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There are various types of therapies that may be used in the management of dermatologic conditions. These can be broadly categorized as topical agents, dressings, systemic agents, laser and photodynamic therapy, and cryosurgery.
Topical agents are the most commonly used type of therapy used by dermatologists. They may be delivered in various vehicles, such as powders, liquids, and liquid-oil combinations. The vehicle is chosen by the dermatologist according to each situation, based on factors such as effectiveness, adverse effects, hydration of skin, area of use and patient preference.
Examples of topical agents that may be used in dermatologic therapy include:
Dressings are often needed as part of dermatologic therapy to protect areas of the skin, enhance healing, improve absorption of topical agents and protect the clothing of the patient.
There are two types of dressings: non-occlusive and occlusive. Non-occlusive dressings such as gauze, allow the air to reach the wound and to dry the lesion, which can help with healing. Occlusive dressings allow less airflow and help to increase the absorption and effectiveness of topical agents applied to the area.
Systemic therapies that affect the entire body are sometimes indicated for dermatologic conditions. Prime examples of this include the use of oral antibiotics, immunomodulator drugs, and injectable medications, that are effective in the management of dermatologic conditions.
Laser therapy may be indicated to manage birthmarks and skin disorders such as vitiligo. It can also be used to remove tattoos or reduce hair growth, and to aid in cosmetic resurfacing and rejuvenation.
Photodynamic therapy can be used for skin cancer and precancerous growths. Additionally, phototherapy, with UVB (narrow band and broad band) and psoralen can be used in dermatologic therapy.
Cryosurgery is a technique that utilizes extremely cold temperatures to destroy unwanted tissues. This is a common type of dermatologic therapy that is often used in the treatment of warts, skin cancers and dermatosis.
There are also several other types of dermatologic therapies, including: