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.
Are You Seeking Treatment for Your Psoriasis from Your Chicago, Il, Dermatologist?
Psoriasis is a chronic condition where red patches of skin with white, flaky scales appear on your skin. They are most commonly found on elbows and knees but appear pretty much everywhere on your body. Psoriasis impacts about 7.5 million people in the United States, and although approximately 20,000 children under age 10 are diagnosed, the first episode usually occurs when a person is between ages 15 and 35. If you are experiencing any issues with Psoriasis, please call North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL.
General Psoriasis Info:
Being a genetic disease, Psoriasis isn't contagious, but, unfortunately, there's no cure. The only treatments available are meant to control symptoms and increase the healing process.
The triggers also vary from one person to another and include:
- Injury to skin
- Allergy medicine
Types of Psoriasis
- Plaque Psoriasis (Psoriasis Vulgaris): Usually found on knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp, this type appears as red lesions with whitish scales.
- Pustular Psoriasis: Usually a result of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, infections, stress, or withdrawal from certain medications, this type of psoriasis looks like white pus-filled blisters surrounded by red skin.
- Guttate Psoriasis: Usually manifests in children and young adults as small red dots.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This bright red lesion is smooth and shiny, and usually found in armpits, under breasts, groin, and the skin folds around buttocks and genitals.
Treatment Options in Chicago:
- Over-the-Counter Medications: Scale lifters, bath solutions, Dead Sea salts, and anti-itch moisturizers
- Prescription Topical Treatments: Prescription topicals that slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation.
- Light Therapy/Phototherapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light, such as Sunshine, Excimer lasers and Pulse dye lasers
If you have any questions or concerns about Psoriasis, don't hesitate to contact North Branch Dermatology's Chicago office at (773) 763-6000.
Though a rash is often nothing to worry about and clears up on its own, it can still be cause for concern. Understanding the kinds of rashes you may have and what may have caused them can help you determine if it is time for you to see your dermatologist for help with your skin condition. Find out more about rashes and what they may mean with Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL.
Do I have a rash?
Rashes are often obvious in their appearance. However, they also have some subtle symptoms you may not see at first. Some common signs of a rash include:
- blister formation
- dry, scaly skin
- crusted skin
- slightly raised areas
- raised, red bumps
If your rash is accompanied by a fever or the rash has become infected, you should seek immediate medical attention.
What may have caused my rash?
Rashes come from various sources. One of the most common types of rashes, called atopic dermatitis, comes from touching something that contains an allergen that reacts poorly with your skin, causing a rash. Rashes may also come from allergic reactions, an underlying condition, friction from the heat, or other causes. Your doctor is your best source of information on the cause of your rash and the best treatment moving forward.
When should I see my dermatologist about a rash?
If your rash does not go away within a few days, becomes very uncomfortable, or begins affecting your daily life, you should consult with your doctor. The diagnostic process begins with a physical examination and, if necessary, various testing to determine the underlying cause of the rash if it is not immediately obvious.
Rash Treatments in Chicago, IL
Treating a rash often begins with an over-the-counter ointment or cream. If that fails to do the trick, prescription-strength medications or ointments may become necessary. Your doctor can work with you to find the best treatment for your rash.
For more information on rashes or their treatments, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL. Call (773) 763-6000 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fahrenbach today!
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