Skin problems such as changes in texture or color, and spots may result from infection, or contact with an allergen or irritant. If you think you have one of these common adult skin problems, have your doctor check it out. Most are minor, but others can indicate a serious issue.
Skin Problems: Shingles
A rash of raised dots that turns into painful blisters, shingles causes your skin to burn, itch, tingle, or become very sensitive. Shingles often shows up on your trunk and buttocks, but can appear anywhere. An outbreak lasts about two weeks. You’ll recover, but pain, numbness, and itching might linger for months, years, or even the rest of your life. Treatment includes creams for your skin, antiviral drugs, steroids, and even antidepressants.
Skin Problems: Hives
Hives look like welts and can itch, sting or burn. They vary in size and sometimes join together. They may appear on any part of you and last anywhere from minutes to days. Causes include extreme temperatures, infections like strep throat, and allergies to medications, foods, and food additives. Antihistamines and skin creams can help.
Thick, red patches of skin covered with white or silvery scales are signs of psoriasis. Psoriasis occurs when your immune system triggers new skin cells to grow too quickly. These patches appear on your scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. They can heal and come back throughout your life. Treatments include creams and ointments for your skin, and medications taken by mouth, injection, or IV.
Eczema refers to non-contagious conditions that cause inflamed, red, dry, and itchy skin. Stress, certain soaps, allergens, and climate can trigger breakouts. In addition, it often appears on the elbows, hands, and in skin folds. Creams, shots, and oral medications are prescribed.
Rosacea is a common skin condition. Symptoms include a tendency to flush easily, followed by redness on your nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead. In addition, you may have thickened skin, bumps, and pus-filled pimples. It could even affect your eyes. Medications include antihistamines and skin creams.
Fever Blisters (Cold Sores)
The herpes simplex virus causes small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on your mouth or nose. Cold sores last about 10 days and easily spread from person to person. Triggers include fever, too much sun, stress, and hormonal changes like periods. Treatments include antiviral pills or creams.
Acne breaks out when a pore clogged with oil and dead skin cells gets inflamed. Pores that stay open and turn dark are called blackheads; completely blocked pores are known as whiteheads. Bacteria and hormones trigger acne, which most often shows up on face, chest, and back. Also, there are pus-filled pimples and cysts. To control acne, keep oily areas clean and don’t squeeze as this can cause infection and scars.
This fungal skin infection causes your feet to peel, turn red, itch, and burn. You may also get blisters and sores. Athlete’s foot is contagious and passed through direct contact. To prevent it, don’t share shoes with an infected person or walk barefoot in areas like locker rooms or near pools. Treatment are with with topical antifungal lotions.
Moles, which are usually brown or black, can be anywhere on the body. They might show up alone or in groups and generally appear before age 20. Some moles change slowly over the years. They can go from flat to raised, grow hair, or change color. Get your moles checked once a year by a dermatologist. Pay close attention to any that change, have irregular borders, are an unusual or uneven color, bleed, or itch. Moles are dangerous, check them regularly.
These pesky brown or gray spots do become more common as you get older. You get them from exposure to sunlight, which is why they tend to appear on your face, hands, and arms. Treatments include bleach creams, acid peels, and light treatments. Check them regularly as they can develop into melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Seborrheic keratoses are noncancerous growths that often show up as you age. They can appear on many areas of the skin either alone or in groups. They may be dark or multicolored, and they usually have a grainy surface, though they can be smooth and waxy. You don’t need to treat them unless they get irritated or you don’t like the way they look. They’re easy to mistake for moles or skin cancer, but a dermatologist can tell the difference.
Watch this informative video on skin problems: