Glenn H. Brown, MD
1450 S. Dobson Rd., Suite 320B
Mesa, AZ 85202
480-835-9755
480-964-8668 fax

commonproblem

Common Skin Problems

Acne  |  Eczema  |  RosaceaPsoriasis  |  Skin Cancer  | Contact Dermatitis  |  Sun DamageAge Spots  |  Warts  | 
Hair Loss

Acne

Acne is the term used to describe blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, minor lumps or any plugged pores that occur on the face or upper torso. While most major acne problems occur during adolescence, this condition can occur before and after the teenage years. While acne can affect males and females, males tend to have more severe, longer lasting types of the condition and many females will have frequent flare-ups of acne during hormonal shifts (such as their menstrual cycle). Minor acne often results in low self-esteem because it can mar the natural beauty of the facial features. In general, minor acne will come and go on its own, recurring more frequently between the ages of adolescence and tapering off in regularity thereafter. More extreme acne can lead to serious permanent scarring, which is the result of tissue injury. In some cases, acne can continually afflict a person later in life. 

Many people are concerned with acne prevention. Medications are available to lessen the severity of outbreaks, and your doctor can recommend changes in habit that may reduce outbreaks. If you do have acne, there are ways to prevent acne scarring. Treating acne inflammation at the onset of the condition will help lessen the severity of the injury to your tissue, which will prevent or decrease scarring. If over-the-counter medication is not working for you, your doctor can prescribe stronger, more intensive medication.

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Eczema

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis. It is actually a group of skin conditions that can affect you at any age. It is not contagious but can be uncomfortable because it makes the skin hot and itchy. In severe cases, it can even cause bleeding. There are several types of eczema and each type requires different treatment methods. Eczema can occur because of irritation, allergic reaction or hereditary conditions. The most common variety is atopic eczema, which can be treated with steroids to reduce inflammation and creams to relieve the itchiness and dryness. In some cases, light treatments and dietary changes have been shown to help. While there is no cure for eczema, many people grow out of it. In addition, using the proper medications and staying clear of substances that cause eczema to flare up can greatly reduce your discomfort and can lessen the severity of the condition. Only your doctor can correctly diagnose and analyze your condition. It is important to consult with your physician to make sure that you receive the most effective and efficient treatment possible.

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Rosacea

A chronic skin and eye condition, rosacea’s symptoms include redness and pimples in the early stages and thickened skin and sometimes an enlarged nose in the advanced stages. People with this condition experience frequent facial flushing, accompanied by swelling or burning. Although doctors are still exploring the cause for this condition, it is clear that the blood vessels in afflicted people dilate far more easily than normal, which stimulates many of the symptoms. When rosacea affects the eyes, people experience dryness, itching, burning sensations and swelling in and around their eyes. Some also complain of light sensitivity and blurred vision. In most cases, outbreaks of rosacea occur around the facial areas. Many doctors believe that heat exposure, strenuous exercise, stress, alcohol consumption and spicy foods may all contribute to increased redness. Irritation of the skin by the use of toners and astringents, as well as ultraviolet exposure, are also common triggers.

Rosacea has no cure, but a variety of treatments are available. Treatments are intended to control outbreaks and they are also intended to improve physical appearance. Antibiotics are commonly used to regulate the condition, and a number of topical prescription medicines are beneficial. Laser surgery or light based therapy are options available for more severe cases. Our office has a state of the art VARILITE LASER which is effective in removing the surface veins and blood vessels on the nose and cheeks commonly seen in rosacea patients

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic disorder that creates itchy, red marks on the body. These areas form multi-layered “scales” that vary in severity. Psoriasis can occur at any age in both males and females. It is not contagious, though there does seem to be a hereditary connection. It is not a life-threatening condition, and in some cases, people who have mild symptoms may not even know that they have psoriasis. Cuts, scratches, infections and dry skin seem to cause flare-ups. In addition, lack of sun exposure and certain medications may cause psoriasis to flare up. Often, psoriasis affects the same area repeatedly. Elbows, arms, knees , legs and scalp are commonly afflicted areas.

Generally, your doctor can diagnose you merely by examining your skin, but he or she may also perform a biopsy if needed. Topical presciption medicines including steroids, oils, sprays, and vitamins are commonly used.  For more extensive cases light therapy and  other treatments are available. Doctor Brown will also use the new systemic Biologic Agents such as Enbrel, Humira and Stelara if indicated. Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor will consult with you to find the treatment that’s best for you. It is important to treat this condition, both to alleviate itch and pain and to help significantly improve your quality of life.

Dr. Brown has recently acquired the XTRAC EXCIMER LASER system to treat stubborn plaques of psoriasis. Using a carefully focused beam of laser light delivered through a sophisticated liquid light guide delivery system, the XTRAC system is designed to clear unsightly psoriatic skin plaques quickly and effectively. Because it concentrates light on active lesions, XTRAC allows the delivery of high therapeutic doses of UVB light without risk to healthy skin.  Psoriatic plaques can be treated quickly and effectively often in just 6 to 10 brief treatment sessions.

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Skin Cancer

There are three basic forms of skin cancer:  basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Anyone can be diagnosed with cancer at any age. Doctors link these forms of cancer to overexposure to the sun. Tanning booths can also increase your risk, as can exposure to radiation or high altitude. Because each type of skin cancer has a different look, it is important to alert your physician if you notice unusual changes in the size and shape of spots, the coloration of your skin, or a bleeding or sensitive growth. Time is of the essence, and when caught early, many forms of skin cancer can be successfully treated.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent form of skin cancer. It can appear as an irregularly shaped or round blemish or blister that crusts over or bleeds without healing. It can be pearly or shiny in appearance, or sometimes just look like a flat red spot on the skin.  While this form of cancer is rarely life threatening, failure to treat it in a timely manner can cause serious damage to surrounding tissue .

