Dermatologists – What Dermatologists Don’t Want You to Know
Your skin is your largest organ, and it serves many vital functions: It protects you from heat, cold, and germs; covers nerves and blood vessels; and even reflects some internal diseases.
Because of this, small changes in the appearance or feel of your skin may be a sign of an underlying issue that requires attention. Visit https://www.montgomerydermatologists.com/ to learn more.
Acne is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles. The sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum that lubricates the hair and skin to stop them from drying out. When these glands become clogged with too much sebum or dead skin cells, pimples develop. Acne can be mild, with a few occasional pimples; moderate, with inflamed papules; or severe, with nodules and cysts. Acne can appear anywhere on the body where there are sebaceous glands, such as the face, shoulders, chest, back, and buttocks.
In acne, the sebum and keratinocytes that line the hair follicles stick together inside the pores and create a plug, which then causes the skin to inflame. The inflammation can cause dark spots, which may fade over several months or years. Acne can also cause permanent scarring if the lesions are deep or the skin is scratched. Popping or picking at blemishes can also lead to infection and spread bacteria.
The most common types of acne include whiteheads (closed comedones) and blackheads, Papules (pimples with a red base), pus-filled bumps (papules and pustules), and nodules and cysts. Some people will have only mild acne, with only a few blemishes; others may have moderate or severe acne that covers large areas of the face and body.
To prevent and treat acne, dermatologists recommend keeping the skin clean by washing it twice a day with gentle soap or cleanser. Dermatologists can also prescribe topical medications to reduce the amount of oil produced, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation. Some patients with moderate to severe acne are prescribed systemic therapy, which involves taking pills that target bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Exposure to the sun damages DNA, which may cause cells to grow and divide out of control. Over time, these cells can become abnormal and lead to precancerous growths that aren’t cancer but could lead to it if left untreated. These include scaly patches, warts and moles that bleed.
If you have a mole, freckle or other skin spot that changes in size, shape or color, you should see your dermatologist. They can help you identify whether the change is normal or if it could be cancer. They’ll ask you about your skin history and examine the spot, including where it is on your body, how long it’s been there and if any other symptoms have appeared.
Most skin cancers are classified based on where they start and how far they spread. Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is most common and starts in the top layer of skin called the epidermis. It grows deeper into the skin than other types of skin cancer and usually appears as a raised bump that scabs or bleeds.
Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, also starts in the epidermis but is found closer to the surface of the skin. It grows faster than BCC and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is less common but grows more quickly than other skin cancers and is harder to treat. It develops in the pigment cells (melanocytes) that give your skin and hair their natural color.
It’s normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day, and your body usually replaces them. But if you notice a receding hairline or bald spot, you should see a dermatologist to determine what’s causing it and recommend treatment.
A dermatologist will begin by asking about your diet and medical history, including whether any family members have had thinning or balding hair. They’ll also do a physical exam, and may use blood tests to check your thyroid levels, iron, and other factors that can affect your hair. They’ll also look at your scalp with a light microscope and a device that can measure your hair growth.
If your thinning or balding is due to hereditary hair loss, your doctor can give you advice about how to cope with it and possibly prescribe medication that will slow or reverse the process. Other conditions that can cause hair loss include seborrheic dermatitis, which causes your scalp to shed greasy, yellowish scales; and psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes thick, white plaques on the skin that often bleed when touched.
Another common cause of hair loss is alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes your hair to fall out in small patches. It can eventually lead to baldness or complete hair loss. It can affect men and women, and it’s not contagious. It’s often triggered by stress or illness, and can sometimes be treated with medication that will help your hair grow back. You can also prevent alopecia areata by eating a balanced diet that includes fatty fish, berries, and leafy greens. In addition to medication, a dermatologist can offer support groups for people with this condition.
Skin discoloration, which can show up as dark spots or larger patches, affects all skin tones. Lighter skin can be prone to sunspots, while darker skin may develop post-acne marks or redness. Certain medications can also cause skin to change color.
A dermatologist will assess your symptoms and determine the cause of the skin discoloration. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and if the skin changes started suddenly. They will also examine your skin to check for abnormalities like enlarged pores or uneven tans.
If you have a skin infection, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic to treat it. Bacterial infections can lead to a change in skin color, especially around cuts or scrapes. Other infections such as fungal infections, including tinea versicolor and ringworm, can lead to the formation of discolored patches on various parts of your body.
Your doctor can recommend bleaching creams to help lighten areas of the skin that have become darker. They can also suggest other treatments such as phototherapy or laser therapy to treat pigmentation issues.
Other causes of skin discoloration include thermal injuries, such as burns from frosbite or solar radiation damage, and certain medications. Hormonal changes can also trigger melasma, a type of hyperpigmentation.
If you notice changes in your skin color, visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. It may be a sign of a serious underlying condition that requires medication attention. Some skin changes, such as salmon patches or hypopigmented macules, may disappear on their own while others like vitiligo can get lighter over time. Depending on the cause of your skin discoloration, a dermatologist may recommend creams, ointments, laser therapy or other treatments.
The skin is your body’s largest organ, and it protects you from heat, cold, germs and dangerous substances. It also serves as a window to your health, with changes in the look or feel of your skin often signaling an underlying issue.
When the skin is wounded, a scar forms as a natural part of the healing process. While some scars are cosmetic, others can be a painful reminder of an injury or illness, such as a burn, surgery, or even acne. A dermatologist can help reduce the appearance of scars through medications or noninvasive techniques, such as chemical peels. Other treatments address wrinkles and other cosmetic concerns, including hair loss and thinning hair.
If your doctor suspects that you have a serious disease, such as skin cancer, they may recommend a biopsy of the area in question. A dermatopathologist, who has extensive training in both dermatology and pathology, will examine the removed sample under a microscope to determine the best course of treatment.
You’ve noticed dark or light spots on your skin, and over-the-counter treatments haven’t made much of a difference. A dermatologist can assess your skin to see if the marks are a result of a common condition, such as sunburn or a rash, or if they are a sign of an underlying problem, such as a hormonal imbalance or inflammatory disease. Dermatologists can also help you manage long-term skin conditions, such as eczema or chronic psoriasis, and prescribe medications to ease your symptoms. They can also offer advice on skincare and suggest treatments that can improve the look of your skin, such as fillers or laser treatment therapy. Before your appointment, prepare by removing any nail polish and wearing short clothing so that the dermatologist can get a full view of your skin.