Common Fungal Infections Encountered in Dermatology | Alliance Keller Area

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Fungus is everywhere. It lives in air, water, soil, and plants, and scientists have identified 120,000 species. Many researchers believe that up to 3.8 million fungal species exist around the world. Very few fungi infect humans, but species that do colonize humans are very common. Dermatology clinics can treat minor and severe fungal infections.

Fungus can affect any part of the body, including the scalp. A dermatology clinic in the Alliance Keller area can diagnose and treat potential fungal infections, or provide information on best practices to prevent infection.

Athletes Foot

Athlete’s foot, tinea pedis, is a fungal infection associated with sports because socks, shoes, gym mats, and locker rooms provide a warm, moist environment. This doesn’t mean that a person must be an athlete to catch athlete’s foot. The fungus is common, especially in the warm climate of the Alliance Keller area during summer months.

Symptoms include itching, stinging, or burning sensations, redness or blisters, or peeling and cracked skin. Skin between the toes is especially vulnerable to peeling, softening, or breakdown. Medical professionals at a dermatology clinic diagnose athlete’s foot by examining a piece of affected skin under a microscope.

Topical antifungal ointments are available over-the-counter or by prescription. A severe infection may require oral medications. Consult the staff at your local dermatology clinic for help finding medications and learn how to care for feet and skin to promote healing.

Prevent athlete’s foot by keeping feet dry and wearing clean shoes and socks. Wear sandals in public showers and locker rooms. Tinea pedis can also infect toenails.

It can take years for obvious symptoms, such as yellowing or crumbling, to appear after athlete’s foot infections spread to toenails. Infections usually start with the great toe. Visit a dermatology clinic at the first signs of discoloration. Toenails are thicker than fingernails, and removing the nail may be the only option if fungus has spread through multiple layers of nail tissue.

Ringworm

Ringworm, tinea corporis, is caused by a type of fungus that lives on dead tissues including hair, nails, and skin. The same species of fungus that causes ringworm is also responsible for athlete’s foot and jock itch.

Ringworm infections are recognizable due to their unique shape. The microorganisms grow in a red circular patch. The patch is itchy and scaly and often becomes raised and bumpy over time. The interior of the circle looks like clear skin, or it may have a white, scaly appearance.

Ringworm is extremely contagious. It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and contact with pets. Tinea corporis also survives on towels, clothes, and brushes. Ringworm fungus is also very common in soil and mud.

Dermatologists diagnose ringworm by taking a skin sample and examining it because ringworm can also look similar to other skin infections and conditions. Topical creams and ointments are typical treatments.

Tinea Capitus

Tinea capitis is a form of ringworm that affects the skin of the eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp. The fungi attack hair shafts and follicles. It usually affects children, but adults are susceptible too.

Symptoms of tinea capitus include flaking skin that looks like dandruff, discolored white or gray skin in the eyebrows or scalp, and an itching or burning sensation.

Skin around hair follicles may become inflamed and painful. Visit a dermatology clinic as soon as symptoms appear. Treatment includes prescription shampoos, creams, and other soaps containing antifungal agents. Oral medications may be necessary for severe infections.

Ringworm of the Nails

Ringworm is called onychomycosis or tinea unguium when it affects nails. Nails infected with ringworm appear white, yellow, or brown. The nail may begin to crumble and feel ‘loose,’ as thought it is lifting up from the nail bed.

People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and obesity are more prone to fungal nail infections. Artificial nails increase risk of infection because fingernails are scraped and prepped in other ways that make the nail more susceptible.

Doctors at a dermatology clinics diagnose fungal infections in the fingernails. Topical anti-fungal medications are not very effective for nails because medication can not penetrate hard layers of tissue. Oral medications or injections are usually necessary, and sometimes fingernails are removed.

Candidiasis

Candidiasis is more commonly known as a yeast infection. Many people think of yeast infections as a gynecological infections. While vaginal yeast infections are fairly common, anyone can contract a yeast infection.

Candidiasis overgrowth can occur anywhere on the body where warm, damp conditions exist. It is most common in infants and the elderly. Thrush is an infection of the lips, tongue, and other tissues in the mouth caused by candidiasis.

