Skin, the largest organ in our body, is susceptible to a wide range of ailments, some of which can be common, while others very difficult to treat or even life-threatening. At the University of Chicago Medicine, our highly specialized dermatologists have in-depth knowledge of these conditions and will work with you on the most optimal therapies that can cure your condition, maintain skin health as well as prevent disease. The following is a sample of some of the common conditions University of Chicago Medicine dermatologists treat:
- Acne and rosacea, which can cause red, pimple-like bumps on the skin
- Actinic keratoses, skin patches that may turn into cancer
- Skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the most serious type, melanoma
- Blistering disorders, such as pemphigus and pemphigoid, which are rare automimmune conditions. Other problems that can cause blisters include certain medications, as well as a group of inherited disorders called epidermolysis bullosa.
- Connective tissue diseases, such as the autoimmune disease lupus, and dermatomyositis, a muscle disease that can cause skin rashes. Another example is vasculitis, which affects blood vessels. Other related diseases include scleroderma and morphea, two conditions that cause the skin to harden.
- Hair loss or excessive hair growth
- Hereditary disorders of the skin, hair and nails
- Hyperhidrosis, a condition marked by excessive sweating
- Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease marked by red skin and white scaly patches
- Pigmentation disorders, including vitiligo, which can cause lighter areas of skin in darker skinned people
- Leg ulcers
- Rashes, which can be caused by allergies, medication, certain medical treatments or a chronic skin condition such as eczema. We also treat lichen planus, a rash that can affect the mouth, as well as dermatitis herpetiformis, an extremely itchy rash linked to gluten insensitivity
- Skin infections, including difficult-to-treat infections in people with weakened immune systems
- Genital disorders
- Warts of all types, including those that may result from sexually transmitted diseases
Full Spectrum of Treatments
Our skin care team will develop an individualized treatment plan that is appropriate, based on your medical history and symptoms. We offer a wide variety of medical and surgical therapies to treat the most common, as well as complex, skin issues. Some of these include:
- Oral and topical medications
- Excisional surgery to remove suspicious moles or other skin growths
- Mohs micrographic surgery for the treatment of non-melanoma types of skin cancers
- Nonsurgical treatments for some types of skin cancer
- Light and laser therapy to care for a range of medical and cosmetic concerns
- Anti-aging treatments to improve the appearance of aging skin
A Focus on Prevention
Preventing skin problems is a top priority for our treatment team. To that end, we offer a range of services for patients who want to keep their skin healthy. This includes:
- Mole mapping and full body skin exams to check for skin cancer or precancerous lesions. These are ideal for patients with many moles, oddly shaped moles called dysplastic nevi, or a personal or family history of skin cancer.
- Topical medications and light therapy to prevent and treat precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses
- Customized skin care for all skin types, including those with ethnic skin
- Patch tests to identify and prevent skin allergies
- Education and support for patients with chronic skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and eczema
Specialized Care for Complex Conditions
The Section of Dermatology is home to a specific specialty clinic for patients with weakened immune systems. This includes transplant patients, patients on chemotherapy and those with HIV. This clinic is the only dedicated HIV Dermatology specialty clinic in Chicago. Skin issues are a common and sometimes debilitating problem in patients who have had an organ transplant or bone marrow transplant. Organ transplant patients specifically have a significantly higher risk of skin cancer than the general population. Our team is currently using the most promising combinations of topical and systemic therapies, as well as patient education and support, to help prevent and treat skin cancers in these patients.
Unlike many skin care centers, our team has extensive experience in treating such patients using a multidisciplinary approach. We understand the unique challenges of these patients and work with transplant surgeons, oncologists, infectious disease specialists and other experts to design effective treatment plans for patients with complicated skin issues.