Are you concerned with something on your skin and want to find out what it is and how to treat it? Our Skin Diagnosis & Reference Guide is here to help you.
Choose your skin concern from the list below to learn more about that particular skin condition and its treatments. If you don't see what you're looking for, call Colorado Skin & Vein at 303-683-3235 to schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologist.
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Acne is a skin condition that can appear in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. It usually develops during adolescence and may continue into adulthood due to hormones that increase oil production. The overproduction of this oil (sebum) can trap bacteria in the glands and cause acne. Because of this, acne tends to affect areas with a high number of oil glands, such as the face, upper chest, and back.
Actinic keratosis is characterized by a persistent small (2 to 6 mm in diameter) rough spot or red, pink, or brown plaque. These lesions are usually dry or scaly and surrounded by broken blood vessels and brown spots. AK is precancerous and caused by UVB damage, and about 10% will develop into cancer in just a two-year period. Patients over the age of 40 may notice that their actinic keratosis patches bleed on occasion.
BCC is the most common form of skin cancer and develops within the deepest layer of the skin, the basal cell layer. It usually grows slowly and looks like an open sore, red patch, or shiny or pink growth.
Becker’s nevus is a benign, well-circumscribed, pigmented skin lesion that predominantly affects men. The nevi generally appear on the torso or upper arm and gradually enlarge irregularly, and they may become thick and hairy.
This skin disease is considered an early stage squamous cell carcinoma caused by sun exposure. It presents as a gradually enlarging red patch of skin with a distinct but irregular border, and the surface often becomes crusted or scaly. It is rare for people under 30 years old to develop Bowen’s disease, and most affected patients are females over the age of 60 with the lesion(s) on their lower legs.
Cafe-au-lait spots are light brown birthmarks that are not usually associated with medical problems. However, having 3 or more cafe-au-lait spots is linked with neurofibromatosis and the rare McCune-Albright syndrome.
Also known as cherry hemangiomas, senile angiomas, or Campbell de Morgan spots, cherry angiomas can range in color from bright red to purple and are made up of clusters of tiny capillaries at the surface of the skin. When they first develop, they are often only 0.1 mm in diameter and almost flat, but they can grow to over 1 cm across and become raised and dome shaped. If injured, a cherry angioma may bleed profusely.
Cysts are painless pockets of tissue that contain fluid, pus, or air and can develop on any area of the body. They often feel like a small bump beneath the surface of the skin and grow slowly over time. If they become infected or rupture, they may cause pain. Most cysts do not disappear on their own and require treatment to remove.
This hard, round nodule is usually 0.5 to 1 cm across and brownish or tan in color. Although not generally painful, a dermatofibroma may be itchy and tender. The cause of dermatofibromas is unknown, and they occur most often in women.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It’s common in children but can occur at any age. Eczema is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. There is currently no cure for atopic dermatitis, but treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it is important to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.
Freckles, also known as ephelides, are clusters of concentrated melanin that appear as flat light brown or red spots. Having freckles is genetic, and they are often found in people with a fair complexion and blonde or red hair. Freckles are benign, and they can become darker and more numerous with sun exposure.
Hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons, such as heredity, hormonal changes, aging, and medical conditions. It often develops gradually over time and results in thin hair, a receding hairline, or baldness.
A hemangioma is a benign vascular tumor filled with blood that may appear as a bright red “strawberry” on the surface of the skin or as a bluish swelling just under the skin.
Hirsutism is excessive hair growth in women in areas where mature hair is usually minimal or absent. High levels of insulin are thought to stimulate the ovarian theca cells to produce androgens (male hormones), and an increased level of androgens in the body or an oversensitivity of hair follicles to androgens can lead to hirsutism. Additional studies may be helpful in order to identify an underlying hormonal imbalance.
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that may occur even without sweat-inducing conditions such as heat or exertion. This condition often causes so much sweating that it soaks into clothing or drips off the hands. As a result, many people are embarrassed or have social anxiety.
These red, raised scars do not grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound and are due to an overproduction of collagen during the wound’s healing. Although they will never completely resolve on their own, they do tend to improve over the course of years.
Hypopigmentation is lightening of the skin caused by a loss of melanocytes or a decrease in tyrosine (an amino acid used by melanocytes to make melanin) in the skin. Hypopigmentation may be due to chronic sun exposure, damage from a laser procedure, infection, autoimmune disease, or rarely, cutaneous lymphoma.
Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions that can range from pink to flesh colored or red to dark brown. They may be itchy, change in texture, and, in some cases, cause sharp pain. Keloids result from an overgrowth of connective tissue during wound healing that grows beyond the boundaries of the original wound. Unlike hypertrophic scars, they are unlikely to improve naturally with time.
Also known as follicular keratosis or “chicken skin,” KP is an incredibly common hereditary condition characterized by rough bumps on the skin. Keratosis pilaris occurs when excess keratin (a protein in the skin) accumulates in the hair follicles. The keratin forms a hard plug (hyperkeratinization) that caps off the hair follicle and traps the hair under the skin. This condition is common for women to have on their upper arms.
Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce melanin, often in areas that have had a lot of sun exposure.
Melasma is a skin condition characterized by dark, patchy areas of facial skin caused by UV exposure. It is thought to be most common in women because high estrogen levels can cause increased melanin production when the skin is exposed to the sun.
Milia are characterized by cystic collections of keratin (a fibrous structural protein) just under the skin’s surface. They appear in clusters of small white or yellow raised bumps and are common in women and newborns. They sometimes result from harsh face washes or repeated heat stress, such as hot showers, on sensitive skin.
Nail disorders are conditions that affect the color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails. Beau’s lines, koilonychia (abnormal fingernail shape), onycholysis (nail lifting), and leukonychia (white streaks or spots) are among the most common nail disorders.
Conditions such as eczema, molluscum, warts, acne, moles, psoriasis, pityriasis rosea, other unusual skin conditions in infants, children, and adolescents can be treated.
Poikiloderma is a benign condition characterized by a combination of textural changes, dilated capillaries, and darkened pigmentation on the neck. It is caused by chronic sun exposure and affects mostly women.
A port-wine stain is a red/purple birthmark caused by the malformation of capillaries (tiny blood vessels) in the affected area of skin. Infants’ and children’s port-wine stains are usually flat and light in color, but they generally darken and become thicker as they mature. Small disfiguring lumps may also develop.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is caused by persistent inflammation of ingrown hairs that result from shaving. It is most common in areas shaved that have tight, curly hair because the hairs tend to get trapped in the follicles. PFB usually presents as red bumps or infected pustules. It is most common in African-American men and, if left untreated, can develop into keloid scarring.
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease. There may be times when your psoriasis symptoms get better alternating with times your psoriasis worsens. Psoriasis may also affect the joints.
A pyogenic granuloma is a common skin growth that presents as a small, red, oozing, and (sometimes) bleeding bump. It grows rapidly over a period of weeks to an average size of 0.5 inches. Pyogenic granulomas usually occur on the head, neck, upper trunk, hands, and feet.
Rashes are conditions that affect the color, appearance, and/or texture of the skin. We diagnose and treat a wide variety of rashes.
Rhinophyma is an uncommon form of rosacea that results in knobby bumps on the nose and cheeks. Rhinophyma can make the nose and face look swollen. The changes in the face caused by rhinophyma may become permanent.
Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness in the cheeks, nose, and chin. This condition usually becomes more noticeable after 30 years of age and is marked by facial flushing that continues to grow worse over the decades. Rosacea is hereditary and exacerbated by UV radiation.
Scars are created when the dermis becomes damaged and the body sends collagen fibers to repair the site of injury. The resulting build up of collagen produces tissue that is a different texture than that around it. Most scars originally appear red or purple but fade over time. Acne scarring results from the presence of too much collagen during healing (raised scarring) or too little collagen (pitted scarring).
Sebaceous hyperplasia is characterized by 1 or more small, yellowish, soft papules over the nose, cheeks, and forehead. It is a benign condition of sebaceous glands in middle-aged adults and older. Sebocytes (sebaceous cells) overcrowd the sebaceous gland, causing its enlargement that results in hyperplasia. Sebaceous hyperplasia lesions produce very little sebum.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis can also affect oily areas of the body, such as the face, upper chest, and back. Seborrheic dermatitis doesn’t affect your overall health, but it can be uncomfortable and cause embarrassment. It isn’t contagious, and it’s not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Seborrheic dermatitis is usually a long-term condition. You may need many repeated treatments before the symptoms go away, and they may return later. You may be able to manage flare-ups by recognizing seborrheic dermatitis symptoms and using a combination of self-care steps and medications. Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff (when it involves the scalp in adults), cradle cap (in infants), or sebo-psoriasis.
What Is Seborrheic Keratosis?
