Mountaintop Dermatology Colorado Springs

Skin Conditions We Treat

Conditions that irritate, clog or inflame your skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning and itching. Allergies, irritants, your genetic makeup and certain diseases and immune system problems can cause dermatitis, hives and other skin conditions. Many skin problems, such as acne, also affect your appearance.


Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) is a skin condition that causes one or more areas of skin to darken and thicken. The affected skin often feels velvety. Acanthosis nigricans is not contagious or harmful but sometimes it is a warning sign of a health problem that requires medical attention.

Acne is a common disorder that leads to blackheads, pimples and cysts. Acne is the most common during adolescence however it is a myth that adults do not get acne. Adult acne can be a particularly bothersome condition but fortunately treatments are available. Acne can lead to a significant amount of psychological and social distress and at times can lead to scarring. Some acne responds to over-the-counter treatments, other times prescription medications are needed to control acne.

Actinic Keratosis, or AK, is a rough, dry, scaly patch or growth that forms on the skin. An AK forms when the skin is damaged by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or indoor tanning. Left untreated, AKs may turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. By seeing a dermatologist for checkups, the AKs can be treated before they become skin cancer.

Atopic Dermatitis, also called eczema, is a hereditary (often runs in families) and chronic skin disorder that causes a person’s skin to itch, turn red and flake. It most commonly presents during infancy and slowly improves as children get older. However because eczema can be long lasting, it is important to learn how to take care of your skin. Treatment and good skin care can alleviate much of the discomfort.

Atypical (dysplastic) Moles have a different appearance or often are noted to be changing. You have a higher risk of developing melanoma if you have multiple atypical moles. Atypical moles often have an odd shape and more than one color. Depending on the severity of the atypical features of your mole we may recommend that your mole be excised (removed) and tested to make sure it is not a melanoma.



Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Millions of cases of this skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. This skin cancer usually develops on skin that gets sun exposure. BCC is especially common on the face but it is possible to get BCC on any part of the body, including the trunk, legs, and arms. People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of getting BCC. They also tend to get BCC earlier in life. This type of skin cancer grows slowly. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Treatment is important because BCC can grow wide and deep, destroying skin tissue and bone.

Bedbugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood. They hide in dark places close to where humans sleep and usually crawl out to feed while people are fast asleep. Bedbugs can be a problem in the cleanest of homes. These insects need only human blood to survive, so having an immaculate home will not keep them away. And it’s easy to bring bedbugs home. They can crawl into luggage, clothing, and even furniture, unnoticed. Once inside your home, bedbugs will find a hiding place. Favorite hiding places include a mattress, box spring, headboard, couch, and tiny cracks and crevices. Having bedbugs can cause a great deal of anxiety and some restless nights. Most people want to get rid of bedbugs as soon as possible, so they buy bug sprays and foggers. These will not get rid of bedbugs. Leaving your home for a few weeks will not get rid of bedbugs. Although these insects need human blood to survive, they can live for a year or longer without blood. During this time, they remain in hiding. Most people need the help of a pest-control company to get rid of bed bugs. Make sure the company has experience eliminating bedbugs. Several treatments may be necessary to get rid of bedbugs completely. You also will need to follow the guidelines that your pest-management professional recommends. If you have many bites or a bite looks infected, you should see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat an infection and help relieve the itch.



Contact Dermatitis, also known as allergic contact dermatitis, is a common condition that leads to an itchy rash. Allergic contact dermatitis can develop in children or adults. Sometimes the cause is obvious but other times, a procedure called patch testing is used to help determine the cause of the allergic reaction. A dermatologist can help diagnose and treat this annoying condition.

Cysts are common skin conditions. The most common type of skin cyst is the epidermal cyst, often times erroneously called a sebaceous cyst. These cysts are not dangerous but can be painful and bothersome. Sometimes it can be difficult to know the difference between a benign (not cancerous) growth and a skin cancer. If you get a new growth and are not sure what the cause is, a dermatologist can help you distinguish the difference.



Diaper Rash, or diaper dermatitis, is a common condition in infants. The cause is most commonly from irritation and moisture under the diaper area. Sometimes a secondary infection can occur if there are breaks in the skin from diaper rash.

Dry Skin, or xerosis, is very common in the dry climate of Colorado. Usually the condition is worse in the winter. Avoiding very hot showers and using thick, bland moisturizers frequently can help alleviate this condition.



