Top 8 Reasons to Book a Dermatology Appointment

Barriers to Dermatology Appointments

Dermatology providers treat a wide range of skin hair and nail conditions, quickly and effectively.  But many prospective patients are hesitant to book appointments with a dermatologist.  Why is that?  

First, new patients may wait 2-3 months for an appointment with a dermatology provider.  Unfortunately there is a nationwide shortage of dermatologists. Moreover, most dermatologists practice in large cities, making the shortage even more pronounced to those living outside of a major metropolitan area.   

Secondly, we’ve been marketed to that our skin hair and nail problems can be cured with over the counter creams and lotions. Though some conditions may improve with daily care, most skin diseases need an expert treatment plan and prescription medication.

Lastly, insurance coverage for specialists can be hit-or-miss. Specialists, like dermatologists, may have higher copays or may not be in network with an insurance provider, further limiting access and increasing cost.   

With all of these hurdles, why should a patient book a dermatology appointment?  At Tennessee TeleDerm, we treat patients anywhere in Tennessee as long as they have a mobile device and internet service.  We have openings same week and often same day, because telehealth allows for more flexibility. Finally, we are in network with many commercial payers and Medicare, but we also offer a competitive self pay options.  

Reasons to Book a Dermatology Appointment

Acne (acne vulgaris).  Acne is the most common reason for visit to a dermatology office in the world. Acne causes several types of blemishes on the skin. Blemishes include whiteheads, blackheads, papules and deep cysts or nodules. These blemishes form because of hormone shifts that cause inflammation in the skin. Oil glands in the skin produce too much of a substance called sebum. It clogs pores. Non-pathologic bacteria can also be the cause. Acne is common among teenagers, but you can get it at any age. Acne lesions usually appear on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Acne isn’t life threatening, but it can be upsetting. Without proper treatment, it can also leave discoloration and permanent scars. Treatment includes prescription creams and gels, oral medications, chemical peels, and laser therapy.

Eczema.  Eczema is the umbrella term for several chronic skin conditions that cause swelling and inflammation of the skin. Skin can look red, swollen, dry, and scaly. Eczema is often distressing because it is very uncomfortable from the itching, stinging, and burning of the skin. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis.  Atopic dermatitis begins in childhood, causing rashes, itching, trouble sleeping, skin infections, and self esteem problems.  Treatments include topical and systemic medications as well as lifestyle adjustments.

Psoriasis.  Psoriasis stems from a problems with the immune system. The overactive immune system causes inflammation in the skin and sometimes the joints. This causes skin cells to form too quickly. They pile up on the surface of the skin. These patches are called plaques. They can be thick and red and have silvery scales. They can be itchy or painful. They usually appear on the elbows, knees, legs, face and scalp. Sometimes they’re on palms and soles of feet. They can show up on the fingernails, genitals or inside the mouth, but this is less common. Dermatologists can diagnose psoriasis by looking at a skin sample under a microscope. Psoriasis is a chronic condition. Creams can help soothe the skin and help it heal. Treatment also may include oral medication to suppress the overactive immune system.

Hair Loss. Hair loss can occur for a myriad of reasons.  Most people shed about 100 hairs per day.  Aging, genetics, pregnancy, stress, and a variety of health issues can lead to hair loss.  A dermatology provider will assess your hair loss situation and provide a treatment plan that may include oral medications, topical medications or injections.  

Rosacea.  Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can also affect the eyes. People with rosacea may look flushed. Redness usually appears on the nose, cheeks and chin. It might extend to the ears and chest, too. Sometimes, skin bumps and swelling occur. In severe cases, the skin gets thicker. Women and people with light skin have a higher risk of developing rosacea. Doctors aren’t sure what causes rosacea. It may occur when blood vessels expand too quickly. This could be because of heat, exercise, sunlight, wind, cold, spicy foods, alcohol or stress. These factors also may make symptoms worse. There’s no cure for rosacea. However, medication, laser therapy and lifestyle changes can help control symptoms.

Poison Ivy/ Poison Oak and Rashes.  Rashes come in all shapes and sizes with varying symptoms and causes.  A dermatology professional can assess the cause of the rash, and give specific treatment and guidance. 

Skin infections.  Skin or nail infections are caused by either fungus, viruses, yeast or bacteria. infections left untreated can lead to itchy , inflamed skin like athlete’s foot. Viruses can cause warts and herpes. Bacterial infections of the skin can become deadly if not treated with antibiotics. A dermatologist can diagnose the source of the infection and determine how best to treat it.Nail problems

Signs of aging.  Aging is a normal and predictable process. Yet skin can age prematurely due to excessive sun exposure. Excess sun exposure can lead to texture and pigment changes as well as skin cancers.  Addressing signs of aging improves skin health as much as it improves skin’s appearance.  

Can Tennessee TeleDerm Help?

