When Should You See a Dermatologist for a Skin Breakout?

The term “skin breakout” usually brings to mind thoughts of acne. But there are plenty of other skin conditions that can cause the skin to break out in unsightly blemishes, and some of them can be serious medical issues. If you’ve noticed any unusual symptoms, consider talking to a dermatologist. 

Folliculitis 

Folliculitis can mimic the appearance of an acne breakout. Initially, it may take on the appearance of small, red bumps or whiteheads. But folliculitis isn’t acne. It’s a bacterial or fungal infection of the hair follicles. Those small bumps can turn into crusty sores that refuse to heal. Patients with folliculitis often experience itching, skin tenderness, and painful burning sensations. While folliculitis often clears up with basic skin care, it’s possible for it to cause permanent scarring and hyperpigmentation. A dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics or anti-fungal medications to clear up the infection. 

Cellulitis 

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that can become life-threatening if left untreated. While it can occur anywhere, cellulitis most often affects the skin on the lower legs and feet. It can cause the following symptoms: 

  • An expanding area of reddened skin that looks like a rash 
  • Pain, swelling, and warmth 
  • Fever 
  • Blisters and red spots 

Without treatment, it’s possible for the bacterial infection to spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream, where it can become life-threatening. Seek care immediately. 

Boils 

A boil is a large, painful bump on the skin. As the boil fills with pus, it grows larger and more painful. Eventually, it will rupture and the pus will drain away. Boils often appear on the armpits, buttocks, thighs, face, and neck—places where friction and sweat most frequently affect the skin. It’s uncommon, but possible for the bacteria in a boil to enter the bloodstream. Complications can include sepsis, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis. A dermatologist can treat boils by lancing and draining them. Antibiotics may be necessary. 

At Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology, we provide comprehensive evaluations and effective treatments for cosmetic and medical skin issues. If you’re troubled by unusual symptoms or other skin issues in Salt Lake City, call our office at (801) 266-8841 and request our next available appointment. We look forward to helping you enjoy your healthy, beautiful skin once again. 

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