We are conveniently located off of 7th Street and I-10.Get Directions
8:15AM - 4:30PM
8:15AM - 4:30PM
8:15AM - 4:30PM
8:15AM - 4:30PM
8:15AM - 4:30PM
From your early years to your golden years and everywhere in between, the dermatologists at U.S. Dermatology Partners Phoenix on 7th Street, formerly Medical Dermatology Specialists, are dedicated to helping you maintain healthy skin for a lifetime.
We are dedicated to providing the highest level of care and service to our patients.
Lindsay Ackerman, MD, founded U.S. Dermatology Partners Phoenix on 7th Street, formerly Medical Dermatology Specialists (MDS), in the fall of 2008. Margaret Kessler, MD, joined the practice in September 2009. In 2018, Medical Dermatology Specialists Phoenix joined U.S. Dermatology Partners. As specialists in dermatology, our Phoenix dermatology practice is focused on providing medical dermatology services. This means we see pediatric and adult patients with conditions ranging from mild inflammatory or infectious diseases to autoimmune diseases and blistering disorders. We also offer restorative aesthetic procedures such as chemical peels, chemodenervation, and facial sculpting.
The board-certified specialists at our Phoenix dermatology office see patients in the office, as well as at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and St. Joseph’s Hospital for acutely ill or hospitalized patients.
Our Phoenix dermatologists provide procedural dermatology (skin surgery) services for the treatment of benign and malignant medical conditions. We are specialists in dermatology & proud to offer our patients the convenience of Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer removal with our fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon, Nathalie Zeitouni,MD. Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rates for all non-melanoma skin cancers. For certain cases of the most common types of skin cancer — squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma — the cure rate can be as high as 99 percent.
Our Phoenix dermatology offices diagnoses and treats the following oncologic conditions when affecting the skin and surrounding tissues:
As a routine part of our exams, we look for irregularities in the skin that may look to be precancerous growths. By helping patients notice these areas early, we can recommend treatments for these areas to decrease the risk of developing skin cancer.
Early detection is key! Don’t ignore suspicious or changing spots on your skin. Contact our office to request an appointment.
We are proud to offer procedural dermatology. We perform surgical procedures to either correct defects or scaring or to enhance a person’s visible skin. We want to know how we can help you more confidently see yourself and face the world. Dermatologic surgical procedures are minimally invasive and may be safely performed in an outpatient, office-based setting without general anesthesia.
We offer many different dermatology procedures, including:
Whether you have a severe skin disease that requires hospitalization or simply looking for an expert Phoenix dermatologist to enhance your appearance, our goal is to help you feel well and more confident about your skin. From the minute you walk in the door to the time you leave, our staff works collaboratively to make you feel comfortable. We are passionate about making patients feel better so that you can enjoy an enhanced quality of life. To do this, we make sure to listen to each patient, then provide treatments and education in a way that is honest, respectful, and compassionate. When you visit our Phoenix dermatology office, you’ll notice that we not only care about our patients’ healthy skin, but we also care about the environment in which we all live. Our Phoenix dermatology office was created with environmentally friendly materials including cork flooring and recycled glass countertops. It was a vision brought to life by Dr. Lindsay Ackerman and Wendy Ackerman of Ackerman Art & Design.
Located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, we are proud to serve our city and surrounding areas, which include:
Looking for a dermatologist in Phoenix, Arizona? Look no further. Whether you suffer from pain, irritation, or embarrassment from a persistent skin condition or if you’ve noticed a suspicious new spot or mole, we can help. Contact our office today to get started.
Actinic Keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a scaly or crusty lesion on the skin that develops slowly and indicates the presence of sun damage. It is most commonly found on parts of the body frequently exposed to the sun including the bald scalp, face, ears, lips, backs of the hands or forearms, neck, and shoulders.
Actinic keratoses are considered precancerous and can develop into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. In fact, some 40 to 60 percent of squamous cell skin cancers begin as untreated actinic keratoses.
Because of this, your doctor should be diligent in diagnosing, treating and monitoring actinic keratosis.
