Should I See A Dermatologist For Poison Ivy? | Southlake, TX

Photo by Heidi Besen at Shutterstock

We’ve all heard of poison ivy. Many people have an allergic reaction, also known as contact dermatitis, after contact with poison ivy plants. Poison sumac and poison oak cause the same reaction. The resin of all three plants contains an oily substance called urushiol, which is responsible for allergic reactions. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are the most common cause of allergic reactions in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology states that up to 50 million urushiol-induced allergic reactions occur every year.

Most dermatologists are very familiar with urushiol reactions because the causative plants grow all over the country, including Southlake, TX. Poison oak is more common than poison ivy in the western and southern parts of the country, but this is a relative comparison. There is no shortage of poison ivy in Texas. The roots, stems, and leaves of these plants contain resin, commonly known as sap, which means contact with any part can trigger a reaction. Sap is colorless or pale yellow with an oily, and very sticky, consistency.

Exposure and Allergic Reaction

Urushiol is present on the surface of intact plants, but much more of the oil is released when plants are crushed or damaged. Damaged plants may have black spots because urushiol turns black after exposure to air. Never burn poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac. Airborne urushiol particles from burning plants create an inhalation risk. A potentially life-threatening allergic reaction can occur in the trachea or lungs.

An allergic reaction to urushiol doesn’t usually result in rash immediately. Reactions generally occur within 12-21 days after the first exposure, but the rash appears only 12-72 hours after repeated exposures. This type of allergy is described as delayed-type hypersensitivity.

Allergic reactions vary between individuals, depending on sensitivity and strength of immune responses. Approximately 15% to 30% of people are not allergic to urushiol, so they don’t develop a rash or any other symptoms after exposure. On the other hand, approximately 25% of the population can experience a severe allergic reaction.

Common signs and symptoms of a reaction to urushiol include:

  • Intense itching
  • rash
  • red, swollen lines on the skin with streaks or patches
  • blisters
  • hives
  • small, fluid-filled red bumps
  • swelling

No one can ‘catch’ a rash or any other symptoms of an allergic reaction from another person. It may seem like the rash can spread to other parts of the body, but this is a misleading impression. Urushiol may penetrate thick or calloused skin at a slower rate, so a rash develops a little later. Talk to your dermatologist if new rashes appear and you aren’t sure of the source.

The most likely cause of new rashes on different parts of the body is fresh contact with urushiol oil that is still present somewhere. The sticky oil is easily transferred from one surface to another. Plant resin sticks to skin, clothing, tools, and even animal fur. Urushiol is an impressive, if extremely irritating, substance. It can stay active for over a year.

Prevention

There is no cure for a rash caused by poison ivy. Prevention is the best treatment. Anyone that spends a lot of time outdoors in Southlake, TX, should learn to identify potentially toxic plants. ‘Outdoors’ doesn’t just refer to camping or hiking. Poison ivy and poison oak can grow in an average backyard. Poison sumac could grow in a person’s yard, but trees are more noticeable than plants that blend into undergrowth or bushes. All three plants produce resin all year round, whether leaves are present or not.

Sometimes a rash can be prevented after contact with poison ivy. Remove oils from your skin immediately after contact with the plant. Ordinary soap is fine for washing exposed skin, but be careful with bar soaps.

Rinse your skin with lukewarm water before using a soap bar so the oil won’t stick to the bar and spread to other parts of your body. Use caution with wash cloths, sponges and loofahs that may pick up oil from your skin. Wash these items thoroughly or dispose of them immediately after bathing to make sure the oil won’t spread.

Alcohol wipes work when you don’t have immediate access to a shower or soap and water. Wash all exposed areas three times to make sure the sticky resin is gone. Even a tiny amount of urushiol may trigger a reaction.

Dermatologists recommend washing clothes, shoes and anything else you were wearing or carrying after contact with poison ivy. The same advice applies to poison oak or poison sumac. Regular laundry detergent removes urushiol from most clothing, but it isn’t effective for suede or leather. Bleach deactivates the oil on clothing and most surfaces.

Treatment Options

Most cases of poison ivy reactions don’t require a visit to a dermatologist. Leave blisters intact to heal on their own, even if they begin oozing or form a crust. Breaking blisters creates a very inviting entry point for bacteria that cause infection.

Unmedicated hand lotion, ice, and cold water aren’t effective against an allergic rash, but cooling the rash and surrounding skin might reduce inflammation and swelling. Most reactions heal within 10 to 14 days.

You can always visit a dermatologist for help. Burning and itching aren’t pleasant, and a dermatologist can help you manage symptoms. Dermatologists may recommend over-the-counter creams and baking soda or oatmeal baths. Other options include oral medications to counteract severe itching and steroid creams or injections to relieving itching, swelling, and inflammation.

