13 Nov What’s That Weird Spot?
As the largest organ, you can expect skin to have a number of conditions. There are over 1,000 skin conditions, so figuring out what that spot is should always be left to the professionals. Refined MD offers the most highly qualified providers including medical dermatologists and specialists. We go well beyond the “bare minimum” to ensure your skin is healthy and radiant. By combining medical dermatology with esthetic dermatology, we’re your go-to clinic for all things skin-related. If you’re wondering what that spot, bump, or rash is, preserve your peace of mind and avoid self-diagnosing with a Google search. With over one thousand possibilities, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and convince yourself that you have either cancer or a rare but deadly disease.
Time for a Spot Check
The good news is that the vast majority of skin conditions aren’t dangerous. One of the most common skin complaints is simply sun damage. Most adults didn’t grow up with the knowledge we have today about sun damage and skin cancer. We might slather on medical-grade sunscreen now and reapply it every 75 minutes, but that wasn’t the norm even a decade ago. That means sun damage we sustained as children, teenagers, and those sun-worshipping years in college might be showing up in full force now.
Burns and tans are just the first, early signs of sun damage. It takes many years for the full effects of sun damage to show. It might be revealed as brown splotchy areas, an influx of freckles, new moles—and yes, in some cases, skin cancer. However, there are also multiple types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancers (and even the deadliest among many types of cancers!) but all skin cancer, including melanoma, is fast and easy to treat when caught early. Catching skin cancer early is key, and is best done through yearly skin checks with your dermatologist. It’s important to keep an eye on your own moles to see if they change, but it’s tough to notice changes when you see your skin every day. Plus, there are many parts of your body you simply can’t examine, such as your back and much of your scalp. A yearly skin exam should be a priority, and the end of the year is a great time to schedule your appointment. Squeeze in as many doctor appointments as you can before your insurance “resets” for 2020.
Ultimately, sun damage is a kind of hyperpigmentation. This is the term for any part of the skin that has a collected area of pigmentation. Melasma is another type of hyperpigmentation. Melasma most often appears on the face, particularly around the eyes and nose, and can appear as gray or tan, beige, or brown. There are various factors that can trigger melasma, and one of the most common is hormone shifts. Thanks to melasma’s location, it is often called the “mask of pregnancy.” There’s no cure for melasma, but there are various treatments including laser and light therapies that can minimize the appearance of melasma. The good news is that understanding and avoiding your triggers can help you keep melasma in check—and post-pregnancy, it’s very common for melasma to go away on its own. Another common trigger is the sun, which gives melasma sufferers extra incentive to cover up, wear wide-brimmed hats, and invest in oversized sunglasses.
Age spots, also known as “liver spots” or simply “brown spots,” are also a type of hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Since it can take decades for sun damage to show up, we simply collect more of these spots as we age. Plus, even the most diligent person can slip up sometimes and forget to reapply sunscreen or overlook the fact that they’re exposed to UV rays while sitting by a window. Age spots can be treated in a variety of ways, from chemical peels to laser skin resurfacing. Contrary to popular belief, lines and wrinkles alone aren’t the primary signs of aging. Aptly named, aged spots also give away your age. If you want to turn back the clock, reversing the full signs of skin aging is key.
Schedule Your Annual Skin Exam
When it comes to skin concerns, there are a lot of questionable things that can pop up (sometimes literally!). Scheduling your annual skin check is critical, but there’s no need to wait for that appointment. Any time you “spot” something new or curious on your skin, put your mind at easy and leave the diagnosis and treatment up to a professional. Schedule your appointment today with Refined MD by calling (408) 688-2082.