People with compromised immune systems and anyone taking long-term medications such as steroids or antibiotics are most vulnerable. Healthy adults also experience yeast infections under the right conditions. The organisms grow well in skin folds, the underarm area, underneath the breasts, and in the groin or inner thighs.

Skin and tissue breakdown as a result of candidiasis infection gives other microorganisms, such as bacteria, an opportunity to infect the area. Schedule an appointment with a dermatology clinic as soon as possible for suspected yeast infections. Antifungal and antibacterial agents are needed if the infected area contains multiple types of microorganisms.

An unofficial rule of hygiene for fungal infections is “wet for dry, dry for wet.” Applying ointments or creams to the groin or skin folds can be very uncomfortable. It adds moisture to an area that is already sore. Nystatin powder is a common treatment. Nystatin is also available as an ointment that contains medications to treat bacteria and fungi.

Some fungal infections, such as tinea manuum, can occur on dry skin. Powder treatments are of limited use on dry, exposed areas such as the arms and legs, so ointments or creams are more effective. It is best to consult a doctor for any fungal infection or skin problem before attempting treatment. Compassion Dermatology in the Alliance Keller area can diagnose the problem and recommend proper treatment.


8 Skincare Dos and Don’ts | Insight from Your Trusted Fort Worth, TX Dermatologist

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The path to clear, smooth, healthy glowing skin begins and ends with following a few, simple dos and don’ts. For the best skin results, follow these steps from your Fort Worth, TXdermatologist.

Do Remove Makeup Daily

Yes—It’s been a long day, and the last thing on your mind is cleaning your face. However, the worst thing you can do to your skin is sleep with a thick layer of concealer, foundation, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, lip liner, and lipstick still coating your face.

Your makeup picks up contaminants, such as the dirt and oil that your face encounters throughout your day. As these build up, they clog your skin’s pores, leading to acne outbreaks and blackheads. If removing your makeup nightly and still developing acne, contact your dermatologist for an exam.

Do Exfoliate Regularly 

Removing makeup and washing daily isn’t enough to keep your skin’s pores from clogging up with oil and dead skin cells. Weekly or twice-weekly physical or chemical exfoliation gives your face an extra cleansing and helps reduce acne and blackheads. It also improves your skin’s softness and glows. If you have sensitive skin or find it red and puffy following twice-weekly exfoliating, consider only doing it once per week and for further concerns, contact your Fort Worth, TXdermatologist.

Do Wash Twice Daily 

Get up in the morning and lightly wash away any oil or dirt accumulating from the night before. There’s no need to scrub or irritate your skin, use warm water and a cleanser, especially if you exfoliated the night before. At night, use a makeup remover and cream cleanser to clean away your long day, unclog pores, and prevent blackhead and acne outbreaks. Your dermatologist may be able to recommend the right face and body wash for your skin type.

Do Wear Sunscreen 

The sun is one of the biggest influences on our skin. While the warmth can feel great on the surface, too much can damage it and lead to greater consequences from exposure—skin cancer. The ultraviolet rays can penetrate cloud cover and even car, home, and office building windows. To prevent sun damage, always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply it every two to four hours when your outside.

Additionally, consider wearing a hat to protect your scalp from sunburns. For concerns about sun exposure and burns, including suspected sun allergies, contact your Fort Worth, TXdermatologist, and schedule the next available exam.

Don’t Skip the Moisturizers 

After a long day in the sun, exfoliating, or removing makeup at the end of the day, massage your face and body with a thick, creamy moisturizer to rehydrate your skin. Exposure to daily elements, certain activities such as swimming, and aging zap the moisture skin. A quality moisturizer, especially one with anti-aging and wrinkle care components, can help rejuvenate it. If you have questions or concerns about dry, red, and itchy skin, call your dermatology specialist today to arrange an appointment.

Don’t Pick or Pop Zits

Yes, Dr. Pimple Popper does this for a living. However, only a dermatologist has the training and knowledge to pop zits without leading to an even worse outbreak or causing scarring. Popping pimples will leave a scab and if you keep picking at that scab, it will leave behind scars. Additionally, if you do this with papules or pustules without whiteheads, it can make the skin in the area swell, turn red, and even hurt. You can also develop severe skin conditions, such as acne cysts.

