Skin changes a lot throughout the course of a lifetime so it can sometimes be confusing to know when such changes are normal and when they warrant a trip to the dermatologist. Fluctuations in the way our skin feels and appears can range from mild to severe and can be due to a number of reasons, such as changes in the weather or genetic influences. Oftentimes, when you notice mild irritation or changes in the skin, it will go away on its own or with the help of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. In other cases, if you notice abnormal changes that seem to persist, it may be a good idea to get it checked out.
Continue reading to learn more about common skin problems that should be examined by a dermatologist or skincare professional.
At one point or another, we all experience acne. It affects most people during puberty when the body goes through a period of increased hormone activity. More often than not, acne will go away on its own with proper hygiene and as we get older. However, in more serious cases, cystic acne can develop. People with oilier skin are more at risk for this type of acne, which can cause large, painful cysts on the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, cystic acne will typically not go away without treatment, and OTC medication isn’t strong enough to reduce symptoms. If left untreated, scarring can result, so it’s best to see your dermatologist as soon as possible.
A mole or skin patch that changes
Usually moles or dark spots on the skin are nothing to worry about, but when you start to see changes in the color, size, or shape of them, it could be a sign of skin cancer. Cancer develops on the skin when there is accumulated damage to the genes inside skin cells, usually as a result of UV radiation from the sun over time. It’s best to catch skin cancer early to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage. If caught early, skin cancer can be easily removed by your dermatologist using a minimally-invasive procedure such as MOHS surgery.
Rash that doesn't go away
A persistent rash or hives that don’t go away may be a sign of an allergic reaction or an infection in the skin. Skin rashes can be itchy, or even painful, so the sooner you see a healthcare provider the sooner your symptoms can be treated. Normally, a type of steroidal ointment or antibiotic cream will be prescribed by your dermatologist.
Abnormal scar types
Keloids and hypertrophic scars, two scar types marked by their raised and discolored appearance, can often be treated topically with medical silicone gel. However, in situations where they cannot, patients often seek alternative forms of treatment from their dermatologist, such as laser treatment therapy or microdermabrasion. Generally, scars cannot be erased entirely, but their appearance can be reduced significantly using any of the aforementioned treatment modalities.
Hair lossHair loss can occur as a result of genetics or an underlying condition, such as a scalp disorder. If the latter is a case, you may benefit from seeing a dermatologist to determine if they can help you. Treatment recommendations may include laser therapies or scalp micropigmentation.
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