Observing your skin closely can be a bit off-putting.
Most of us will find at least one imperfection.
Some of these skin conditions are transient and some permanent.
Some come in the form of spots, pustules and some in the form of moles or pigmentation
Whilst it’s impossible for me to give a definitive diagnosis of every lump and bump found on the skin.
I have created this go to guide, in a bid to address some of the more common skin conditions.
Common Skin Conditions
What happens is that the melanocytes or pigment producing cells over produce melanin, which is a topic you can read all about here.
These are often referred to as open comedones and occur in oily areas of the skin.
They are caused by a build up of dead cells in the follicle and oil secreted by the sebaceous glands, which solidifies in the follicle creating a hardened form of fatty build up.
The reason they become black, is because once the comedone is exposed to air, the sebum (oil) oxidises.
This is such a big topic i have created a whole article on it here.
These are unusual benign moles, they resemble melanoma and are often referred to as melanocytic nevi.
Those who have a tendency to develop this type of mole, tend to have a family history of melanoma.
Those with dysplastic nevi’s are more at risk of developing multiple melanomas, with ten times probability of developing one in their lifetime, compared to those who don’t have moles.
These particular moles are recognised by their poorly defined border, they are irregular in shape and uneven in colour.
If you are concerned about any changes in the appearance of your moles, you should seek MEDICAL ADVICE immediately.
As a general rule, a mole that is stable will never itch or bleed and will never become ulcerated or form a crust.
Removing a mole does not in any way increase the risk of it spreading or changing.
These are characterised by hard pearly white lumps.
Milia can be found on the cheeks and around the eyes, including the eyelids and in some cases between the lashes.
They range from 1-3mm in diameter, and are often associated with dry skin that has a tendency to be acidic.
Milia can also occur from taking to much Vitamin C, which results in over acidity in the skin.
As discussed above moles are often referred to as nevus or naevi, which means blemishes or lumps on the skin, they are collections of nevus cells derived from pigment producing melanocytes.
Most moles are due to a localised overgrowth of melanocytes.
Moles often contain course hairs that are strong and dark, this is due to the plentiful supply of blood and melanin that is fed to them from the dermis.
They can be pigmented or non-pigmented and are either present at birth, or can be acquired during adulthood.
Some moles appear to be hormone dependent, they can occur for the first time during puberty or pregnancy and often become apparent when taking birth control, some occur as a result to over exposure to UV light.
A pore is a lay term, that refers to the appearance of the openings in follicles on the skins surface.
A follicle is a duct in the skin that contains a hair, and is attached to the sebaceous glands that produce sebum.
Hair grows from the bottom of a follicle, this is also the way that sebum (oil), finds it way to the skins surface to lubricate your skin.
The sebum flows through the follicle which becomes stretched over time, this creates the opening known as a pore.
So when someone complains about having large pores, they are complaining about the visible size of their follicle openings.
The term pore and follicle is often used interchangeably when discussing pores that are blocked, pores are in fact follicles clogged with dead skin cells and solidified sebum.
A big question often asked by my clients, is can you actually REDUCE the SIZE of open PORES?
The answer is a resounding no, despite what clever marketing claims try to tell you; my article astringent products, answers this question in more detail.
This is one of the most frustrating of skin conditions, which is a vascular disorder of the blood circulation.
There are four types of rosacea, the most common occurs as diffused redness across the cheeks and nose in a butterfly shape, that can create inflammation of the nose.
When the skin is flushed with blood a biochemical reaction in the skin is released, this triggers expansion and growth of new blood vessels, which increases the chances of flushing.
My article what causes rosacea is an interesting read, for those keen to find out more on rosacea.
These are harmless flesh coloured extensions of the skin and can be found on the eyelids, neck, shoulders, armpits and groin.
Interestingly having multiple skin tags may be associated with intestinal polyps, so if you do have intestinal problems and suddenly develop skin tags, it may be wise to see your doctor.
