Everyone knows they should see their dentist regularly to maintain good oral health, and having an annual physical with their family doctor or internist is important, too. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s also important to visit your dermatologist on a routine basis. Why? Because your skin is your largest organ, and it’s also the fastest growing, continually renewing itself to provide ongoing protection for your internal organs and bones against injury and infection.
Lots of issues can affect your skin, but compared to most other organs, skin has a big advantage: It’s visible, which makes it easier to spot problems early on — as long as you know what you’re looking for. And that’s where a skilled dermatologist comes in. At the Naaman Clinic, Dr. Bailey and his team are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of skin conditions and diseases, and having regular skin checkups is the best way to make sure your skin gets the care it needs at every age, including preventive care that can help you prevent conditions and diseases. Here are five reasons why you should schedule a dermatology visit for your skin health.
You have a family history of skin cancer
About 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the U.S., according to data from the American Academy of Dermatology. While anyone can develop skin cancer, some people are at greater risk, including people with a family history of skin cancer and people who have had a lot of sun exposure during their lifetimes. Your dermatologist can determine your specific risks so you can get the screenings you need to prevent skin cancer or catch it before it reaches an advanced stage.
You have itchy, scaly spots or a bothersome rash
Often, these symptoms are related to an allergic reaction, or they might be caused by eczema (atopic dermatitis) or psoriasis. But sometimes, a rash, hives, or itchy, scaly skin can be a sign of a disease related to another organ like your kidneys or liver, a systemic problem, or a more serious underlying disease like skin cancer. Having a dermatologist examine your skin reaction is the first step toward making sure you get the most appropriate care for your health needs.
You have moles or freckles that have changed shape or size
Pretty much everyone has at least a few freckles or moles, and usually, they’re not a cause for concern. But if you have a mole or freckle that’s grown, changed its shape, or turned a different color, you need to schedule an appointment right away to rule out skin cancer. Likewise, visit your dermatologist if a mole starts to ooze, bleed, or itch.
You've got acne
Acne isn’t just a “teenage rite of passage.” It’s a common skin disease that can wind up scarring your skin and causing emotional side effects like depression that can last for years. What’s more, acne can last well into your adult years, increasing your risk of scarring and reducing your self-esteem and self-consciousness at work and in your social activities. No, there’s still no 100 percent cure for acne. But today, there are more options than ever for reducing its impact and preventing breakouts and scarring. Plus, there are treatments to help reduce or even erase acne scars.
You want to reduce or prevent age- and sun-related damage
Even if you wear sunscreen and use moisturizers and serums every day, at some point, you’re still going to notice the effects of sun exposure and aging. Treating wrinkles, lax skin, and other related issues isn’t about vanity. It’s about feeling more confident about your appearance and not looking older than you feel. It’s about making sure the face you put forward is the one you feel most comfortable in. There are plenty of options to help keep your skin healthy, vibrant, and refreshed as you get older. The earlier you start, the better your results will be.
Having an annual skin check is important not just for screening for skin cancer, but for looking for other issues that could be impacting your skin's health. If you haven't had a skin check in a while, now's a great time to put a dermatology visit on your to-do list. Better yet, be more proactive and book an appointment online today.