Your skin is the body’s biggest organ, and while it is quite resilient and able to shield you from the elements, it can be harmed. Infections, allergens, environmental irritants, stress, and hereditary factors can all trigger skin disorders. The term skin disorder can describe various skin problems, and while some may be unsightly, they are harmless, but others may be contagious.
Often skin disorders are itchy or even painful. Allergens in foods, animal dander or soaps can trigger an immune response, causing redness and itching. Bacteria, parasites, viruses, or fungi can cause skin disorders. Some skin disorders are due to genetics, for example, eczema and which tends to occur more in families prone to allergies.
Acute Skin Problems
Acute skin problems are temporary and may resolve with time or can be treated with medicines. The most common acute skin problems include cold sores and dermatitis.
Cold Sores (Fever Blister) Treatments
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and can appear on the outside of your mouth, but also your fingers, cheeks or nose.
Cold sores cannot be cured, but you can alleviate the pain by applying ice or using over-the-counter remedies that contain agents like menthol and phenol too soft on scabs and reduce cracking.
However, when a cold sore especially painful, the best primary care physician NYC can prescribe an anti-viral oral medication to speed healing or anesthetic gel to alleviate the pain. Usually, these medications are most effective when used in the first 48 hours of an outbreak.
Dermatitis covers a range of ailments but is characterized by dry, red and itchy skin. It may be caused by contacting irritants that can produce allergies.
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is also associated with asthma, stress, and allergies.
Seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap in infants and dandruff in adults.
Nummular dermatitis causes red plaques that are coin-shaped and more frequently affects people aged between 55 and 65 and who live in very dry environments.
Stasis dermatitis is linked to poor circulation and can affect people affected by congestive heart failure or varicose veins.
Although our primary care physicians can try and diagnose the specific category of dermatitis, treatment is similar for most types of skin inflammation and irritation.
If our general practitioners and primary care doctors in NYC suspect you may have dermatitis, we may conduct patch testing on your skin. Small amounts of substances are applied directly to your skin under an adhesive covering, and over the next few days, we can examine your skin to see if you have reacted to any of the substances.
This type of test is most useful for identifying any specific contact allergies.
Skin Treatment for Dermatitis
Depending on the cause of dermatitis, primary care physicians in NYC may prescribe steroid ointment, pills or an antihistamine, or corticosteroid creams.
Our NYC primary care doctors may prescribe a hydrocortisone cream for a skin rash treatment, and this can frequently provide relief.
Sometimes it can be useful to apply specific creams or lotions that affect your immune system, and which are called calcineurin inhibitors. Another treatment, called phototherapy involves exposing the area to controlled amounts of artificial or natural light.
You can also take steps to manage your dermatitis. For an itchy skin treatment at home, take a warm bath sprinkled with colloidal oatmeal that is specially made for bathing. Soak for up to 10 minutes before patting your skin dry. Finish by applying moisturizer.
You can purchase over-the-counter calamine or hydrocortisone cream, and which can relieve itchy skin, but if this doesn’t provide relief, we can prescribe something to help.
Oral antihistamines cannot relieve itching, and you shouldn’t use an antihistamine lotion unless our general practitioners and primary care doctors in NYC specifically suggest it as otherwise, it could cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation.
Chronic Skin Conditions
Chronic skin conditions cannot be cured, but they can be managed and include psoriasis, eczema, acne, and rosacea.
Psoriasis causes red, bumpy thick patches that can appear anywhere but most commonly affects the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. There are many treatments available for psoriasis that can help slow the growth of new skin cells and which relieve dry and itchy skin.
Our general practitioners and primary care doctors in NYC can prescribe the most suitable itchy skin treatment or dry skin treatment for your needs. Possible treatments include steroid creams and retinoid creams, and vitamin D cream. Light therapy can also be useful in treating psoriasis.
Eczema causes the skin to become irritated or inflamed, and it is almost always itchy. Our general practitioners and primary care doctors in NYC can help you manage this disease with prescription ointments, light or phototherapy, and cyclosporine is prescribed for people who fail to respond to other treatments. Also, it can be useful to avoid irritants that can trigger eczema.
Acne is associated with adolescence, but it can occur at any age. The occasional outbreak can usually be managed using over-the-counter products, but more severe cases of acne can be treated with antibiotics and isotretinoin, which helps the skin to produce less oil. When the problem is hormone-related, women may benefit from birth control pills.
Rosacea mainly affects the face and can cause a ruddy appearance. Medical therapy can control or reverse some of the symptoms. Skin rash treatments include topical and oral medications. For more severe cases, NYC internist can remove visible blood vessels, reducing facial redness.
Skin Fungal Infections
Skin fungal infections are very common and include ringworm, yeast infections, and athletes foot.
Athletes foot grows in warm moist environments and thrives when you wear shoes and socks. Topical antifungal medication is an effective skin fungus treatment, but severe cases may require oral drugs. Usually, athlete’s foot will respond to standard treatments, but if it doesn’t, we may take a small sample of the skin to examine under the microscope.
Ringworm spreads by direct contact with an infected person or animal and creates a red, flat circular sore that can look scaly. It is treated with antifungal medication applied directly to the skin. Our general practitioners and NYC primary care doctors can prescribe topical or oral drugs for more severe cases of ringworm.
Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called candida and can cause an itchy, scaly red rash. Candida tends to grow in warm moist areas and is more common in people who have diabetes or who are obese. Medicated creams are most commonly used for skin yeast infection treatment.
Quite often, skin discoloration is due to birthmarks and freckles, but other types of discoloration include moles and skin tags. Most moles are not dangerous, but if your moles begin to change shape, itch or bleed, they should be checked. Our general practitioners and primary care doctors NYC can evaluate your moles to decide if further treatment is needed or may recommend regular monitoring. Skin tags are small flaps of tissue connected to the skin by a stalk. They are not dangerous but can become irritated if clothing or jewelry rubs against them.
We can remove skin tags with cryosurgery, where the skin tag is frozen off, or with electrosurgery where it is removed using an electric current. Alternatively, the skin tag can be cut off with a scalpel or scissors.
Skin Disorders Treatment Plan
Our doctors may prescribe steroid ointment, pills or an antihistamine, calcineurin inhibitors or corticosteroid or hydrocortisone creams. Other treatment that calm inflammation and soothe itchy skin, called phototherapy. It involves exposing the area to controlled amounts of artificial or natural light using Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
Please make an appointment with one of our skin disorder specialist in Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side. Our primary care doctors, internal medicine and skin infections specialists look forward to meeting you!