At Tennessee TeleDerm, we are experts in Dermatology care! From acne to rashes, patients in Tennessee can count on convenient, high quality care when they book with Tennessee TeleDerm. Schedule your telehealth appointment today!

Managing Seasonal Allergies This Spring

Seasonal allergies tennessee telelhealth
Spring is here!  We’ve waited many long months for warmer temps and more hours of daylight. However, you may have noticed an uptick in sneezing, itching, and eye irritation in the past few weeks. March ushers in allergy season in Tennessee, beginning with a steep rise in tree allergens, as well as grass pollen in the weeks ahead. This is also a time of wet weather, which can increase mold growth. Upper respiratory allergies are a common problem for people living in Tennessee. In Tennessee, we experience heavy allergy seasons in both the spring and the fall. From middle Tennessee to Asheville, NC is considered the allergy bowl of the south. March, April, and May are most difficult because of the number of allergens active at the same time; tree pollen, grass pollen, and mold.  Fall can be equally menacing as ragweed fills the air for 6-8 weeks between August and October. Uncontrolled seasonal allergies are not just annoying; they can lead to other health concerns like sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, asthma flares, and bronchitis.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nasal itching, drainage
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Sinus Drainage

How Do I Treat My Seasonal Allergies?

People living in Tennessee need to prepare in advance for seasonal allergy season. Most over the counter (OTC) treatments work well when started at the first sign of seasonal allergy symptoms.
  • Begin a daily nasal saline rinse, available over the counter. Daily saline rinsing pulls allergens, particulate, and nasal mucous from the nasal passages. This clears out all of the irritants, thereby reducing inflammation, itching, and drainage. Think of this as a shower for your nose!
  • Try an over the counter nose spray like Flonase, Nasocort, or Rhinocort. These nose sprays contain a safe dose of steroid, which calms inflammation in the nasal passages. These nose sprays are best utilized when allergy symptoms persist despite saline nasal rinsing.
  • Start a daily antihistamine tablet. Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec are antihistamines available OTC and are generally well tolerated. These tablets are most effective within the first 12 hours of use and when taken on a daily basis (vs intermittently).  These are especially useful if seasonal allergies cause your skin to react, too.

What Can I Do at Home to Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

  • Shower daily. Rinsing allergens and particulate from skin and hair will improve all seasonal allergy symptoms including skin itching and rashes.  Gentle cleansers like Dove and Vanicream are especially good for sensitive skin.
  • Avoid skin care products containing dyes and perfumes. The ingredients over dry the skin and then cause irritation in the weakened skin barrier.
  • Avoid skin care products containing plant / nut oils. All-natural is all the rage.  Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to apply skin care products containing plant / tree / fruit / nut oils if you have allergies to those same allergens. For example, mango is a cousin to poison ivy.  Yet, several skin care products contain mango.  We see reactions from products like these on a regular basis. Remember, if you have reactions to airborne allergies, it’s probably not wise to rub those same plant oils on your skin.
  • Keep windows closed, both in cars and in homes. Vacuum regularly to remove allergens that do get into the house.
  • Change your home air filers every 2 months from now through October.
    • Moisturize skin daily with a dye free, fragrance fee cream. Moisturizing cream doesn’t just relieve dry skin.  Creams reinforce the skin barrier, making the skin less penetrable to airborne allergens and contactants. Vanicream and CeraVe cream are easy to find and gentle enough for all skin types.

When to Schedule an Appointment with Tennessee Telederm

With a few lifestyle adjustments and over the counter medications, most people can manage seasonal allergies on their own.  However, these are signs you need to schedule an appointment with Tennessee Telehealth for treatment:
    • No relief after 4 days of over the counter treatment.
    • Worsening of symptoms after 4 days of over the counter treatment.
    • Productive cough, yellow or green nasal mucous.
    • Rebound congestion from use of Afrin (we do not recommend use of Afrin as it can cause numerous side effects).
    • Sinus congestion with pain in the sinus cavities. When you bend over at the waist, do you feel pain in your forehead? Your eyes? Your teeth?  These are symptoms of a sinus infection.
    • Worsening ear pain.
Schedule an appointment and start feeling better soon.

Cold Flu or Allergies? Treatments And How to Tell the Difference

woman sick ith the colld or flu tennessee telelhealth

We have all been there. You don’t feel great, but not terrible, either. You have a runny nose, maybe some congestion, and a bit of a sore throat. You want to treat these symptoms, but how do you know if it is a cold, the flu, or allergies?

Understanding the differences between a cold, the flu, and allergies is key. And there are some significant differences. Know the differences so you don’t take medicine that you do not need or medicine that will be ineffective. 

Cold, flu, and allergies affect your respiratory system, but in different ways and in different areas of the upper and lower respiratory system.

Be sure to check out the symptom checker at the end of this article.  The good news, these symptoms can be handled through Tennessee Telehealth urgent care.

Cold and Flu Viruses

Both colds and flu are caused by viruses. The virus molecule enters the body through the nose or mouth. As the virus multiples, the body recognizes it as a foreign body. Within a couple days of exposure, the body’s immune system response begins. To disable the virus, body temperature may be increased and antibodies are produced. This could mean the patient experiences fever, fatigue, and muscle aches secondary to these immune system activities. Because the virus is circulating inside the body, the symptoms are generally systemic or affect the whole body. 

Generally speaking, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms. Flu more often causes fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Cold virus can cause these symptoms, but much less frequently and with less severity. Colds can leave us feeling crummy, but often don’t keep us from activities of daily living. Virus symptoms are self-limited and typically resolve in 1-2 weeks. 


Allergies are very different from a cold or flu virus. Allergies are airborne particles that are breathed in and irritate the mucosa of the airways. This irritation causes the allergy cells to produce histamine, leading to itching, fluid production, and swelling. Itching and fluid production cause runny nose, inflamed nasal and sinus tissue, cough, postnasal drip, eye irritation, and congestion in the middle ear canal. 

Allergy symptoms last as long as the patient is exposed to the allergen. For example, season allergies, such as pollen seasons in the spring, summer, or fall last about six weeks.

Some allergies can become very serious, especially for patients with asthma. Repeated irritation and inflammation of the lower respiratory system can lead to a process called airway remodeling. This means that the airways are less flexible and adaptable because of the chronic swelling. 


Over-the-counter (OTC) treatment for viruses is aimed at alleviating symptoms like fever, headaches, and body aches. Allergy treatment blocks some of the histamine response, which will improve the fluid production and itching associated with allergies.  

Patients should always read labels of OTC meds when treating any medical problem. Be sure there are no interactions with other medications or supplements you may be taking. Also, be sure that you are not accidentally taking too much of any medication. For example, if you have a cold, you may first take ibuprofen capsules for your headache. Then you notice the cold medication you picked up has ibuprofen in it, as well. In this case, taking both medications could be unsafe. 

Why Tennessee Telehealth

When you choose Tennessee Telehealth you can rely on an accurate diagnosis, safe and effective treatment, without long waits or unnecessary expenses, and another great part – you get to be at home or wherever you are most comfortable.

Book online and feel better soon!

Cold, Flu, or Allergies?

Cold flue or allgeries graph tennessee telelhealth

What is Telehealth Urgent Care and What’s The Difference Between Emergency Department (ER) and Urgent Care Visits

emergency room sign tennessee telelhealth
Urgent care delivers a timely diagnosis and treatment to patients with minor illnesses in an outpatient setting. Urgent care is typically needed same day but not emergent. Urgent care serves as a bridge between the ER and a traditional doctor’s office, saving patients time, money, and hassle. Urgent care clinics allow primary care providers more availability for complex medical patients. Urgent care clinics treat cough, colds, flu, asthma, stings, bites, rashes, sinusitis, skin infections, vaginitis, yeast infections, sore throat, swimmers ear, and more. For patients, urgent care provides significant cost savings compared to the ER. Emergency Room deductibles and copayments are significantly higher than outpatient treatment. Urgent care reduces wait times and disruptions of daily activities like school and work and is mostly staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Nurse practitioners are nurses with a master’s degree or doctoral degree in nursing.

Why Telehealth?

Telehealth for urgent care offers the same great care, now more convenient than ever before. By utilizing telehealth, patients receive a diagnosis and treatment without exposing others to illness, spend hours in an office, and generally enjoy significant cost savings. Schedule an appointment and start feeling better soon.

Common Dermatology Myths

aplying drops of skin lotion tennessee telelhealth

Common Dermatology Myths

Natural skin care products are best. 

Not always. All-natural products are composed of numerous tree, fruit, and nut oils. If you have allergies, eczema or asthma, you are more sensitive to these plant proteins. It makes sense then, that you wouldn’t want to smear plant allergens all over your skin! Though all-natural products generally well tolerated, it’s best to avoid them if you have significant environmental and / or food allergies.

Did you know: mango fruit is a cousin to poison ivy and can trigger a reaction when used on the skin.

Elimination diets will clear my skin. 

This is such a commonly held belief, but I have no idea where it came from! There are no studies linking diet as a cause for eczema or acne. Dietary improvements such as decreased sugar, trans fats, and alcohol may modestly improve acne and eczema symptoms. Dietary modifications may also improve conditions like psoriasis and rosacea. However, none of these skin conditions results from diet alone. They each have underlying causes such as hormone shifts, genetics, & environment. 

Getting a base tan from a tanning bed is safe. 

No. Never. Tanning bed UV light is much more dangerous than the sun.

