You’re no sissy. You don’t go racing to the dermatologist for every little bump, lump or rash. There are plenty of over-the-counter products to use.
If the skin is broken, you keep it clean and dry. Perhaps you throw a Band-Aid over it. With time, things often clear up on their own anyway.
And besides, you’re not made of money. You don’t have the cash to waste on unnecessary doctor’s visits.
When should you see the dermatologist?
It’s true; not every little issue requires a trip to the doctor. And watchful waiting works well for many minor skin issues.
But how do you know if you have something more pressing on your hands? Or if a pro should take a look?
Following are six situations that should send you running to see your dermatologist. Each could be a sign of something far more serious.
1. Rash with blisters:
If you’re over 60 and ever had chicken pox as a child, a rash with blisters could mean you’re looking at shingles.
Tell-tale signs of shingles include…
- a rash which wraps around one side of your waist (occasionally the face)
- fluid-filled blisters which may pop or ooze easily
- severe tingling, itching or burning (often all three)
Left untreated shingles can lead to permanent vision or hearing loss. So it’s important to get in to see the doctor as soon as possible.
If you’re seeing an open-minded dermatologist or integrative medicine doc, ask about treating naturally with daily, vitamin B12 injections.
2. Unexplained blister with a head:
If you have an unexplained blister with a head resembling a zit, don’t ignore it. It may turn out to be just an infected insect bite or a pimple. But it could also be something a lot worse… MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a staph infection that’s resistant to antibiotics.
If you’ve been in the hospital within the last three months, you’re at a higher risk for the infection. Also, anyone with a weakened immune system or living in a retirement community should be extra cautious.
All it takes is a small cut or scrape for the little bugger to slip inside and set up camp. And MRSA is a nasty infection that’s hard to get rid of and can cause some serious complications.
If you’re the least bit concerned that your zit or bug bite isn’t actually either of those things, call your dermatologist. When it comes to MRSA, the rule is better to be safe than sorry.
3. Circular-shaped rash:
Here’s the good news. A ring-shaped rash could be a simple case of ringworm. Ringworm is an infection that you can pick up from a person, pet or object containing the fungus.
There are several natural antifungal treatments for ringworm. Tea tree oil and oregano oil mixed with coconut oil are two of the most popular.
Here’s the bad news. A ring-shaped rash might also be Lyme disease. A trained eye can sometimes tell the two rashes apart. But for most folks, they look nearly identical.
Lyme disease can have serious, long-term consequences. So it’s best to see the dermatologist for a diagnosis before trying to treat it at home.
4. Blotchy, mottled or bruised feet:
If strange, blotchy bruises suddenly show up on your feet or toes, it might not be a skin condition at all. This symptom appears in nearly 16 percent of patients who are dealing with a cholesterol embolism.
This serious condition occurs when plaque from an artery breaks off. It then travels and becomes lodged in a blood vessel cutting off blood flow.
If you have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, keep an eye on your feet, not just your numbers. And if you spot this symptom make an appointment to see a doctor right away.
5. A new mole OR old mole that’s changed:
A new mole might not mean anything, But since they’re a classic sign of skin cancer, they’re also always worth checking out.
Old moles shouldn’t be ignored either. Make sure you give any old moles a good look at least once a month. You want to be sure the mole doesn’t change shape, get bigger, start to bleed or begin to peel.
If you notice any of these changes, you know the drill. Call your dermatologist.
6. Varicose veins:
Many people confuse spider veins with varicose veins. Spider veins are the thin, blue lines which run just under the skin, like a roadmap. Spider veins don’t run as deep as varicose veins and generally aren’t considered dangerous.
But varicose veins run deeper. They’re also raised, pushing the skin up. And they can cause pain and lead to complications.
Varicose veins develop when the valves in your veins become weak or damaged. They can increase your risk of hard-to-heal sores and blood clots.
If you develop varicose veins, make an appointment to see your dermatologist to discuss your options.
There’s a time to grin and bear it. But remember, taking care of your skin isn’t about vanity. It’s about staying healthy.
Seeing your dermatologist when any of these six conditions arise, can head off much more severe health complications later.