A blister (bulla) is caused when the outer layer of the skin separates from a layer of skin below, creating a collection of fluid between the layers. Blisters can be caused by chemical means, such as an allergic reaction; physical injury, such as from heat, frostbite, or friction; or from a disease. If the blister has been caused by a burn, see the Burns, First Aid write-up via the Disease List. If the blister has been caused by frostbite, see the Frostbite, First Aid write-up, which can also be found via the Disease List.First Aid GuideBlisters often go away on their own without needing any care, and the skin over the blister is its best defense against infection. If the blister is large or painful, however, you can drain the blister in such a way as to relieve the discomfort and hopefully avoid infection. Note: Blisters that look like they will pop on their own should be drained, unless the blister looks infected or you have a fever; multiple, grouped blisters; diabetes; or poor circulation. Clean your hands and the affected area with soap and warm water. Apply rubbing alcohol to the affected area. Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol to sterilize it. Puncture the blister with the sterilized needle at its edge, making the hole big enough to drain fluid. Let the fluid drain, making sure to leave the overlying skin in place. Note: This skin will help prevent infection. Apply an antibiotic ointment (eg, bacitracin) to the blister, and bandage the affected area. Once the overlying skin has dried, allow it to fall off naturally or use sterilized scissors to cut the dead skin off. Apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage, if necessary.Prevention of blisters is key. The following measures will help prevent blisters from occurring: Wear acrylic socks, particularly ones that fit you well. While cotton socks were once the recommendation to avoid blisters, they tend to become misshapen when wet and are never as form-fitting as acrylic socks. When picking out shoes, be sure to go shopping during the middle of the day, when your feet are slightly swollen. (Feet normally swell as the day goes on.) Make sure you can wiggle your toes, and be sure that both the left and right shoes fit properly. (Many people have two different size feet.) Apply powder to your feet before activity that may cause friction. Wear work gloves when using tools that cause friction on hands.
Impetigo is a common and contagious bacterial skin infection that is usually a minor problem, but sometimes complications may occur that require treatment. Complications of impetigo can include deeper skin infection (called cellulitis), inflammation around the brain or spinal cord (meningitis), or a kidney inflammation (post streptococcal glomerulonephritis). Impetigo often starts with a cut or break in the skin, which allows bacteria to enter. 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.
Tinea infections are commonly called ringworm because some infections form a ring-like pattern on affected areas of the body. Facial ringworm (tinea faciei), also known as tinea faciale or ringworm of the face, is a common, non-cancerous (benign) fungal infection of the surface (superficial) skin of the face. Facial ringworm may be passed to humans by direct contact with infected people, infected animals, contaminated objects (such as towels) or the soil.In children and most women, facial ringworm can appear on any part of the face. In all men and in women who have dark, course hair on their face, it is known as beard ringworm (tinea barbae) when the infection occurs on the bearded part of the face.
Tinea infections are fungal infections of the skin; they are often called ringworm, though there is no worm involved, because the infection can look like a ring-shaped rash on the skin. Ringworm infections are spread by contact with infected people, animals, or objects (eg, towels and locker room floors).The most common kind of ringworm is called tinea corporis (ringworm of the body). It can be found on any area of skin on the body but usually appears on exposed regions, such as the face, hands, and arms. Athletes who have skin-to-skin contact with others are frequently affected by ringworm. There are special names for ringworm infections on other parts of the body. For example, if the rash affects the feet it is called athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and if it affects the groin it is called jock itch (tinea cruris). Write-ups for these specific areas are discussed separately.
Psoriasis is a non-contagious, lifelong skin problem with thickened, red, and often scaly skin. It is very likely to be hereditary (run in families) and seems to be caused by errors in how the immune system works. Certain substances and situations (triggers) may cause psoriasis to flare or worsen. Triggers include injury to the skin, HIV/AIDS infection, certain drugs, emotional stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Psoriasis may also be triggered by infection with a type of bacteria called Streptococcus.
Despite its name, the season for winter itch begins, like clockwork, in September and October. That’s when the air starts to get cooler and drier, and the skin begins to dry out.
Every winter my fingers and toes develop painful, red, swollen areas with a sensation that feels like a cross between a burn and a deep itch. These symptoms last several weeks until eventually the skin blisters and cracks. The cracked skin then becomes susceptible to infection and becoming extremely chapped.
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.
On this Twelfth Day of Dermatology, we here at Skinsight would like to wish everyone happy and safe holidays. In the spirit of the season, we would like to recognize some of the humanitarian efforts that many dermatologists participate in throughout the year.
Spend a day at the beach or pool, and you can’t miss the pervasive and unmistakable smell of sunblock products wafting through the air. Shelves in drug stores and supermarkets are crowded with “new and improved” potions, lotions, gels, creams, wipes, and sprays. But using sunblock only on beach or pool days isn’t enough. Make it an everyday habit – and not just a quick smear on your nose in the morning.
As winter approaches, the skin irritations and rashes associated with eczema tend to start showing up with increased frequency. As a pediatric dermatologist I see this trend in my patients every year. Eczema in children first shows up in infancy and gets better as kids get older. But in the meantime, many sufferers of childhood eczema find this time of year uncomfortable. In this post I explain some of the common triggers of eczema-related rashes and offer some suggestions for parents to deal with these symptoms.
As a young girl I was fortunate to have very few encounters with teen acne, especially since the American Academy of Dermatologists states 85% of teenagers experience it. However, I often overheard my sister battling it out at the bathroom mirror. She had a nightly routine, always being sure to wash her face before bed, whereas I tended to go to bed makeup and all. Now, as the mom of a teenager, I have experienced hands-on the challenges of teen acne and how unbelievably frustrating it can be.
Impetigo (em-pah-TY-go) is a common superficial bacterial infection of the skin that usually resolves itself within a matter of weeks. Often unsightly and itchy, it can be a miserable experience. Impetigo is more commonly associated with children (children 6 years old and younger are more likely to be infected), but it can occur in all ages. What You See There are two types of impetigo: blistering and non-blistering. Non-blistering impetigo is often characterized by: