Acne, rash, dry skin … you’ve likely experienced a skin problem at some point in your life. Many skin, hair and nail conditions go away with time, but others need treatment from a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin care.
How do you know when it’s time to get help diagnosing, treating and managing a chronic skin condition? Check this list of the top nine skin, nail and hair conditions to find out when to call a dermatologist.
We’ve all had pimples and blackheads, but for many people, over-the-counter remedies simply aren’t effective. If your acne is widespread on your face or body and products from your local drugstore aren’t helping, it’s time to see a doctor. A dermatologist can provide prescription-strength topical and oral medications, as well as more intensive therapies such as chemical peels and laser treatments. Even mild acne can lead to long-lasting scars, so it’s best to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Inflamed, Red Skin
If you have red, itchy and swollen skin, you may have a condition called eczema. Eczema affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association, and can include many different types of skin problems. In addition, chronic redness or face flushing may indicate rosacea. Schedule a dermatology consultation if you have dry skin, redness, burning or pimple-like bumps so your doctor can pinpoint your condition.
Dry Skin Patches
Red, elevated patches of dry or flaky skin anywhere on your body may signal psoriasis. These patches typically appear on your elbows, chest, scalp, knees and lower back, and can be extremely itchy and painful. Dermatologists treat psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin disease, with medications, creams and ointments, so make an appointment right away to get help.
Skin Growths and Moles
Moles and skin tags can be unpleasant to look at, but they typically don’t require medical treatment. However, if you notice moles or skin growths changing in shape, color, texture or size, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Some moles and skin growths develop into skin cancer, so an expert look at a suspicious area could save your life.
Skin Cancer Screening
It’s incredibly important to diagnose skin cancer early because melanoma (one kind of skin cancer) can be deadly. If you see any irregular skin growths, asymmetrical moles or lesions larger than a pencil eraser, get checked immediately. And ask a dermatologist to thoroughly examine your body’s skin once a year to look for trouble spots.
Skin or Nail Infections
Your sensitive skin and nails can easily become a breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, viruses and fungus. Skin discolouration, itching, pus and warts are all signs of an infection that needs medical attention. A dermatologist can diagnose your condition and prescribe a treatment plan.
You naturally shed hair on a daily basis, but bald patches or thinning hair can be a sign of a serious condition. A dermatologist determines why your hair is falling out and recommends treatments to restore growth or reduce the visibility of your hair loss.
Varicose and Spider Veins
Bulging, raised veins on your legs or other parts of your body, known as varicose veins, are typically benign, as are their smaller counterparts called spider veins. However, sometimes these veins cause aching pain and may signal a serious circulatory problem. A dermatologist helps you determine the best methods for managing or treating this condition.
Age Spots and Wrinkles
While not life-threatening, wrinkles, age spots and age-related discolourations can make you look older than you feel. A dermatologist recommends therapies to reduce wrinkles, tighten skin and give you a more youthful appearance. Treatments may include: