why you need a dermatologist

As the biggest organ on your body, your skin deserves time and effort in order to maintain its health and condition, just as much as its appearance. Dermatologists are trained on everything related to skin, from skin cancer and rashes to cosmetic issues and discoloration. Entrusting the care of your skin to the expertise of Northern Colorado dermatologists is one of the best things you can do to ensure that your skin, hair, and nails not only look their best but also feel their best.

There are a wide variety of skin problems that can cause mild to severe symptoms that end up affecting your health, quality of life, and even your self-esteem, but a dermatologist can help you by diagnosing and treating these conditions. Many people underestimate the power of a dermatologist and don’t schedule a visit until it’s too late. Your skin is a vital part of your overall health, and a dermatologist should be a trusted part of your medical team. If you are concerned or upset about a problem with your skin, hair, or nails, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

If you are wondering when to see a dermatologist, here are 12 reasons to see a dermatologist.

1. It’s Time for Your Annual Skin Exam

woman with doctor having a skin checkup

Many people wonder how often to see a dermatologist. The answer is at least once a year. To ensure that your skin is healthy and strong, it is highly recommended to schedule an annual skin exam with a licensed dermatologist. An annual examine is crucial in maintaining healthy skin. At an annual skin exam, dermatologists perform a detailed check of your skin looking for any new, developing, abnormal, or concerning areas. An annual skin exam is one of the strategies for early detection of skin cancer, which can significantly improve your chances of successful treatment. Instead of waiting until skin cancer symptoms appear on your skin or other skin conditions worsen, an annual skin exam allows the dermatologist to take preventative and proactive measures to ensure your skin is healthy and beautiful.

Annual skin exams are especially important for people who are at higher risk for skin cancer, including people who have fair hair or light eyes or who have a history of blistering sunburns. Annual skin exams also become more important with age, as skin tends to change and weaken over time. Many insurance companies cover an annual skin exam, making it more affordable for many people.

2. You Have Skin Cancer or Signs of Skin Cancer

man having a potentially cancerous mole on his back looked at with a magnifying glass

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. and around the world. Early action is critical to treating skin cancer and giving you more options of how to fight the disease. Some forms of skin cancer can be easily treated if diagnosed early enough. However, melanoma, the most dangerous type, can be deadly if not treated in time. If you notice any spots or areas of your skin that concern you, be sure to make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist as soon as possible to have them checked.

Signs of skin cancer may include:

  • Any worrisome changes in your skin
  • Skin growths or moles that have changed color, size, shape, or texture
  • Large brown spots with dark speckles
  • Lesions with abnormal shaping or borders
  • Lesions or growths that are painful, itchy, burning, or that continually scab or bleed
  • Nodules that are firm and red

Dermatologists can often easily detect the signs of skin cancer, but too many people avoid being seen by a dermatologist and miss out on early skin cancer detection. In many cases, a dermatologist can treat or remove skin issues and moles before they potentially become cancerous. Dermatologists regularly remove suspicious tissue to perform a biopsy to see if it is cancerous.

3. You Have Acne That Doesn’t Improve With Over-the-Counter Products

woman applying a treatment to acne on her forehead with many other breakouts on her face

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions affecting people of any age (not just teenagers) and often impacts self-esteem and self-image. Although acne isn’t life-threatening, it can be frustrating and upsetting, especially when it doesn’t go away. Seeing a dermatologist for teenage acne can help lead to clearer skin. Most people have experienced acne at some point in their lives, and for some people, the issue persists long into adulthood. Acne can appear in various degrees of severity on the face, neck, back, shoulders, and even chest. Many people suffer from blemishes like whiteheads, blackheads, and deep cysts.