Annual Skin Examinations are yearly scheduled skin exams with a dermatologist. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.? In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun damage to the skin is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, so the average risk of skin cancer also increases as our life expectancy gets longer.
Just as you schedule your annual physical or trip to the dentist, it is important to conduct a self-examination of your skin each month and schedule a professional annual skin examination once a year. Skin cancer is a treatable condition, but early detection is key.
Basal Cell Carcinoma, also known as basalioma or basal cell cancer, is the most common type of skin cancer and carries the least amount of risk, though it still requires attention. If caught and treated early, basal cell carcinomas are not likely to be life-threatening, but they do have the potential to cause disfigurement of the skin tissue.
Almost one million new cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and up to 30% of Caucasians may develop basal cell carcinomas in their lifetime.
Skin cancer is considered low risk when the affected cells remain clustered in a single group. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are rarely life-threatening. Though it is unlikely to spread to other parts of your body, if left untreated, basal cell carcinoma can move into nearby bone or other tissue.
Basal cell carcinoma typically begins as a small, shiny bump on the face, although it can occur on any part of the body.
Melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers, only accounts for about 4 percent of all skin cancer cases, but causes about 79 percent of skin cancer deaths.
Melanoma is a cancer of the skin that begins in the melanocytes, which are the cells that produce the pigment melanin. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women 25 to 30 years old and the second leading cause of cancer death in women 30 to 35 years old.
In some cases, melanoma occurs in melanocytes throughout the body, even if those parts have never been exposed to the sun.
Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rates for all non-melanoma skin cancers. For certain cases of the most common types of skin cancer — squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma — the cure rate can be as high as 99 percent.
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized surgical technique used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers in which the surgeon removes all of the visible cancer, plus a small margin of the surrounding healthy tissue and examines it to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery.
During Mohs micrographic surgery — named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, who first performed it in the 1930s — cancer is removed from the skin layer by layer until all cancerous cells have been removed. This type of surgery is most commonly used for cancers that have a high risk of re-occurrence. This technique allows for complete removal of the skin cancer while minimizing the removal of surrounding healthy skin.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year.
Skin cancer is the result of uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells that takes place when skin cells suffer DNA damage and then mutate, causing them to multiply rapidly and form malignant (cancerous) tumors. Most skin cancers develop on the visible outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), particularly on sun-exposed areas such as the face, head, hands, arms and legs. They are usually easy to detect with a skin examination, which increases the chances of early diagnosis.
There are different types of skin cancer, each named for the type of skin cell from which they originate. The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. Almost one million new cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Most skin cancers fall into one of three categories:
There are often warning signs that cancer is developing. The most common are pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses that often develop on sun-exposed areas. These tumors replace normal surrounding tissue and generally do not spread to other areas.
Skin cancer is considered low risk when the affected cells remain clustered in a single group. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are rarely life-threatening.
Skin cancer is considered a high risk when cells have invaded surrounding tissues. The third most common skin cancer, malignant melanoma, can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
If skin cancer is detected before it has spread to surrounding tissues, the chances of a complete recovery and cure are excellent. High-risk forms of cancer like melanoma require more aggressive treatments.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. Although it is usually not life-threatening, it can be aggressive in some cases.
If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.
Acanthosis Nigricans is a condition that causes the skin to become discolored in the creases and folds of your body. This dark colored skin sometimes becomes thickened and often shows up in the armpits, groin and the folds of the neck.
If you’ve struggled with moderate to severe acne, including cystic or nodular acne, you know that many common acne treatments aren’t effective for everyone. Fortunately, the physicians at U.S. Dermatology Partners commonly prescribe Accutane (isotretinoin) for the treatment of those patients with acne that is unresponsive to other therapeutic options.
Acne is a dermatological condition caused by inflammation and mild infection in clogged pores. If not properly treated, acne can cause emotional distress, low self-esteem, and depression. In severe cases, it can even lead to permanent scarring.
While not a serious physical health threat, acne is an embarrassing skin problem that can be life-altering for many patients. Though it is most common among teenagers, acne can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and can be mild, moderate or severe.
