Miliaria rubra, also known as heat rash or prickly heat, is a common skin condition caused by the blockage of the sweat gland. Although this rash can be caused by fever, heat rash is more commonly seen in infants who are dressed too warmly (in the winter).
Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system that is caused by a virus. It does not occur often in the United States, since immunizations have been required since the 1960s. The development (incubation) period, after the measles virus infects the upper airways (upper respiratory tract), is about 10 days. This child then has 3 or 4 days of cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash. The child usually is well after 2 weeks of illness and then has life-long resistance (immunity) to becoming infected again.Complications from measles more commonly occur in children aged younger than 5 and adults older than 20. Serious complications of measles include blindness, inflammation of the brain caused by infection (encephalitis), severe diarrhea that may potentially lead to dehydration, ear infections, and severe respiratory infections. The most common cause of death associated with measles is from pneumonia. The majority of deaths from measles occur in developing countries.
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in which individual hair follicles get plugged, causing small bumps. The bumps look and feel like "goose bumps" or chicken skin. It usually appears on the upper arms and legs. When it appears on the face it can be mistaken for acne. However, acne creams will not make the keratosis pilaris better and might aggravate the bumps. A common mistake that many people make is to try and scrub the bumps away, but this can make the condition worse. A doctor can recommend creams that can improve the keratosis pilaris, and it often goes away on its own.
Dry skin (xerosis) is a condition of rough, dry skin with fine scaling of skin and, occasionally, with small cracks in the skin. Dry skin is also known as winter itch or asteatosis.Often itchy, dry skin is caused by environmental factors, such as cold weather and frequent bathing, and by medical conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and malnutrition. Dry skin develops due to a decrease in the natural oils in the outer layer of skin, which makes the skin lose water.
Dandruff, also known as seborrhea, is a common non-contagious condition of skin areas rich in oil glands (the face, scalp, and upper trunk), marked by flaking (overproduction of skin cells) and sometimes redness and itching (inflammation) of the scalp, varying in severity from mild flaking of the scalp to scaly, red patches. The normal skin yeast, Pityrosporum ovale, lives in oil-rich skin regions and plays a role in this condition. Dandruff may be worse with stress, winter, and infrequent shampooing. Although there is no "cure" for dandruff, control is usually possible with medicated shampoos.
Nummular dermatitis is a particular form of eczema (atopic dermatitis) characterized by coin-shaped, raised areas on the skin that are scaly.The cause of nummular dermatitis is not known, but it is associated with triggers such as frequent bathing, irritating and drying soaps, and exposure to irritating fabrics such as wool. Those with nummular dermatitis often have some of the signs and symptoms typically associated with eczema. Nummular dermatitis is itchy (pruritic), but it is less itchy than other common diagnoses with scaly plaques, such as psoriasis. Winter is usually the time of onset and severity. Nummular dermatitis can be chronic, and symptoms can go away and recur indefinitely.
Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as seborrhea, is a common non-contagious condition of skin areas containing oil glands (the face, scalp, and upper trunk). In seborrheic dermatitis, extra skin cells are produced (leading to flaking) and sometimes inflammation develops (leading to redness and itching). It varies in severity from mild dandruff of the scalp to scaly, red patches on the skin. A type of yeast normally found on the skin, Pityrosporum ovale, lives in these oil-rich skin regions and plays a role in this condition. Seborrheic dermatitis seems to worsen with stress, winter, and infrequent shampooing. Although there is no "cure" for seborrheic dermatitis, you can usually control it with medicated shampoos.
Tinea versicolor is a very common rash that is also known as pityriasis versicolor. It is called "versicolor" because the rash typically has many different colored patches, with the patches failing to tan in the summer and then looking relatively darker than the normal surrounding skin in the winter. In some people the patches are darker than their usual skin color, in others they may be lighter, and in some people they may be both lighter and darker in different areas. The rash is caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Malassezia, which is usually found on everybody's skin but causes a rash when it overgrows. The overgrowth is more common in some conditions, such as when the skin is oily or moist and the weather is warm and humid. Tinea versicolor is not contagious, and it is easily treated by anti-yeast creams or pills that your doctor can prescribe.
In my last post I covered winter itch, a common skin condition from September through May. However, you don’t need winter itch to have dry winter skin. Skin can feel uncomfortable even when it doesn’t itch. I am going to explain why skin dries out in winter and then give you some suggestions to help keep your skin moist during the winter months.
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.
During the winter months, I hear a lot of concern from patients about frostbite. Frostbite is a very real danger in extremely cold weather. However, patients often confuse other dermatological conditions – such as frostnip, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and pernio – with frostbite. I hope to clear up some of the confusion by explaining these conditions here.
Fall is a wonderful time for self-nurturing and introspection. As the weather cools and leaves change colors, many of my patients feel the need to look at areas of their lives they’ve let fall by the wayside. After the summer sun (and tan!) fades, we have a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the health of our skin and overall lifestyle and habits to prepare for the winter.
During winter, skin is subjected to an increased amount of moisture loss. As a result, I hear the term dry skin used a lot. There really are many terms in dermatology related to dry skin. In fact, the term dry skin is a layman’s phrase. I’m going to share some of the more colorful and interesting terms physicians use to describe this condition. Often, the medical term itself is a clue to the symptoms it is referring to. I selected and interpreted a few terms that I find particularly interesting and relevant to this time of year.
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.
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.