Skin Exam-How Checking Your Skin Could Save Your Life

Beauty is only skin deep. Or so we are constantly told. Yet the skin is incredibly revealing. From the flaky surface that releases skin when scratched to the shiny surface that leaks oil when squeezed, skin is usually one of the barometers of health.

When you get wrinkles, your skin is telling you that its supply of collagen is depleting, a natural occurrence that happens as a result of ageing.

There is a whole range of technology from facial micro-current, anti wrinkle creams to the more infamous Botox that can help "disappear" the lines. What your face can also show you, though not very broadly unless you get a penetrating skin analysis machine, is the extent of sun damage. It could show up in uneven skin tone and dark patches with rough, peeling skin. Sun damage is very difficult and costly to reverse, so the best strategy is prevention using sunscreen.

Acne, you'll know when you have it when you develop tender little spots on your face. Cystic acne leaves you with hard little painful cysts on the surface of your skin. These are rooted quite deep in your skin. You might also get weeping sores on your face with acne or a generally rough skin. Acne is categorised as mild, moderate or severe, all needing a different range of skin care. Acne treatmentt varies and everyone responds differently. It is best to seek professional help for this.

If your feet experiences itching, burning and scaling, and you notice that it affects the insides of your toes, you might have a fungal foot infection, athlete's foot. It's very common foot infection that can spread to groin and palms and is best prevented by not walking barefoot especially in public showers or any kind of damp surfaces. You could also get it from swimming pool or from contact. It needs to be treated immediately due to how quickly it spreads.

Are you developing a lump of thick, dry, scaly skin on your elbows or knees or any other part of your body? These raised keloid-like eruptions could mean you have psoriasis.

Unpredictable Spread: It looks like you have wrinkly skin but it only comes out in patches and it spreads erratically. Psoriasis breaks out when you are a young adult and is categorised as either mild or severe. There are  different types that appear on different parts of your body.

When on your scalp, it could mask as dandruff which means home remedies will not help the condition and could in fact, irritate the skin further.

Even though it may look like it is, psoriasis is not contagious. But it is important to see a doctor. Psoriasis is managed through topical creams if it is mild, otherwise you will require ultra-violet light treatment, pills or injections to help manage it.

Have you heard a constant, burning pain on the surface of your skin but can't determine what the cause is? This could be the early stages of shingles, caused by the same virus that causes small pox. Shingles appear as an angry rash with series of blisters that ooze when the skin breaks, at which point it becomes contagious. However, it spreads to those who have never had chickenpox and sometimes manifests as chickenpox rather than shingles. See a dermatologist.

Have you noticed you have little bits of skin that look like warts except they are dark and hang off of your skin as wrinkly bits? You may have skin tags.

This occurs mainly in overweight people as they tend to appear in areas where there is a lot of friction. Also, women with large breasts may get them under their breasts. Skin tags can be uncomfortable because they get chaffed if you wear an under wire bra. They could also form on the eyelid, groin, armpit or neck.

Some skin tags can be as large as a grapefruit. Usually, it falls off on its own, twisting itself out of place, again owing to friction. You could have it removed by having it cut off or frozen with liquid nitrogen or various other ways. A skin doctor will be well placed to advise you.

Changing Color: Perhaps your skin is changing color in patches, and some parts are suddenly becoming lighter than others. It could be a pigmentation disorder like vitiligo, the kind that Micheal Jackson is said to have suffered from.

Regardless of your skin tone, it is very noticeable. The cause is unknown and there are no medical solutions yet, but wearing foundation can help cover it up.

When confronted with skin problems, many women seek to self-medicate and buy over the counter treatments deal with what they think is the problem. However, in many cases, whatever is ailing your skin can only be confirmed by a dermatologist.

Your skin could be reacting to anything from weather when you get a heat rash to that time of the month when you get the odd pimple to something as simple as poor hygiene. But it can also be a warning tell-tale sign that something more complex is up. Always seek medical attention opinion before self-medicating

Remember, beautiful skin is a concerned effort between you, your genes and a good, trusted dermatologist.

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