We all have experienced our fair share of skin problems: an itchy rash; dry patches on the skin and marks on the nail bed. These may be common everyday skin problems, but, when present for an extended period of time, they may be an indication of something more serious. We were able to talk with Dr. David Bank, president of N.Y. State Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery as he told us the warning signs of skin conditions that may be something more serious, “Most of the time the symptoms that show up on your skin are the first warning signs from the body,” says Dr. Bank. “These warning signs can be a blessing if they are brought to the attention of a physician for a proper diagnosis.”
Below Dr. David Bank points out when certain skin anomalies are harmless and when it may be time to pay a visit to the dermatologist.
RASHES are a common condition that are usually benign but should be cared for properly.
● Certain areas of your body are not prone to rashes and should be monitored if they appear. Go to the doctor if the rash appears around the eye, nose or mouth and if it starts blistering. Also note, if a rash does not stay contained and spreads to other areas of the body, it should be examined.
CHANGE IN NAIL COLOR can be a result of tinting from nail polish, dye or other color agents or bruising of the nail bed area. However, a change in nail color can be sign of malnutrition, fungal infection, or even immune disorder.
● Go to the doctor if the darkness doesn’t fade away after attempting at-home treatments. If dark streaks begin to appear, visit the doctor as it may be signs of a fungus infection or melanoma. On the flip side, pale and whitish nail beds can be a sign of malnutrition.
DRY PATCHES OF SKIN can be expected during the cold winter months and can be treated with proper hydration practices (like exfoliation, moisturizing, etc.). However, excessive patches of dry skin present for an extended period of time can be a sign of a thyroid problem, harmful skin condition or the result of a medication one may be taking.
● Go to the doctor if patches spread or worsen after a few weeks. Severe dry skin can be a side effect of certain prescriptions or indications of other more serious medical conditions like diabetes or poor blood circulation.
SEVERE ACNE, known as nodules or cystic acne, is more common in adults and forms deeper below the skin’s surface than regular acne. Typical over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can work at times but not consistently.
● Go to the doctor if the nodules begin to become painful or do not disappear after basic acne treatments, as you might need a prescribed medication to have the nodule professionally drained or a cortisone injection to get rid of them. Nodules should also be examined to be sure they are not a deeper skin infection.
WARTS are not considered uncommon skin anomalies that appear on the hands, feet and knees. While most can be treated with over-the-counter methods and creams containing salicylic acid, there are times that warts can warrant a doctor visit if they change in appearance.
● Go to the doctor if the wart begins to turn red, swell or become very painful to the touch. These conditions can be signs of a deeper infection in the skin or even a different type of growth. Another indicator is if the wart begins to bleed or release a discharge, you should have it checked out as it may be a more serious problem
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