UV rays are sort and intense. When we are outdoors, we can manage our skin’s exposure to these intense rays with SPF, clothing, shade, etc. But in a tanning bed, these intense UV rays are inches from our skin. It is estimated that 10 minutes in a tanning bed is the same as 2 hours on beach. Yikes!  UV not only causes skin cancer, it also breaks down collage and results in premature aging of the skin. 

Did you know: Excessive UV also impacts your eyes, increasing the risk of cataracts and ocular melanoma. 

Sunscreen causes skin cancer.

Sunscreen does not cause skin cancer. It can, however, provide a false sense of security, leading to overexposure to UV. Always reapply sunscreen as instructed on the product label. Even better? Wear protective clothing.  

Everyone needs face moisturizer. 

This is tricky. We’ve been told from advertising that moisturizing products will solve many of our skin problems. This is false.

There are two reasons to use moisturizer:

1)   to hydrate dry skin, resulting in temporarily smooth, soft, more plump appearing skin.

2)   to strengthen the skin barrier in conditions like eczema and rosacea where chronic irritation leaves skin more susceptible to breakdown and more reactive to the environment. 

It is true that most people will experience dry skin, so having a moisturizer available is useful. 

More often though, I see patients who are routinely applying moisturizing products multiple times a day believing that it’s anti-aging or curing their skin conditions. This results in acne lesions, milia, oily skin, seborrhea, and wasted money. 

Most of our patients need an oil-free moisturizer with SPF every morning and an anti-aging product at night that may also provide some hydration to the skin. 









Cystic Acne: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Acne is by far the most common reason for patient appointments at Tennessee TeleDerm. In fact, acne is the most common reason for dermatology visits in the world. That means millions of people with acne seek help every day. Furthermore, common Google search terms include ‘how to get rid of cystic acne’, ‘what is causing my cystic acne?’, ‘how to treat acne scarring’, and ‘can a dermatologist provide acne treatments?’ So if you have acne, remember you are not alone.

The good news? Acne is easy to treat. While it may take 2 to 3 months for a patient to see consistent improvement, acne is neither difficult nor expensive to treat. Patients simply need the right medications for their skin, which is often only available by prescription.

In this post, we provide an overview of cystic acne and explain its causes, ways to treat it, and things you can do right now to make it better. Read on to learn more.

What is acne?

Acne is the term used to describe a variety inflammatory lesions on the skin. Types of acne lesions include papules, pustules, comedones, and cysts or nodules. Additionally, acne-affected skin has other complicating factors such as excess oil and sebum, bacteria, irritation, and clogged pores.

Patient with Cystic Acne

What is cystic acne?

Cystic acne is a type of acne that develops in the deeper layers of the skin. It produces painful, red, and deep, slow-to-heal cysts. Cystic acne is also most common on the lower face, back, and shoulders. Furthermore, it can lead to scarring and skin discoloration because of the depth of the lesions and associated inflammation in the skin.

What is causing my cystic acne?

Normal and expected hormone shifts are the primary cause of cystic acne. However, it’s important to recognize that these hormonal shifts are predictable and normal. In fact, patients with cystic acne do not have hormone imbalances or disorders. To explain, predictable hormone shifts occur during adolescence, young adulthood, pregnancy and postpartum, with menstrual cycles, and during middle age. Having acne during these times of hormone fluctuation is normal and treatable.

Additionally, it’s important to note that diet and stress do not cause cystic acne. Though blaming acne flares on an unhealthy diet or the stress of final exams can be easy, multiple studies show these things do not cause acne breakouts. Acne may slightly improve with an overall healthier lifestyle (less sugar, no smoking, etc.). However, the improvement, if any, will be minimal since the hormone shifts will continue.

What happens during a cystic acne flare? 

Acne is a skin condition that can be caused by hormonal changes, such as increased testosterone and estrogen during adolescence, or rapid increases and decreases in hormones during the menstrual cycle. It can also be caused by activity level, such as exercise. Many patients with acne have breakouts for years because of hormonal changes. The severity of acne is based on genetics and activity level/exercise.

Other body changes that may result from these hormone shifts include growth spurts, hair growth, migraines, mood shifts, uterine cramps, breast tenderness, hair loss in middle age, and energy changes.

How does dermatology treat cystic acne?

Cystic acne forms deeper in the skin than all other acne lesions. For this reason, oral medications are most effective. The oral medications reach the inflammation deeper in the skin via the bloodstream. Topical creams and lotions are less effective as solo treatment because the medication is not able to be absorbed deep enough in the skin for significant improvement. The skin is designed to be a protective barrier, so it makes sense that topical acne medications are only going to treat the most superficial, top layers of the skin.

Oral medications have been used for decades to treat acne. They are safe, effective, and inexpensive.

Oral medications used to treat cystic acne include:

  • Doxycycline
  • Minocycline
  • Spironolactone
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane)
  • Oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills)

Each of these oral medications have a unique and beneficial effect on cystic acne. Doxycycline and Minocycline block inflammation in the skin and are used to treat many skin conditions other than acne. Spironolactone block androgen associated with adult female cystic acne. Isotretinoin increases skin cell turnover and reduces oil production, which decreases inflammation. Oral contraceptive pills stabilize a woman’s monthly cycle by minimizing the large hormone shifts that prepare the body for pregnancy each month and trigger acne flares.

Cystic Acne Care at Home

Though topical medications aren’t as effective for treating cystic acne, they are still an important part of the treatment plan. Topical medications are used reduce surface inflammation, resurface clogged pores, and fade discoloration resulting from repeated breakouts.  Topical medications are typically applied in the morning and at night and left in place to minimize current breakouts and mitigate the severity of future breakouts.

Topical medications used to treat cystic acne include:

  • Clindamycin (reduces inflammation)
  • Benzoyl peroxide (reduces inflammation)
  • Azaleic acid (reduces inflammation and mild resurfacing)
  • Spironolactone (blocks androgen which decreases oil/sebum)
  • Minocycline (reduces inflammation related to acne bacteria)
  • Dapsone (reduces neutrophilic inflammation-very specific to acne)
  • Sulfacetamide (reduces inflammation)
  • Resurfacing acids (glycolic, salicylic, lactic, retinoic acid)
  • Fading agents (hydroquinone, vitamin c)

Laser treatments could help to reduce acne lesions. However, results are temporary and the treatments must be repeated intermittently. That said, lasers are very effective in treating skin imperfections resulting from acne such as discoloration, broken capillaries, and acne scarring/pitting.

What should I do now to treat my cystic acne?

The short answer is: make an appointment with a dermatology professional or dermatologist. Simply put, treating cystic acne requires prescription medication only available from a healthcare provider, preferably a dermatology nurse practitioner or dermatologist. During the appointment, the patient and provider will discuss which prescription medications are most appropriate for your cystic acne.

Here is a basic skin care routine all acne patients should be doing :

  • Wash face twice a day with a liquid cleanser meant for the skin type of your face. Look for words like oily or combination skin printed on the cleanser (no bar soaps, no face wipes, no moisturizing washes).
  • Avoid harsh scrubs/exfoliants and toners. Acne lesions are inflammatory and scrubbing or using harsh chemicals only worsens the inflammation.
  • Check your skin care products to confirm they are oil-free (moisturizers, SPF, makeup).
  • Moisturize your skin every morning (and at night if dry). Irritated and inflamed skin needs hydration and protection. However, the products must be oil free as to not clog the pores even more. CeraVe and LaRoche both make gentle oil free moisturizers that are easy to find and affordable.

Why should I choose Tennessee TeleDerm for my cystic acne?

At Tennessee TeleDerm, we treat cystic acne every day at our telehealth appointments and are ready to help you! In fact, our patients routinely achieve acne-clearing with safe medications at minimal cost. Our virtual appointments provide patients with more flexibility in how they are seen. Our patients don’t have to wait, fight traffic, or miss school and work. Also, we offer availability sooner than an in-office appointment. This is because in-office providers also perform time-consuming skin procedures such as biopsies and surgeries. Lastly, you do not have to use insurance to be seen at Tennessee TeleDerm. In addition to insurance, we offer affordable self-pay options to everyone.

Schedule an appointment online, 24/7 here.

Holiday Indulgences and Skin Flares

The holiday season in Tennessee can cause a potpourri of skin flares, from acne to rosacea to eczema and psoriasis. Enjoy the season and all of its indulgences, but be prepared with a dermatology-approved treatment plan!

Skin Flares, Inflammation, and Triggers During the Holidays

Skin flares involving acne, rosacea, and eczema are a result of inflammation in the skin. Inflammation is a result of excessive triggers. Some triggers for skin conditions include alcohol, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, and extreme temperatures (hot/cold). Under normal circumstances, a cocktail or spicy dish might not result in a new pimple. However, as we move through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and into the New Year, the compounding effects of indulgences begin to show on the skin.

Additionally, lower outdoor temperatures, central heat, decreased sleep, and increased stress and emotions associated with the holiday season, contribute to an overall increase in skin inflammation.

At Tennessee TeleDerm, we understand that many of these triggers are out of our control. In fact, we wouldn’t trade this season for anything! Enjoy your parties! Enjoy the massive family meals! Have fun at your child’s holiday music performance! Just be prepared with a treatment regimen from a dermatology expert, whether it be a dermatologist or dermatology nurse practitioner. Let Tennessee TeleDerm help you through this season!