If you’re lucky enough to avoid more serious skin lesions, popping zits can cause the area of your skin to have a darker pigment, requiring additional treatment or makeup to cover different skin tones. Instead, use over-the-counter acne treatments, including products that spot treat pimples. For problems with scarring or if you think you’ve developed acne cysts, contact your dermatology specialist for an immediate appointment.

Don’t Forget to Wash Your Pillowcases 

You may not think about it, but changing your sheets and pillowcases are essential to keep your skin clean, clear, and acne-free. For the best results, change the pillow covering every three to four days. Any leftover dirt and oil still on your face when you go to bed ends up on your pillowcase. For people with acne-prone skin, consider changing it daily.

The material and the detergent you use to wash it also count. Look for cotton pillowcases instead of synthetic materials because it’s more breathable and better for reducing acne outbreaks. If you have sensitive skin, stick to fragrance-free laundry detergent and line-dry them to avoid irritating your face. You can get more help with skin sensitivity issues from your local, dermatologist.

Don’t Skip Yearly Dermatology Exams

Your annual doctor’s reviews should extend to your dermatologist as well as your primary care provider. At the appointment, they will examine your skin from the scalp to the tips of your fingers and toes, looking for unusual spots and changes in moles and other places on your body. In addition to the head-to-toe review, they may use a dermatoscope to get a closer examination of moles and other areas of your skin.

Patients with a history of cancer or a family history of melanoma might undergo more extensive screenings of the lymphatic regions. Although some checks may seem intrusive, it’s important to understand that skin cancer can develop in areas not exposed to the sun regularly, such as the soles of the feet and in inside regions of the arms and legs.

Use these steps daily to reduce acne breakouts, dry, painful skin, and keep it soft and glowing. If you have further concerns about your skincare routine or new acne or skin conditions that form or won’t go away, contact Compassion Dermatology, your Fort Worth, TX dermatologist, for the next available appointment.


Choosing the Right Dermatologist for You | Keller, TX

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Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer. This is relatively common knowledge, but skin is exposed to sunlight almost every day. People often forget sunscreen, and the sunny climate in Keller, TX encourages outdoor activities.

Small growths on the skin are a common occurrence, but they should not be ignored. Consult a dermatologist to make sure growths are not cancerous. Dermatologists may recommend removal of benign growths to prevent skin cancer in the future.

Blue Light Therapy

Photodynamic, or blue-light, therapy is a medical treatment involving a photosensitizing molecule activated by light exposure. Dermatologists use blue light therapy regularly, and it is also used in oncology, cosmetic surgery, oral medicine, and ophthalmology.

Dermatologists in Keller, TXuse photodynamic therapy, PDT, to remove actinic keratosis and other superficial skin lesions. The procedure reduces the risk of developing skin cancer in the future. PDT is not appropriate for people with light-sensitive medical conditions.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis, are small, scaly bumps on the skin. Lesions occur on skin that is frequently exposed to sunlight, such as the face, ears, head, forearms, lips, and hands. The bumps range can be as
small as a pinhead or grow to one inch across. Dermatologists remove these lesions because approximately 10% of precancerous keratosis become a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

People that spend a lot of time outdoors have a higher risk of developing actinic keratosis. Certain physical characteristics are associated with increased risk, including fair skin, red or blond hair, and gray, blue, or green eyes. People with dark complexions are also susceptible, especially if they spend time outside without appropriate sunscreen or protective clothing.

Levulan and BLU-U

Levulan Kerastick is a type of topical solution used with a BLU-U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Illuminator to perform photodynamic therapy. BLU-U does not emit UVA or UVB light. It works best for thin to moderately thick actinic kerosesis on the face and scalp.

The chemical solution applied to skin contains aminolevulinic acid. Photodynamic therapy, PDT, works because aminolevulinic acid reacts to the wavelength of blue light. Actinic keratosis weakens skin at lesion sites.

The weakened skin absorbs the chemical solution. Blue light hits aminolevulinic acid in the skin, and the reaction creates oxygen radicals that destroy cancerous or precancerous cells in the treated area.

PDT Procedure

Tell dermatologists in Keller, TX if you are taking any oral medications or medication applied to the scalp before treatment begins. Wash the treatment area and gently pat dry. Do not apply lotions or moisturizer before the procedure.

