Posts for category: Skin Conditions
Skin rashes can be alarming, confusing, and extremely annoying. At North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, your skin doctor, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, often sees and treats rashes. She will help you sort through your symptoms and get you much-needed relief.
Rashes and other symptoms
Frequently, skin rashes and other symptoms go hand in hand. You may notice reddened skin bumps, raised hives, scaling, oozing, discoloration, itching, and other problems. Their onset may be gradual or sudden, and they may resolve quickly or recur periodically for weeks.
Rashes and what to do about them
The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology recommends a dermatological examination for rashes which come on suddenly and/or are accompanied by fever, oozing, bleeding, pus or other signs of infection. In her Chicago office, Dr. Fahrenbach will compose a treatment plan based on your rash and other symptoms, your past medical history and whatever is precipitating your rash.
Some rashes are simple allergic reactions to substances in the environment. For instance, contact dermatitis, with its red, raised bumps, often starts with contact with a new laundry soap, family pet or fabric. Other rashes occur due to food ingestion, insect stings, medications, metal, latex, or plants.
Still more rashes originate in auto-immune issues--that is, the body simply breaks out in scales and flakes or other skin eruptions. Psoriasis is a prime example of a rash which remains chronic in nature--that is, coming and going, escalating and subsiding, and never truly resolving.
Finally, rashes occur with acute infection. Athlete's foot, a fungal-based condition of the skin on the feet, causes redness, blistering, and intense itching. Yeast infections thrive in moist, dark places on the skin, such as under the breasts.
Common rash treatments
Some are topical treatments, and others are systemic. For instance, if your rash arises from an infection such as scarlet fever or shingles, Dr. Fahrenbach likely will choose a systemic medication. Rashes coming from allergies may need antihistamines or topical corticosteroids. Eczema may respond well to ultralight therapy or moisturizing creams. Your dermatologist's expertise will guide you on a path to overall wellness and skin which is rash-free, better looking, and has fewer scarring issues.
Love your skin
At North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach and her team treat a wide variety aesthetic and medical dermatology services. Don't hesitate to call the office for a consultation on your rash. We are open Monday through Friday. Phone (773) 763-6000.
How your dermatologist in Chicago, IL, can help if you have skin cancer
If you are someone that spends a lot of time outside, it’s only natural to worry about skin cancer. Here at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, Dr. Elizabeth N. Fahrenbach offers several effective ways to treat skin cancer and help protect your health.
Read on to learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic:
What types of skin cancer are there?
The most common types of skin cancer include squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, both of which are easily treatable. Malignant melanoma is another type of skin cancer, although unlike the others, it can end up being fatal. Fortunately, it is less common.
Who is most at risk for skin cancer?
In general, people with fair skin and blue eyes are more at risk for skin cancer. Additionally, those who spend extended periods of time outdoors or have already had bouts of skin cancer, are at an increased risk of developing the condition
How can I protect myself against skin cancer?
Wearing sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent skin cancer. You should wear an SPF of at least 15 every day, and SPF 30 if you spend a lot of time outdoors. You should also try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM, which is when the ultraviolet rays are the most damaging. Another important way to protect yourself is to check your skin for moles and abnormal areas of skin.
What should I look for when I examine my skin?
You should look for moles that have:
- A diameter greater than 6 millimeters
- An irregular, poorly-defined shape
- Ragged, uneven borders or look asymmetrical
- Bleeding, oozing, or open sores
- Regrown after previous removal
Concerned? Give us a call
To learn more about skin cancer and effective treatments including cryosurgery, excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, and other state-of-the-art treatments, call Dr. Elizabeth N. Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, today—our number is (773) 763-6000.
Find out the best way to manage your acne symptoms and how a dermatologist can help.
If you’ve been struggling to get your acne under control, you may be feeling rather defeated by the whole process. You’ve likely tried a variety of over-the-counter medications but nothing seems to help! Well, don't fret—our Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, is here to help you find out what might be to blame for your acne! Read on to learn more about this skin condition and when it's the right time to visit our office for treatment.
What causes acne?
There are four main factors that can contribute to the formation of acne:
- Clogged hair follicles (due to oil or dead skin cells)
- Excess hormone activity
- Excess oil production
Acne can appear anyone on the body but it most commonly appears on the face, chest, back, or shoulders where oil glands are present.
What are the different types of acne?
Acne can rear its ugly head in many forms and severities. Common types of acne include,
- Whiteheads (the result of clogged pores)
- Blackheads (the result of clogged pores)
- Papules (red bump)
- Pustules (simply referred to as pimples)
- Painful nodules
- Painful cystic lesions
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you have tried a variety of acne treatments and feel like your symptoms aren’t improving, then it’s time to talk to our Chicago skin doctor to find a more effective treatment method. You should also schedule an evaluation if your acne is severe, painful, or affecting your quality of life in general.
