Just as there is a wide range of possible skin conditions, a large number of treatments also exist. Your dermatologist will decide the best course of treatment for you depending on your skin care concern and personal preferences.
Topical treatments are applied directly to the skin and are used to treat a variety of conditions. The major benefit to topical medications is that they generally have fewer side effects than systemic medications. Commonly prescribed topicals range from a simple over-the-counter acne medication to a prescription cream used to treat inflammatory conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Topical treatments may also be used to treat pre-cancerous lesions, skin cancers, and cosmetic concerns such as wrinkles and acne scars. In addition to regular prescription topicals, we also prescribe custom compounded creams for patients with certain conditions.
Systemic treatments include oral or injectable medications. Systemic medications are often needed when the skin condition is particularly widespread or severe. Systemic steroids, for example, can be used to treat inflammatory conditions such as eczema or allergic contact dermatitis, and may be given in the form of pills or an injection.
Systemic treatments can also be combined with topicals for better results. One example is taking an oral antibiotic to improve acne while still using a prescription topical retinoid gel and special cleansers.
For some skin conditions, surgery may be recommended. Skin biopsies can be considered a minor type of skin surgery, and are performed every day in our office. Treatment for skin cancer often involves the surgical removal of the affected area. Surgical removal of benign lesions, such as non-cancerous moles, lipomas, or cysts, may be performed for cosmetic reasons or if the lesions are symptomatically bothersome.
We commonly use cryotherapy, in which lesions such as warts and pre-cancerous growths are “frozen” with liquid nitrogen using a special instrument. While it does not work for all types of growths, this is a quick and safe method of getting rid of certain concerning lesions.
For conditions such as hair removal and photo damage, we offer intense pulse light (IPL) treatments, as well as chemical peels for acne scarring, wrinkles, and discoloration. We also offer therapeutic narrow band ultraviolet light (NBUVB) and excimer laser (XTRAC) treatments for conditions such as psoriasis and vitiligo. For anti-aging and rejuvenation, injectable treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers may be recommended.
Wait and See
Some types of skin conditions don’t require any treatment, and may improve on their own over time. Birthmarks that fade as children age are a good example of this. However, other skincare concerns get worse without treatment, so it’s important to check with your dermatologist about the best care for you.
Treatments for Specific Skin Concerns
The board-certified dermatologists at Ascension Seton treat a wide range of skin conditions. Select a health concern below to learn more about diagnosis, treatment, and what you can do to maximize your skin health.