2 Small Skin Problems That Can Signal a Serious Health Issue

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Some apparently small skin problems can be signs of serious health conditions and should not be ignored. Make an appointment with a dermatologist if you suddenly spotted a big pimple, or couldn’t kick an itchy rash after a few days.  Here are two common and seemingly innocent skin problems that require a visit to your dermatologist.

A Zit That Won’t Go Away or Bleeds When You Pick It.

Many patients go to doctors complaining about a pimple that won’t heal, and it ends up being a squamous cell carcinoma or a basal cell carcinoma – the most common forms of skin cancer.

These types of non-melanoma skin cancer con show up anywhere on the body, but they usually grow on the parts of the skin that have been mostly exposed to the sun, like on your face, arms, and legs. They usually look like shiny pearly bumps, or s small zit, but they can also show up as a patch of hardened, dry skin, or as a red patch that looks a lot like eczema.

Your dermatologist will perform a biopsy if he suspects it might be skin cancer, an in-office procedure where he’ll remove the spot so it can be sent to a lab to check for cancerous cells. If the test comes back positive, you’ll be treated with another in-office procedure: Mohs micrographic surgery. This procedure removes any underlying layers of skin cancer, curing the condition.

Your Chapped Lips Won’t Heal.

The recurrent pink, scaly patches around your mouth or lip line that isn’t getting better after 4 to 8 weeks of lip balm might be a signal of actinic cheilitis, precancerous lesions which are caused by exposure to sun.

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Most men who don’t wear lip balm or lipsticks with sunscreen in them like many women do, are at greater risk of developing this condition. Your dermatologist will likely biopsy a portion of the affected area (to be sure) if she suspects actinic cheilitis. Only 10 percent of actinic cheilitis finally turn into squamous cell carcinoma, but it’s tough to predict which ones will or will not become cancerous. So some kinds of treatments will likely be recommended by your doctor, like laser, chemical peel, or topical medication, which could potentially heal your symptoms.

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