Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Should I go to the Derm?

He doesn't look very happy, does he?

No one gets excited about a trip to the doctor, especially the dermatologist.  Not only is it a hassle to make the appointment (trying to get in within the next six months), there is the extra long wait time in the lobby.  And then there's that odd feeling of being overexposed when the doctor examines your body while asking you how long that mole on your neck has been there.

But we all know that sometimes a trip to the skin doc is a necessary thing.  But when is it time to go?  Can I just handle this rash on my own?  Will slathering on more Proactiv Solution clear my stubborn acne or do I need something more?  These are questions I hear ALL the time; in fact, I ponder over the same ones myself.

Remember I'm no doctor, but I can give you a few tips on some skin issues and tell you when it's time to give your dermatologist a call:

1.   You have a mole that has changed shape, color, or size in the past month/year(s):  
Try First
Do not try to handle this yourself!  And, no, ignoring it won't make it go away.

When to Call the Derm:
This is definitely worth calling the derm.  Better safe than sorry. In addition, if you have a pimple that crusts over and/or bleeds over and over again, and has not dissapeared after 3-4 months, get it checked.  Skin cancer comes in different forms, and some of these "pimples" could be cancerous or precancerous cells, sending out a S.O.S.!

                                            Not just a zit--If it bleeds and crusts over and over, get it checked.

2.   You have adult acne that is moderate to severe, and it has not responded to your tried and true skin regimen.

 Try First: 
Step up your regimen with good quality treatments that use salicylic acid or benzyol peroxide for a few months.  If you have been using the same system, such as Proactiv, switch it up and use a something with a different active ingredient.

When to call the Derm:
If it persists after 6 months of treatment.  Acne vulgaris is an inflammation of the skin caused by bacteria trapped within the pores.  Topical OTC and even spa- grade solutions can only do so much when the bacteria is out of control. Only your doc can prescribe oral and topical antibiotics, and possibly stronger medications to kill those germs for good.

3.   You have hives, or small "pepper-like" bumps that are situated close together or if you have skin that is raw, crusts, or stings.

 Try First:
An OTC ointment with 1% hydrocortizone. You most likely have an allergy related skin problem such as eczema or contact dermatitis.   Very mild cases can be helped with a Cort-aid cream, but the concentration of hydocortizone in drug store creams may not be strong enough to conquer the rash. 

When to call the Derm:
If the skin does not improve and becomes painful, or cracks and bleeds.
If the affected area in on a "sensitive" area (mucous membrane), or if it is on an infant.  If you are aware that you have psoriasis or the rash is due to an chronic illness.  The doctor will cater the treatment for your needs, and make sure it is mild enough for an infant, or strong enough for persistent eczema.  All you may really need is a stronger hydrocortizone formula.

4.    You have an itchy scalp and excess dandruff that won't improve with Head and Shoulders OR you have a yellowsh substance under your finger or toenails, especially if it shows up right after a visit to a nail salon. 

 Try First: 
Tea Tree Oil--a natural antifungal may be all you need to calm the flare.  Add a few drops to a dollop of your regular shampoo.  Or use straight from the bottle onto the affected area for about two weeks.

When to call the Derm:
If the scalp burns or oozes.  You may have  more complicated skin issues like dermatitis or psoriasis on your scalp.  Also, if that yellow substance persists under the nails, you probably need a prescription antifungal.

No comments:

Post a Comment