15 Common Skin Problems You Should Never Ignore

From your head to your feet, there are many different skin problems that you should never ignore. They can seem mild and harmless, or severe and dangerous, but all of them are something to pay attention to. The next time you get the opportunity, you should really pay attention to your skin. It’s best to talk to your doctor to make sure none of these skin problems are getting out of control. No. 9 is absolutely terrifying. 

1. Discolored skin

A woman feeling her arm.

Skin discoloration can be a sign of a larger health issue. | iStock.com

Your skin is basically one big organ that can be affected by what’s going on internally. If your skin begins to yellow, that could indicate a problem with your liver. If the skin begins to bronze and you have diabetes, your body may be having trouble metabolizing your iron.

Discoloring can come in smaller places too. If your scars and joints start to darken, you’re gonna want to pay attention. This can be a sign of Addison’s disease.

No matter what, if your skin begins to change color, you’re gonna want to see a doctor. Don’t worry, we will talk about when to see a doctor about a sunburn later in the article.

Next: This isn’t a normal place to get acne and you shouldn’t ignore it.

2. Acne on your scalp

A woman feeling her forehead.

Scalp issues can be extremely stressful. | Tom Merton/iStock/Getty Images

It’s really hard to notice when you get acne on your scalp. Because of that, this problem can go unnoticed for a really long time. Eventually, you will run your hands through your hair and hit one of these things and it hurts. Occasional acne should be expected, but it shouldn’t be commonplace.

If gone untreated, the acne can cause problems with hair growth and become very painful over time. If you do notice it becoming a problem, you should probably lighten up on the hair products. Try to treat your scalp with a shampoo that focuses on bacteria at least once a week. Stress can also contribute to excessive oil production that can cause problems for your hair, so you should probably get a massage every once in a while — you know, for the stress.

Next: Acne was supposed to go away with puberty, but it can be a sign of a very bad syndrome.

3. Adult acne

A woman looking into a mirror.

Acne isn’t just a teenage issue. | Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye.

For the majority of the human race, acne will subside or go away after puberty is over. Sure, we all get the occasional zit or two, and that is normal. When you need to be concerned is when your adult acne tends to clump around your menstrual cycle. This could be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, especially if your cycle is very irregular.

PCOS is when a woman has an excess abundance of male hormones in her system. This can lead to the growth of facial hair which may actually be causing the acne in the first place.

Next: This very common scalp condition can actually lead to more serious problems if left untreated.

4. Dandruff

Dandruff on a woman's shirt.

Dandruff can be quite serious. | Pimonpim/iStock/Getty Images

Most people will notice some dandruff and try to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. However, if left untreated, it can lead to some very serious problems. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition that causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed. It’s an excess of yeast in the skin that is growing unchecked.

Don’t panic yet, it can be easily managed with medicated shampoos, probiotics or some natural oils. If dermatitis should continue after treating it, then you need to go see a doctor. This can actually lead to more serious conditions.

Next: This next one is really important to pay attention to and get treated.

5. Purple rashes

A finger pointing at a bruise.

Ask your doctor about any new discolorations in your body. | Tatiane Silva de Melo/iStock/Getty Images

Acanthosis nigricans is a rare condition that results in “dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases.” Areas like the armpits, neck, and crotch will develop a thick skin around the folds and creases. It is a rare condition that affects people with diabetes or who are obese. Even more rarely, it can be a sign that you have an internal cancerous tumor in places like the stomach or liver.

Next: This next one may leave you itching your head, but it’s important that you don’t ignore it.

6. Itchy scalp

A woman brushes her hair while looking into a mirror.

Itchy scalps can be a hassle. | MilicaStankovic/Getty Images

You’re probably scratching your head right now thinking that we already went over this with dandruff. But the fact of the matter, this has to do with something you can’t see and the itching is persistent. People will wash their hair, but not their scalp. This can lead to a build-up of bacteria within the scalp that irritates the hair follicles. To add insult to injury, certain ingredients in shampoos can actually worsen the problem.

Another reason you could have an itchy scalp is that you are allergic to something. It’s not a typical allergic response, but one nonetheless. Pay attention to when your scalp is itchy and try to see if there is something you’re consuming that could be causing the discomfort.

Next: This mild irritation can seem very mundane, but it can be a sign of a serious health condition.

7. The butterfly rash

Rash on an elbow.

Rashes can be really concerning. | iStock.com

Malar rash is better known as the butterfly rash. It starts in the nose and spreads out to the cheeks and looks like a butterfly’s wings. It could be something harmless like contact dermatitis or rosacea. It could also be a sign of more serious conditions like Lupus, Lyme disease, Bloom syndrome, or homocystinuria. It’s best to contact a doctor to find out what is going on.

