Are You Living with an Undiagnosed Skin Condition? | Insight from Your Trusted Fort Worth, TX Dermatologist

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Millions of Americans experience symptoms of a skin disease every year, from acne to hair loss to skin cancer. The most prevalent of these issues affect up to 80 million people annually, yet only about a third of skin conditions are evaluated by a licensed dermatologist. The remaining percentage could be putting their skin and overall health at risk if they don’t seek proper diagnosis and treatment.

Your skin is an organ, and your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease. When its well-being is impaired, your immune system is likewise compromised. A dermatologist can help you identify benign and malignant skin disorders, as well as external manifestations of internal disease. Don’t neglect that itchy patch on your eyelid or ignore the prickly heat sensation in your hands. You could be suffering from one of the most common skin disorders without even realizing it.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most frequently experienced skin issues in the United States, especially in urban areas like Fort Worth, TX. More commonly known as a severe form of eczema, AD causes dry and scaly skin, severe itching, rashes or cracks on the face and behind the ears, and red or grayish-brown patches of skin on the arms, legs, torso or neck. Excessive scratching causes blisters to weep, and the skin becomes thick and leathery over time. Other forms of eczema might resemble AD. Visiting a licensed dermatologist can eliminate guesswork with a proper diagnosis.

Symptoms of AD can manifest at any time, but will most likely develop in infancy as red patches of skin on the face and scalp. Your chances of developing AD are even higher if at least one of your parents suffers from eczema, asthma or hay fever. Since there is no cure for this chronic disease, proper skin care and regular check-ups are essential to preventing discomfort and possible infection.

Acne

The most prevalent skin condition in the U.S. is not exclusive to any age group or skin type. Typically associated with puberty and early adulthood, acne can develop in children as young as nine, and well into your 30s and 40s. Estimates suggest that 80 percent of all Americans experience acne. Visiting a doctor early on is your first step toward healthy and great-looking skin. Home remedies and over-the-counter solutions may temporarily correct your complexion, but persistent acne begins inside the body.

Hormones, genetics, prescription medications and even stress can cause unsightly breakouts on your face, chest, upper back or shoulders. A primary care physician can prescribe antibiotics or medicated lotions, but there are no guarantees that your acne will not worsen. A dermatologist will evaluate the severity of your condition and propose specialized therapies right away. They can also determine if an underlying disease is to blame for sudden onsets of severe acne in adults.

Hair Loss

Genetics is the number one culprit in pattern baldness for 80 million American men and women. While this hereditary condition is not preventable, there are surgical techniques and treatments available at your local Fort Worth, TXdermatologist to slow the process and camouflage its effects. There could be other underlying reasons for your unexplained hair loss, however, such as hormonal changes, medications and excessive stress.

A dermatologist will hone in on the cause of your hair loss by reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical examination and possibly taking a scalp biopsy or blood sample. Potential disorders of the hair shaft could also become apparent during a light microscopy session. If a condition like alopecia areata is to blame, your dermatologist can recommend a variety of specialized treatments.

Psoriasis

Characterized by red patches of skin covered in dry, silvery scales, psoriasis affects more than seven million Americans. The skin becomes sore and itches, often cracking and bleeding during severe flare-ups. Your family doctor can diagnose and prescribe medication for psoriasis, but they may not have access to the same alternative treatments that a dermatologist provides. Procedures like phototherapy are painless with minor adverse effects, and biologics are at the forefront of contemporary psoriasis treatment.

Other types of psoriasis affect the body differently, making a diagnosis even more necessary. Psoriatic arthritis occurs when swollen and painful joints accompany the inflamed, scaly skin. In some cases, aching joints are the first or only indication of the disorder. Nail psoriasis causes abnormal growth in the fingernails and toenails, from discoloration to pitting, and even separation from the nail bed. Pustular psoriasis affects the hands and feet. In addition to pus-filled blisters, flare-ups can cause fever, chills and diarrhea. You may not be aware that psoriasis is to blame for your symptoms, but a dermatologist can tell you for sure.

Skin Cancer 

Skin cancer treatments are the most commonly administered dermatologic procedures. Cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells and usually occurs on areas of the body exposed to sun, although it can develop in areas not exposed to UV rays. Early detection is the key to beating this disease, so schedule a consultation if you spot any red flags.

The most common forms of skin cancer manifest themselves as raised lesions or nodules, which range from waxy to scaly or crusty in texture. A bump may be firm and red, flesh-colored, or flat and brown with uneven borders that change shape. If a lesion bleeds, itches, burns, or changes in appearance in any way, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your local Fort Worth, TX, dermatologist.

Not all skin conditions are created equally, nor are the numerous products and remedies available on the market. Skin care brands will try to sell you their idea of healthy and beautiful skin, but in the end, you have the responsibility to choose what’s best for you. The team at Compassion Dermatology in Fort Worth, TX, is committed to enhancing your health along with your beauty and providing a comfortable healing experience.