Dermatitis, which means inflammation of the skin, is a catch-all term that encompasses many forms of rashes. These may be itchy, reddened, and/or swollen. Skin that has been affected may ooze, blister, flake, or become crusty. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a reaction to a substance that meets the skin. Common allergens include lotions, soaps, perfumes, makeup, jewelry, gloves, and plants such as poison ivy. Patch testing is useful to help determine the cause of the allergy. While rashes are common and not contagious, they can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious – especially with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. At Boise Dermatology, patients are provided comprehensive and effective treatment regimens to help the skin recover and keep it in the best possible condition long-term.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can affect the skin and joints. In the skin, psoriasis appears as a persistent red rash with thick white scales that are often tender and itchy. Psoriasis can occur at any age.
Psoriasis can either be localized to a few areas of the body, such as the knees, elbows, genitals, buttocks, and/or scalp, or can be more widespread to cover larger areas of the torso, arms, and legs.
New research shows that people with psoriasis are also at increased risk for other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and depression. Consequently, patients with psoriasis need comprehensive health care to assess and manage their risk factors, as well as maintain long-term care of their skin.
Treatments for psoriasis include topical creams and laser or light therapy. Topical treatments work better as combinations of different classes of medications, such as steroidal ointments, non-steroidal creams, vitamin D creams, and emollients.
Laser treatment involves a targeted UV wavelength that is applied to affected areas of skin twice a week. Laser or light therapy work best for localized cases of psoriasis, as they can help clear stubborn plaques on the skin without total body exposure.
Moderate-to-severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may require oral or injectable treatments to target different parts of the immune system.
Treatments for each patient depend on the surface area the psoriasis rash covers, severity of symptoms, and a careful balance of the risk of side effects and patient health profile.
As we age our skin goes through many changes. How we care for our skin in adolescence is very different to regimens required for maintaining healthy skin in our later years. Let Dr. Brooks explain.Learn More
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a common dry, itchy rash seen mostly in children. It can start in infancy and persist into late childhood, usually resolving or reducing in adulthood. The condition tends to run in families and is commonly associated with allergies and asthma. Typically, not a specific allergy, but a multitude of triggers, can flare the rash.
It is thought to be caused by a combination of factors:
Managing eczema includes avoiding irritants, hydrating skin, calming the itch and inflammation, and treating skin infections as needed. Caring for the skin is a daily process for parents and eczema patients. A good skincare regimen will include thick emollients and topical steroids. Other options may include non-steroidal ointments, bleach baths, wet wraps, and medications such as antibiotics and antihistamines as needed.
Avoid common skin irritants such as wool clothes, overheating, sweat, emotional stress, bubble baths and soaps, cigarette smoke, friction, and low humidity. Excessive scratching or even a mild upper respiratory or ear infection can also trigger flares.
Repeated eczema flares can be frustrating, but if you follow a good skin care routine, they occur less frequently. When eczema flares, a good action plan with prescription ointments on hand is helpful to quickly calm the skin and return to your baseline.
Most rashes improve with good skin care to heal and prevent dry skin. Avoid very hot water when bathing. Soap use should be limited to underarm and groin areas. Applying a thick moisturizer while the skin is still damp can lock in moisture. Thick creams or ointments sold in jars work better to lock in moisture than lotions.