Understanding skin, the largest organ of our bodies, can be a bit complicated. On top of skin dynamics regarding skin care, skin irregularities and problematic skin issues, it can be a little embarrassing to discuss personal skin predicaments with friends and family. We may keep our embarrassing skin issues to ourselves — all the more reason why you should see a skin doctor or skin surgeon.
While a skin doctor could easily diagnose most skin conditions at an appointment and offer dermatology treatment and cosmetic procedure options, all too often we self-diagnosis incorrectly or simply ignore problems. Whether dismissing skin flare-ups as not important, pretending an issue will go away on its own, self-treating with over-the-counter (OTC) products or Googling to attempt to find the correct answer to a question, all may lead to ineffective solutions with sometime dangerous consequences. As a result, no improvements may occur or the skin issue worsens.
However, education is a key element in skin health, prevention tactics are vital and an early diagnosis with treatment is much more beneficial than an “ignorance is bliss” approach.
In fact, you should see a skin doctor annually for a general skin test and once-over. Skin tests not only assist with allergy identification, they can also help the skin doctor detect early issues that might lead to bigger problems down the road.
SKIN ISSUES AND CONCERNS THAT REQUIRE IMMEDIATELY ATTENTION FROM A SKIN DOCTOR OR SKIN SURGEON
The following skin issues and concerns warrant a timely appointment with a skin doctor or skin surgeon. These non-negotiable situations can happen to anyone, so it’s important to know the dynamics of each and also what to ask the dermatologist at an appointment.
Persistent and Worsening Acne
If your acne is a regular occurrence with large pimples, cysts and/or nodules or if OTC treatments aren’t helping, make an appointment with a skin doctor. Known medically asacne vulgaris, it ranges from occasional flare-ups of a few pimples to chronic breakouts. Due to the range of symptoms, prevention and acne treatment are case specific.
Acne can be addressed with topical products, medication, lifestyle changes and laser therapy. If you have acne scars or acne lesions that are festering, you should also see a surgical dermatologist or skin surgeon. They can recommend ways to avoid future scarring and potential treatments for existing marks. Deciding on an acne scar treatment is also dictated by the severity of scarring.
Regardless of the type of acne or cause, your body treats acne as an injury. When it heals the affected area, the repaired skin is a different consistency than surrounding skin. The collagen alignment in scars also differ from normal skin because its fibers are aligned rather than in basket-weave patterns. This results in the acne scars looking thicker than surrounding skin.
Brittle or Discolored Nails
Dermatologists and skin surgeons treat the whole body and face, which also includes your nails. While the nails are often an afterthought until the problem becomes painful, issues are often ignored for a long period of time or self-medicated with OTC products.
However, if your nails are yellowing, you have pain around nail beds, and/or if they break constantly, all warrant appointment. The root of issues may stem from an infection that requires prescription topical solutions or oral medication. Brittle nails may also signal an underlying medical condition or more serious health problem.
Skin Rashes and/or Dry Patches
While many rashes are short-term and innocuous, dry patches of skin and/or persistent or ongoing skin rashes shouldn’t be ignored. Both skin issues can stem from a more serious problem or medical condition. A skin doctor or skin surgeon should examine skin for a diagnosis, with additional tests done as needed. Causation factors may range from severe allergies to psoriasis.
Scalp Issues and/or Abnormal Hair Loss
While it’s common for occasional itchy scalps and even excess hair loss during natural hair growth cycles, ongoing scalp and hair loss issues require assistance from a skin doctor or skin surgeon. He or she may suggest an OTC dandruff shampoo for your scalp issue or prescribe something stronger for scalp application.
While hair loss may result from stress, recent surgery or hair growth cycles, a diagnosis should be made for continued hair loss if it stems from male or female patent baldness. When pattern baldness is not the causation factor, hair loss factors range from poor circulation to lupus. It’s important to understand the root issue for hair loss since it may stem from a more serious medical condition.
Severe Sweating or a Change in Perspiration
While both men and women experience overactive perspiration problems and accompanying body odor issues, they often don’t seek treatment. If you sweat excessively, your deodorant isn’t effective or you experience a change in perspiration, seek a diagnosis from a skin doctor or skin surgeon. Perspiration changes may indicate another underlying medical condition, such as infection, diabetes or a thyroid problem.
The importance of melanoma early detection and regular skin checkups with a skin doctor or skin surgeon concerning potential skin issues cannot be stated enough. Most people don’t know how crucial early detection is in treating and eliminating melanoma (that’s skin cancer). While most skin imperfections are harmless, a dermatologist should examine a birthmark when it appears.
Skin evaluation determines birthmark type or skin irregularity and if it needs monitoring or treatment. However, moles should be checked regularly for changes in size, color or texture due to the possibility of a sign of skin cancer.
SKIN ISSUE QUESTIONS TO PREP PRIOR TO AN APPOINTMENT
In addition to diagnosing skin ailments, skin doctor or skin surgeon can also offer specific advice on preventative measures, skin care maintenance and dermatology treatments. The recommendations are tailored for your skin type, age and sun damage. In addition to questions on skin care basics and skin health issues, you can also ask more specific questions.
This includes inquiring about how well you’re aging, as well as more specific options that would improve your appearance and minimize the signs of aging. Specific questions about lifestyle improvements should also be brought up for optimal health. Whether it changes to diet, exercise or skincare products, a skin doctor or skin surgeon can offer guidelines and suggestions.
Make sure to request a general skin examination and mole check regardless of why you scheduled the appointment. Additionally, inquire about any non-acne-related scars. Finally, make sure to bring a list of questions, as well as a paper and pen to write on.
For more information or questions, read our FAQ page: https://www.finetouchdermatology.com/frequently-asked-questions/.
To make an appointment at FineTouch Dermatology with Dr. Umar, call (310) 318-1500 or (877) 337-6424. To ask Dr. Umar a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.