There are thousands of conditions that can affect your skin. It is important to be proactive and not wait until you have a skin condition before seeing a dermatologist. In fact, it is recommended that healthy adults with no history of skin cancer visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a full body examination.
While many people may be a little apathetic to spending money on visiting a dermatologist, remember that your skin requires ongoing maintenance to function at its best. Your dermatologist is the only person that will know if that mole or blemish is serious. They can also tell you the best and most effective products for your skin condition. It’s time to see a dermatologist if you find yourself asking these questions.
I have had a patch of pimples for a month. Do I have a skin condition? It is normal for teenagers and adult women to get a pimple that lasts a few days because of their fluctuating hormone levels. However, if a pimple persists after seven days, then it might be time to see a dermatologist. Persistent pimples could be a more serious acne problem that requires a strong topical treatment to alleviate the breakout.
Acne is also a side effect to some medications. It is important to consult your dermatologist if you think the medication you are taking might be triggering acne.
My skin has patches where it is abnormally light or dark. What should I do? Almost everyone experiences changes in the skin. If you have ever gone to the beach for a day, then you have probably noticed that you come back a bit darker or even redder. But, it is important to be aware if your skin is abnormally darker or lighter in some places. For example, skin darkening is a key symptom in Addison’s disease, a disorder that results when the adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient amounts of critical hormones.
Skin darkening under the armpit is another common problem that could be the result of Addison’s, pregnancy, hygiene issues, or other medical conditions.
Pale skin areas are due to too little melanin. A more serious cause of hypopigmented skin could be the result of vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition in which there is a loss of pigment from areas of skin. This destruction is thought to be due to an autoimmune problem, but the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown. Vitiligo may appear at any age. It is important to see your dermatologist if you continue to see lightening or darkening in areas of your skin.
My skin has red flare-ups. Is this normal? There are so many reasons your skin can appear as red patches. In children, red and itchy patches of skin are usually a result of eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition and can occur as mild or severe cases. It is important to consult a dermatologist so they can prescribe you a prescription strength hydrocortisone and moisturizer.
Red patches in the skin could also be a result of your diet or allergies. Only a dermatologist will be able to determine the exact cause of your red patches.
I have a mole that is growing or becoming darker. Could this be skin cancer? With any type of cancer, it is better to act sooner and not later. This holds especially true for melanoma. Check your older moles for change and be aware of any new moles that have formed. For example, if your mole appears asymmetrical, has color change, or begins to grow in diameter or elevation, then you are going to want to see a dermatologist immediately.
When in doubt, seek medical attention. Your skin is a complex organ that requires delicate care, special attention and true expertise for effective treatment for any condition. Think of it like this: When you have a toothache, you visit the dentist. When you have a cold, you visit your primary care doctor. Why should you avoid seeing a dermatologist if you’re having skin problems?