Tips for Managing Skin Flares this Holiday Season

  • Treat your skin before the flareups begin. If you have prescription treatments for your skin condition, refill them now. Don’t wait until your skin is a mess to start treatment.
  • Schedule a dermatology appointment. If you don’t have a treatment regimen, schedule an appointment now! Most treatments take some time to begin working. Starting now means you are armed with a plan and prescriptions by Christmas. With an online appointment at Tennessee TeleDerm, patients in Tennessee can get convenient online dermatology care without missing school or work.
  • Moderation is key. Your skin condition will withstand some of the known triggers. But too many at once will absolutely flare your skin condition. Plan ahead. What can you avoid or minimize at your next event in order to enjoy others?
  • Sleep and meditate. A calm(er) mind and body will withstand more than an overtaxed one. Turn off the noise, put down the phone, and go to sleep. 😊
  • Water water water! Most people don’t drink enough water on a daily basis under normal circumstances, but the drier and cooler weather in Tennessee will leave you dehydrated if you’re not careful. Aim for the bare minimum of 64 ounces per day, and then increase based on your activity level and food/alcohol consumption.
  • Wash your face at night. Yes, we know it’s hard to do some nights, but really try. This can make a huge difference.

My Skin is Already Flared. Now What? 

Depending on your skin condition, you will first need a treatment plan. Patients can start with over-the-counter products to establish a simple skincare routine. This includes cleansers for your skin type, moisturizers for your skin condition, allergy tablets for itching, and cortisone for your eczema or psoriasis. However, caution should be taken with topical cortisone and allergy pills and not used for more than 2 weeks without speaking to a dermatologist or dermatology nurse practitioner.

Most patients with acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis will find themselves in need of prescription treatment eventually. If you already have a prescription treatment plan and your skin condition continues to worsen, you will need a flare plan. This is common for many dermatology conditions. Sometimes, the treatment regimen simply cannot calm the flare and additional medications, typically oral, are needed. A flare treatment plan is common in dermatology, especially in Tennessee with the season changes. Your plan may include oral prednisone, oral antibiotics, oral antivirals, and/or antihistamines.

Work with Us to Create Your Flare Treatment Plan.

At Tennessee TeleDerm, we offer online dermatology appointments that are safe and convenient. Don’t miss school or work, fight traffic, or wait in an office! Schedule an online appointment with Tennessee TeleDerm and receive the same high-quality care you would in the office! For more information visit

Common Bacterial Skin Infections

A rendering of bacteria

Common bacterial skin infections are usually caused by a couple of families of bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, and streptococcus pyogenes, more commonly known as staph and strep respectively. Streptococcus pyogenes, just like it sounds, is the bacteria that causes strep throat, and it along with strains of staph, is usually harmless when found on the surface of your skin. However, infections occur when these bacteria get under your skin or in your bloodstream. 

These common types of bacterial skin conditions can range from mildly irritating symptoms to life-threatening, depending on the severity of the infection. These skin infections can be diagnosed by a Tennessee dermatologist who can then prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist if needed. Most infections are also easy to identify and prescribe treatment for through telehealth appointments.



Furuncles are singular boils that form around the hair follicles and can grow to affect deeper layers of the skin.

Abscesses usually form around these infected follicles, creating swelling and inflammation around the boil.



One of the more serious bacterial skin infections, a carbuncle is a group of boils (furuncles) that form close together. A carbuncle may ooze pus from one or several points from around the boil onto the surrounding skin.

If you have a carbuncle, you should keep the area as clean as possible as the pus can cause the infection to spread.

Also, carbuncles infect deeper layers of the skin, which makes them more likely to form a scar after the infection resolves.

Carbuncles can also leave you feeling overall unwell. And if left untreated, and the infection spreads into the surrounding tissues, it can cause cellulitis, fever, and chills.


Impetigo and Ecthyma

This condition is caused by an infection of strep bacteria, staph bacteria, or a combination of both. Impetigo is usually a superficial skin condition that presents as scabby sores with a yellow crust, and small fever blisters filled with yellow fluid.

Ecthyma is a more specific type of impetigo that occurs at deeper levels of the skin.



This skin infection is caused by the bacterium corynebacterium minutissimum and only infects the top layers of the skin. Most cases of erythrasma occur on the foot, but it can also occur in the area around the groin and can spread to the lower abdomen if left untreated.

When the infection occurs on the foot, symptoms include scaling between the toes and cracking of the skin. When erythrasma occurs around the groin, symptoms include pink and brown patches of skin along with scaling.


Bacterial Folliculitis

This is a common infection of the hair follicles that can occur when either fungi or bacteria get trapped around the follicle. Other causes include ingrown hairs and blockages from dirt or soap residue. 

The most common symptom of bacterial folliculitis is the formation of tiny white-headed pimples all on separate hair follicles. Symptoms will usually resolve on their own, but if they get worse, you may need antibiotic treatment.


