Most skin conditions are benign, which means that they won’t lead to a more serious or possibly fatal illness. Skin cancer is an exception to this. Still, even some benign skin diseases can make the life of the sufferer an absolute misery. These diseases need a doctor’s attention. A doctor who treats disease of the skin is called a dermatologist. Here are six signs that might mean that a patient needs professional skin care.
These are moles that are different from other moles. They’re asymmetrical, which means that one half of the mole doesn’t match the other. They have ragged or blurred borders and have different colors. The blended colors might be brown, black or tan with spots of blue, red or white. The mole might also be unusually large. Any mole that’s larger than about six millimeters needs to be looked at by a dermatologist. These dysplastic moles might be a sign that skin cancer is developing.
These are growths that are found on skin that’s been damaged by the sun. They might be flesh colored to pink or reddish brown. They might be flat or slightly raised. Some of them have a projection. Solar keratoses often develop after age 50 and have a high chance of becoming malignant. These also need to be looked at.
The plaque-type psoriasis presents as reddish patches on the skin that are covered by a silvery scale. Though unsightly and uncomfortable, this type of psoriasis is benign. However, there’s a type of psoriasis called exfoliative psoriasis, which is a medical emergency. The skin looks like it’s been burnt and the patient can no longer control his or her body temperature. The heart races and the patient suffers both terrible itching and terrible pain. If this sort of psoriasis is left untreated, the patient may die.
Acne Cysts and Nodules
This is far worse than the “normal,” course of acne. This type of acne can cause permanent scarring. Though normal acne can be treated with topical, over-the-counter products, acne cysts and nodules may need to be treated with prescription medicines. These medicines might be antibiotics, Vitamin A derived medications or even birth control pills for women. Some dermatologists drain the cysts if they’re not cleared by medication.
This is a sign of hives. Hives can be tiny, or they can be quite large and even connect to each other over the body. Often, hives disappear after a time, but they can be the sign of a very bad allergy. The throat and tongue can swell and interfere with breathing and swallowing. The lips and eyelids can also swell up. A person who breaks out in hives, especially after they’ve ingested a substance they haven’t taken before, should see a medical professional.
Very Painful Rash With Blisters
This can be a sign of shingles. This happens to older people who’ve had chicken pox in childhood. The virus that caused the chickenpox is reactivated and causes the rash. Some people get vaccinated against shingles before they erupt, but a medication that fights the virus can be taken soon after the rash develops. A person who has shingles on his or her face should see a doctor right away because shingles can cause eye damage.
This article is a contribution from Mountain View Dermatology, a Boulder, CO dermatologist specializing in skin care.