Psoriasis affects about 7.5 million people in the US. The disease is most commonly associated with red scaly skin on the knees and elbows, but may also involve the scalp, body, face, and nails. For many patients suffering from this disease, arthritis and/or gastrointestinal problems may also impair their quality of life. There are many treatments for psoriasis, and at Beer Dermatology we use combinations of topical treatments, moisturizers, lifestyle management, light therapy, and biologic modifiers to help our patients.
Eczema is another skin disease that we treat. Eczema is frequently associated with red scaly patches of skin behind the knees, in the elbows, and on the sides of the neck. Patients with eczema may get infected with bacteria that impair their ability to heal. When needed, treatments with antibiotics may help patients clear. For some of our patients, the use of ultraviolet lights helps to maintain their skin and allows them to lead normal lives. For others, changes in diet and products used can make a difference. We formulate treatment plans that include the use of biologic modifiers, when needed, to help improve quality of life for our patients with eczema. We also try to identify ingredients that may cause flares, and work with allergists to identify contact allergens.
Another facet of our practice is skin cancer detection and treatment. For most patients, an annual skin examination is recommended. For some patients, including those with a history of skin cancer or a family history of skin cancer (including melanoma), more frequent skin evaluations are recommended. If you have a mole that is changing in size, shape, or color, or that has become itchy or asymmetric, it should be evaluated.
Skin Cancers are the most common types of cancers diagnosed in the US. Fortunately, when detected early, they are usually treatable. Many of our patients have a history of increased sun exposure during their youth. They are especially susceptible to skin cancers, and should be vigilant.
The most common skin cancer is known as a basal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer is frequently a pearly pink or white bump that can bleed or that simply does not heal. Basal cell carcinoma is usually treated with surgery performed in the office. When they occur on the face, the treatment of choice is known as Mohs surgery (see below).
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer, and it usually has the appearance of a scaly pink or red bump that does not heal. They can be itchy and may also bleed. These types of skin cancer can occasionally go to other parts of the body, and are treated surgically.
Melanoma is the most serious of the common skin cancers. These lesions usually begin as black or brown spots that are uneven in size and color. Rarely, a melanoma will lack pigment and simply appear as a pink bump that is growing or itching. Treatment for early melanomas is usually surgical, and for early lesions, this surgery is performed in a dermatologist’s office. Thicker or more advanced lesions may be accompanied by removal of lymph nodes, and this is usually done by a general surgeon.