Commonly Confused Skin Conditions

Commonly Confused Skin Conditions | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

Commonly Confused Skin Conditions

There are more than 3,000 skin conditions, so it is very easy to confuse them unless you are a dermatologist. Spectrum Dermatology offers both medical and cosmetic dermatological care, and the first step is ensuring you have a correct diagnosis. Most people have seen a spot or blemish and tried to figure out if it was acne, a clogged pore, sun damage, or a rash. Of course, there’s also the propensity to automatically worry that any suspicious, new spot might be something dangerous—like cancer. Trying to treat a skin condition yourself at home can actually exacerbate the condition or make it more difficult to treat when you see the dermatologist. Any time you see something new or strange on your skin, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

Not every skin cancer presents as a perfect model of the ABDCEs of suspicious moles. In fact, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) often looks like a little blemish. It is the most common type of skin cancer in the United States, with 20 percent of people having at least one BCC instance in their lifetime (as reported by the Skin Cancer Foundation). In many cases, BCC begins as a little pink bump that is easily confused with acne. This is just one reason why it’s recommended that everyone schedule an annual skin exam. You should also schedule an appointment if you have a new spot for over three weeks, or if it is growing or bleeding.

What’s this Spot?

Rosacea is another skin condition that is regularly confused with acne. Almost everyone knows what acne is and most of us have had it at some point in our lives. However, rosacea isn’t as well-known, although over 16 million people in the U.S. have it. Rosacea is a type of chronic skin condition that occurs on the face. The most common signs are skin sensitivity and redness. The severity of the blushing varies person to person, and it can certainly look like a case of acne to the untrained eye.

Unfortunately, acne treatments can actually make rosacea worse and lead to a vicious cycle. If you try to self-treat thinking that rosacea is acne, it can put your skin in a tough situation. Any time you have a skin concern, see your dermatologist first. Since there are thousands of potential skin issues, it’s very likely you will misdiagnose yourself.

Skin Care and Psoriasis or Eczema

Is that a dry and flaky scalp, or is it actually psoriasis? It is impossible to tell unless you’re a dermatologist. Psoriasis is a condition where the immune system attacks the skin. Remember that the skin is an organ and that sometimes it doesn’t interact well with other facets of the body. Worse, nobody is exactly sure what causes psoriasis. There is no cure, but there are treatments to lessen the symptoms if you have the right diagnosis. A dermatologist can offer a prescription to help reduce inflammation and increase your comfort. Psoriasis can also occur anywhere on the body, not just the scalp. However, mistaking it for dandruff or a dry scalp when it occurs on the head is a very common occurrence.

Eczema is another tricky yet common condition that is routinely misdiagnosed by non-professionals. This is an inflammatory condition where the skin develops tiny cracks that lead to dehydration. Unfortunately, it’s also regularly confused with ring worm. Ring worm is a fungal infection and very different than eczema. Some people quickly apply an anti-fungal cream to their eczema, which can make the condition even worse.

Keep Your Skin in the Clear

Folliculitis is a very common occurrence and happens when the hair follicles are swollen due to yeast or bacteria. These little bumps can appear anywhere you have hair, but are especially common on the limbs, buttocks, and neck. They can be easily confused with acne or body acne, but will not respond to any kind of acne medication. Instead, they can be soothed with the care of a dermatologist, and discussing ways to avoid folliculitis with a professional is important.

Another possibility of bigger bumps on the skin is caused by specific bacteria. Although everyone has Staphylococcus aureus on their body, when this bacteria infects an open wound or clogged pore it can cause inflammation that can be annoying and painful. It’s important to remember that these infections require proper treatment—not acne medication.

If you have a question or concern about your skin, save time and trouble by talking to a dermatologist first. Call Spectrum Dermatology today at (480) 948-8400.