Eczema, (see Atopic Dermatitis)
Excessive Sweating, or Hyperhidrosis, is a common and very annoying skin condition. It most commonly affects the armpits, hands and feet. Many people don’t realize there are medical treatments available for this condition. A dermatologist can help provide treatment options for hyperhidrosis.



Folliculitis is the inflammation of hair follicles due to an infection, injury, or irritation. Boils are pus-filled lesions that are painful and usually firm. Carbuncles are clusters of boils. All of these conditions can be chronic (long lasting) if not treated with appropriate measures.



Genital Warts are warts that appear in the genital area. There can be 1 wart or a cluster of warts. People get these warts by picking up the human papillomavirus (HPV) from someone who is already infected with this virus. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection. It is possible to spread or get these warts even when you cannot see them. There are many ways to treat genital warts. Since warts are often stubborn, you may need more than one visit to the dermatologist for treatment.



Hair Loss (alopecia) can have many different causes. Some of the more common types of hair loss include male or female pattern baldness (sometimes referred to as hereditary hair loss) and telogen effluvium (caused by stressful incidents). A type of hair loss that is more common in African American females is central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), a form of scarring alopecia. Alopecia areata represents an autoimmune (the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles) type of hair loss. There are many more types of alopecia and the treatments will vary depending on the specific cause of your hair loss.

Herpes Simplex is a common viral infection. If you’ve ever had a cold sore or fever blister, you picked up the herpes simplex virus. Most cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). A closely related herpes simplex virus, HSV-2, causes most cases of genital herpes. But either HSV-1 or HSV-2 can cause a herpes sore on the face or genitals and both are very contagious.

Hives are welts are welts on the skin that often itch. These welts can appear on any part of the skin. Acute hives often result from an allergy, but they can have many other causes. The medical term for hives is urticaria. When large welts occur deeper under the skin, the medical term is angioedema. This can occur with hives, and often causes the eyelids and lips to swell. In severe cases, the throat and airway can swell, making breathing or swallowing difficult. If this occurs, the person needs emergency care right away.



Impetigo is a superficial infection of the skin, caused by bacteria. It is most common in children but can occur in adults also. Patients with eczema (atopic dermatitis) frequently get impetigo. This condition can usually be treated with topical antibiotics, however, sometimes antibiotic pills are needed.



Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin disorder characterized by small, pointed pimple-like bumps that are most commonly found on the back of the arms. Other locations include the tops of the thighs and the cheeks. It is an inherited condition that usually lasts all of life. There is no cure. Treatment is difficult, but sometimes, moisturizers and other prescription medications can help lessen the appearance and symptoms, if present.

Lichen Planus can develop on one or several parts of the body. It can appear on the skin or inside the mouth. Sometimes, it appears in both places. Lichen planus can even change the way a person’s fingernails or toenails look. It also can appear on the genitals or a person’s scalp. What causes most cases of lichen planus remains unclear. One theory is that lichen planus is an autoimmune disease. This means the person’s immune system reacts as though the skin and other parts of the body are foreign. There is no cure for lichen planus. It often goes away on its own. If symptoms are bothersome, treatment often brings relief and may speed healing.



Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Anyone can get melanoma no matter what skin type you have. When found early and treated, the cure rate is very high. Allowed to grow, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can spread quickly and can be deadly. It’s important to take time to look at the moles on your skin because this is a good way to find melanoma early. When checking your skin, you should look for the ABCDEs of melanoma.

Melasma is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.

Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few moles. Adults who have light skin often have more moles. You should not be overly worried about your moles, but you should know: 

A type of skin cancer melanoma (see above), can grow within an existing mole.

Caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured.

The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole — or a new “mole” on your skin.

Checking your skin once a month — or more often if your doctor says — can help you find melanoma early.

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common skin disease. is a common skin disease. It is caused by a virus. This virus easily spreads from person to person. People can get molluscum by sharing towels and clothing. Wrestlers and gymnasts may get it from touching infected mats. Skin-to-skin and sexual contact can also spread the virus. Often the only sign of molluscum is pink or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. These bumps can appear anywhere on the skin. Scratching or picking at these bumps can spread the virus from one part of your body to another. In children, the condition can resolve without treatment. Sometimes, however, treatment is desired because of the number of lesions or because improvement has not occurred with time.



Nummular Dermatitis causes coin-shaped (nummular) or oval itchy spots on the skin. A person may see one or many patches. These patches can last for weeks or months. Men get nummular dermatitis more often than women.



