal color, and when other symptoms such as pimples and enlarged blood vessels become visible, it is best to seek advice from a dermatologist.
There are multiple ways for rosacea to be treated. It is very important to use a gentle skin care routine. There are numerous topical agents that help to reduce the redness and pimples associated with rosacea as well as oral agents if needed. Long-term therapy to keep the rosacea under control can also be recommended. Dr. Westley also performs several different laser treatments to reduce the broken blood vessels as well as to improve the overall redness and improve the quality of the skin.
Skin aging and wrinkle development is a combination of intrinsic factors (one’s genetics) as well as extrinsic factors. These factors include sun exposure, cigarette smoking, and exposure to tanning beds and pollutants.
No matter the cause or one’s age, different treatment and prevention modalities can be incorporated. Dr. Westley has a special interest in skin care and cosmeceuticals for preventing and treating fine lines and wrinkles and can recommend an over-the-counter or prescription regimen depending on the degree of aging. She also dispenses some medical grade cosmeceuticals that have strong clinical data for improving skin texture and tone.
Multiple in-office modalities can also be incorporated including Botox injections and dermal fillers- these reduce and eliminate wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles and adding volume back to the skin. Chemical peels can also improve sun damage and fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. Westley also performs lasers for photo-rejuvenation and skin tightening which can dramatically improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer. Each year in the US, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer. Overall, 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. With early detection and treatment, skin cancer is highly curable. The first sign may be a slowly growing bump, a changing mole, or a dry and scaly rough patch. When treated before it spreads, most skin cancers can be cured. Even melanoma, a type of skin cancer that can spread quickly, is curable when treated early.
Most diagnosed skin cancers are no-melanoma skin cancers, with about 80% being basal cell carcinomas and about 20% squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas frequently appear as a pearly bump, whereas squamous cell carcinomas often look like a rough, red scaly area or an ulcerated bump that bleeds. These most commonly occur on areas that have had high sun exposure such as the face, neck, hands and arms. melanoma skin cancers occur less frequently but are significantly more lethal, killing 1 person every hour in the U.S. melanoma can arise by itself or from a pre-existing mole that becomes rapidly growing, itching, bleeding, or changing its color or surface.
Regular screening by a dermatologist can identify these lesions when they are most curable. Dr. Westley performs a very thorough skin examination and mapping and has many years of experience in performing skin biopsies if necessary as well as removals of precancerous and cancerous lesions.
The following tips can help prevent skin cancer: never use a tanning bed, wear sunscreen that protects against uva and uvb rays with an spf 30 daily, wear clothes and sunglasses that offer uv protection, and try to seek shade between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Skin laxity can result from a multitude of reasons, including prolonged exposure to the sun, the body’s natural loss of collagen through the aging process, genetics and reduced muscle tone. This can occur in areas such as the jawline, cheeks, neck, buttocks, extremities, abdomen and eyelids.
Using monopolar radiofrequency energy, Dr. Westley uses the latest device to heat up the skin’s natural collagen building mechanisms to tighten skin and give a more youthful texture and appearance. The treatment is safe, comfortable and effective throughout the body.
Please refer to the Skin Tightening tab under the PROCEDURES link for more information on this technology.