Understanding Skin Conditions and Treatments

The skin is the largest organ of your body, protecting internal organs from external pressures. Skin also plays a major role in your appearance. Taking care of your skin helps you to stay healthy and look your best. Dr. Kiken and his staff offer a full range of dermatologic services.

For further information about various conditions and dermatology in general, please see our Links and Resources page.

DISCLAIMER: This information is for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for being evaluated by a qualified physician.

| this page is printer-friendly - use browser PRINT button | updated June 2012 |


Acne affects most teens, but it can affect people of all ages. Acne is not a life-threatening condition, but the lesions associated with the condition are upsetting and can be disfiguring. It is important to seek treatment for yourself or your teen, as there are many options available to reduce the embarrassment and scarring associated with acne. (Read more about Pediatric Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) / Eczema

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) , a type of eczema, is an inflammatory, non-contagious skin disease. It often occurs together with other conditions like hay fever, asthma and conjunctivitis. It is a familial and chronic disease and its symptoms can increase or disappear over time. Atopic dermatitis particularly afflicts young children; in older children and adults it is often confused with psoriasis. AD can be treated effectively in the short term through a combination of prevention (learning what triggers the allergic reactions) and drug therapy.


Birthmarks are areas of discolored skin on a baby's body at or shortly after birth. Over eighty percent of babies have some kind of birthmark. Vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels that have accumulated below the surface of the skin. Pigmented birthmarks - usually brown, gray, bluish, or black - result from an abnormal development of pigment cells. Most birthmarks are harmless and non-cancerous, but a physician should examine your child's birthmarks, especially if one begins to change or grow. (Read more about Pediatric Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Botox® Cosmetic

Frown lines are caused by the repeated actions of the muscles associated with facial expression. Frown lines can produce an angry or sad look that detracts from a pleasant facial appearance. Small amounts of purified botulinum toxin injected into a specific facial muscle will block the impulse to that muscle. In this way, botulinum toxin acts as a muscle blockade to immobilize the underlying cause of the unwanted lines and prevent a "wrinkly" expression. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Cold Sores

A virus called herpes simplex can cause blisters called cold sores. There are two types of the virus. Cold sores or blisters can occur around the mouth, nose, buttocks, genitals and, depending on the condition, other places. Treatment is available to control outbreaks and prevent the spread of the infection.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis is a localized rash or irritation of the skin resulting from exposure to allergens, to irritants, or to sunlight (phototoxic dermatitis). A familiar example is the reaction to poison ivy. Patient self-care can include gentle cleansing, moist cool compresses, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone ointment and over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve the itching. If the rash does not improve after two days of self-care, or if the itching or pain is severe, it should be treated by a physician. Medical treatment usually consists of topical and/or oral medications. Dr. Kiken has been published in the American Journal of Contact Dermatitis on the subject and has spoken about contact dermatitis in this New York Times article.

Dermal Filler Injections

A substance is injected into the skin to restore facial volume and reduce wrinkles or folds. Once in your skin, it creates volume, resulting in a healthy and vital appearance. When injected into the lips it can restore a more natural and/or sensuous look. By supplementing your skin's own depleted collagen with a dermal filler, your doctor can smooth out wrinkles, furrows and scars. The procedure is performed with the use of a topical numbing cream and/or a local anesthetic. Patients may experience minimal discomfort from the needle injection. The procedure can take 15 to 30 minutes. Patients return home within minutes after the procedure. There is a variety of materials available for this use (Restylane®, Juvederm®, Radiesse, and Sculptra TM, among others). (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)


The term Eczema is used to describe many red, blistering, oozing, scaly, brownish, thickened and itching skin conditions. Eczema is also called Atopic Dermatitis. This condition can occur at any age. It usually presents with an almost unbearable itching that can become severe at night. The itching causes patients to scratch, which can lead to infection. Any rash that does not resolve should be examined by a dermatologist and may be treated with topical, oral or light treatments.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections may affect the skin, hair, scalp, or nails. There are many different kinds - yeast infections, ringworm and athlete's foot, to name a few.

Hair Loss / Alopecia

The most common reason for hair loss is hereditary baldness, however, there are other conditions that can result in unexpected hair loss. Alopecia areata is a hair-loss condition affecting both males and females, with small, round, bare patches on the scalp or other areas. Medications are available to decrease or reverse hair loss. New onset hair loss should be evaluated by a dermatologist.


Hives are itchy red swellings that occur in groups on any part of the skin. Sometimes hives sting or burn. Each hive generally lasts a few hours before decreasing in size and redness. Medication reactions and other allergies can cause hives.


Excessive perspiration (more than is necesssary to cool body temperature), either in a localized area or over the entire body, is called hyperhidrosis. It affects millions of people (approximately 3% of the population), and it can be successfully treated. There are a number of treatment options, including prescription deodorants and Botox®. Many patients have found great relief from hyperhidrosis with Botox® injections into the area. Botox® blocks nerve stimulation of the sweat glands in the treated area, resulting in a significant reduction in sweat production.

