Dermatology is the medical branch focused on diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin. A dermatologist specializes in the pathology and physiology of skin, hair, and nails. The team at Peachtree Dermatology offers a variety of aesthetic and medical services. Some of the skin conditions we most commonly treat include:
- Acne. This disease plagues both men and women from puberty throughout adulthood. It may be caused by heredity, hormonal changes, the anatomy of the patient's oil glands, or stress.
The main component of acne is clogged pores. These comedones, whiteheads and blackheads, usually surface on the face, chest, back, and upper arms. Further evidence of acne is papules (small red bumps); pustules (small red bumps with white tops); deeper red nodules, and cysts, often large and painful.
Untreated, acne can result in temporary skin discoloration, permanent scarring, and self-consciousness. We customize a plan of treatment with topical medications – retinoids, antibiotics, and benzoyl peroxide; and orally with antibiotics, contraceptives, and in severe cases Accutane (an oral retinoid). Breakouts are resolved with surgery to extract comedones, or anti-inflammatory injections into nodules and cysts. Pigmentation changes are improved with chemical peels or microdermabrasion.
- Warts. Caused by the human papilloma virus, warts are common to all age groups and can show up anywhere from scalp to fingers and toes. While not dangerous, they are contagious, and can spread on the host to a larger area – and they can be stubborn! We freeze warts with liquid nitrogen, or apply anti-viral or acid-based medications to peel them away. Further treatment with lasers or immunotherapy is an option. On rare occasions, warts must be removed surgically.
- Rosacea. This inflammatory and vascular condition shows up on the face of adults with fair skin or of Celtic descent. It is characterized by flushing, acne-like bumps, and pimples, or dilated blood vessels. Severity varies, but the condition is progressive if left untreated. Triggers include hot beverages, spicy foods, temperature changes, alcohol, and some surprising foods like plums and bananas.
While we cannot cure rosacea, it is controllable. We recommend moderating triggers to maintain a normal lifestyle. This acne type is easily managed with topical medications or antibiotics. Laser treatment improves the vascular variety. In rare cases, men get a severe version affecting oil glands. It can result in disfigurement of the nose if not treated with lasers or surgical planing.
- Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra. DPN is a hereditary condition of African Americans and other pigmented skin types, resulting in brown bumps around eyes and neck. It usually starts when patients are in their mid 20s. It is absolutely benign, but the bumps can become numerous. For cosmetic enhancement, we remove them with electrodesiccation, a process which removes water from the DPN. It scabs and falls off in a day or two, leaving the complexion clearer and younger-looking. Larger or protruding ones may be snipped off surgically. Once removed, the DPN won't come back but new ones will, so treatment is often on-going through adulthood. A larger variation of DPN, seborrheic keratosis appears in Caucasians.
- Dyschromia. Simply meaning, "discoloration of the skin," dyschromia is often related to sun exposure. It refers to melasma (brownish pigmentation on face or other exposed areas) and poikiloderma on the neck or chest area. Dyschromia can also occur after any type of injury to the skin – acne, bug bites, or burns. Untreated, these discolorations may take over a year to lighten, or remain permanently. Treatment to induce quick fading includes sun protection every day, fading agents (sometimes in combination with vitamin A retinoid medication), microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and IPL/BBL lasers.
- Scars. We offer surgical techniques to improve appearance of scars that have not healed well or are cosmetically undesirable. Scar revision is appropriate for raised or depressed scars from prior surgeries, injuries, acne, or other skin diseases.
- Moles and cysts. Benign or atypical moles are easily removed under local anesthetic with good cosmetic results and minimal scaring. We, of course, test any suspicious moles after excision. Cysts are not dangerous but can be removed if they become inflamed or uncomfortable.
- Eczema. This common skin condition is sometimes described as, "the itch that rashes." Eczema is characterized by very dry, itchy skin that may look red and scaly. It shows up in the creases of the elbows and knees, or may be generalized over the entire body. Anyone can suffer from eczema. It is common in children, although more than half outgrow it by adulthood. It flares up in winter when indoor humidity levels in air are low and skin becomes drier from indoor heat and hot water.
There is no cure, but most cases may be controlled with a three-step treatment plan – keep skin moist, reduce inflammation and risk of infection, and minimize itching. This is accomplished with proper skin care (daily moisturizer and mild soap), medications (corticosteroid creams and ointments, and antihistamines for itching), and trigger avoidance (tepid showers). Severe cases may require UV light treatment or modulating drugs. Without care, eczema can progress to be quite severe, incredibly itchy, and uncomfortable. The skin barrier becomes compromised, and sets the patient up for infection.
These are just a few of the medical dermatological conditions treated by the professionals at Peachtree Dermatology.