Alopecia Areata, also known as spot baldness, is a type of hair loss in which your immune system attacks hair follicles. This leads to areas of baldness on the scalp and body. In severe cases, a person with alopecia may even lose the hair of their eyebrows and eyelashes.
Athlete’s Foot earned its name because this contagious fungal infection is commonly seen in athletes, who may wear sweaty socks for long periods of activity. It affects the skin on the feet and, left untreated, can spread to toenails and even to your hands.
Related: 5 Common Foot Rashes
Cold sores, which are also called fever blisters, are groups of blisters that appear on the lip and around the mouth. The blisters may break open and leak a clear fluid and then scab over. They may take up to two weeks to heal. They are caused by the herpes (HSV) virus.
Contact dermatitis is a common skin condition that impacts millions of people. At U.S. Dermatology Partners, we can help patients who struggle with contact dermatitis and other skin conditions to address their symptoms and look and feel their best. You can learn more about contact dermatitis on this page or by scheduling a consultation with a U.S. Dermatology Partners office location in your area.
Cysts are pockets of tissue (sacs) that may become filled with pus, fluids, skin cells, and even air.
They are fairly common on the skin and can appear anywhere on the body. Cysts may feel like a pea under the surface of the skin, but without removal, they can grow significantly larger over time. In most cases, cysts are not painful, and they grow slowly. There are different types of cysts as we’ll discuss in the next section, and the vast majority of these skin growths are benign (not cancerous). Not all cysts will require treatment, but it is vitally important to have any lump under the skin evaluated and diagnosed by a board-certified dermatologist because some soft tissue malignancies (growths that are cancerous) can present like a cyst. Before recommending removal or other cyst treatments, your dermatologist will examine the growth to determine whether it is likely to cause you pain, become infected, or otherwise lead to skin health issues.
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp which causes flaking and itching of the skin. It is more common in people with the skin conditions seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, and also can be a reaction to hair or skin products.
Dermatitis, also sometimes referred to as eczema, is a common condition characterized by an itchy rash and inflamed skin. There are many different types of dermatitis and symptoms can range in severity from mild itching and redness to severe blistering and cracked skin.
Eczema, also sometimes referred to as dermatitis, is a common condition characterized by a certain type of inflammation in the skin. There are many different types of eczema and symptoms can range from mild itching and redness to severe blistering and cracked skin. Whether you’re newly diagnosed with eczema or you’ve struggled with this chronic skin condition for years, you know that finding a treatment that works for you isn’t just important – it’s essential. Without proper and effective interventions, people with eczema can experience significant discomfort, itching, and inflammation.
At U.S. Dermatology Partners, our knowledgeable dermatologists partner with their patients to develop and maintain an effective eczema maintenance plan and provide advanced treatments for serious flareups. Learn more on this page or contact U.S. Dermatology Partners to get started working with us today.
A fungal infection is an inflammatory condition that is caused by fungus. Fungal infections can appear in many parts of the body and include athlete’s foot, yeast infections, skin and nail infections and more.
Related: 5 Common Foot Rashes
You might ask, what does hair loss have to do with skin?
Hair is actually a protein filament that grows from follicles deep in the skin up through the top layer of your skin. Your hair helps to regulate body temperature and also serves to protect your scalp. Almost everyone experiences some degree of hair loss at some point in life.
Head lice is a common condition, especially among children. While it may sound creepy or embarrassing to have small mites (or nits) in your hair, it’s actually a very manageable condition that is typically easy to treat right at home. On this page, you can learn more about how to get rid of lice from your head and your home.
Herpes simplex virus, often referred to simply as HSV, is an extremely common viral infection impacting millions of people in the U.S. alone. While there’s no known cure for HSV, some treatments have proven effective in minimizing the number and severity of flare-ups. You can learn more about HSV, its symptoms, and treatment options on this page. You can also work with one of the knowledgeable professionals at U.S. Dermatology Partners to create a treatment plan. To get started, simply complete our online scheduling request form. One of our team members will be in touch soon to finalize the details of your treatment plan.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is rare skin condition in which small, painful lumps develop under the skin, usually in areas where the skin rubs together (armpits, groin, between the buttocks, under the breasts, etc.) or in areas near hair follicles where many oil and sweat glands are present. Sometimes, the lumps may break open and smell, or they may create tunnels under the skin.