They appear on the skin with a neck like mushroom and vary in size from 3 to 15mm in diameter; larger tags can twist and bleed and although harmless this can cause an infection.
Skin tags can be easily removed, by simple snipping and electrocautery.
These are slightly elevated, rough and scaly growths that appear stuck on the surface of the skin.
Otherwise known as seborrhoeic warts, they can be found on the trunk, face, back of hands and forearms.
They vary in size from a few millimeters to three centimeters, they range in colour from non-pigmented to golden, dark brown and almost black.
The surface is crusty to touch and they can be irritating and itchy, fortunately they are benign and rarely become serious tumours and are easily removed by curettage or cyrotherapy.
A biopsy is usually required to rule out a more serious tumour.
This condition is due to an overgrowth of glands that have become blocked.
Sebaceous Hyperplasia occur on the skin from adolescence onwards, and are most commonly found on the face, usually around the T Zone.
They are yellowish or white in appearance and can be mistaken for milia, and have a central dip where the pore is.
These are benign tumours of the sweat glands that also look like milia; Interestingly they are growths of the sweat glands and are completely benign and are often mistaken for flat warts or pimples.
They are flesh coloured or slightly yellow and occur most frequently on the lower eyelids, and occasionally on the head, chest and abdomen.
This is one of those skin conditions I often see in my clinic, especially with those who have sensitive skin conditions.
They are centrally dilated blood vessels and are often referred to as dilated capillaries or thread veins.
They are found mostly on the face or décolleté, but they can appear anywhere on the body.
They can also appear spontaneously, from trauma such as squeezing spots, or as a direct result of over exposure to UV.
These are papiloma virus infections of the skins surface, and is a common condition in children.
Most warts appear where a trauma on the skin has happened, especially on the hands and around the nails from biting.
The smoother flatter warts are found on the face and neck, whilst projecting filiform warts are found on the body.
The deep plantar warts are common on the soles of the feet, they are easily recognised by their rough texture and tiny black dots found near the surface, which are really blood vessels.
Warts don’t usually appear straight away and incubation time can be anywhere between one to twelve months.
They are spread by touch and about one third of warts spontaneously disappear within six months, although some can last forever if not treated.
These appear as plaques or fatty tissue and are most commonly found in the medial corners of the upper and lower eyelids and follow the shape of the socket.
They may be an indication of high cholesterol or diabetes, if your concerned about xanthelasma, I recommend seeking medical advice.
Treating Skin Conditions
If you have identified with any of the above skin conditions, chances are you will want to know how to treat them.
Whilst I can’t discuss all of them, below I have listed a selection of treatments that can be used to treat a few of these conditions:
A needle is used to target the area and with the help of galvanic current this dissolves any coagulated matter.
Most people find this treatment method less painful, and there is little or no crusting of the skin during the healing process.
When treating telangiectasia, a larger segment of the capillary is treated, so there are fewer traumas and better results.
This method is recommended for skin tags, plane viral and seborrhoeic wart removal.
The most resistant are viral warts sometimes requiring several treatments. Diathermy is the most successful treatment available, as it targets the blood supply rather than just the surface area.
A diathermy current, enables the person doing the treatment to use the needle like a scalpel, severing the lesions from the skin.
Laser mole removal does vary and the size of the lesion will dictate how many treatments you require.
Many of the above skin conditions will only require one treatment such as seborrhoeic and plane warts and skin tags; treatment time can take anywhere between five minutes to one hour, depending on the size.
For telangiectasia or thread veins, each vessel may require two to three treatments over a period of four weekly intervals, and spider naevia may take more than one treatment.
It Is important that you are realistic about your treatment plan and what you expect from it, for example with telangiectasia it is unlikely all vessels will be removed, instead 60-80% improvement is a realistic measure.
Be prepared to have to undergo top up treatments, especially if your condition is hereditary.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH SKIN CONDITIONS AND SUCCESSFULLY TREATING THEM? IF SO DROP ME I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW.