General Dermatology

From treatment of skin conditions such as skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea to removal of warts, moles and other lesions, Greenville Dermatology provides a full range of general dermatological services that will have your skin looking at its best.

Choose a common diagnosis:

Acne

Acne is an affliction of the skin that consists of pimples, blackheads and cysts. It mainly occurs during the teenage years, but can also afflict older individuals as well. We have no cure for acne, but we are able to suppress it effectively enough to keep your skin clear and to prevent scarring until you no longer have acne. We do this with the following types and kinds of medications:

Antibiotics
These kill the bacteria that cause acne. Most often, antibiotics in the tetracycline class are used because in addition to killing the bacteria, they also decrease inflammation (or redness) in the skin that goes along with acne. These will be used off and on during treatment for acne depending on the severity of the acne. Antibiotics are used in both pill and topical form.

Benzoyl Peroxide
This is used to add oxygen to the skin and helps remove both blackheads and pustules (pus bumps). It also helps to prevent the bacteria causing acne from developing a resistance to the antibiotic that is being used. Benzoyl peroxide is only available as a topical medication, but comes in gel, wash or cream form.

Retinoids
The retinoids are Vitamin A based medications. They increase the transition and turnover of the skin and prevent blackheads and cysts from forming. They are considered to be an exfoliant. In severe cases of acne that is scarring or acne that is not responding to the other medications prescribed, an oral (pill) form of retinoids are prescribed. Accutane is the best known of these medications, but there are generic versions available.

Light therapy
Recently, light therapy has been used to treat acne. So far, this way of treating acne has not received wide acceptance from the insurance industry and therefore it is still considered a cosmetic way to treat acne. It requires regular visits to the doctor to have the light treatment performed. Greenville Dermatology has an acne light to treat deeper cystic forms of acne.

Greenville Dermatology specializes in the treatment of acne. Make an appointment today to be evaluated and have a treatment plan tailored to your acne.

Eczema

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a condition of the skin where very itchy red scaly patches erupt on the body. It is more common in children, but many adults suffer from this condition as well. The best way to think of it is that the skin is much more sensitive than usual and itches much easier than a “normal” persons skin. Since this increased sensitivity is inherent, we cannot “cure” atopic dermatitis and can only hope to control it well enough to provide comfort and relief for the patient. The good news is that it will improve with age. The bad news is that it usually lasts in a severe enough form to require treatment for many years.

Treatment of atopic dermatitis centers around maintaining the waterproof barrier that skin provides for our bodies. Patients with atopic dermatitis lose more water from their skin than normal. Therefore, we encourage bathing once a day with a mild soap or soapless cleanser to replace that lost moisture, then immediately after bathing, applying an emolient CREAM to the entire body to seal it in. During flare ups, we add a mild steroid to this cream to speed the recovery of the skin. For many patients this is enough to keep them under control. However, for some patients another, stronger, cream needs to be applied to the dry itchy patches usually seen in the bends of the arms and legs, and around the wrists and ankles. Occasionally, an atopic dermatitis patient will have scratched and damaged the skin so much, that it becomes infected and we have to treat with an antibiotic. Sometimes, antihistamines are used, but they do not provide much relief from the itching–instead they induce drowsiness and allow the patient to fall asleep easier without scratching.

Many parents are concerned about the use of steroids for atopic dermatitis. Just like any other medication for other medical conditions, when used appropriately they are safe. The worry is overuse or abuse which can be avoided by developing a good relationship with your dermatologist and pediatrician. There are new medications, however, for atopic dermatitis that are steroid-free (Elidel and Protopic). These medications are an option for some patients.

Allergies to foods or other things are rarely a factor in atopic dermatitis. However, in cases that are difficult to control, or where a connection seems to exist, an allergy workup can be helpful.

Greenville Dermatology considers eczema and atopic dermatitis to be one of our specialties. Please come for an evaluation and to develop a treatment strategy.

Molluscum

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection from a type of virus which appears as small, skin colored bumps anywhere on the body. It is easily spread and is contagious on the same person, or from person to person. We see it most commonly on children where it has become nearly epidemic. The bad news is that it takes our bodies about 12-18 months to develop immunity to molluscum. The good news is that it will eventually go away on its own, usually without scarring.

Treatment of molluscum can be frustrating. There is no FDA approved medication to treat molluscum. In the past, medications that caused blistering would be applied to each molluscum. It was difficult to safely control the response and therefore this medication is not FDA approved in the United States. If the patient is old enough to withstand a little discomfort, then freezing the molluscum with liquid nitrogen can be done, or they can simply be curetted off the skin. In children who cannot (or will not) tolerate this, there is a medication called Aldara that works by eliciting or attracting an immune response to the molluscum, making the patients body fight off the molluscum more effectively. This medication will normally shorten the length of time the patient has molluscum by several months.

Children with eczema, usually get molluscum worse and it can be a real problem for them. For this reason, they should be seen as soon as possible to work out a treatment plan. Most importantly, as parents we can be reassured that the molluscum will not cause our children any long term problems.

If you or your child has molluscum, make an appointment at Greenville Dermatology for a discussion of this problem and develop a treatment plan.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer has become almost epidemic in the United States. It will be diagnosed in Americans this year more that all other cancers combined. The tragedy is that most of it can be prevented. It is important to know that skin cancer can be divided into two different categories; melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most aggressive and scariest form of skin cancer. Sunburns and excessive sun exposure and use of tanning beds increases the risk of this skin cancer, but a family history is also a very strong risk factor. Melanoma usually appears as a darkly pigmented growth anywhere on the body. We teach the “A, B, C’s” of melanoma. ‘A’ stands for ‘asymmetry’. When looking at the lesion or mole, imagine drawing a line down the middle of it. If the two halves are not essentially equal, then the lesion is asymmetric and worrisome. ‘B’ stands for ‘border irregularity’. If the border is blurred, fuzzy, notched or indistinct, this is a worrisome feature. Finally, ‘C’ stands for color change or multiple colors. If there are multiple colors in the mole (grey, pink, black, brown, etc.) haphazardly spread throughout the mole, this is a worrisome feature and needs to be evaluated. If you see any of these changes in a mole on your body, or if you simply have a lot of moles, and especially if you have a lot of moles and a family history of melanoma, make an appointment to have them evaluated by Greenville Dermatology.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is much more common than melanoma and while less deadly, still requires surgery of some type to clear. Again, it is caused by sun exposure and tanning bed use. There are two types, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma that are essentially similar in their presentation. Both initially look like a skin colored bump on the skin that grows noticeably but slowly. Eventually, it will begin to bleed or scab over and may seem to come and go, but continues to recur. Most of these are located on the sun exposed areas, but can rarely be seen elsewhere. If you have a non-healing scab or bump on the skin, please come to Greenville Dermatology to have it evaluated.

Skin cancer is one of Greenville Dermatology’s specialties and we look forward to caring for your skin cancer needs and concerns.

MelaFind
MelaFind is a first-of-its-kind technology that helps dermatologists see under the skin’s surface with images 2.5 mm deep. This multi-dimensional look at the makeup of individual skin lesions includes layers not visible to the naked eye. This allows us to catch the most aggressive form of skin cancer earlier than ever before. MelaFind is FDA-approved and pain-free. Most importantly, it will help us determine whether or not to biopsy atypical moles detected during a skin examination.

For more information on the MelaFind, visit www.melafind.com. To schedule a MelaFind skin exam, call us at 864.242.5872.

Warts

Warts are growths on the skin caused by a virus. The wart virus is everywhere in the environment and only requires a break in the skin to cause an infection. The wart virus is very good at hiding itself from our immune systems, and that is why once we get warts, that they take months to years to go away.

Treating warts can be frustrating. We have no good single way to treat warts, and what worked for one person, may not work for you. Most treatments attempt to destroy the tissue that the wart virus is in, although there are some unique ways to treat warts that stimulate an immune response. Listed here are the most common treatments for warts and seem to work most of the time.

Salicylic acid
This is the active ingredient in “compound W” and most over the counter wart medications. If it is applied on damp skin and under tape or the sticky part of a bandaid, it will usually be effective enough to get rid of smaller warts. Larger warts will require 40% salicylic acid plaster, which can be obtained over the counter. The key is to apply the medication, then occlude it with tape, usually overnight, and then abrading away the dead skin the next day. This is the way that the CDC recommends to treat warts.

Liquid nitrogen
This is most commonly used to “freeze” or “burn” warts off and has to be applied in the office. The goal is to cause a blister in the skin surrounding the wart and hopefully blister the wart off the skin. It will require more than one treatment for most warts (average 3 to 5 treatments). There is a home version of this available now.

Aldara
Aldara is a relatively new medication in the treatment of warts. It works by attracting the immune cells in the body that are responsible for making warts go away to the wart. For it to work, it needs to be applied daily and the area kept relatively moist.

Immunotherapy
Some doctors will apply a substance known to cause a skin allergy on one part of your body until you develop an allergy to it. Then they will apply this substance to the warts and the allergic response will make the warts go away.

Surgery
On rare occasions, this is the only option. Warts can be spread this way so it is a risky way to deal with them.

Most of the time a combination of these treatments is used to make the warts go away. Make an appointment at Greenville Dermatology to develop an effective plan for you.

Medical information found on this site should not be substituted for an actual doctor-patient encounter and user therefore assumes all risks and responsibilities from using and applying information found herein.