If you have tried over-the-counter products or other homeopathic methods but haven’t seen improvement, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Dermatologists have the knowledge and experience for treating acne at the source, helping you to find renewed confidence and improved skin. Dermatologists do more than just give you a quick fix to remove acne—they consider a number of factors, including your age, skin type, lifestyle, health conditions, environment, and more to create a personalized skincare plan designed specifically for your acne. Dermatologists also have access to prescription pills, creams, and serums that are more powerful than over-the-counter medicines. Dermatologists can recommend and perform more advanced treatments like chemical peels and laser treatments that aren’t safe to do on your own. Visiting a dermatologist can put you on the path to healthy, clear skin.

4. You Have Red, Swollen, Dry, and Itchy Skin

woman itching red patch on her shoulder due to eczema

If you have areas of your skin that are continuously uncomfortable, irritated, itchy, or flaky, you may have eczema, a chronic skin condition that can affect people of all ages. Leaving the skin red, swollen, dry and itchy, it also causes emotional distress as it affects appearance and self-image.

Some people have red, itchy skin occasionally. Sometimes it is due to seasonal allergies, and other times it may be related to the chronic condition of eczema. If your skin is itchy or red for more than a week, you should see a dermatologist. If you have eczema or have noticed signs of it, seeing a dermatologist is the best way to identify the condition. They can also prescribe creams or medications that can help to provide relief and improvement. There isn’t a cure for eczema, but a dermatologist can provide treatment to not only make it more comfortable and bearable, but also reduce the redness and noticeable inflammation.

5. You Have Thick, Red Patches on the Surface of Your Skin

elbow with psoriasis which causes rough, scaly red patches

Psoriasis is a condition that causes skin cells to form quickly and accumulate as thick, red, scaly patches on the surface of the skin. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system sends signals to the skin cells that tell them to grow too quickly. This leads to skin cells piling up on the top of the skin and creating thick, scaly areas. These patches, called plaques, can appear on many areas of the body and can be both painful and itchy. Psoriasis plaques tend to be thick and red with silvery scales and most often occur on the elbows, legs, knees, face, and scalp.

A dermatologist can identify psoriasis by looking at affected skin cells under a microscope. To treat the condition, a dermatologist can prescribe soothing creams along with oral medications to control the overactive immune system and lessen the discomfort and redness of the plaques.

6. Your Skin Is Always Red and Splotchy

woman with red cheeks from rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes skin to appear red, flushed, or even create bumps or swelling. Many people with rosacea often get comments about looking flushed or blushing, but it is actually a chronic skin condition that doctors don’t know the cause of. Rosacea most often occurs on the nose, cheeks, and chin and is most common in women and people with light skin.

Identifying rosacea with help from a dermatologist can give you access to medication and therapies that can help, but it can also help you to determine factors that can make it worse such as diet, stress, alcohol, and weather. Many doctors think factors such as heat, exercise, spicy foods, or stress contribute to rosacea. A dermatologist can work with you to treat the symptoms through medication or laser therapy, as well as help make lifestyle adjustments to avoid activities and situations that may trigger a rosacea flareup.

7. You Are Losing Hair

man looking in the mirror at his receding hair line

Most people lose up to 100 hairs every day and remain healthy. However, more-than-normal hair loss, bald patches, or thinning hair can all be signs of an underlying health concern or a genetic condition.

There are a variety of reasons for hair loss, ranging from hormone changes to stress or a genetic condition. A dermatologist is able to pinpoint the cause of your hair loss and treat it before it can become worse. By examining skin cells from the scalp and performing blood work, a dermatologist can find out why you are losing hair and then recommend treatment. Depending on your age, lifestyle and reason for hair loss, a dermatologist may recommend medication, laser treatment, or surgical procedures to stop hair loss or restore growth.

8. You Want to Improve the Appearance and Condition of Your Skin

man lying down peacefully with facial mask while taking care of his skin

When your skin looks good, you feel good. There are many factors that affect how your skin looks and feels. Age can bring wrinkles, sagging skin, discoloration, and more. Lifestyle choices such as a poor diet, smoking, and excessive sun exposure can also take a toll on your skin’s texture, color, and fullness. Dermatologists can offer a variety of safe cosmetic treatments that can restore and rejuvenate the condition and appearance of your skin. A dermatologist can also help create a skincare and makeup routine that accentuates your beauty and leads to clear and healthy skin.