Dermatologists apply a light-sensitizing chemical solution to skin in the target area. The length of time between solution application and blue light exposure is called the incubation period. Patients sit in a darkened room during the incubation period, which is approximately an hour for most procedures. Treated skin is exposed to blue light for approximately 17 minutes.

Some people feel a prickling or burning sensation during treatment, but this usually fades within a minute after light exposure ends. Only 3% of people in PDT treatment studies chose to discontinue treatment due to discomfort.
Solar keratosis usually heal within a week after treatment.

Side Effects and Aftercare

Many people experience sensitivity to sunlight for a short time after skin is exposed to blue light. Bring a hat, umbrella, or other protective clothing or
accessories to the appointment to avoid sun exposure on the way home.

Shield skin from sunlight or limit time outside to avoid exposure to bright lights for 24 to 48 hours. Sunscreen may not be sufficient to protect skin from photosensitivity to visible light during this time.

Do not expose the treated lesions to sunlight or any bright lights for at least 40 hours after the chemical solution was applied. This includes household lights at close range. Sensitivity to light is only temporary and depends on the length of treatment. PDT does not cause permanent or ongoing light sensitivity.

The most common side effects of PDT include skin discoloration, crusts or scaling over the destroyed lesions, and a slight itching, stinging, or burning sensation. Redness, swelling, and scaling may occur in the treated area immediately after treatment. These side effects usually subside within a few days and resolve completely within 4 weeks.

Liquid Nitrogen and Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a traditional treatment that was first used over 100 years ago. Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen for cryosurgery to remove skin lesions such as precancerous growths, cancer, skin cancer, dysplastic moles, warts, and some skin cancers such as melanoma. Liquid nitrogen may be used to remove actinic keratosis as well.

Procedure and Side Effects

Cryosurgery works best on skin without thick hair cover. Liquid nitrogen is applied with a cotton-tipped dipstick or with spraying equipment. Both methods are fairly simple and effective for benign, premalignant, and malignant lesions.

Spray methods include timed spot freeze technique, the paintbrush method, and rotary or spiral patterns. Possible side effects, including bleeding, blister formation, headache, hair loss, or loss of skin pigmentation. These effects are usually very mild.

Cryosurgery vs PDT

Dermatologists perform cryosurgery and PDT as outpatient procedures without using injectable anesthesia. Cryosurgery has a very low risk of infection. Risk of infection is so low it is not listed as a possible side effect of PDT.

PDT only involves two steps and the procedure is completed within 24 hours. Patients experience very little downtime. There are no prescriptions to fill, and no need to remember a daily medication. Cryosurgery is often completed in 15 to 25 minutes. PDT requires more of a time investment, but it is still less than a day.

Blue light therapy is very flexible. People choose to have only a few lesions treated or treat several areas at once. The size of the treatment area is the most significant difference between cryosurgery and PDT.

Cryosurgery only treats a very small area with each application. It is usually targeted at only one growth at a time. PDT can be used over large areas. The dermatologists and professional staff at Compassion Dermatology in Keller, TX advise clients and help them choose the most appropriate procedure.


Laser-based Cosmetic Procedures | Insight from Your Trusted Southlake, TX Dermatology Specialist

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People often seek dermatology services for skin conditions or other health problems. Skin health is definitely important, but dermatology offers cosmetic services as well. Cosmetic procedures can provide a confidence boost and a lot of excitement.

Two laser-based cosmetic services available in Southlake, TX, include ICON and SculpSure. SculpSure is a noninvasive laser-based procedure for targeting and reducing fat. Icon Aesthetic System is a laser-based suite of noninvasive cosmetic treatments for skin.

Icon Aesthetic System

The Icon Aesthetic System includes many devices in a single machine. Lasers with different wavelengths target blood, water, and melanin. Icon is used for a variety of procedures in dermatology such as scar treatment, facial blood vessel and pigment clearance, leg vein clearance, skin resurfacing, permanent hair removal, and wrinkle or stretch mark reduction.

Skintel Reader and IPL

The Skintel reader in Icon systems is the only FDA-approved melanin reader used in dermatology. It guides treatment by determining skin’s melanin content. Intense Pulse Light, or IPL, is a component of Icon systems used for photorejuvenation therapy.