Next: It may be unsightly or embarrassing, but there are ways to treat the next one. 

8. Psoriasis

Psoriasis on elbow.

Psoriasis can be managed with the right support. | Suze777/iStock/Getty Images

Psoriasis is a pesky autoimmune disorder that causes your body to produce an overabundance of skin cells. the body isn’t able to shed the older skin fast enough, so you develop these raised red patches of skin on your body. They also have silvery scales on top. This disorder can be very irritating and embarrassing, but it can also lead to other problems.

Psoriasis can lead to you developing other conditions. You could get Type 2 diabetes from it or develop cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure. Don’t try to hide this condition and go see a doctor. There are tons of ways to manage this condition.

Next: If you think it can’t get worse than psoriasis, you’d be wrong.

9. Scaly skin on your head

A woman inspecting her scalp.

Another skin conditioned that can be managed. | Manuel-F-O/iStock/Getty Images

Pityriasis amiantacea is a rare skin condition that is caused by scalp psoriasis, seborrhoeic eczema, atopic eczema, and tinea capitis. It is best described as “thick silver-yellow scales that are firmly adherent to the scalp and associated hair.”

There is no cure for this condition, but it can be managed. The scales will need to be removed with medicated shampoos and will help keep them from returning. People with the condition will lose some of their hair during the treatment, but it will grow back.

Next: Here’s another common skin problem that could lead to a scary fate. 

10. Eczema

A woman looking into a mirror while inspecting her face.

Your dermatologist will be able to help you. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

Eczema is a fairly common skin problem. It’s very similar to psoriasis in appearance except it does not have the silvery scales on top. The skin is mostly red from inflammation and can be flaky as well. Eczema or dermatitis is generally caused by a hormonal imbalance. Although it can be caused by systemic sclerosis which is a disease that causes the hardening of your connective tissues.

Next: Balding is one thing, but when it’s like this, you should be worried.

11. Bald patches on your skin

Body hair.

Ask your doctor about any bald patches on your skin. | Obencem/iStock/Getty Images

Losing your hair or going bald can be very nerve-racking from an aesthetic point of view. It is generally slow and nothing to really worry about. However, you do need to be concerned if you start to lose odd patches of hair or your hair loss is inconsistent, especially if you are young.

This is generally a sign of alopecia areata where your immune system doesn’t allow your body to reproduce hair cells. This results in odd patterns of baldness across the body. There is a myriad of issues that can cause alopecia areata, but only a doctor can figure out which is affecting you.

Next: This endearing feature is also a deadly warning sign something is wrong.

12. Freckles

A man looking at his face in a mirror.

Your freckles might be trying to tell you something. | iStock.com

Freckles are usually endearing and unique. They are a characteristic of the skin that stays with you your whole life. However, they could also be a sign of something going wrong. Especially if they suddenly appear later in life. The time to be of most concern is if they turn up right after a sunburn because that could be the first signs of melanoma. If your moles or freckles start to change shape, size or color, that’s another sign. Contact your dermatologist right away.

Next: As if the flu couldn’t get any worse …

13. Painful red bumps

A woman looking in a mirror.

Tell your doctor right away if you find these bumps on your body. | Robertprzybysz/iStock/Getty Images

Sweet’s syndrome is a very rare skin condition that usually presents itself after a fever or a respiratory infection. The person develops small red bumps all over the skin that grow into quarter-sized lesions and painful clusters. This could also be a telltale sign of cancer. Most of the time, Sweet’s syndrome can be treated with corticosteroids. The bumps clear up in a few days but can come back again.

Next: This one looks like a couple that we have already talked about but is so much more deadly.

14. Large dry patches

A woman scratching her back.

Repor any of these signs to your doctor. | Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images

Large patchy, scaly, red lesions across the skin on odd places can be a sign of a particularly hard to diagnose lymphoma. Mycosis fungoides often look like some forms of eczema and psoriasis and are often diagnosed as such. In order to get this one right, multiple skin biopsies need to be performed.

Most of the time, these patches are only a symptom of mycosis fungoides but can spiral out of control and become solid raised tumors on the skin.

Next: The pain from these can be terrible.

15. Skin blisters

A woman inspecting her skin.

These blisters can be painful. | Cineberg/iStock/Getty Images

When you get skin blisters, they can be very painful and very unsightly. Although rare to get, they can be a sign of a rare condition known as pemphigoid. This is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to malfunction which results in blisters on the legs arms and abdomen. They can also appear in mucus membranes like the mouth or eyes.

There’s no known cure for pemphigoid, but it can be managed. Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with it.

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