Skin Conditions – Psoriasis, Eczema, Rashes, Hair Loss
Our skin is the body’s first line of defense against the ravages of the outside world, but unfortunately, keeping it healthy, strong, and naturally-beautiful can be difficult and, at times, overwhelming. In addition to being susceptible to damage caused by exposure to the sun, wind, and harsh environmental pollutants, our skin can also be extremely sensitive to specific irritants and medical conditions, many of which can cause irritation, inflammation, itchiness, and uncomfortable rashes.
At California Dermatology Specialists, under the direction of our Medical Director, Board Certified Dr. Eric Meinhardt, our highly-qualified team of Board Certified Dermatologists will work with you to diagnose the root causes of your specific skin concern and offer a wide array of cutting-edge treatment options to alleviate your unique skin condition and help maintain your skin’s healthy, vibrant glow.
Our practice specializes in treating patients of all ethnicities, and our medical practitioners understand the unique concerns of those patients with skin of color. Different skin types can be affected by unique skin conditions and/or may respond quite differently to similar treatments. Therefore, we take the time to tailor our therapies to each individual skin type and offer treatments based on the unique characteristics of your specific skin.
You can read about some specific skin diseases below along with some of the services we offer. If you would like additional information, or have any questions about these and other skin ailments and the advanced medical treatments we offer at California Dermatology Specialists, or to schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Dermatologists, we encourage you to contact our Brentwood office today.
Psoriasis most commonly occurs on elbows, knees, scalp, and the trunk of the body and is characterized by red patches of skin with white flaky scale. It can appear anywhere and usually begins in patients ages 15-35 years of age. Psoriasis is a chronic condition with flares and remissions throughout a patient’s life. When skin is healthy, skin cells generally last for one month before the outermost layer of the skin is shed. In patients with psoriasis, a faulty signal from the immune system rapidly increases the growth cycle of skin cells, causing them to mature in only 3-6 days. The body is unable to shed the dead cells at this rapid pace, resulting in patches of red and raised skin covered with scaly white flakes. Psoriasis is a genetic disease. It is not contagious. There are 5 types:
- Plaque Psoriasis (Psoriasis Vulgaris): Approximately 80% of all patients suffering from psoriasis are diagnosed with this form of the disease, characterized by red lesions covered with white scale on elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
- Guttate Psoriasis: This form occurs suddenly typically in young adults and children in response to other health problems or environmental triggers including stress, strep throat, tonsillitis, or injury to the skin.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This type is usually found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in skin folds around buttocks and genitals. It appears as bright red in color with smooth and shiny lesions. Obesity can worsen this type of psoriasis.
- Pustular Psoriasis: This type of psoriasis appears as white blisters filled with pus, accompanied by red skin surrounding the blisters. It is usually found on the hands and feet.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis-: This type appears as very inflamed, reddened patches covering large areas of the body. It can form from other types of psoriasis and it can be painful. This form is most severe and requires more urgent medical attention.
Triggers and Treatments
Common triggers of Psoriasis include: stress, injury to the skin, weather, diet, and medication allergies. Triggers are specific to each person. There is no known cure or method of prevention. The goal of treatments for patients with psoriasis is to minimize symptoms and speed the healing process. The disease is classified as mild to moderate when it covers 3%-10% of the body and moderate to severe when it covers more than 10% of the body. The severity of your disease determines the treatment options offered.
Mild to Moderate Psoriasis Treatments
- Over the counter medications
- Prescription-strength topical medications
- Light/laser therapy
Moderate to Severe Psoriasis Treatments
- Oral prescription medication
- Biologic medications
At California Dermatology Specialists, we offer a step-wise approach to psoriasis to determine the most effective treatment or combination of treatments required to maximize benefits and minimize side effects.
Eczema is characterized by red, itchy, dry skin caused by inflammation. Eczema is a broad term encompassing many unique conditions requiring tailored therapies. There are many forms of “eczema” including atopic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, asteatotic dermatitis, as well as others. Adults and children can both develop forms of eczema. The most common form—atopic dermatitis—is common in children and can appear similar to an allergic reaction. We believe that these conditions are caused by a breakdown of the skin as a barrier, making it unable to protect itself and leading to inflammation. Possible triggers include:
- Abnormal function of the immune system
- Environment, including prolonged exposure to water, being too hot or too cold, sweating and then chilling, not using skin lubrication, year-round dry climates or low humidity in winter
- Any activity that may cause skin sensitivity, such as soaps, cleansers, makeup, perfume, sand and dust, cigarette smoke, chlorine and solvents
- Breaks or defects in the skin barrier that allow germs in and moisture out
- Cold and flu
- Allergic reactions
- Bacterial infections
Diagnosis and Treatments
There is no single test to diagnose eczema; our physicians will ask about your symptoms, medical history, family history, and most importantly they will conduct a complete skin exam to determine if you have eczema. Good skin care, modification of your skincare routine, and potential lifestyle changes are some possible first steps to treating your condition. Our doctors will determine what therapies will be most beneficial in treating your condition including:
- Oral and topical medications
- Oral and topical steroid creams
- Prescription moisturizers – the foundation of healthy skin and prevention of eczema
- Light therapy
“Rash” is a general term used to describe a wide variety of skin conditions, usually when the skin develops a reddish hue, small bumps, blisters, or patches. Most skin rashes are harmless and can be treated effectively with simple over-the-counter creams such as anti-itch topical products and moisturizing lotions. If you are concerned about any rash, contact our office to make an appointment with one of our doctors to learn more about specific treatments for your unique concern.
Everyone loses hair throughout their lifetime; in fact, losing up to 100 hairs a day is normal. However, it can be tough to live with, especially if you lose so much that it alters your appearance. In men, hair loss usually manifests as bald spots, while women tend to notice that their hair is slowly thinning.
Causes of Hair Loss
- Genetics: most hair loss is inherited, and is usually known as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss
- Inflammatory skin conditions and autoimmune conditions
- Age: as you age you grow less hair, hair is thinner and breaks more easily
- Thyroid disease
- Diet: a poor diet lacking in protein or iron
- Stress: from illness, injury, high fever and other stressors
- Hair style: damage from wearing tight braids, using heated styling tools, dyes, or pulling hair back too tightly
- Ringworm in the scalp: more common in children
Treatments for Hair Loss
- Prescription medications
Contact California Dermatology Specialists
At California Dermatology Specialists, with offices in Brentwood, Los Angeles, we specialize in offering the very highest level of patient care founded on a philosophy of medical excellence coupled with a dedication to cutting-edge advancements in medical dermatology and aesthetic medicine. Led by our Medical Director, Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Eric Meinhardt, our highly trained and experienced staff of dermatologists, nurses, and licensed aestheticians have made it their goal to provide you with the specialized, customized skin care you require to address your medical and aesthetic concerns at their source. Whether you are seeking medical dermatologic care or cosmetic enhancement services, we will work with you to develop an individually-tailored treatment plan that will optimize your health and well-being and maximize your comfort and safety.
If you would like information about potential treatments for your specific medical concern at California Dermatology Specialists, or would like additional information about our complete offering of dermatological and aesthetic services, we invite you to contact our office today. We look forward to hearing from you!