When is it time to see a professional Dermatologist?

The skin is the largest organ of the body.  Although it is one continuous layer covering and protecting your insides, it isn’t uniform. From the skin on your face to the skin around your nails, on your scalp, over your arms and legs, elbows, and feet, every nook and cranny has unique issues and potential problems.  Taking care of your skin and the various problems that may show up, can be challenging. Thankfully, whether it’s acne, dandruff, calluses, wrinkles, oily skin, dry skin, or red bumps (keratosis pilaris), these problems are relatively easy to take care of on your own with over-the-counter products. But, not every skin difficulty can be resolved without the help of a dermatologist.  But when the problem is not so easy to resolve – when is it the right time to see a professional?

If you’re wondering whether or not your skincare concern is something a doctor should evaluate, use the following criteria to determine if an appointment with the dermatologist is warranted:

1. Cystic acne or stubborn acne that won’t go away with over-the-counter products. An anti-acne product containing benzoyl peroxide and another containing salicylic acid (both of which are available without prescription), when combined with a gentle, healing skincare routine, can keep most mild to moderate breakouts under control. However, if after 2 to 3 months of consistent use, they aren’t working for you, then seeing a dermatologist is a must.

2. Red marks left over from acne or blemishes. Generally, red marks left over from a blemish resolve on their own, and gentle skincare products containing antioxidants and salicylic acid can absolutely speed the process. For unknown reasons, red marks sometimes do not respond to these wonderful over-the-counter products. A dermatologist can step in with laser or light-emitting treatments that can make a significant improvement, potentially eliminating the mark(s) altogether!

3. Itching and rashes that won’t go away. Eczema and other types of dermatitis are accompanied by uncomfortable or even painful inflammation, uncontrollable itching and irritation, or flaking skin that won’t go away. Be sure you aren’t allergic to or having a reaction to the products you use, and make sure you use fragrance- and dye-free products, which is really important for all skin types. If you’re doing that, but the problem still doesn’t go away, then see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that may finally take care of these bothersome skin dilemmas. You can try applying an over-the-counter cortisone cream to see if that does the trick, but if not, then bite the bullet and make that appointment.