Skin conditions are surprisingly common, and many of them require a specialist to diagnose and treat properly. Depending on your condition, you may need to see a skin specialist. It should help you decide if it’s time to book an appointment with either type of doctor, and what the benefits are of doing so (as well as the disadvantages).
1) Growths, bumps, sores
When it comes to skin, benign growths are common and even expected. When something new or different starts appearing on your skin, however, it’s always wise to be cautious—at least until you know what you’re dealing with.
That’s why if you notice anything new or out of place (whether it looks suspicious or not), an appointment with a dermatologist is in order.
2) Injuries, burns, bites
When an injury or burn affects your skin, it’s important to see a professional. A dermatologist can give you treatment and help determine if any long-term conditions might be at play. Even seemingly harmless things like bug bites or blisters could result in infection and skin damage, so early diagnosis is always key.
Once you start seeing signs of skin damage on your body, don’t wait; schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Most dermatologists have same-day appointments for patients with urgent needs so that you can get back on track quickly and start feeling better.
3) Numbness or Tingling
If you have any tingling or numbness in your skin, it’s worth consulting with a dermatologist. Sometimes, other conditions—like diabetes or vitamin deficiencies—can lead to nerve damage that manifests as numbness.
And even if your problem doesn’t stem from those issues, numbness may be an early sign of skin cancer. Your doctor can help you figure out whether you need treatment for another condition or if it’s time for a closer look at some potentially suspicious-looking moles and freckles.
Swelling is one of those problems that seem like they should be easily solved with over-the-counter products and home remedies, but medical attention may be necessary. The reason for swelling is usually clear (if you broke your leg, it would swell), but sometimes people just swell randomly. If swelling occurs suddenly and persists despite rest, icing, and elevation, you should see a dermatologist right away.
It could be an allergic reaction or other serious condition. Also, see your doctor if the swelling doesn’t go down after two weeks of rest. The skin is what protects us from disease; anything wrong with it could mean something more serious.
5) Chronic Skin Conditions (rosacea, eczema, psoriasis)
You can manage these conditions with medications or procedures, such as light therapy. But when those steps aren’t working, it may be time to consult with a dermatologist. Not sure if you have one of these common skin conditions?
A board-certified dermatologist can tell you for sure. He or she will also be able to recommend treatments that will help you keep your skin healthy and clear. After all, no one wants to take anti-aging skincare and cosmetics precautions for granted. Visiting your dermatologist for regular checkups is like making an appointment with your general practitioner—it keeps things running smoothly and helps prevent problems from cropping up later on down the road.
6) Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation (brown spots/white spots)
Hypopigmentation, or white spots, occurs when melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are damaged by sun exposure or inflammation.
The most common causes of hypopigmentation are damage from sunburns in youth, which often result in white spots on cheeks and ears that don’t tan later in life; inflammation due to acne and other inflammatory skin conditions; and aging, which causes thinning of the skin and reduced production of melanin.
7) Pterygium/surfer’s Eye Surgery
The medical term for pterygium is epithelioma. Surfer’s eye (pterygium) develops when skin cells on your eyelid grow rapidly and spread across your cornea, covering it with an opaque or whitish mass of cells that resembles a triangular sail. If left untreated, it can cause progressive vision loss in your affected eye.
If you have been diagnosed with a surfer’s eye, it is important to know that there are several effective treatment options available today.
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8) Dark Circles Under Eyes
Dark circles under the eyes are caused by vasoconstriction and inflammation, both of which contribute to decreased blood flow. Dark circles can happen for many reasons: genetics, heredity, exposure to UV rays, aging (as we get older our bodies produce less collagen), and allergies.
When it comes to dark circles that might be due to allergies or hay fever, it’s a good idea to see an allergist. He or she will be able to identify what exactly is causing your symptoms and offer treatment options that will help keep your eye area smooth and healthy all year long.
9) Acne Treatment & Prevention
The best way to prevent acne is by keeping your skin clean and using cosmetics that don’t clog pores. There are also treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid you can try at home, but it’s important to see a dermatologist if your acne doesn’t clear up after several months of self-care.
A doctor can recommend stronger medications or oral antibiotics for more severe cases of acne. Scarring from severe acne should also be treated by a specialist, usually with either laser surgery or peels that help fade scar tissue and promote healing. Medications such as retinoids may also be recommended by some doctors for stubborn cases of acne that won’t go away with typical treatments.
10) Hormonal Changes with Pregnancy
Pregnancy is accompanied by significant changes in the hormonal balance that can result in blemishes, rosacea, and other skin conditions. While you may feel like you don’t need help dealing with minor issues, when your skin starts changing during pregnancy, it’s important to see a doctor.
For example, several skin disorders are associated with pregnancy, including chloasma (dark spots on the face), erythema (redness of the skin), and melasma (brownish discoloration). Seeing an expert early will help prevent more severe cases.
As the largest organ in the human body, the skin plays an important role in protecting the body from environmental factors, but it’s not invincible and can suffer from various ailments that may require you to see a skin specialist.