It can continue for many years, may worsen over time and can have serious effects on your daily life and emotional well-being, particularly during outbreaks.
If you’re dealing with the itchy, inflamed, painful skin condition called hives, it may be time to call U.S. Dermatology Partners for help. Hives can be very uncomfortable, but recognizing the warning signs and taking appropriate actions to care for your skin can be important to quickly relieve these symptoms and get back to feeling your best. Keep reading to learn more about what causes hives and how your dermatologist can treat this condition.
A lipoma is a common, non-cancerous, soft tissue growth just below the skin made up of fat cells. Though most lipomas are not a cause for concern, if the growth becomes too large, it may become painful.
Melasma is a fairly common skin condition that creates the appearance of brown to gray-brown patches of skin, usually on the face. It can also occur on the neck and forearms and is the result of the body producing too much melanin, that natural substance that colors our hair, skin, and eyes.
If you’re dealing with dark spots or patches on your skin from the chronic condition melasma, the U.S. Dermatology Partners team can help you to improve the appearance of these spots and minimize the risk for future flare-ups of the condition. Read the page below to learn more or reach out to the U.S. Dermatology Partners location nearest you for more information.
Atypical moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, are unusual-looking benign (noncancerous) moles.
A dysplastic mole is one that, when viewed on a cellular level, has features unlike those of a healthy, benign mole. A benign mole will have a regular pattern of coloration and pigment, even borders, symmetry, and a tan or pink color. Dysplastic moles can be asymmetric, have indistinct borders, or contain multiple colors or very dark pigment.
Dysplastic moles are often spotted as the “ugly duckling” on a patient’s skin. Any departure from the typical mole a person’s skin makes may be dysplastic. They can appear anywhere on the body, but in most cases are found on the back, chest, buttocks, breasts, or scalp.
Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious skin disease that appears as pink or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. It is caused by skin-to-skin contact as well as from sharing towels, clothing or touching infected surfaces. It can also be acquired through sexual contact.
For adults, bumps are most often found on the face, neck, armpits, arms and hands. They may also appear on the genitals, abdomen and inner thighs.
Once you are infected with the virus, it can spread to other parts the body, especially if you pick or scratch at the bumps or touch other parts of your skin after touching the bumps. (This is called self-re-infection.)
A fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails typically looks like white or yellowed nails that may also be thick and brittle. The infection could affect one nail or part of a nail, or it could affect multiple nails. If left untreated, fungal infections can lead to permanent nail damage.
Telemedicine, also known as online dermatology, telehealth, or teledermatology, is the use of telecommunications technology to provide care across a distance. This includes using the Internet, cell phones, SMS messaging and even satellites to allow physicians and patients to communicate medical information. This technology has been available for over a decade now, but as it has gotten better and better, telemedicine has now become much more available, easy to use, and secure. If used in the right way, it is one of the best ways that we can improve access to care.
Because dermatology is a very visual field and a specialty in high demand, patient access is often challenged by long wait times. Meeting a dermatologist online can be a great way to provide patients with increased access to skin care. Teledermatology involves the use of real-time video streaming, or more commonly the transmission of still images, pictures, and video in combination with a patient’s medical information collected via questionnaire. Teledermatology can be utilized in many ways including physician-to-physician consultations, triage, follow-up care, and patient education.
When your child develops a persistent rash or other skin condition, your goal is to find the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible to keep them comfortable and healthy. Pediatric dermatology is designed to meet the special needs of children with such conditions as birthmarks, psoriasis, warts, eczema and other skin disorders.
Photodynamic Therapy, often referred to simply as PDT, is a medical treatment that uses photosensitizing agents and light exposure to treat a range of conditions, including skin cancers, acne, and actinic keratosis (“pre-cancers”). You can learn more about photodynamic therapy on this page, and the U.S. Dermatology Partners team would love to hear from you if you’re interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss photodynamic therapy. Simply use our online request form to schedule a consultation visit at the U.S. Dermatology Partners office closest to you.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory condition that causes patches of skin to become red, inflamed, and bumpy. This disease affects more than 8 million people in the U.S.
Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakes skin cells for a virus or other infection and responds by producing more skin cell growth. This can be triggered by stress, anxiety, injuries to the skin, infections and hormonal changes.
Despite the name, ringworm is not caused by worms; it is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It can be caused by touching another person who has the infection, or by sharing items that the person has been in contact — such as towels, bedding, chairs and clothes. It can also be caught from animals with fungal infections and, rarely, from contact with fungi in the soil.
Sebaceous hyperplasia is a benign bump on the skin that forms as a result of over-productive oil glands. When oil glands are damaged, they can become enlarged and clogged, leading to this condition. It is primarily a cosmetic concern rather than a medical problem.
Seborrheic keratosis is one of the most common noncancerous skin growths found in older adults. It most commonly appears as a brown, black or light tan growth on the face, chest, shoulders or back. Although they are not cancerous, they can look like skin cancer.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox reactivates.
Typically, shingles appears on a small area on one side of the face or body. The rash is often painful because it travels up nerve roots (which supply sensation to your skin) to the area of skin supplied by those specific nerve roots.
Skin tags are small, soft skin growths that can occur anywhere on the body but are most common on the eyelids, neck, armpits, groin folds and under the breasts. They are harmless but they can be annoying, particularly if they are in an area where they are rubbed on by clothing. They may be flesh-colored, pink or may darken.
The sun can age and burn your skin, and it can also cause damage on the cellular level, leading to skin cancer. The good news is, the U.S. Dermatology Partners team can help you formulate a plan to prevent sun damage and repair the effects of the sun’s UV rays so that you can go out and enjoy a sunny day. Learn more on this page or contact U.S. Dermatology Partners to schedule an appointment with us.
Individuals who are prone to sunburn are thought to be genetically predisposed to skin cancer. Risk is also increased when exposure to UV rays is excessive. Sunscreen helps prevent the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, including skin aging and skin cancer like melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Sunscreens are rated and labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF) that measures the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which white patches of skin appear on different areas of the body. This happens when melanocytes, the cells that make pigment in the skin, are destroyed. In addition to the skin, it can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose as well as the eyes. Its cause is not known.
Warts are benign, non-cancerous growths that appear on the skin as the result of a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. They are contagious and are spread by contact – either with the wart or something that touched the wart. Cut or damaged skin is more vulnerable to warts.
Related: How to Identify a Wart
Botox, the commercial brand name for botulinum toxin (BTX), is an injectable cosmetic dermatology treatment that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
Unlike injectable wrinkle fillers, which work by filling a crease in your skin with another substance, Botox actually relaxes targeted muscles to reduce the look of lines in the face. This results in smoother skin with a more youthful appearance.
Each Botox injection relaxes key facial areas by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles. This temporarily removes wrinkles and improves the look of laugh and frown lines, skin bands on the neck, crow’s feet, forehead creases and more.
Although it was originally developed to treat eye muscle disorders, Botox has become popular cosmetically and this is now its primary use. In fact, Botox injections are now the most common cosmetic treatment in the U.S., with 6.3 million procedures done in 2013. Because Botox inhibits the release of certain neurotransmitters, it is also sometimes used to treat chronic migraines.
When it comes to dermatological treatments that will help people reclaim a youthful glow, create an even skin tone, and minimize the appearance of scars, chemical peels offer a conservative solution that addresses all of these concerns. Chemical peels are versatile treatments that help to improve the health and appearance of the skin, and just about every patient could benefit from the procedure. If you’re interested in learning more, continue reading below or get in touch with a U.S. Dermatology Partners location near you to schedule your visit.
Loss of facial fullness and volume is one of the many age-related changes that people want to address with their dermatologist. From store-bought topical treatments to advanced dermatologic and surgical procedures, there are numerous cosmetic dermatology treatments available to help restore youthful volume. However, dermal and soft tissue fillers are often the most conservative and impactful solutions to restore volume without undergoing more invasive treatments. There are many different types of dermal and soft tissue fillers, and each one is formulated to address a specific area or issue related to volume loss. You can learn more on this page.
