Skin is the body's largest organ, and you're bound to encounter some spots and marks throughout your lifetime. Some skin conditions are normal, like the occasional acne spot, but some most definitely aren't, like an inconsistent mole. Here are seven signs you should visit a dermatologist so you can stop a serious problem before it gets worse.
If you don't have a dermatologist yet, the sooner you find one, the better. While some things get better with age, your skin is not one of them. Major life changes like pregnancy and trauma can trigger skin issues like scarring and acne, and sun exposure and aging can cause dark spots and loss of collagen. Some of these issues are merely irritating, and others can be truly dangerous. Regular check-ups from your derm can solve surface issues or more importantly, save your life.
So how you know when to see a dermatologist? In addition to regular check-ups, you should visit the doctor's office anytime you notice something unusual that hasn't receded after a couple of days. Anything strange that's sticking around for a while is a good reason to get a professional to check it out. Regular body checks for irregular spots, marks, and moles is necessary.
Below are some of the most common reason your should see a doc.
1. Your Mole Has Changed
If you have moles, you should be checking them regularly for changes in appearance. Any itching, bleeding, scabbing, pain, or open sores on or around a mole can be signs of skin cancer. Everyone should have a skin exam once a year!
2. You're Constantly Itchy
In almost all cases, a persistent itch can be easily treated with prescription or OTC medications. But in rare cases, a scratchy spot could be the sign of skin cancer or an indication that things are not well internally. If an itch goes on for more than a week, head to the doc.
3. Your Body Has Developed Scars
If you love your scars and want to embrace them a la Kylie Jenner, do you! But scaring from acne or pregnancy can be a source of insecurity for some, and can be physically painful in some cases. If your scars are fairly new (and still red) you have a better chance of reducing the appearance and pain of scars by going to the derm. They will recommend a peel, laser, or other topical treatment plan to reduce or even erase scarring.
5. Your Sunburn Hurts
We'd all love to avoid sunburns, but chances are you'll experience one even after taking precautions like wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. If the burn is accompanied by a high fever, pus, red streaks or blisters, it's time to consult a doctor. You could develop an infection, not to mention painful scarring.
6. You Have Unexplained Redness
If you being to break out in unexplained redness, it's time to see the derm. You may be developing psoriasis, which can be triggered in your 20s after a period of stress. Without treatment, this skin condition could develop into painful arthritis later.
7. You Have Brown Spots
Brown spots might look like sun damage or aging, but they can also be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Most women will experience darkening of the skin around their mouth and nose from time to time, but if the color continues to darken, it might be time to see a doctor. They can prescribe you tougher bleaching products, a different birth control, or laser treatments.
Image: Isla Murray, Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Pixabay; Courtesy of Brands