When should you see a dermatologist?
Most of us pay no attention to our skin or hair unless there is a pressing need– for example, a suspicious mole or really itchy rash. However, there are some conditions which may feel just mildly annoying but could be an indicator of something serious. Dermatologists treat more than skin, too – if your nails are problematic, for example, a dermatologist can help. Here are five examples of situations that may require a visit to the dermatologist.
Is Your Hair Falling Out?
Sudden and unexpected hair loss (known as alopecia) is a medical condition and could have a number of causes. A dermatologist can help you determine what caused your hair to fall out. It could be simple genetics– if your father lost his hair, you may lose yours. Unfortunately, it could also indicate a medical condition. It could be a reaction to a medication.
Is Your Skin Badly Burned From Sun Exposure?
A sunburn results from UV radiation damaging the skin. Although people who are fair have less melanin in their skin and burn more easily, people with olive skin or darker can also burn. In addition to causing wrinkles and possibly dark spots (actinic keratosis) sun damage can also lead to skin cancer, which is why it’s important to seek medical treatment for a very bad burn.
Is Your Acne Typical?
Normal breakouts can usually be controlled with over the counter medications. However, for severe breakouts, blackheads, or angry red pimples that don’t go away, seek treatment. Stopping the breakouts before scarring is important. Also, adults can also get pimples, and those may be a sign of another issue. If you are not a teenager or a twenty-something and a pimple doesn’t go away in a week or two, see a dermatologist.
Do You Have an Unusual Mole?
Most of us have moles somewhere on our bodies and we ignore them. If a new mole appears, though, it’s important to examine it. It could be a sign of skin cancer (melanoma). If a mole’s appearance includes an abnormal shape, redness, an unusual texture, swelling beyond the border of the mole, bleeding or oozing—all could be signs of melanoma.
Is Your Skin Aging Abnormally?
Normal skin aging (wrinkles, loss of elasticity) is something we all experience. However, a dermatologist can tell if your skin is aging normally or not. Many over the counter skin care products promise dramatic improvements, but often consumers are really paying for the brand name or the hype. A dermatologist can often recommend changes in your skincare routine or even prescribe medications that can improve the appearance of your skin.