An abscess is an infection characterized by a collection of pus underneath a portion of the skin. Bacteria commonly causing abscesses are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. These bacteria enter the skin through any cracks or injury to the skin. That area of skin then becomes red, tender, warm, and swollen over days to 1–2 weeks and a fever may develop. Abscesses can sometimes form if minor superficial skin infections are not treated appropriately and in a timely fashion. Most abscesses resolve quickly once appropriately treated.Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is a strain of "staph" bacteria resistant to antibiotics in the penicillin family, which have been the cornerstone of antibiotic therapy for staph and skin infections for decades. CA-MRSA previously infected only small segments of the population, such as health care workers and persons using injection drugs. However, CA-MRSA is now a common cause of skin infections in the general population. While CA-MRSA bacteria are resistant to penicillin and penicillin-related antibiotics, most staph infections with CA-MRSA can be easily treated by health care practitioners using local skin care and commonly available non-penicillin-family antibiotics. Rarely, CA-MRSA can cause serious skin and soft tissue (deeper) infections. Staph infections typically start as small red bumps or pus-filled bumps, which can rapidly turn into deep, painful sores. If you see a red bump or pus-filled bump on the skin that is worsening or showing any signs of infection (ie, the area becomes increasingly painful, red, or swollen), see your doctor right away. Many patients believe incorrectly that these bumps are the result of a spider bite when they arrive at the doctor's office. Your doctor may need to test (culture) infected skin for MRSA before starting antibiotics. If you have a skin problem that resembles a CA-MRSA infection or a culture that is positive for MRSA, your doctor may need to provide local skin care and prescribe oral antibiotics. To prevent spread of infection to others, infected wounds, hands, and other exposed body areas should be kept clean and wounds should be covered during therapy.Factors that predispose individuals to developing an abscess include:Any skin infection, especially those that are untreated Weakened immune system due to underlying illness or medication
Cellulitis is the medical term for inflammation and infection of the skin. It is often caused by the bacteria Streptococcus or Staphylococcus (commonly known as strep and staph, respectively), which usually live on the skin of healthy people but when the skin is damaged (by a cut, scratch, or bug bite, for example), it can overgrow and cause cellulitis. Cellulitis causes the skin to look reddened, similar to a sunburn, and to be warm, tender, and swollen. The redness may spread quickly over the course of hours. The person may experience fevers or chills or feel ill. If left untreated, cellulitis can cause bacteria to enter the blood stream, which is potentially life threatening.
Impetigo is a common and contagious bacterial skin infection that is usually a minor problem, but sometimes complications may occur that require treatment. Complications related to impetigo can include deeper skin infection (cellulitis), meningitis, or a kidney inflammation (post streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which is not prevented by treatment). Impetigo often starts with a cut or break in the skin that allows bacteria entry. Impetigo is usually caused by "staph" (Staphylococcus) or "strep" (Streptococcus) bacteria.
Boils (furuncles) are painful pus-filled bumps on the skin resulting from the deep infection of a hair follicle. The infection is usually caused by a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus ("staph"). Many people are "carriers" of the staph germ, meaning that it normally lives on their skin or in their nose without doing them any harm. Tiny breaks in the surface of the skin (such as those caused by friction or scratching), however, can help the germ gain entry into and infect the hair follicle, resulting in a boil.Boils may resolve with simple self-care measures, but the infected fluid (pus) needs to drain in order for them to heal completely. Many boils drain of their own accord, or they can be lanced by a health care professional. Antibiotics may also be prescribed. Untreated boils can enlarge or grow together to form a giant multi-headed boil (carbuncle). Rarely, the infection in the skin can get into the bloodstream, leading to serious illness.
Folliculitis literally means "inflammation of the follicle," the follicle referring to the small pores that the hair shaft grows out of. The inflammation may appear on the outer surface of the skin or in deeper parts of the skin. If folliculitis occurs near the skin surface, it looks like a tiny, white pimple at the base of a hair and is filled with pus, which contains microorganisms, usually bacteria. These small pimples can range from one to many. A person with folliculitis may find that the inflammation is tender to the touch.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma usually occurs on sun-damaged skin, especially in light-skinned individuals with a long history of chronic sun exposure.Squamous cell carcinoma requires treatment to prevent it from becoming too invasive. If it is caught early and treated appropriately, squamous cell carcinoma rarely spreads (metastasizes) to lymph nodes or to internal organs. However, if it is neglected, squamous cell carcinoma can cause tissue destruction or it may spread internally, causing serious health problems and even death.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), also known as basal cell epithelioma, is the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma usually occurs on sun-damaged skin, especially in light-skinned individuals with a long history of chronic sun exposure. Although it requires treatment to prevent it from becoming too invasive, basal cell carcinoma does not typically metastasize, or spread to lymph nodes or internal organs.There are several sub-types of basal cell carcinoma, including:Nodular BCC Infiltrating BCC Superficial BCC
Question: Is it bad to treat itchy skin with hydrocortisone, because it merely treats the itch (if even that) and not the underlying cause?
Imagine the carefree feeling of being beach-ready all year. With the information I shared last year on laser therapy and the information I’m about to share here on summer skin, that carefree feeling is definitely possible for you to achieve this year! Last November I wrote the second in a series of posts on laser therapy. The beginning of summertime and warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to wrap up the series on laser therapy and at the same time introduce a new series of posts I call Summer Skin Fitness.
Despite our best efforts, there are some skin conditions that invariably get worse in the summer. I fully understand why many of my patients come to dread the summer as a time of frustration. Maybe you can relate? They spend fall, winter, and spring clearing their skin and then watch it worsen during the summer despite their best efforts to wear hats and sunscreen. Part of the problem is due to our busy lifestyles and the increase in sun exposure during the summer months. I tell my patients they don’t have to despair; there are actions they, and you, can take beyond sunscreen and hats that will help minimize the effects of skin conditions that worsen in the summer.
First, a preface on the 4 causes of acne formation: plugging of the hair follicle/oil gland unit (hyperkeratinization of pilosebaceous follicles) increase in testosterone causing increased waxy/oil production (hyperseborrhea) bacteria colonizing the follicle/gland unit (P. acnes) inflammation
Ten rules for healthy skin from the University of Connecticut Department of Dermatology. 1. Wash your face in the morning and evening with a mild, gentle, super-fatted soap to remove dirt, bacteria, make-up, etc. After age 40 you only need to cleanse once per day. 2. Lubricate your skin. Dry skin looks older. 3. WEAR complete (UVA & UVB) SUNSCREENS or sunblocks to protect your skin. Try to avoid the mid-day sun.
Before I share my experience with Mohs surgery and what I learned, I want to make a very strong point. If you have anything on your skin that stays on for more than 1-3 months, get it checked out. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. We often see the pictures of what skin cancer is supposed to look like: my lesions didn’t look anything like the examples. Personally, I’d always thought skin cancer would appear much worse, but mine didn’t even look odd. I wasn’t even expecting it to be skin cancer. So please, if you have any abnormality, get it checked out.
Pseudofolliculitis is the medical term for those pesky lesions more commonly known as “razor bumps,” “shaving bumps,” and “ingrown hairs.” It is a common, chronic condition that can be quite bothersome for those affected.
Are you bothered by small bumps along your upper arms or thighs? These bumps are most likely a skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Just like acne, rosacea, and melasma, keratosis pilaris is a medically benign (harmless) condition, but it can still leave you feeling self-conscious of your appearance. This post will tell you a little more about keratosis pilaris, who is most susceptible, and what you can do about it.