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13 Weird Skin Spots You Should Definitely Get Checked Out

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13 Causes of Red, Pink, or Brown Spots on Your Skin, According to Dermatologists

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You look at your body in the mirror and wait where would that new spot come from in the first place? Of course your brain jumps to the worst possible conclusion right away skin cancer.

Before you get scared you should know there are a lot of causes for a new spot or bump on your skin and a lot are completely harmless even if they are annoying to look at.

If a new spot turns up you should still make your dermatologist aware of it says Michelle Pelle MD dermatologist and medical director at MedDerm Associates in San Diego this way you will be able to immediately rule out something more sinister.

Here a breakdown of all the not so serious skin spots and a couple of concern how to identify them and what you can do to return your skin to its former glory.

1. Cherry angioma


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A cherry angioma can seem like a little red bump though it might lie completely flat on your skin it’s just a cluster of dilated blood vessels.

“Patients will come in and say they keep getting more and more” said Nada Elbuluk MD assistant professor in the department of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “And it’s true you get them as you age” she says. They can run in families so if your older sister has some chances are you will as well.

The good news: They are totally benign if you want to remove them Dr. Pelle treats them with intense pulsed light a light therapy that is similar to a laser treatment.

2. Psoriasis

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Psoriasis is a common autoimmune condition in that the body generates skin cells at a rapid pace causing them to pile up on the surface this can cause red spots, raised bumps and crusty looking patches of skin.

While there are several types of psoriasis 80% to 90% of people with the disease have plaque psoriasis according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. These skin lesions can be red or pink in color topped with white or silvery scales that feel itchy or sore they show up on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. If you think you might be dealing with psoriasis make sure to talk to your doctor as it requires prescribed medications and therapies depending on the severity.

3. Keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin)

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If you notice tiny rough red spots on your skin especially on your upper arms, thighs, cheeks or buttocks you might be dealing with keratosis pilaris that are plugs of dead skin cells according to the American Academy of Dermatology AAD. The common condition is really harmless but can cause itching and dryness.

If they freak you out treating dry skin will be your best the AAD said. These bumps often get worse in the winter due to lower humidity in the air. Applying body lotions regularly or even moisturizers that contain chemical exfoliants like lactic or salicylic acids we like this one from CeraVe can help even out the skin’s texture. If general exfoliation and diligent moisturizing habits don’t look to do the trick talk to your dermatologist about prescription treatments.

4. Skin tags

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Skin tags are harmless fleshy growths that often pop up in clusters. They can be annoying especially if they are located around your bra strap or in a spot that your clothing tends to rub.

That constant friction might make them irritated and inflamed but if your skin tag is not bothering you don’t remove it. And if they are? Don’t try to get rid of them yourself by cutting them.

“People will use non-sterile tools and come in with inflamed, irritated and infected skin” said Dr. Elbuluk. The only safe course is to see your dermatologist who will either freeze or numb it before snipping it off.

5. Folliculitis

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Folliculitis is an infection underneath your hair follicles, according to the AAD. It can look like a sudden acne breakout but every spot will have a red ring circling it. The condition can be painful but also not feel like anything at all because symptoms vary widely. The infection might also make the skin a little more swollen and itchy.

Anything that damages your hair follicles say wearing tight clothing rubbing your skin often, chafing, shaving or hanging out in a dirty hot tub can make it easier for germs to set up shop and cause an infection the AAD says.

Folliculitis will go away on its own if you stop doing whatever caused it applying warm compresses and wearing loose breathable clothing can also help. But because it can look a lot like acne talk to your doctor to ensure a proper diagnosis if your symptoms persist.

6. Eczema

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Eczema is an umbrella term for a cluster of skin conditions that cause red, itchy, swollen patches anywhere on the body but particularly the hands, feet, face, cheeks or insides of the knees or elbows. Eczema can make the skin seem and feel rough and cracked, bumpy, thick and blistered.

There are various types of eczema and they are all triggered by different things everything from environmental factors to stress to genetics. Atopic dermatitis the most common kind of eczema is linked to inflammation and the immune system while contact dermatitis is caused by allergen or irritant like some chemicals or acids say in your skin care or detergent.