Severe allergic reactions or an accompanying fever above 100 degrees F do require medical help. Always consult a dermatologist if bumps or blisters contain white, yellow or thick fluid that indicate infection. Untreated infected rashes can leave scars and may cause a systemic infection.

Contact Compassion Dermatology if you have a urushiol-induced rash. Sometimes we can brush up against a toxic plant or encounter sticky resin without realizing it. A dermatologist can help if you aren’t sure what caused a rash.


5 Dermatologist Tips To Follow When Dealing With Acne | Keller, TX

Photo by LightField Studios at Shutterstock

Acne is perhaps one of the most common skin conditions in America, affecting at least 50 million people every year. Knowing how to treat and deal with your skin may not necessarily be easy. There are different types of ingredients that you should look for and different types of tips that you should follow.

We’ll look at 5 of the most common tips recommended by dermatologists below. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to flawless, beautiful skin.

#1. Allow Any Acne Treatment 4 Weeks to Work

First and foremost, make sure that you give your acne treatment enough time to work. Most dermatologists recommend giving the treatment at least four weeks to work before calling it quits are switching to a new routine. Your skin needs enough time to get used to the new ingredients that are within the treatment. If you switch from one treatment to another too quickly or use too many products at a time, you could potentially irritate your skin, causing your acne to worsen.

After about four weeks, you should start to see some improvements. If you think that the treatment is not working quickly enough for you, don’t worry at all. This is merely the start. The full effects of the acne treatment will usually kick in right after according to most professionals.

#2. Be Gentle with Your Skin

Many people with acne feel tempted to scrub at their skin. They may wash their skin way too aggressively. When dealing with acne, the key is to be as gentle as possible. On the same note, avoid over exfoliating your skin. Make sure that you choose exfoliating products that aren’t too aggressive, as aggressive exfoliating products can irritate the skin and cause it to become inflamed.

In fact, exfoliating a pimple can cause healthy skin cells to be removed. It can also increase the risk of scarring! At which point, you’ll have a different type of skin problem on your hand that might require a lot more treatment to fix.

If you’re not sure which type of exfoliating products to use, speak to a dermatologist for a recommendation. A dermatologist in Keller, TX can also recommend different types of products to try. Sometimes, it’s good to pair your skin care with your cleansing products. Your dermatologist can also take a look at the ingredients list to make sure that there aren’t any ingredients that might be too aggressive for your skin type.

#3. Avoid Touching Your Face

One of the most common tips that dermatologists give is to avoid touching your skin when you have acne. Your spans contain a lot of oils and dirt. If they aren’t clean, they can bring a lot of oils and dirt to your skin, which can cause further skin problems. It could also cause your acne problems to worsen significantly.

You also want to avoid squeezing out your pimples. When you try to squeeze your pimples, the dirt and oil on your fingers can cause the acne to spread. It can also cause further infections. Popping pimples can lead to scarring as well, and you definitely want to avoid that as the scars usually are much longer-lasting than the pimples themselves.

If you must touch your face, make sure that you wash your hands with warm water and soap first. Make sure that there aren’t any oils or dirt on your fingers.

#4. Take Time to Relax and Get More Sleep

Insufficient sleep can have a huge effect on your overall well-being. In particular, insufficient sleep can wreak havoc on your skin. The same can be said for stress. Stress can be equally as problematic for your skin as insufficient sleep.

Another common tip for most dermatologists is to get enough sleep and to reduce the amount of stress that you have in your life. This could be anything from taking on less work, getting a massage, practicing meditation, mindfulness and yoga and trying out art therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It really depends on what works for you. If you’re not sure what works for you, play around and try different things.

Try to go to sleep at the same time every night. Turn off the screens at least an hour before you go to bed and even drink some chamomile tea to relax. Your goal is to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re able to reduce your stress levels and get more sleep, you might see an incredible change in your skin’s overall condition.

#5. Clean Your Hats and Headbands

A common culprit of forehead acne is dirty hats and headbands. If your wardrobe consists of many hats and headbands, you’re going to want to take a look at how clean they are. If you are someone who wears hats and headbands for hours and hours in your day, you may be trapping sweat, dirt and oils onto your forehead. These contaminants can clog your pores and cause you to get acne.

If you are experiencing a lot of forehead acne, consider taking off your hats and headbands more regularly. Give your skin a break and a chance to breathe. Also, make sure that you wash these accessories regularly with either dish soap, hand soap or a laundry machine.

Speak with a Dermatologist to Get a Personalized Skincare Routine

If you’re having any problems with your skin, one of the first things that you should do is to make an appointment with a dermatologist in Keller, TX. A professional can access your skin type to determine the underlying causes behind your problems. They can help you find a solution that works for you.

If you’re interested in seeing a professional, consider giving Compassion Dermatology a call at 817-380-5911. We offer a wide range of services, from complete skin evaluations to medical and surgical procedures. We can help you deal with all types of skin problems.