How can a dermatologist help me?
First and foremost, we need to figure out what is causing your acne. As we've established, there are four main factors in acne presence, and determining what’s causing your symptoms will help create a more effective treatment plan. For example, those who are dealing with hormone-related acne often respond well to taking certain oral contraceptives/birth control pills that are FDA-approved to treat hormonal acne. Conversely, those dealing with whiteheads and blackheads due to clogged pores may respond well to regular facials to exfoliate the skin/remove dead skin cells, laser treatments to kill acne bacteria, or chemical peels.
We are happy to sit down with you at any time to determine the best course of action for managing your acne!
Give us a call!
If you feel like you are losing the battle against your acne symptoms, then it’s time to turn to the skincare experts at North Branch Dermatology. Call our Chicago office at (773) 763-6000 today!
Do you examine your moles regularly? Seemingly minor changes in a mole can be a sign of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. Fortunately, a mole check from your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, can help you protect your health.
How does a mole change if I have skin cancer?
You may notice one or more of these signs if your mole is cancerous:
- Your mole changes color: Color changes, whether they affect the entire mole or just part of it, are a cause for concern. Let your Chicago dermatologist know if your mole is getting darker or if it has become red, pink, blue, white, black or another color.
- Your mole doesn't look the same: If you think that your mole used to be smaller or more symmetrical, you're probably right. Moles that change over time must be examined. If you think that your mole is larger than before, see that one half doesn't match the other, or notice that the borders of the mole are now blurred, rough, or irregular, schedule a mole check.
- You have a large mole: Moles that are larger than the size of the eraser at the end of your pencil are more likely to become cancerous.
- Your mole is painful or uncomfortable. Moles that bleed, itch, crust over, or ooze fluids should be examined promptly.
How do dermatologists treat suspicious moles?
Your skin doctor will remove your mole and send it a laboratory for testing. Before the mole is removed, a local anesthetic will be applied to your skin to ensure that you don't feel any pain during the minor procedure.
If the mole is cancerous, some of the cancerous cells may have penetrated deeper into your skin and will need to be removed. In some cases, Mohs surgery, an innovative surgical procedure that removes skin layer-by-layer and causes minimal scarring, may be recommended. Depending on the stage of the cancer, other treatments may include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment.
Do you need a mole check? Call your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at (773) 763-6000 to schedule an appointment, today!
Can you develop skin cancer? If you are over 40 and have experienced a lot of sun exposure, you likely can, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Don't worry, though—just be vigilant about checking your skin for cancer, and see your Chicago, IL dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, at North Branch Dermatology every year or at any time you're concerned about a spot or mole.
What is skin cancer?
Affecting almost 10,000 Americans with a new diagnosis every day, skin cancer is an overgrowth of abnormal cells in the epidermis and dermis, the top and second layers of the largest organ in our bodies. While we all have variations in texture and pigmentation as we age, skin cancers look and act in specific ways which signal danger.
The most common skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Detected in their earliest stages, these malignancies slowly spread, or metastasize, and they are highly curable. A third type, malignant melanoma, is more insidious and dangerous, often moving quickly and undetected from the skin to major bodily organs. Actinic keratoses are precancerous growths.
What to look for
In general, spots, freckles or moles should not change in size, color, or texture. That's why Dr. Fahrenbach advises you to look at your skin (a total body check) every month to know your skin well. This familiarity helps you see changes so that you can report them to your skin doctor right away.
You should also call North Branch Dermatology's Chicago office if you have a spot, freckle or mole which:
- Is sore, lumpy, or bleeding
- Itches intensely
- Changes, particularly when you compare it similar spots
- Is located under a toenail or fingernail
Dr. Fahrenbach asks her patients to apply a common sense way to evaluate skin lesions. It uses the mnemonic ABCDE. When you look at a spot or mole, think of:
- Asymmetry: Changes in size and shape, particularly toward one side of a mole, which may indicate cancer.
- Border: Cancerous borders, or edges, may be scalloped or notched.
- Color: Most moles are brown, black or tan. Specks, streaks or odd colors, such as red or blue, are danger signs.
- Diameter: A healthy mole is no larger than a pencil eraser (<6 millimeters).
- Evolution: Any change in a spot's size, color, shape, or how it feels should be reported to your skin doctor.
Your healthiest skin through prevention
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you respect the sun and its power to damage your skin. To protect yourself, please apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and avoid tanning and sunburns. Remember, sun exposure is cumulative—so the more you're exposed over the years, the greater your chances are of developing precancerous conditions or skin cancer itself.
Find out more
Please call North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL to arrange your total body skin check. Between you and your dermatologist, you can track changes over time and avoid dangerous skin malignancies. Call today: (773) 763-6000.