A skin lesion is any change to your skin that is out of the ordinary and can include things like cysts, acne, blisters, swelling, rashes, bruises, and any other abnormality you notice. Additionally, there are just about as many causes of these skin changes as there are actual changes, but fortunately, they can be effectively treated by dermatology clinics like Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte, NC. However, understanding the causes can help you prevent these changes in the first place.
What Causes Lesions on the Skin?
AcneThis skin condition is common among teenagers, but it can actually appear at any age, and can be just as problematic. Acne is caused by hair follicles under the skin becoming clogged with oil and dead skin cells, which leads to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Not only can acne be embarrassing, it can also be painful. Fortunately, there are many treatments available for acne, from over-the-counter options to more advanced clinical treatments involving gels, creams, and chemical peels.
Infections and Inflammation
Boils are a change to the skin that is caused by a staphylococcal bacterial infection in the oil gland or hair follicle just below the skin. They initially turn red around the area that’s infected and a sore lump develops. After a few days, the lump begins to turn white as it fills with pus. The most common areas for boils include the face, armpits, neck, buttocks, and shoulders. A dermatologist will treat a boil by lancing and draining it.
When your hair follicles are damaged by shaving, clothing friction, and other objects that rub against the skin, folliculitis can occur. Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicle and can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common in the neck and genital areas. The skin around the follicle can become itchy or tender, and can develop into a painful bump. Folliculitis generally resolves on its own, but deep folliculitis may require antibiotics.
Age-Related Skin Changes
As humans age, we tend to see changes in our skin develop that can be embarrassing or bothersome. Most of these conditions can be treated either by over-the-counter or natural remedies or through a dermatologist.
Age spots, like moles, develop because of overactive pigment cells in the skin, but people who have had more sun exposure are more likely to develop age spots than those who have regularly used sunscreen. Age spots are almost always harmless, but if you want to reduce the appearance of your age spots, there are ways to treat them through techniques ranging from medications and microdermabrasion, to cryotherapy and chemical peels. Dermatologists can help you determine the best treatment.
This is more commonly referred to as dry skin, but it tends to worsen as you age. Xerosis is the result of a deficiency in epidermal lipids and in natural moisturizing factors like urea, lactate, salts, and sugars, among others. This can often be treated with over-the-counter moisturizers, but there are times when you’ll need to get a dermatologist involved, who will create a customized treatment plan targeting the underlying cause of your dry skin condition.
Moles are caused by skin cells growing in clumps and clusters, and while all skin cells have pigment, when they grow together, they appear brown, tan, black, red, blue, or pink in color. In most instances, moles are harmless and can appear anywhere on the body. However, in some cases they can be cancerous, so it is important to have any questionable moles checked out by a dermatologist to ensure they are truly benign.
Cancer can be the cause of what appear to be moles, but usually have some defining characteristics that differentiate them from harmless moles. For instance, moles that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, have changed color, have grown larger than a quarter inch, or seem to be evolving quickly are possibly cancerous and should be inspected right away.
Injury-Related Skin Changes
Many other skin changes are the result of injuries to the skin, including bruises, burns, sunburns, excessive wind exposure, frostbite, cuts, scrapes, insect bites, scar formation, and more. Any severe form of these skin changes should be treated by a physician, and if they are life- or limb-threatening, should be treated in the emergency room as quickly as possible.
Illness-Related Skin Changes
Rashes are the most common form of illness-related skin changes and can be caused by bacterial infections (scarlet fever, meningococcal meningitis, etc.) and viral infections (varicella-zoster, which causes the chicken pox and shingles rashes). Systemic illnesses like diabetes and HIV can cause sores and other changes in skin color and texture. These types of changes should be monitored and treated by a physician, although some rashes can be treated with over-the counter or natural remedies.
Allergy-Related Skin Changes
Allergies to medications, foods, and environmental factors can cause welts, hives, and rashes to develop on the skin. Severe allergic reactions should be treated immediately, but most allergic changes can be treated by over-the-counter remedies such as creams and antihistimines.
Need a Skin Inspection?
The best way to see if you have a skin change that needs treatment is to visit a dermatologist. Contact us today at Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte, NC to schedule an initial consultation with one of our skincare experts.