At U.S. Dermatology Partners we offer premier dermatology services for patients of all ages. Book your appointment today to find the best facial filler treatment for you and your skin, using our simple, online scheduling request form.
Keloids are raised, red scars created by excessive healing of skin wounds, such as burns, cuts and acne. They are the result of an overproduction of collagen as the skin tries to repair itself. Keloids also can occur after piercings, tattoos or surgery and often times are itchy and painful. They can grow for years and sometimes show up three months or longer after the injury occurred.
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition characterized by small, hard bumps that may make your skin feel like sandpaper. Most often they appear on your upper arms, thighs and buttocks, and sometimes are accompanied by redness or swelling. In some cases they may appear on your face.
It is caused by a buildup of keratin, a protein that protects skin from infections. When a buildup forms, it blocks the opening of a hair follicle and creates the bumps, but doctors don’t know what triggers the buildup.
Skin lightening is a process used for people who want to lighten certain areas of skin that are affected by such things as melasma, age spots or even freckles.
Spider veins are blood vessels that are visibly enlarged and can be seen on the face as well as other areas of the body, most commonly the legs. They may also be called broken blood vessels or thread veins, and appear as hairline marks that can be red, bluish or purple. They most often appear on the nose, chin or cheeks.
Broken blood vessels occur when the skin has been damaged. They are often caused by falls or accidents that caused bruising, or by scrubbing the face too vigorously. However, spider veins also can be caused by such factors as aging, pregnancy, estrogen replacement therapy, sun damage and rosacea. In the legs, they may be caused or worsened by standing or sitting for long periods of time, obesity and constipation.
Medical dermatology encompasses disorders that are chronic and progressive, oftentimes contributing to internal disease states and requiring aggressive management. Essentially, it means treating issues that may start with the skin but can cause further health problems internally or externally. Medical dermatology services focus on treating individuals who may experience a limited quality of life due to skin manifestations.
Some conditions that would require medical dermatology expertise include:
The board-certified dermatologists at U.S. Dermatology Partners, formerly Medical Dermatology Specialists Phoenix, not only see patients in the office, but they also visit patients who are hospitalized due to their dermatology-related health issues. They are affiliated with Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
Immunobullous disorders affect the skin by causing severe blistering in the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes or genital areas. Immunobullous disorders occur when the body’s immune system errantly makes antibodies to the skin proteins. Immunobullous disorders usually require a skin biopsy for diagnosis, and oftentimes bloodwork. Immunobullous disorders are not contagious.
Three of the more common immunobullous disorders we see include bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. In general, immunobullous disorders are rare.
Pemphigus vulgaris is the most common and most severe form of immunobullous disorders. Typically, a person has sores or blisters in his or her mouth, and oftentimes also blisters on the body. These blisters are soft and easily broken. It is most often found in people between 40 and 60 years of age, although it can occur at any age. Pemphigus vulgaris can be quite painful.
Pemphigus foliaceus is the least severe of these disorders. Typically, the protein that causes the blistering is only found on the top (superficial) layer of skin. These blisters are soft and easily broken. They may begin on the scalp and move to other parts of the body including the chest, back and face.
Bullous pemphigoid causes severe blistering on the surface of the skin. Blisters in bullous pemphigoid are firm and do not break easily. People with bullous pemphigoid experience intense itching and burning in their skin. This disease can be mild but also chronic (meaning that there is no cure).
It is important to detect and diagnose immunobullous disorders early. When the disease lingers for long periods of time untreated, the sores can become infected. If the disease is found early, treatment can be effective. For most people, these diseases can be managed, and medications may eventually be discontinued. It typically entails steroids and immunosuppressive drugs.
For more information on immunobullous disorders, please visit the International Pemphigus Foundation and the American Autoimmune-Related Diseases Association, Inc.
Cutaneous lymphoma is the term used to describe lymphomas of the skin. Cutaneous lymphomas are rare. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in lymphocytes, a type of white blood whose role is to direct other white blood cells to fight infection.
There are two types of cutaneous lymphoma: cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is caused by a mutation in T cells that normally function as part of the skin’s immune system. Oftentimes, CTCL begins as a pink scaly rash occurring in clothing-covered areas of the body. If left untreated, CTCL can grow into large tumors on the skin.
Mycosis fungoides is the earliest stage of disease where plaques are limited to the skin. This is the most common type of CTCL. When tumor growth occurs, it is more common for CTCL to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
There is no cure for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, but there are several treatment options to limit the spread of the disease within the body and improve a person’s quality of life. Treatments can range from steroids and other oral medications to phototherapy, photopheresis and radiation therapy, depending on the severity of the disease.
Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma is less common than T-cell lymphoma. About 20% of people diagnosed with cutaneous lymphoma have this type. B-cell lymphoma presents on the skin typically as a cluster of tumors or nodules. They can be red or bluish-red and most often appear on the head, neck, back, abdomen or legs. These tumors, although slow to grow, can rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
The cause of cutaneous B-cell lymphoma is unknown but may be related to the carriage of cancerous viruses. Early diagnosis is important for appropriate and effective therapy. B-cell lymphoma can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, depending upon the extent of disease.
For more information on cutaneous lymphoma, please visit the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation.
Autoimmune connective tissue disorders are a result of abnormalities in the immune system where cells begin to attack internal body proteins, including those that are present in the skin. Autoimmune connective tissue disorders are more common in women than in men.
Connective tissue diseases can affect many parts of the body. In the skin, we most often treat these disorders:
Discoid lupus causes sores with inflammation and scarring. The sores typically appear on the face, ears and scalp, although they can appear on other body areas as well. They present as red, inflamed patches that are scaly and crusty. Systemic lupus can also cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints and nervous system. On the skin, these lesions can give you intense redness with a burning, stinging sensation when exposed to the sun, or scaling red plaques. Mouth sores are another common feature of systemic lupus. For more information on either discoid or systemic lupus, please visit the Lupus Foundation of America.
Psoriasis is a common disease affecting about 2–5% of the population. Psoriasis is a disease that most oftentimes is localized to the skin, but in up to 30% of patients can also affect the joints — a disease called psoriatic arthritis. On the skin, psoriatic lesions appear as red, scaling plaques that most often involve the elbows and knees, but commonly also exist on the trunk, arms, legs and scalp. Psoriasis is not contagious, but in some families, psoriasis may be hereditary.
Psoriasis can be a very uncomfortable disease when the skin becomes extremely itchy and painful. It can crack and even bleed. In some cases when the psoriasis is severe, the pain makes everyday tasks unmanageable. Many psoriasis patients feel as though they never find relief from the discomfort. Psoriasis is also associated with a higher risk for heart disease, obesity, alcoholism and depression.
While people with psoriasis can have good days and bad days, psoriasis is generally a chronic condition that requires at least some treatment for long periods of time until the disease goes into remission. Remission periods vary greatly. Some patients may need very limited ongoing care, while others may require more aggressive long-term management. Some things that cause psoriatic plaques to flare up include infection, reaction to medications, skin injury, stress, weather and hormone fluctuations. Skin trauma — bites, bruises, cuts and scrapes and other such traumas affecting the skin — can also cause flare-ups or stimulate the over-production of skin cells.
Despite the fact that psoriasis is one of the oldest-recorded skin conditions, science is still figuring out the exact mechanisms involved in the risk factors for and development of the disease. We know that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are the result of a misregulated immune system causing changes in the skin and joints. Some families carry genes that increase the risk for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. While there is still no cure for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, there are extremely effective treatments that limit disability and greatly improve patients’ quality of life.
At Medical Dermatology Specialists Phoenix, we encourage patients to join the National Psoriasis Foundation to become their own disease advocates. We treat patients comprehensively, encouraging screening for other diseases known to be of higher risk in those with psoriasis (such as cardiovascular disease), and we offer a wide array of therapeutic options, including topical agents, oral systemic treatments, injection therapies, infusion therapies and phototherapy.
For more information on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, please visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.