A common reason that skin conditions can be so bad by the time someone sees a dermatologist is because they get ignored or reasoned away. Sometime parents ignore their child’s acne saying “that’s normal, everyone has acne” until the acne is so bad the child starts to become insecure or depressed. Other times people ignore a mole until it’s very unsightly and then find out its skin cancer.
Most skin conditions do not require a million dermatologist visits (which is one reason people ignore issues), but there may be things you can be doing to relieve symptoms or improve the problem, even with chronic skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. If there is a “minor” skin concern that you or a family member may have:
*Keep an eye on it. If it is a mole, check it monthly and follow the ABCDE guidelines (https://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-check-my-skin/what-to-look-for ). If it is a different condition, try to keep tabs on what your skin is doing when and if it is changing. Not only will this help you to identify if it is an allergy or other explainable issue, but if & when you visit your doctor, this will help him or her to correctly diagnose.
*For “normal” problems, treat it. You may be surprised by how many people just basically ignore acne or eczema. Even over the counter at your local Target or CVS, products are available that will be help keep symptoms in check. This is important not only to prevent current symptoms from getting worse, but also to keep other problems from surfacing. If symptoms don’t improve, you may also find that a stronger medication may be needed.
*For persistent or unknown conditions, please do see a specialist. Dermatologists attend years of medical school & residency to become experts in their field. What you think is Condition A, may really be Condition B and have a totally different treatment. Many skin conditions share symptoms, so what you think is acne may really be rosacea, or what you are treating like dandruff may really be scalp psoriasis. A correct diagnosis can lead to relief! Or maybe you have correctly diagnose acne, but OTC treatments aren’t working because the acne is due to a hormonal imbalance which would require an oral medication. See Dr. Beverly or your local dermatologist to make sure you are treating the right condition the right way.