Pityriasis Rosea is a common skin disease that causes a rash. People of all ages and skin colors get pityriasis rosea, but this skin disease is more likely to occur between 10 and 35 years of age and during pregnancy. This rash usually disappears on its own without treatment. You can expect to see the rash for about 6 to 8 weeks. Sometimes the rash lasts much longer. Treatment depends on how bothersome the rash is to the individual.

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease. It develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear. Psoriasis may look contagious, but it's not. To get psoriasis, a person must inherit the genes that cause it. Stiff and sore joints, especially when you wake up, can be the first sign of psoriatic arthritis. Treatment is essential. This type of arthritis can eat away the joints. Treatment can prevent deformed joints and disability. Patients with psoriasis also are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular problems. Therefore it is important to exercise regularly and follow up with your primary care doctor for regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks if you are diagnosed with psoriasis.


Rosacea is a common skin disease. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels
  • Papulopustular Rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts
  • Phymatous Rosacea: Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture
  • Ocular Rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen and itchy



Scabies is caused by a mite. This eight-legged bug is so small that you cannot see it on the skin. People get scabies when the mite burrows into the top layer of skin to live and feed. When the skin reacts to the mite, an extremely itchy rash develops. This mite can travel from the infected person to another person. People get scabies from direct, skin-to-skin contact or from infested items such as bedding, clothes, and furniture. The mite can survive for about 48 to 72 hours without human contact. Anyone can get scabies. It affects people of all ages, races, and income levels. People who are very clean and neat can get scabies. It tends to spread easily in nursing homes and extended-care facilities. The good news is that a dermatologist can successfully diagnose and treat scabies. With today’s treatments, scabies need only cause short-term distress.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a very common skin disease that causes a pink or red scaly rash most commonly on the face and scalp. However it also can occur on the chest, armpits and groin. Seborrheic dermatitis can look like psoriasis, eczema, or a skin allergy. Many infants get cradle cap. This is a type of seborrheic dermatitis that develops in babies. Scaly, greasy patches form on the baby’s scalp. The patches can become thick and crusty, but cradle cap is harmless and usually goes away on its own within a few months. Babies also get seborrheic dermatitis in their diaper area and elsewhere. In the diaper area, the red rash often is mistaken for diaper rash. When an adult gets seborrheic dermatitis, the condition can come and go for the rest of the person’s life. Flare-ups are common when the weather turns cold and dry. Stress also can trigger a flare-up. The good news is that treatment can reduce flare-ups and bring relief.

Seborrheic Keratoses are common skin growths. A seborrheic keratosis may look worrisome, but it is benign (not cancer). These growths often appear in middle-aged and older adults. Most often seborrheic keratoses start as small, rough bumps. They may slowly thicken and get a warty surface ranging in color from white to black. Most are tan or brown. They can appear almost anywhere on the skin. A dermatologist can help you determine the difference between a seborrheic keratosis and a worrisome skin lesion.

Shingles (or herpes zoster) is most common in older adults. After the chickenpox clears, the virus stays in the body for years. If the virus reactivates (wakes up), the result is shingles — a painful, blistering rash. A vaccine that can prevent shingles is available to people ages 60 and older. 

Squamous cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a common skin cancer in humans. This skin cancer tends to develop on skin that has been exposed to the sun for years. It is most frequently seen on areas such as the head, neck, and back of the hands. It is possible to get SCC on any part of the body, including the inside of the mouth, lips, and genitals. People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of getting SCC. They also tend to get SCC earlier in life. It can spread to other parts of the body, however, with early diagnosis and treatment, most SCC is highly curable.



Tinea Versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is a common rash caused by yeast. We all have yeast living on our skin. When the yeast grows out of control, a person can get scaly patches of varying color on their trunk. Treatment depends on how bothersome the condition is to the individual.



Vitiligo causes the skin to lose color. Patches of lighter skin appear. Some people develop a few patches while others lose much more skin color. Vitiligo usually affects the skin, but it can develop anywhere we have pigment. Patches of hair can turn white. People of all races and ethnicities get vitiligo. It is not contagious or life-threatening, but vitiligo can be life-altering. Some people develop low self-esteem, no longer want to hang out with friends, or develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies. If you have vitiligo, you should discuss treatment options with your dermatologist. There are many treatment options with varying degrees of side effects and success rates.



Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way. Wart viruses are contagious and can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart. While they do go away on their own, it may take a very long time for this to occur. Therefore, many people do seek treatment for their warts from a medical professional.


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