Your skin is the barrier to the rest of your body. It faces the elements and does its job well, but sometimes things go amiss. Just like the rest of your body, your skin is not immune to facing aches, ailments, and challenges.
Patients who come in for a full body skin check are doing one of the most important things for their overall skin health! Often, when a patient comes in, the provider identifies something that may have otherwise been overlooked.
1. Skin Cancer
During a routine skin exam, there are several common issues that may be discovered, the most significant being various types of skin cancer.
“Skin cancer is a prevalent concern and can manifest in different forms, each with their own potential consequences. The most frequently encountered types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.”
Basal cell carcinoma: typically appears as a pearly or waxy bump on the skin’s surface, often resembling a flesh-colored mole. While basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal, it should not be neglected, as it can be locally invasive and cause disfigurement if left untreated.
Squamous cell carcinoma: often presents as a scaly or crusty patch on the skin, with a tendency to grow more rapidly than basal cell carcinoma. It can metastasize to other parts of the body, posing a greater threat than its basal cell counterpart.
Melanoma: the most aggressive form of skin cancer, typically manifests as an irregularly shaped mole with uneven borders and varying shades of color. If not detected early, melanoma can spread rapidly through the lymphatic system and bloodstream, making prompt examination crucial.
While it might be scary, skin cancer can often be treated well with early detection, which is why we recommend, at a minimum, a yearly full body skin cancer screening.
At some point, nearly everyone has had to deal with acne.
Incredibly common and often first seen during puberty, acne affects most of us in some way and at various ages and times in our lives. Whether you have painful cystic acne or stubborn blackheads, treatment can help.
Treatment, however, can only come after a proper diagnosis, which is where a dermatologist is necessary. Commonly, patients come in for an appointment to help with their acne and are unaware of their type of acne and even their skin type.
Both of these are necessary for proper treatment due to the nature of how different acne is formed and what causes it.
3. Chronic Skin Conditions
Apart from skin cancer and acne, several other common issues can be observed during a skin exam. Among them are chronic skin conditions that a patient has had for a long time, and need help managing.
Chronic skin conditions in general are those that stem from something deeping, including autoimmune disorders, certain environmental conditions, and more.
Frequently diagnosed ailments include eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and more.
Eczema: This is a chronic condition that gives a person dry, itchy patches of skin. There are certain treatments to help ease the symptoms, but there’s no cure and certain ingredients or skin products can make symptoms worse.
Rosacea: If you’ve ever seen or suffered from excessive redness on the face paired with visible blood vessels and small, red bumps you probably mistook for acne, that’s rosacea. It’s not fully known why this common skin condition occurs, but there are treatments that can reduce symptoms.
Psoriasis: Commonly understood as an autoimmune condition, psoriasis can be diagnosed from skin cell build up that causes scaly and itchy dry patches, usually appearing at the scalp, trunk, knees, and elbow areas. A dermatologist will need to diagnose it, and there are various treatment options to help reduce the discomfort symptoms cause.
4. Fungal or Bacteria Infections
It’s not just chronic conditions that bring patients in for skin checks. Sometimes their challenges are less long-term, as is the case with many fungal or bacterial infections.
Fungal Infections: Usually an affected area of skin has a fungus that invades it and can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on both the fungus and the location of the infection. Most often, these common skin conditions are treated with antifungal medications.
Bacterial Infections: Different from fungus, bacterial infections are caused by bad bacteria taking over when the skin is broken or weak. It has a wide range of types and their symptoms, but most are managed with antibacterial medication.
While some people can be embarrassed by these conditions, they’re completely normal and very common. Some treatments may include halting certain habits that make the conditions worse along with the medication prescribed.
Treating Common Skin Conditions
“Each of these conditions have several options for management and treatment. It is important to address additional concerns with your dermatology providers. As the experts in dermatological care, we want to make sure we take care of all your skin health needs!”
Routine skin exams can reveal various common issues, predominantly skin cancer. While the potential severity of these conditions varies, early detection and prompt treatment are imperative. Additionally, several other skin conditions can be identified during a comprehensive skin examination.
Annual skin examinations serve as crucial tools in maintaining your skin health and addressing potential concerns promptly. Stop by for yours today!
Maggie McKernan is certified by the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants and is an Ohio State licensed Physician Assistant. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Physician Assistant Science degree, both from Gannon University in Pennsylvania.
Maggie has a focus on skin cancer, acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other cutaneous conditions. Maggie is a Society of Dermatology Diplomate Fellow and Dermatology Achieve Program alumnus. She pursues additional professional development as a Vice-chair of the SDPA CME committee and SDPA HOD junior delegate. She is passionate about providing a pathway to healthy skin and educating her patients on skin cancer prevention. Maggie was a lecturer at the annual 2020 PSPA conference and 2022 OAPA conference on benign and malignant neoplasms as well as skin cancer prevention.
In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, spending time with family, and exploring Cleveland with her husband.