As the body's largest organ, your skin can tell you and your dermatologist many things about your current health. While your skin may change appearance naturally over time, some changes could indicate a disease or disorder that calls for medical evaluation. The following three examples may merit a visit to a dermatology clinic.
1. Mole Changes
Many people develop multiple small, brown spots known as moles without suffering any ill effects. However, a mole can go from harmless to harmful if it transforms into a melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. The sooner a dermatology team identifies a melanoma, the sooner you can receive treatment.
Watch out for moles that display an uneven shape, grow larger than one-quarter inch in size, change in color, or develop irregular borders. Take these changes as your cue to schedule an immediate dermatology appointment. Your dermatologist can often remove the mole before the threat spreads to other areas of the body.
2. Rough, Scaly Patches
Your skin continuously sheds old skin cells as it forms new ones. However, this routine can get interrupted by many health issues, leaving you with rough and//or scaly patches of skin. For instance, red, scaly patches on a baby or young child often mean eczema. Eczema can occur due to a combination of environment and genetics.
Autoimmune disorders can cause scaly skin patches. One example, psoriasis, produces raised, red patches covered by lighter-colored skin flakes. Autoimmune system issues can also create purplish, scaly patches on your shins, a condition called lichen planus. This condition can also occur as a complication of hepatitis C.
3. Bumps and Lumps
Skin bumps and lumps can form for a variety of reasons. In folliculitis barbae, for instance, a collection of bumps may appear where you normally shave, the result of ingrown hairs. Contact with an allergen can trigger the development of small, itchy bumps, while harmless red spots called cherry hemangiomas can appear with age.
Some lumps and lumps pose no cause for concern, while others may call for treatment. Warts can spread from person to person if they go untreated. A swollen lymph gland might go away on its own, or it might indicate possible cancer. A fluid-filled lump called a cyst shouldn't pose any danger unless it gets infected.
If your skin tries to tell you something about your health and wellness, listen to its message. Contact your local dermatologist to get your symptoms checked out and ask any questions about how to maintain your skin's health going forward.
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