After a proper diagnosis from your dermatologist this is essential since eczema can look like other conditions symptoms are often managed through OTC anti-inflammatory ointments and moisturizers or prescription drugs and injections.

7. Warts

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If you have ever dealt with a wart you know just how stubborn they can be. Warts are caused by human papillomavirus that consists of some strains that can affect different parts of your body yep including your genitals.

The good news is they are typically harmless and painless if they appear on other parts of your body like your hands or face. However, plantar warts can develop on the soles of your feet that can become painful and interfere with running or walking because you are constantly putting pressure on it.

Resist the urge to yank it off yourself because that just opens the gates for infection. Instead talk to your derm that will first perform a biopsy to make sure it’s not skin cancer. Then he or she can remove it with prescription meds laser treatment or by freezing or burning it off. Then make sure you take these steps to stop another wart from popping up.

8. Dermatofibroma

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You will find a dermatofibroma most often on your arms and legs, and they can be pink or brown. The bump is made up of fibrous scar tissue that can form as a reaction to something like a bug bite or ingrown hair.

“A patient will come in and tell me that she’s had this bump that’s been on her skin for years and it never goes away,” said Dr. Elbuluk.

Like a skin tag or cherry angioma these are perfectly harmless but because it can look like a mole you will want a derm to take a look to determine which one it is as “moles can change into melanoma but a dermatofibroma does not” said Dr. Pelle.

9. Solar lentigines

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You know them by their more common name: sun spots or age spots. They look like a cluster of moles that appear in sun-exposed areas like your arms, neck, face, upper chest and legs. While they are related to how much sun exposure you have gotten they don’t develop into skin cancer said Dr. Elbuluk.

Still they are hard to tell apart from moles that could turn cancerous also having a lot of them makes it even harder for you to examine your skin yourself all the more reason why to get an annual skin check from a board certified dermatologist if they are sun spots and they bother you here is how to get rid of them.

10. Seborrheic keratosis

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Seborrheic keratosis is a dark, scaly benign crusty overgrowth of the top layer of your skin said Dr. Elbuluk. These are common as you reach middle age and beyond your derm can remove them by cutting them off using liquid nitrogen or treating them with a laser.

But it is important to note that “because it’s benign insurance won’t cover it unless it’s in a bad spot like on your collar and chronically irritated” said Dr. Elbuluk.

11. Tinea infection

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Tinea can seem like a small red birthmark or discoloration almost like a stain on your skin. But these spots are a kind of fungal infection including ringworm and athlete’s foot according to the National Institutes of Health. Tinea comes in different shapes and sizes, and the kind that infects your skin can spread and infect other people or become worse if not treated.

Treatment is often as simple as washing the infected area with a prescription soap or shampoo that your doctor can hook you up with.

12. Basal or squamous cell carcinoma

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Yes, this is one of the bad ones but a lot people don’t realize there are multiple types of skin cancer said Dr. Elbuluk. “I will ask if someone has ever had skin cancer and they will tell me No just a basal cell.”

Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer; more than three million people are diagnosed with them each year according to the American Cancer Society. Unlike a benign mole they often look red, scaly or pearly in appearance. While they are not as deadly as melanoma Dr. Elbuluk still recommends telling your dermatologist if a mole seems odd or is growing, changing or starts to itch and bleed.

The best way to stay away of skin cancer? Slather on the sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 you can find a few derm approved options below.

13. Melanoma

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Melanoma is not as common as basal or squamous cell carcinomas it only accounts for about 1 percent of skin cancers but it’s far more deadly if you don’t catch it early said the ACS.

To spot melanoma use the ABCDE trick: Look for moles that are asymmetrical have an irregular or less defined border look uneven in color are greater than the size of a pea in diameter and that evolve over time. These melanoma pictures may help you visualize each of these changes.

That’s the reason why taking note of any new spots on your skin is so important. If you catch a suspicious mole early enough your dermatologist can remove it and prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of your body that can save your life.

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