The beginning of summer kicks off the camping and hiking season, anxiously awaited by those who have endured a long cold winter. This year will likely prove to be one of the busier camping seasons as many Americans bypass more expensive vacations that involve pricey airline tickets or gas guzzling road trips. Emergency department staff will probably see a greater number of people with contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Many people have never seen poison ivy , or perhaps wouldn't recognize it if they saw it. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac belong to the plant genus Toxicodendron (previously referred to as Rhus ). Toxicodendron means "poisonous tree." These plants have an oil-based substance in the resin on their leaves and in their stems and branches called urushiol that causes a delayed skin reaction in about 50% of people that contact it. Urushiol may cause severe contact dermatitis in people that have previousl...
We sometimes get questions from our members about white spots on the skin and whether this is an indication of skin cancer, for example:
Kayla writes , “I have white spots that are spreading from my neck, back, arms, chest and belly…help me.”
Chic writes , “I have a small area of white skin under my lower eyelid…HELP!”
Trevor writes , “How do I know the type of skin cancer I have because I have white spots at the corner of my eyes and the beds of my fingers?”
It is important to notice any changes in your skin, including changes in color, and to bring these changes to the attention of your doctor for a skin cancer screening. However, white spots only rarely indicate skin cancer.
Causes of White Spots
White spots, or patches, on your skin are usually caused by either vitiligo or tinea versicolor. Eczema can also sometimes cause white patches.
Vitiligo destroys cells that produce pigment for your skin. Althoug...
Article updated and reviewed by Michael S. Lehrer, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania. Editorial review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network on April 18, 2005. Wrinkles are the thin, creased, and sagging skin that is especially noticeable on the face, neck, and hands. Wind, heat and chemicals and the natural effects of aging cause a certain amount of wrinkling in everyone, but it is much worse in people who spend a lot of time in the sun. Years of exposure to the sun cause "photoaging," which includes freckles, yellowing, roughness, visible blood vessels, and dark spots, as well as wrinkling. Years of sun exposure cause the supporting structures of the skin, primarily the collagen and elastin, to weaken and break down. In addition, as a person ages, the sweat and oil glands of the skin become less numerous and smaller in size. This causes the skin to lose moisture and to dry out. Dry skin with weak collagen and elastin will...
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