AgingSkinNet Article
Just Another Sign of Aging, or an Underlying Medical Condition?

Some signs of aging that appear on the skin indicate more than advancing years; they warn of an underlying medical condition. Changes that occur as we age also make us more susceptible to skin conditions, such as shingles and skin cancer. 

The table below lists signs and symptoms of aging that may indicate an underlying medical condition.

If you spot any of these changes, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. With early detection, many of these conditions are easily treated. If allowed to progress, some conditions can be difficult to control. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can be deadly without early treatment. In the United States alone, one person dies from melanoma about every 68 minutes.


Possible Underlying Condition

Lesion on the skin that appears as a:

  • Scaly, red spot or cluster of slow-growing, shiny or scaly lesions that are red or pink

  • Mole that changes color, shape, or size

  • New skin growth

  • Mole or other skin lesion that bleeds or itches

  • Age spot that becomes large, flat, dark, and has irregular borders

  • Bruise that does not heal or seems to heal and then re-appears

  • Brown or black streak underneath a nail

  • Translucent, pearl-shaped growth

Skin  Cancer

Sore that does not heal or seems to heal and then re-appears

  • Circulatory problem

  • Diabetes

  • Skin Cancer

Skin lesion with any of the following characteristics:

  • Dry, scaly, rough-textured patches ranging in color from skin-toned to reddish-brown and in size from a pinhead to larger than a quarter

  • Diffuse scaling on the lower lip that cracks and dries, the thickened lip may have a whitish discoloration

  • Lesion on the skin resembles an animal horn

Note:  These lesions develop on skin that has received years of unprotected sun exposure, such as on the face and arms.  This skin is typically dry, itchy, and wrinkled.

  • Actinic keratoses (AK),
    a lesion that has the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer)

  • Actinic cheilitis (an AK that forms on the lip)

Itching: Moisturizers do not help and skin is excessively dry

Itching: Severe

  • Adverse reaction to medication

  • Diabetes

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Kidney or liver condition

Pain (vague or sharp) that typically includes headache, followed by blisters forming on the skin


Vein in the leg bulges or is very tender

Varicose Vein

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

As skin ages and loses its fat padding, it becomes more susceptible to bruising.  Pay special attention to bruises.  Any bruise that does not heal should be examined by a dermatologist as this may be a sign of skin cancer.





American Academy of Dermatology, 2010  All rights reserved.

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