SOME GOOD NEWS

While it has been widely reported that the incidence of melanoma (the most aggressive form of skin cancer) among U.S. adults has increased over the past four decades, pediatric melanoma has been on the decline. Researchers found that, over a recent six-year period, the number of new cases of melanoma in children has decreased by 12%. It was also found that treatable melanomas on the trunk and upper extremities of children were increasingly being detected when they were most treatable. This downturn in cases of pediatric melanoma at the same time the adult cases of melanoma are on the rise indicates that parents are getting the message to protect their children’s skin from the sun’s potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

These days, more attention is being given to protecting young children’s skin against the harmful rays of the sun. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and preventive measures help ensure that it remains as healthy and cancer-free as possible. Regular checkups are important. To schedule an appointment, please call Elmhurst Dermatology at (630) 832-2111.

Todd T. Davis, M.D.
Board-Certified Dermatologist

P.S. Pediatric melanoma is rare (five to six children per million), but the effects of excessive UV-ray exposure are cumulative and pose even a greater threat when exposure begins  at an early age.

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HIVES WITH NO IDENTIFIABLE CAUSE

“Chronic idiopathic urticaria” is the medical term for hives that appear on the skin for no readily identifiable reason. When these itching, burning, painful skin rashes appear daily over prolonged periods, it can lead sufferers to become demoralized. While most cases of “acute urticaria” lasting less than six weeks seemed to be triggered by an allergic reaction, longer-lasting chronic idiopathic urticaria is seldom due to an allergy. In approximately one-third of cases, an autoimmune reaction may underlie the condition. In the absence of any identifiable cause to treat, chronic hive sufferers should avoid harsh soaps as well as any known triggers. In the meantime, the dermatologist can prescribe a number of medications, ranging from antihistamines to anti-inflammation drugs.

Some chronic urticaria sufferers have other signs of autoimmune problems. Some have autoimmune thyroid disease, vitiligo, swollen joints, or certain abnormalities in the blood. When you have any dermatological problem, please call Elmhurst Dermatology at 630-832-2111.

Todd T. Davis, M.D.
Board-Certified Dermatologist

P.S. Research shows that the injectable drug omalizumab (Xolair) is very effective against difficult-to-treat chronic hives  without side effects.

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THOSE RAISED BROWN BUMPS

Older adults may grow alarmed when they see a wart-like skin growth that looks like it may be skin cancer. While this common skin growth may look worrisome, it is benign. In fact, “seborrheic keratosis” can look like warts, moles, actinic keratoses, and skin cancer, but they are differentiated by their characteristic waxy, “pasted-on-the-skin” appearance. Ranging in color from white to black, most are tan or brown and look like a dab of warm, brown candle wax on the skin. They start as small, rough bumps that slowly thicken and develop a warty appearance. If they become irritated (due to rubbing against jewelry or clothing), or patients deem them to be unsightly, the dermatologist can remove seborrheic keratoses.

Seborrheic keratoses are common and generally increase in number with age. They tend to run in some families. Seborrheic keratoses don’t become cancerous, but they can look like skin cancer. When you have any dermatological problem, please call ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY for an appointment. Medical, surgical, and cosmetic options are all addressed with careful, researched approaches as we make every effort to provide optimal outcomes.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board-Certified Dermatologist

P.S. If a seborrheic keratosis is difficult to distinguish from skin cancer, the dermatologist will likely have it biopsied.

 

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ADULT ACNE

Acne may be an adolescent affliction, but it also affects many adults, particularly women. In some cases, adolescent acne may not disappear completely (“persistent acne”). Otherwise, acne may develop for the first time in adulthood (“late onset acne”). The problem largely rests with the glands at the base of hair follicles secreting too much oil (“sebum”) as a flood of androgen hormones fuel oil secretion. When combined with excess amounts of dead skin cells, the mixture can clog the follicles, causing whiteheads and blackheads. Adult women may be especially susceptible to adult acne when hormones related to menstruation and pregnancy prompt excess oil secretion. Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause can also prompt acne. Proper treatment starts with a medical evaluation.

Today there are many effective treatments for acne. This doesn’t mean that every acne treatment works for everyone, but it does mean that almost every case of acne can be controlled. By using medications correctly and consistently, patients can prevent new acne pimples from forming. If you are concerned about your skin, please call Elmhurst Dermatology at 630-832-2111.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. Genetics, climate, cosmetics and skin care products, certain medications, emotional stress, and lack of sleep may contribute to acne.

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HARDENING OF THE SKIN

The chronic connective tissue disease known as “scleroderma” is derived from the two Greek words “sclero,” meaning hard, and “derma,” meaning skin. Generally classified as an autoimmune rheumatic disease, scleroderma is not contagious, infectious, cancerous, or malignant. Research thus far only indicates that the disease is not necessarily genetic (although there is a susceptibility gene) and that it involves an overproduction of collagen. In some cases, the disease affects only the skin, but it also can involve important structures such as blood vessels, internal organs, and the digestive tract. Women are affected more commonly than men, and the disease usually occurs between ages 30 and 50. A variety of treatments are available for symptoms, but there is no cure.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. One of the earliest signs of scleroderma is an exaggerated response to cold temperatures that causes numbness, color changes, or pain in the fingers and toes.

