To the untrained eye, skin conditions can look a lot alike. That’s why it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to successfully treat a skin condition. Our dermatologists are specially trained to evaluate, diagnose, treat and help manage conditions that affect your skin.
Your doctor often can identify a skin disorder or condition simply by looking at your skin. But sometimes, an accurate diagnosis requires testing.
We may perform skin tests to diagnose skin allergies, food allergies, bacterial or fungal skin infections and many other skin diseases. Skin tests also can help us tell the difference between malignant (cancerous) cells and benign (noncancerous) growths. Skin testing usually takes place at your doctor’s office.
Common skin tests include:
- Biopsy – Cell or tissue samples are removed and sent to a laboratory for detailed analysis
- Culture – Samples from skin, hair or nails are tested to detect bacteria, fungi or viruses
- Patch testing –Allergens are applied to the skin to observe its reaction
Diagnosing skin cancer
While many skin conditions may cause discomfort or concerns about appearance, skin cancer can be life-threatening. Diagnosing skin cancer starts with checking out a mole, bump, spot or other mark on your skin. Any area of skin that doesn’t look normal and may have disease is called a lesion. Your doctor likely will take a biopsy of any lesion that looks like cancer.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you’ve had skin cancer in the past. Also mention whether anyone in your family has had skin cancer.
Learn about skin cancer.
You can play a big role in maintaining your health by keeping a close eye on your skin. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable.
Learn more about self-examination and other preventive tips.