Photorejuvenation stimulates collagen production to reduce brown spots, redness, and broken blood vessels. It can be used on the neck, arms, chest, hands, and face. Increased collagen also tightens skin, shrinks pores, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Most clients have five treatments with 3 to 4 weeks between sessions. Laser and IPL treatment sessions last approximately 20 minutes. No anesthetic is required.

Side Effects

Freckles and brown spots have a darker appearance for a short time after each IPL treatment. Side effects are mild and include skin discoloration, swelling, redness, and bruising. Blisters and scars occur in rare cases. Clients can reduce risk of side effects by avoiding sun exposure for 3 to 5 days before and after each treatment session.

SculpSure

SculpSure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, in 2017 as noninvasive lipolysis. Lipolysis means “the breakdown of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis.” SculpSure body contouring in dermatology removes pockets of fat that can be difficult to lose through diet and exercise alone.

Invasive procedures such as liposuction and excision surgery, or ‘tummy tucks,’ used to be the only fat reduction procedures available in Southlake, TX. These surgical procedures pose a risk of complications such as blood clots, infection, or adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Noninvasive fat reduction options were limited to topical treatments until the mid-2000s. The results of topical treatments are not comparable to surgical procedures. SculpSure utilizes lasers to melt subcutaneous fat while leaving the skin intact. It is only the second noninvasive fat reduction procedure available in dermatology.

The most popular SculpSure contouring sites in dermatology are the stomach, love handles, inner or outer thighs, back, and the submental area. The submental area is underneath the chin and more commonly known as ‘double chin.’

What to Expect from the Procedure

Clients have a consultation with medical staff to discuss overall goals and determine treatment areas before the first SculpSure treatment session. Bring a list of current medications to the first appointment and tell the doctor about any medical conditions.

Some dermatologists advise clients to avoid blood thinners for a few days before the procedure, but this is different for everyone. SculpSure is not approved for use during pregnancy.

Clients rest in a comfortable, reclined position during treatment at a dermatology clinic. Medical staff mark the targeted treatment areas and apply a SculpSure device. The device is a hands-free heat laser belt containing four applicators.

Each applicator produces a 1060-nanometer diode laser that reaches temperatures between 107.6 and 116.6°F. The lasers heats up fat cells beneath the skin without harming other tissues. Heat is distributed in a feathering pattern so results appear natural.

The SculpSure device alternates heat and cooling effects to avoid burns and enhance comfort. Each treatment session lasts approximately 25 minutes. Clients can have up to four areas treated at once. Some people feel minor pinching or tingling during the procedure. No anesthesia is necessary, and SculpSure is an outpatient procedure at dermatology clinics.

The process triggered by the SculpSure laser is called apoptosis. Heat kills and shrinks fat cells by disrupting the cellular structure. The lymphatic system removes dead cells from the treated areas. Destroyed fat cells should be entirely gone within 12 weeks of the procedure. Repeated treatments to the same area can be done 6 to 12 weeks after the first treatment.

Side Effects and Aftercare

The most common side effects of SculpSure are soreness and stiffness or bruises over treated areas. Numbness or skin sensitivity may occur for a few days after the procedure. There is no recommended down time so clients can resume their normal daily activities immediately.

Many dermatologists recommend 5-minute massages of the treated areas twice a day for 3 weeks after the procedure. Massage encourages lymphatic drainage and reduces soreness and swelling.

Avoid exposure to direct sunlight during the week before the procedure and one week afterwards. Use sunscreen with high SPF during outdoor activities.

SculpSure is classified as a permanent treatment. Eliminated fat cells do not regenerate. Most people notice fat reduction within six weeks and full results are visible 12 weeks after treatment. Cynosure, the company that produced SculpSure, states that one treatment session causes a 24% reduction of fat in treated areas.

Maintaining Results of Cosmetic Procedures

SulptSure produces great results, but it is not a miracle cure. It does not destroy every fat cell in treated areas. The remaining fat cells increase in size when people gain weight after the procedure. Nutritious food, exercise, and a balanced lifestyle are necessary to maintain a healthy weight.

Protect skin from sun exposure and use high-quality skin care products to maintain results of Icon Aesthetic treatment. The helpful medical professionals at Compassion Dermatology in Southlake, TX, can recommend the best products for healthy skin.