South County Dermatology

Posts for category: Scalp Condition

By Robert K Dyer, MD
June 03, 2019
Category: Scalp Condition
Tags: Shingles  

The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.

What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.

What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.

Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.

How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.

Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.

Find out more

Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.

By SOUTH COUNTY DERMATOLOGY
October 02, 2017
Category: Scalp Condition
Tags: Hair Loss  

Man with thinning hairEveryone loses hair. In fact, most people shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This amount of hair loss is normal and shouldn’t cause noticeable thinning. When hair loss is excessive or unexpected, however, it is referred to as alopecia. Both men and women may experience it in varying degrees from a gradual thinning to complete baldness.

Although hair loss is common and often difficult to live with, the good news is that many cases of hair loss are treatable and even reversible.

What causes hair loss?

There are many causes of hair loss. In some cases, hair loss is only temporary, which is often the result of an illness, increased stress or a nutritional deficiency. In these situations, the hair usually returns once the condition is gone or has been managed.

The most common type of hair loss is inherited, also known as male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss. With this type of hair loss, men generally develop bald spots in the front, crown and sides of the hairline, and may become completely bald. Women may experience some thinning all over, but mostly on the top of the head. This type of hair loss is usually permanent.

Treatment for hair loss

The causes of hair loss are varied and a correct diagnosis is key for successful treatment. To get to the root of your hair loss, start by visiting your dermatologist. Your dermatologist will examine your hair and scalp and review your medical history to properly diagnose your type of hair loss.

Many forms of hair loss do not need any treatment, and the hair will start to regrow on its own. There are also types of hair loss that lead to permanent baldness, but can be slowed significantly through regular treatment. Common treatments include laser devices that stimulate hair growth, prescription medicines and scalp treatments. Surgical treatments may also be recommended, including hair transplantation. Your dermatologist will determine which treatment is best for you.

It is also helpful to share your hair care routine with your dermatologist. Make a list of the hair care products you use, such as shampoo and hair dryer, as these can help aid in the proper diagnosis of your hair loss.

While hair loss is usually not a threat to your health, it can have devastating effects on your self-image. If you are experiencing hair loss, talk to your dermatologist about your options for treatment. Your dermatologist will be able to identify the cause and discuss your treatment options.

By SOUTH COUNTY DERMATOLOGY
April 18, 2017
Category: Scalp Condition
Tags: Dandruff  

DandruffIf you find yourself constantly brushing off white flakes of skin from your shirt collars and shoulders, then you may have a common skin condition known as dandruff. Dandruff is the shedding of excessive amounts of skin from the scalp, a condition that can be itchy, bothersome and embarrassing.  

Most cases of dandruff are a mild form of a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammation of the scalp and sometimes the skin of the eyebrows, eyelids, nose, ears and chest. It occurs in areas that have the greatest number of sebaceous (oil) glands and is likely caused by a combination of an overproduction of skin oil and irritation from yeast. Psoriasis, a fungal infection or simple dry skin may also trigger dandruff. Hormonal or seasonal changes often make the itching and flaking worse.

The good news is that dandruff can almost always be controlled. Most mild cases of dandruff can be managed by shampooing regularly with a gentle, over-the-counter shampoo to reduce oiliness and skin build up. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best shampoo for your specific needs. Other tips for controlling dandruff include:

  • Limit hair products. Hair sprays, gels and mousses can create excess build-up on your hair and scalp, increasing its oiliness.
  • Treat your scalp gently. Harsh shampoos, daily blow-drying and forceful brushing can damage your scalp and make dandruff worse.
  • Avoid scratching.  Although tempting, scratching at dandruff can cause further irritation.

If you don’t see an improvement after several weeks of over-the-counter treatment, or if the condition worsens, visit your dermatologist. Severe cases of dandruff may need a prescription-strength or antifungal dandruff shampoo or cream to improve the skin condition.

Don’t throw away your dark clothes yet! With a little persistence and extra care, it’s possible to get your dandruff under control.