Hyperpigmentation / Melasma

Hyperpigmentation is a result of the body's production of an excess amount of melanin, which produces pigment in the skin, resulting in brown spots, freckles or darkened patches. Common causes include sun exposure, pregnancy, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, and trauma to the skin caused by acne, burns or surgical procedures. Melasma is also called "the mask of pregnancy" and is a type of hyperpigmentation, which generally occurs on the facial area and can appear as a mask over the nose and cheeks. Topical bleaching creams and/or facial peels may be used to treat these conditions. Daily sunscreen use is also recommended.


Itching can be due to many causes including skin conditions such as dry skin or dermatitis, medication allergies or other medical problems. A dermatologist can evaluate the skin and symptoms and start appropriate treatment.


Juvederm® is an injectable dermal filler made of cross-linked hyaluronic acid. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Laser Treatment for Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses laser light - an intense, pulsating beam of light - to remove unwanted hair. Laser hair removal works by passing a light beam through the skin. The laser targets dark pigment, called melanin, in hair. When the light beam hits the hair follicle (where hair growth originates), the intense heat destroys the hair follicle instantly. In most cases, laser hair removal slows hair regrowth, but it takes several treatments to provide an extended "hair-free" period. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum (or MC) is a viral infection of the skin which appears as flesh-colored, pearly, dome-shaped bumps. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact or sharing clothing or towels. The lesions may last for weeks to months or even years. They are generally not painful but may itch or become irritated. Many cases of molluscum clear up naturally within a year or less, but as long as the skin growths are present, there is a possibility of transmitting the infection to another person. Therefore, if you suspect you or your child has this infection, it should be evaluated by a dermatologist. (Read more about Pediatric Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Nail Problems

Problems with fingernails or toenails could be an indication of other health problems. It is important to see a dermatologist if your nails are thick, hard, and painful, are scaly, have white spots, red lines, or brown and/or black streaks on them.


Photorejuvenation is based on the concept that gentle application of a variety of wavelengths in the visible and infrared spectra stimulates new collagen and perhaps produces new elastic fiber that rejuvenates photo-aged skin. It can restore a more youthful appearance to your skin by efficiently treating redness, flushing, pigmentary problems, scars and wrinkles to provide you with smoother, healthier, younger-looking skin. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)


Psoriasis is not always persistent and may go through periods of improvement or worsening. The skin forms red, thick patches covered by silvery scales. Topical treatment, light therapy and/or oral or injectible medications may be used to control the psoriasis.


Radiesse® dermal filler consists of calcium hydroxylapatite microspheres suspended in a biocompatible gel. It is long-lasting and does not require a skin test. It is the same mineral component found in our bones and teeth. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)


Restylane® dermal filler is a natural, synthesized and fully degradable hyaluronic acid that can be used to restore the area between the nose and mouth or create fuller lips. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)


Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness, tenderness, and swelling, primarily on the face. Other areas that can be affected are the scalp, neck, ears, chest and back. Rosacea can be treated with a variety of topical agents as well as lasers.

Sclerotherapy (Leg Vein Removal)

Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a liquid agent through a tiny needle directly into your spider veins, causing them to contract and collapse. The procedure is relatively painless. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Sculptra TM

Sculptra TM dermal filler is a biocompatible, synthetic Poly-L-lactic acid material. The material has been commonly used in dissolvable stitches and soft tissue implants. A natural form of Poly-L-lactic acid is produced in our muscles during exercise. Sculptra TM is used to restore facial volume in cheeks and temples. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Skin Cancer Screenings / Mole Checks

Dr. Kiken has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Early detection and treatment can lead to a cure. Sun exposure is one of the main causes of skin cancer. Dr. Kiken can discuss appropriate sun exposure and safe-sun precautionary behaviors with you. It is also important to develop a regular routine to inspect your skin. Any growth, mole, sore or skin discoloration that appears suddenly, or begins to change in appearance, needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, enlarged, superficial blood vessels that may appear red or blue. They commonly occur on the legs. They may appear as short, unconnected lines, each about the size of a large hair, or connected in what looks like a spider web or tree branches. These veins can cause painful, throbbing or burning sensations. Treatment is available for unsightly or uncomfortable spider veins, including compression stockings, sclerotherapy, and surgery. (Read more about Cosmetic Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis is caused by a superficial fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. It may also be referred to as superficial mycosis, dermatophytosis, or "ringworm of the scalp." It is generally treated with antifungal medications. (Read more about Pediatric Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)


This skin disease causes milky-white patches of skin on the face, lips, hands, arms, legs, and genital areas, but can occur anywhere on the body. The cause is uncertain. Treatment may include light therapy and/or topical or injected agents.


Warts are caused by a virus. Warts are usually skin-colored and feel rough to the touch. Warts can grow anywhere on the skin, but most often occur on the hands. Plantar (foot) and genital warts are also common. Treatment may include freezing or removing the wart, topical medications, or injection of medication to hasten resolution of the wart. (Read more about Pediatric Dermatology at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center.)

| this page is printer-friendly - use browser PRINT button | updated June 2012 |