Pseudomonas Folliculitis or Hot Tub Folliculitis

This type of bacterial skin infection occurs when the Pseudomonas aeruginosa infects the hair follicles around the chest or the groin. The Pseudomonas bacteria is more resilient than many strains of bacteria as it can survive even in chlorinated pool water. People usually notice this infection develop after swimming in older hot tubs or pools. Hence the nickname “hot tub folliculitis.”

Symptoms include pus-filled bumps or lesions around the infected area as well as a red itchy rash.



Cellulitis is a secondary condition that can result from any type of bacterial skin infection. But it is most often characterized by an infection of the lower two layers of skin by  Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, or a combination of both. Once present, the infection continues to spread through the subdermal skin tissues until treated.

Symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Redness
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Chills
  • Tenderness

The area around the infection may also become warm to the touch.



Erysipelas is usually caused by an infection of Strep. bacteria, but can also be caused by Staph., and MRSA. Infections present as a shiny raised red patch of skin with clearly defined edges. The patch is painful and warm to the touch. Additional symptoms include a high fever and chills.


Necrotizing Skin Infections

At the later stages of severe cellulitis, skin tissues can experience necrosis or death. Skin infections of this level are rare and are preventable if earlier skin infections are treated in a timely manner.

Patients who have necrotizing infections will also be experiencing pain, high fever, and overall illness.


Wound Infections

Even tiny wounds like paper cuts, scratches, bug bites, and scrapes can result in serious infections if not taken care of properly. Bacterial skin infections start when the bacteria can get past your skin and can start causing problems.

First aid for any wound should include carefully and thoroughly washing the area with soap and warm water. This will help prevent giving bacteria time to infect the wound.


Small or Large Skin Abscesses

Pus-filled abscesses usually form around the site of bacterial skin infections. The size and severity of these abscesses will vary.

Tiny abscesses may form in conjunction with folliculitis. Boils and carbuncles are types of abscesses that range in size from small to large. Smaller abscesses usually respond to antibiotic treatment, topical treatment, and applying a warm compress to encourage the abscess to drain.

Large abscesses usually need to be drained in-office by a doctor. Treatment usually also involves oral antibiotics and packing the wound with sterile gauze.


Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

These are the most dangerous strains related to bacterial skin infections. MRSA can be present in any of the previously mentioned skin infections. However, MRSA is not as easy to catch in everyday life, because the strains of these bacteria usually only develop in healthcare facilities.

Strains of MRSA develop resistance to penicillin-related antibiotics that are commonly used in medical environments. As a result, most MRSA infections only happen after transmission through a contaminated medical facility.

However, community transmission cases do still occur.

MRSA infections can be diagnosed by a Tennessee dermatologist, even through telehealth appointments.


Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

TSS is an acute systemic disease caused by Strep., Staph., and other environmental toxins. It is a fairly complex disease that affects the whole body. In a dermatology practice, we may recognize some symptoms and then recommend further treatment from your doctor or other specialists.

Dermatologic Symptoms of TSS

  • A widespread flat red rash
  • Scaling or shedding of skin on the palms or soles of the feet, typically after 1-2 weeks after symptoms start
  • Redness and irritation of the mucosal membranes
  • Fever
  • Severe muscle aches and pains

Full diagnosis of TSS requires lab analysis. Therefore, if you show signs of TSS, we will refer you to your doctor for testing and treatment.


Treatment for Common Bacterial Skin Infections with Tennessee TeleDerm

Do you have a skin infection that’s causing problems, but you don’t want to wait to get into the doctor’s office? Schedule an online dermatology appointment with Tennessee TeleDerm. Through our convenient telehealth appointments, we can diagnose and prescribe treatment for minor to mild bacterial skin infections.

Teen Guide: Tips for Managing Eczema This School Year

Eczema in teen, treat eczema online

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is not only irritating but also can be anxiety-inducing for teens going through the pressures of high school–like acne. There’s at least some hope of acne getting better after puberty, but the underlying causes of eczema will still be present after puberty.

So how can teens manage eczema while in high school? Here are a few of the top tips you can use to help manage your eczema symptoms.


Eczema Tips for Teens



If you let your skin dry out during an eczema flare-up, it will make the symptoms worse. Moisturizing your skin will soothe itchiness, reduce irritation, and help prevent damage to your skin. 


What Are the Best Moisturizes for Eczema?

The obvious answer is, the best moisturizer is the one that works for you. 

Generally, you want to look for a scent-free moisturizer. The chemicals added to give creams and moisturizers their scent often cause more irritation.

Also, look for oil-based moisturizers like petroleum jelly, because they will make a protective barrier on top of your skin. That way you can nourish, soothe, and protect your skin all at the same time. 

Don’t fall for the promises of water-based moisturizers. They don’t offer the same protection.