Squamous cell carcinoma often originates on the face and surrounding areas. It can appear as crusty or shiny patches or as small red or white bumps on the skin. If not treated, it can rarely spread to the internal organs and become a life threatening condition.

Malignant melanoma is by far the potentially most serious form of skin cancer. This form of cancer generally begins within moles. While it occurs less frequently than the other forms of skin cancer, it is more dangerous because in advanced cases it can spread throughout the entire body, proving fatal.  The ABCD rule helps sort out potentially dangerous moles. Any mole that is Asymmetric, has irregular Borders, multiple Colors and a Diameter equal or greater than 6mm should be evaluated, although these are not hard and fast rules. Similarly, any mole that starts to itch, bleed, darken in color, or change in size. shape or color should be evaluated. First degree relatives of patients with melanoma are at increased risk, as are people with 50 or more moles on their bodies, and who have had several blistering sunburns in their youth. However, when removed in the early stages, Melanoma patients can have an excellent prognosis, with a very small risk or recurrence or spread. Dr. Brown also uses Dermoscopy, an advanced technique used to examine suspicious moles.

In situations where the cancer is relatively small, your doctor will either surgically excise the cancerous flesh and then reconstruct the area , or perform a procedure where the tumor is treated by scraping and burning it out, known as curettage and electrodessication.  In addition, Mohs surgery (in which the cancer is taken off in layers) has been successful in eradicating larger, more aggressive or recurrent cancers. For Melanoma, wide and deep excision is the usual treatment. The important thing is to contact your doctor immediately for a consultation if you feel that you are showing symptoms of any of these conditions. After surgery, it is important to carefully check your skin regularly for recurrences, and you should visit your doctor regularly for routine exams.

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Contact Dermatitis

When your skin comes in contact with an irritant or an allergen and becomes inflamed, this is known as contact dermatitis. The inflammation causes a red, itchy rash that is not contagious. There are many substances that can cause the irritation or allergy, including soaps, overwashing, make-up, certain metals used in jewelry, or plants like grass, weeds, poison ivy or poison oak. Once you determine what is causing your rash, avoid coming in contact with it. . For extensive or recurrent cases, Dr. Brown performs an extended series of Patch Tests to try and determine what substance you might be allergic to.  If you are found to be allergic to some chemicals on Patch Tests, Dr. Brown has access to a large computerized data base from the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and he will provide you with an extensive printout of skin care products that will be safe for you to use.

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Sun Damage

While many people think of a bronzed complexion as “healthier” than a lighter complexion, there is actually no one single factor more responsible for cosmetic and medical skin conditions than sun exposure. Repeated overexposure to the sun without proper protection such as sunscreen can lead to a wide variety of conditions, including uneven pigmentation, lentigines (age spots), solar elastosis (which causes sagging skin and vertical wrinkles), melasma, poikiloderma (reddish-brown pigmentation on the neck or cheeks), precancerous keratoses, and of course, skin cancer.  It is advisacle to have precancerous keratoses, also known as actinic keratoses, treated to try and minimize the likelihood of their transformation to skin cancer.  This is usually done either with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy,  with a variety of prescription creams, or with Blu-U phototherapy, which is available in our office.

We also utilize the VARILITE LASER to remove the facial surface veins and blood vessels associated with chronic sun damage. The laser is also effective in removing brown spots and warty growths on the face, hands and chest associated with chronic sun damage.

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Age Spots

Solar lentigines can go by many names, such as “age spots”, “brown spots”, “liver spots” and “sun spots”. Regardless of what you may call them, these spots have one cause: exposure to the sun. Especially for people with light skin, the cells in our skin that causes pigmentation to protect us from the sun, called melanocytes, can be damaged by overexposure to the sun, causing a deposit of the pigment melanin to form, resulting in a solar lentigo. They often form in areas most prone to sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, hands, and upper back and chest. Treatments for these spots include liquid nitrogen cryosurgery, and are usually very effective in minimizing or eliminating the appearance of solar lentigines. Our VARILITE LASER is also used to remove these spots. 

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Warts

Warts are the result of a virus that causes many cells to grow on the external layer of skin. They are not dangerous to your health or cancerous, but are contagious. Typically found on your hands and feet, common warts can make patients feel self-conscious, and want them removed. Removing the warts will keep them from spreading, but they might come back as they can be a recurring problem. There are a number of available methods for removing warts, including liquid nitrogen cryosurgery, burning them off, and prescription medicines.

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Hair Loss

Most everyone loses up to 100 hairs a day, but due to the amount of hair we have on our head, this amount of hair loss shouldn’t cause alarm. However, severe hair loss, also known as alopecia, may eventually lead to complete baldness for some men. Hair loss can happen as a result of heredity, medications or an underlying medical condition.

The most common type of hair loss is pattern baldness, which is usually permanent and affects approximately one-third of all men. This may occur suddenly or over a period of time. Other types of hair loss may only be temporary and can affect other parts of your body as well. You should contact your physician if you notice extreme, sudden hair loss.

To this day, there is no cure for permanent hair loss, but certain medications, such as Rogaine or Propecia, have proven effective in reducing the pace of hair loss. Surgeries including hair transplants and scalp reduction are treatment options for hiding hair loss. We will work with each patient individually to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs and desires.

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