Your skin is your body’s largest organ, protecting you from heat, cold, germs and other dangers. It’s also a good indicator of your overall health, with some symptoms appearing on the skin to indicate serious illness such as kidney disease and diabetes.
Dermatologists have specialized training to care for more than 3,000 diseases and conditions that affect the skin, hair and nails.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and a medical professional with extensive training in the area can address a wide variety of conditions, including the appearance of dark spots known as age spots. These pigmented lesions can appear on the face, hands and arms and typically develop from prolonged sun exposure. They can resemble cancerous growths, so if they ever change in color or size, a dermatologist like NYC cosmetic board-certified Dr. Michele Green should be consulted.
Fortunately, the vast majority of brown spots and hyperpigmentation can be significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated through non-invasive cosmetic treatments. These include cryotherapy (freezing), chemical peels, Cosmelan, laser treatment sessions and topical lightening creams. All of these options have been highly rated by patients for their effectiveness.
When skin oil and dead cells clog pores on the face and body, it can trigger acne. This can manifest as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, nodules and cysts. Acne can be caused by hormones, friction, diet, stress, medications, and more.
A dermatologist can help you choose the best products to treat your specific concerns. They can also give you great advice on lifestyle and diet to prevent future outbreaks.
Dermatologists are also excellent resources to turn to for advice when your skin changes, like if you develop more freckles or have dryness issues. They have the training and experience to help your skin look its best. They can also help you avoid permanent scarring. They can even perform procedures like mole removal. They’ll also be able to catch any potential problems early when they’re easier to treat.
There’s no cure for psoriasis, but treatment can reduce the appearance of thickened patches of skin and ease other symptoms. Your doctor will take a history of your symptoms and may do lab tests to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms vary from person to person. But the most common symptom is red, thickened patches of skin covered with silvery-white scales. These patches, called plaques, usually form on the elbows, knees or scalp, but they can appear anywhere on the body. They may itch, and they can crack and bleed.
There are several different types of psoriasis, including chronic plaque psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis (in the skin’s folds), guttate psoriasis, and nail psoriasis (which causes pitting and ridging of nails). Some people with psoriasis develop an associated arthritis called psoriatic arthropathy.
Moles can turn into cancerous melanoma in the early stages, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Regular self-exams can catch pre-cancerous moles in their earliest phases when they are easiest to treat.
A mole that grows larger or changes in shape, color or texture should be examined by a doctor. The dermatologist will check the mole and surrounding skin for signs of cancer.
If the mole is cancerous, the dermatologist may surgically remove it (excision). They will numb the area with a local anesthetic and either cut the mole out or use forceps to grasp it and pull it away. They may also burn (cauterize) the surrounding tissue to help reduce scarring. A surgical scar typically heals within a month. They will advise you about how to protect the area during healing.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It occurs when the cells that make pigment, or color, in your skin change and start to grow out of control. It often develops in sun-exposed areas such as the face, neck, and arms and legs. There are two main categories of skin cancer: basal cell and squamous cell cancers, and melanoma.
Skin cancer can be deadly. That’s why it’s important to do regular self-skin checks and visit a dermatologist for a full-body exam. They can spot potential problems, such as new or changing moles or other skin growths, and recommend treatment options.
Dermatologists can treat skin cancers with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. They may also use photodynamic therapy (PDT) that uses a drug and a type of light to kill cancer cells, or immunotherapy that boosts your body’s natural defense system against cancer cells.