Prescription Ointments

When you meet with a Tennessee dermatologist or dermatology expert, they can prescribe corticosteroid ointments to help your skin heal. Topical steroids will also reduce inflammation and swelling caused by eczema.


Avoid Irritants or Triggers

If you’ve had eczema for a few years, you should know what things cause your eczema to flare up. And once you know what causes your symptoms to flare up, you can avoid those triggers and avoid flare-ups!

That said, high school is a crazy time. You never know when a curveball will come out of left field. But, the better prepared you are, the better you can respond to what life throws your way.


Potential Eczema Triggers
  • Food
  • Stress
  • Soaps that dry out your skin
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Allergies
  • Cool and cold weather
  • Heat
  • Laundry detergent
  • ??Fabric softener??


Turn Down The Heat

Hot showers feel so good, but did you know that extremely hot water is bad for your skin? And no, it’s not just that lobster look you get when you get out of a super hot shower. 

Hot showers are bad for your skin because as the water evaporates off of your skin, some of your skin’s natural moisture goes with it. As a result, your skin gets left more dehydrated than it was before your shower.

But just because lava-hot showers are bad, doesn’t mean you have to switch to ice-cold showers. Just turn down the heat a little bit so the water is just comfortably warm–instead of boiling hot.


Wear Soft Clothes and Avoid Itchy Fabric

Yes, this is your free pass to wear comfortable clothes. Go for soft cotton fabrics or clothes made from soft synthetic materials. Do your best to avoid coarse or itchy wools or anything that might make you itchy. And if you get itchy, the more you might scratch. And the more you scratch your skin, the more likely a flare-up will become. 


Don’t Scratch

Probably the most difficult tip to follow is don’t scratch. But scratching at the rash will further irritate your skin and make your eczema spread. Plus, scratching can also break up your skin, which puts you at risk for skin infections. Not to mention bleeding, scarring, and even more itching.

Moisturizing will help you soothe the itching feeling and will also prevent some of those absent-minded itches.


Stay Cool and Don’t Get Overheated

Thankfully, the cooler weather in the fall makes it easier to avoid getting overheated. But, if Tennessee’s weather refuses to act like it’s really fall, still do your best to not get too hot. 

Stay hydrated, stay out of the sun, and avoid any overly strenuous types of exercise.


Take Your Medicine

You should follow the steps of your care plan to the letter. Every step of your treatment plan plays a part in helping your eczema. Any missed doses could make your symptoms last longer and more difficult to manage.


Take Time to Relax

Stress is a very common cause of eczema flare-ups. It could be a sign that your body is telling you that you need to slow down and take a break. High school life is full of stressors, so knowing your limits, getting enough sleep, fueling your body with good food, and practicing mindfulness can seriously reduce your stress levels. Not to mention help you succeed in the long run!


Eczema Questions for Teens


Will Eczema Go Away in Teenagers?

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis are usually worse for infants and young children. However, anyone can develop eczema. For kids who have had it since infanthood or early childhood, they tend to grow out of eczema.

However, if you got eczema closer to your teen years, it’s likely to stay with you for a while longer.


Does Eczema Get Worse During Puberty?


Atopic dermatitis differs widely from one person to another. So, it’s possible that your symptoms could either get better or worse during puberty.


What’s the Best Way to Manage Eczema?

eczema cream in a tube - Get dermatology treatment in Tennessee

On your own, the best way to deal with eczema is to learn what your triggers are, protect your skin, and stop scratching. 

However, the best way to manage your symptoms is to meet with a Tennessee dermatologist so they can review your symptoms, recommend additional appointments with immunologists, and create a comprehensive treatment plan for your eczema.

A treatment plan will typically include using one or more of the following medications to help you manage symptoms.


Steroid or Corticosteroid Creams

Use these after you moisturize your skin. The steroids will help reduce inflammation and help your skin repair itself.



Used to reduce itchiness, inflammation, and allergic responses.


Topical Antiseptics

Used to cleanse broken skin and prevent infections.


How Do You Mentally Deal with Eczema?

You shouldn’t feel like eczema is your fault. It can be an embarrassing condition to have, especially if your symptoms show up on your arms, lower legs, neck, or face. The best way to take care of it is to see a doctor about it.

You could wear clothes or accessories that might hide your symptoms, and then wear short sleeves or shorts around people that you’re comfortable with. 

Worrying about what people think of your eczema is a big stressor, but preparing a few short explanations can help you feel more confident when someone asks. 

There’s no shame in having eczema since it’s not about how clean your skin is, like acne, it’s more about keeping physical triggers away from your skin.


Virtual Eczema Treatment with Tennessee TeleDerm

High school is a busy time, so having time for doctor’s appointments can be challenging. With Tennessee TeleDerm, all of our appointments are online and you can schedule them yourself through our patient portal, so you can choose a time that works for your schedule.