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STARTING FROM SCRATCH

We all know that scratching provides temporary relief from itchy skin by creating a mild sense of pain that nerve cells transmit to the brain instead of itch signals. The problem is, particularly among those with chronic itching problems, scratching often leads to a vicious cycle of more itching and scratching. Recent research has led to new insight into this phenomenon, which could lead to better treatments. It seems that scratching causes the brain to release the pain-relieving hormone serotonin, which also targets cells that control itch intensity, further increasing the impulse to scratch. New research may lead to ways of blocking communication between serotonin and itch-transmitting cells, hopefully leading to new itch treatments.
See a dermatologist if itchy skin lasts more than two weeks and doesn’t improve with self-care measures. If you are concerned about your skin, please contact ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY at 630-832-2111.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. The best way to deal with chronic itching involves having the dermatologist identify its cause and treat it accordingly.

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LIP SERVICE

Unlike other parts of the skin, lips do not contain oil glands, so they are a great deal more susceptible to drying out and chapping (cracking). While this may be an occasional problem for most people, some may develop “cheilitis,” which is a more severe form of chapped lips. Characterized by cracked skin at the corners of the lips, cheilitis can be caused by an infection. The condition may produce ulcers and white plaques on the surface of the lips, which may be lumpy and appear dark pink or red. These symptoms often do not respond to self-help measures and require medical treatment from a dermatologist. Cheilitis is most common in patients over the age of 59.
Chelitis may progress to more widespread impetigo or candidal skin infection on the adjacent skin and elsewhere. If you are concerned about your skin, you may want to contact ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY. Please call 630-832-2111 to schedule an appointment at our office located at 103 N. Haven, Suite 7.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. Dental trauma and excessive saliva production may transform a regular case of chapped lips into cheilitis.

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TREATING ROSACEA

Rosacea is a skin disease that causes flare-ups of reddened, bumpy facial skin. Over time, the 16 million Americans who suffer from the chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder may also display ruddier and more persistently red skin as well as visible blood vessels. Fortunately, there are effective treatments, including topical gels, lotions, and creams containing either metronidazole or azeleic acid. Their continued use helps keep rosacea under control without producing side effects. At the same time, very low doses of antibiotics such as doxycycline (beginning with oral medications and transitioning to topicals) help control inflammation. If blood vessels become dilated, treatment with pulsed dye laser, pulsed green-light laser, and intense pulsed light may help eradicate them.

There are several types of rosacea and their symptoms vary in both severity and extent. Due to the raised, red bumps that may contain pus, rosacea is sometimes dubbed “adult acne.” If you are concerned about any skin rash, you may call ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY at 630-832-2111 to schedule an appointment. Our office is located at 103 N. Haven, Suite 7. Because everyone’s skin is different, a board-certified dermatologist will examine you and create a personal treatment regimen to give you a healthier more youthful appearance. New patients are always welcome. We strive to provide the highest quality care to our patients.

Todd T. Davis, M.D.
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. To avoid rosacea flare-ups, avoid spicy foods and thermally hot drinks (such as coffee).

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NICKEL ALLERGY

Nickel allergy, which is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, affects about 10 to 12 percent of the female population and 6 percent of the male population. The rash, redness, swelling of skin, dry patches, and sometimes blisters that characterize nickel allergy are caused by nickel contacting skin and reacting with perspiration, allowing nickel ions to penetrate skin in susceptible people. Left untreated, the affected skin can become dark, leathery, and cracked. The reaction is most often caused by contact with jewelry that contains nickel. For mild symptoms, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and antihistamine pills may help. To treat more severe symptoms, the dermatologist may prescribe a topical steroid cream or oral steroid or antihistamine pills.

There are many causes of allergic dermatitis. The rashes that accompany this condition can itch, ooze, and crust. Some rashes appear immediately and others develop over a period of time. Whenever you are concerned about the appearance of your skin, call 630-832-2111 to schedule an appointment at ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY. Wewill examine your skin condition. Sometimes patch testing may need to be performed to isolate the allergen that is causing your particular skin reaction. Medicine, skin care, and lifestyle changes may prevent future outbreaks. New patients are welcome at our office located at 103 N. Haven, Suite 7. We strive to provide the highest quality care to our patients.

 

Todd T. Davis, M.D.
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. Once nickel allergy develops, it usually lasts a lifetime.

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PSORIASIS

About 80 percent of people who develop the inflammatory skin condition known as psoriasis have so-called “plaque” psoriasis. Symptoms include patches of raised, reddish skin covered by silvery-white scales. These plaques usually form on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp, although they may appear anywhere on the body. This uncomfortable skin condition is also associated with severe itching and cracked and bleeding skin. Treatment for moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis includes the use of adalimumab (Humira), a tumor necrosis factor blocker. This drug is administered by injection under the close supervision of a dermatologist and is approved for use in adult patients who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.

Psoriasis is not contagious, although it may be hereditary. Climate, stress, infections, and some medications are things that can sometimes trigger flare-ups. If you suspect that you have psoriasis or some other skin condition, call 630-832-2111 to schedule an appointmentwithELMHURST DERMATOLOGY. A board-certified dermatologist will examine at our office located at 103 N. Haven, Suite 7. Your condition will be carefully analyzed, and a treatment protocol will be created to meet your personal needs. Let our friendly, experienced staff help you. New patients are welcome. We strive to provide the highest quality care to our patients.

 

Todd T. Davis, M.D.
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. About one in ten people develop psoriasis in childhood, which makes it more likely that the condition will be widespread and recurrent.

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