9. You Have an Infection or Rash

arm with rash from allergies

Skin can be affected by a number of factors including bacteria, viruses, or contact from allergens. Skin fungus can create a number of uncomfortable conditions, including athlete’s foot that grows and spreads in moist, dark areas of the skin. Some bacterial skin infections can actually spread to other parts of the body and be deadly if they aren’t treated. If you have a skin infection, rash, lesion, or other abnormalities on your skin, schedule an appointment with Northern Colorado dermatologists today to get treated before it can worsen. A dermatologist can diagnose your infection or rash and recommend how best to treat it, either with a topical cream or oral antibiotic.

10. Your Veins Are Noticeable Or Painful

pronounced varicose veins shown on the leg

Most people think of dermatologists as treating skin on the face and scalp, but they are skilled in treating all skin conditions on the entire body. One common area is veins, especially on the legs. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins become weak and damaged and are typically raised and bumpy. Aside from causing some self-consciousness from how they look, varicose veins can also be incredibly painful, leading to swelling in the legs and feet, and increase the risk of blood clots and skin sores. The chance of having varicose veins increases with age, as well as with lifestyle factors like obesity or a lack of movement.

Spider veins are another condition that commonly occurs on the legs. Like the name implies, spider veins look like a network of spider webs with veins spreading under the skin. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins aren’t a health issue, but they can be a cosmetic concern for many people.

Both varicose veins and spider veins can be treated by dermatologists. Some treatment recommendations are relatively minor, including lifestyle changes and wearing long support socks. Varicose veins, especially more severe cases, may require chemical treatment, laser treatments, or surgery to repair. Although these treatments are more intense, they can often relieve the cosmetic and health concerns of varicose veins. A dermatologist will work with you to recommend the right treatment based on your condition, health history, and a number of other factors.

11. You Have Warts

woman with her hand showing where a wart is on her neck

Warts may have bad connotations of uncleanliness or bad habits, but they are a skin condition just like any other. Warts are typically caused by a virus or exposure to bacteria. Some people, including children, are also just more susceptible to having warts. Warts don’t cause a health concern, but they can lead to cosmetic challenges. Depending on the location of the wart, they can also be uncomfortable, especially in they are on the bottom of the foot or rub against clothing or other parts of skin.

There are a number of over-the-counter treatments and home remedies available for warts. If those treatments don’t work, a dermatologist can take more aggressive action to remove the wart quickly. Primary care doctors can also treat warts, but dermatologists offer a unique perspective and treatment options that take the rest of the skin and the lasting skin conditions into effect.

12. You Have Obvious Scars

woman with arm on her shoulder displaying large scar

Scars occur on the skin for a variety of reasons, ranging from acne to scrapes and injuries. Scars from stretch marks, surgeries, and other health issues can appear on just about any part of the body. Over time, some scars may fade, but other scars tend to stick around. Acne scars can be especially frustrating and lead to uneven skin texture and coloring.

Dermatologists can examine your scars and provide the best treatment options. Depending on the type, size, and location of the scar, a dermatologist may recommend a different type of treatment. Some scars can be treated with chemical peels and creams to lighten the skin and create a more even skin tone. Other scars are best treated with steroid shots or cryosurgery that freezes off the scar. Some raised scars, known as keloid, and other burn scars, may need to be treated by a plastic surgeon. However, most scars can be treated by a dermatologist. In some cases, skin cancer can look like a scar, so it is always important to get scars examined by a dermatologist, especially if they change or get darker over time.

Dermatologists treat a wide range of skin-related conditions. Many people overlook their skin, but healthy skin not only boosts your self-confidence, but it also contributes to your overall health, comfort, and well-being. There are many reasons to see a dermatologist. Don’t overlook the biggest organ in your body—book your dermatology appointment today.

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