As our first line of defense against the marauding invaders that cause illness and infection, the skin is susceptible to various diseases and conditions, including skin inflammations. Here are some of those inflammations and their treatment.
What is patch testing?
Patch testing is used to determine whether a skin condition has been caused or aggravated by a particular contact allergy. Patch tests are specifically for patients who have dermatitis. During the procedure, a patch placed on the skin is exposed to a particular substance to see if it causes an allergic reaction. This is also a useful technique to detect any delayed allergic reactions that may take up to several days to develop.
How do I prepare for a patch test?
In your initial consultation with Dr. Stockton you will discuss your current condition, as well as your medical history. The information obtained during your consultation will help Dr. Stockton determine the probable causes of your skin inflammation. During this time, it is also essential to provide her with a list of medications you are currently taking. Some medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants may interfere with the results of a patch test.
What happens during a patch testing?
In patch testing, allergens are applied to patches that will be placed on your skin, usually on your back. A single patch may expose your skin to 20 to 30 extracts of different substances that can trigger the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Causative substances can be fragrances, latex, preservatives, resins, metals, medications, and hair dyes.
What happens after patch testing?
The patches are usually placed on your back or arm for 48 hours. During this period, you will be advised not to bathe or take part in activities that cause heavy sweating. Once the patch is removed, any irritated area of the skin at the patch site would then indicate your allergy to the substance.
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What is folliculitis?
Folliculitis is a type of skin inflammation caused by an infection of the hair follicles, the tiny pouches inside the skin where hair grows. Any spot on your body that has hair is susceptible; however, folliculitis is most common on the scalp, face, and on areas of the body that are rubbed by clothing, such as the groin and the thighs.
What are the causes of folliculitis?
Bacteria, yeast, or other types of fungus can cause folliculitis. Clothes that rub and irritate the skin can also damage the hair follicles, leading to the skin condition. When the follicles are blocked or irritated by sweat, makeup, and other foreign substances, skin inflammation will follow.
Folliculitis can be triggered by the following situations:
- Wearing tight clothes
- Frequently exposing the skin to substances that irritate and block hair follicles, such as makeup, motor oil, tar, and many others.
- Having an infected wound that could possibly spread to neighboring hair follicles
- Bathing in hot tubs and swimming pools that are not properly treated
- Having illnesses that compromise or weaken the immune system
What are the symptoms of folliculitis?
Folliculitis usually appears as red pimples that grow hair in their center. The pimples may not manifest any symptoms, or they may itch, burn, or exhibit pus. There is also a particular condition called "hot tub folliculitis," where signs and symptoms appear 72 hours after the person has been in a hot tub or spa. This condition is characterized by small pimples forming on the stomach, arms, or legs. In some cases, the patient can get a mild fever and an upset stomach.
How Do I Treat Folliculitis?
Mild folliculitis usually goes away on its own within two weeks. You can alleviate the symptoms and promote healing with warm compresses made from Burrow's solution or white vinegar. There are also medicated shampoos that Dr. Stockton can recommend to treat folliculitis on the beard or scalp.
If the inflammation does not go away, an antibiotic or an antifungal cream can be applied. If your condition does not improve after the application of topical medication, laser hair removal can be an option.
What Causes Rashes?
There are various reasons why a person develops rashes. These skin inflammations can be caused by a substance that touches the skin, a condition called contact dermatitis. Some of these irritating substances include:
- l Dyes found in clothing
- l Cosmetic products, detergents, and soaps
- l Chemicals found in products made of latex, rubber, elastic, and the like
- l Poison sumac, ivy, and oak
Another form of dermatitis is called seborrheic dermatitis, where rashes form around the eyelids, brows, nose, mouth, and behind the ears. It can also appear on the scalp as dandruff or cradle cap in infants.
What are other skin conditions associated with rashes?
Some conditions that cause rashes include eczema or atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles, impetigo, and childhood diseases such as measles, rubella, chicken pox, scarlet fever, and hand-foot-mouth disease. Medications and insect stings and bites can also trigger rashes.
How Do I Treat A Rash?
Rashes can be treated at home with prescription or over-the-counter medication. Dr. Stockton recommends the use of hydrocortisone cream to soothe rashes and alleviate discomfort. Eczema can be addressed with moisturizers. Oatmeal bath products are also effective treatments that can relieve symptoms of shingles, psoriasis, and eczema.
When should I seek medical help?
It is important to seek professional help immediately if you become short of breath, your face swells, or a bruise-like rash is present.