You might think of seeing a skin specialist for cosmetic procedures, to freshen skin or to get rid of lines. But do you recognize the signs of problems that need the attention of a skin doctor?

Here are some of the most common skin conditions and their warning signs.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. With millions of new cases diagnosed each year, report any suspicious new moles or a change in an existing mole. Do a monthly visual check of your skin using mirrors for hard-to-see areas using the “A-B-C-D-E” test. A mole is worrisome if it:

  • Is Asymmetrical
  • Has a Border with ragged edges
  • Has Color that’s uneven
  • Has a Diameter larger than a pencil eraser
  • Is Elevated or raised

Another common — and persistent — skin problem is acne, with its clogged pores and pus-filled pimples. Breakouts can affect people well into their adult years. For acne that doesn’t improve with drugstore products, see a dermatologist not only to clear up skin, but also to avoid permanent scars. Because acne can affect self-esteem, don’t let your kids suffer with it. Acne may not harmlessly just run its course.

Constant redness anywhere on the face can be a sign of rosacea. You might see thin blood vessels and pimples but not the blackheads of acne. A telltale clue that this is not acne: Rosacea won’t respond to acne treatments.

Any persistent rash should be evaluated. It could be eczema with its dry, itchy patches, or the more serious psoriasis with thick plaques of silvery scales. It could even be lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause a sunburn-like effect or thick scaly patches on the face.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on skin cancer and how to prevent it.

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