Seborrheic keratosis is a common benign skin growth that can range in color from light tan to black and can also greatly range in size. These growths can be round or oval and are often slightly elevated, and they usually appear on the face, chest, shoulders, or back.
We generally obtain a bacterial culture of the affected areas to confirm the type of bacteria causing the skin infection and its antimicrobial sensitivities.
Skin lesions encompass all superficial growths or patches of skin that do not resemble the surrounding area, and they may be benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous. Moles and other skin lesions may change over time. There are certain changes that could be signs of cancerous or precancerous cells, and early detection is important for addressing potential problems. Therefore, it is imperative to have any skin lesion of concern evaluated by a dermatologist.
If you’re concerned about an abnormal spot, mole, or any other skin lesion, come in for an evaluation and simple, in-office skin biopsy. Depending upon the results of the biopsy, the lesion may be treated with one of the following procedures: Mohs micrographic surgery should be employed, during which the tissue is removed and examined to determine whether additional tissue removal is needed.
Spider veins, also known as reticular veins, are vessels that appear red, purple, or blue and span greater than 1 mm. They can occur anywhere on the body and are usually caused by heredity, excessive standing, obesity, hormonal influences, and any condition that causes increased pressure on the abdomen, trauma, or exposure to UV radiation.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer, and UV radiation has been shown to significantly promote its development. Although it is does not grow rapidly, it can spread to nearby bones and tissues and become difficult to treat.
Stretch marks are a form of scarring as a result of rapid stretching of the skin. They first appear as reddish or purple lines but gradually fade to a lighter color over time. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most common on areas that store large amounts of fat.
Sturge-Weber Syndrome is an extremely rare congenital disorder that involves the skin and neurological system. It is often associated with port-wine stains of the face, glaucoma, seizures, mental retardation, and ipsilateral leptomeningeal angioma.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage the elastin and collagen in the skin, causing it sag and lose its elasticity. As a result, the skin ages prematurely, causing the development of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, discolorations, and textural changes. In addition to premature aging of the skin, sun damage can also lead to the development of skin cancer.
Sun spots, also called solar lentigo, are hyperpigmented, flat, smooth lesions that are seen but cannot be felt. They occasionally resemble moles and are usually light tan to brown in color. Sun spots develop most commonly on Caucasians who are 20 years of age or older and occur on the sun-exposed skin of the face, neck, chest, forearms, and hands. Sun spots should be monitored for changes in growth, color, or surface contour because these changes can be indicative of skin cancer formation.
A sunburn is a tissue burn caused by the overexposure of UV radiation which causes direct DNA damage and increased melanin production. It is usually marked by red skin that is hot to the touch and tender. The excess exposure to UV radiation can lead to basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
A syringoma is marked by skin-colored or yellowish, firm, rounded bumps usually 1 to 3 mm in diameter clustered on the eyelids. It is caused by benign sweat duct tumors located in the superficial dermis.
Telangiectasia are veins less than 1 mm in diameter that appear red, purple, and blue. They are usually located on the face or legs. Factors that can lead to telangiectasia include genetics and sun exposure. Telangiectasia is often linked with rosacea.
Varicose veins are large, unsightly veins that protrude from the skin and can cause aching, pain, and restless leg syndrome. They are caused by broken valves in the vein that allow the backflow of blood, which pools in the vein and causes its enlargement. Varicose veins most commonly occur in the legs, but they can occur in other areas of the body as well.
A venous lake appears as an asymptomatic, soft, compressible, dark blue papule usually 0.2 to 1 cm in size. They are usually found on the sun-exposed surfaces of the lips, face, and ears. Venous lakes are a form of vascular dilatation that is believed to be exacerbated by sun exposure and damage.
Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes loss of skin pigment and results in irregular pale patches of skin. It typically appears in skin folds, on the extremities, and on the face and neck. Vitiligo normally develops before the age of 20 and is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Warts generally appear as small, rough tumors located on the hands and feet and can often be mistaken for a blister. They will disappear and reappear periodically. Warts are caused by an infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are contagious through skin-to-skin contact.
Wrinkles are lines, furrows, folds, and creases in the skin due to aging, sun damage, and a loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. Wrinkles are especially noticeable on the face in areas such as across the forehead, between the eyebrows (“frown lines”), at the outer corners of the eyes (“crow’s feet”), and around the mouth (“smile lines,” “marionette lines,” and “smoker’s lines”).
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