HomeFacial CareAsk the Dermatologist: Why Does My Skin Hurt?

Ask the Dermatologist: Why Does My Skin Hurt?

Have you ever experienced itching, tingling or tenderness along your skin? Beyond the common sunburn, there are a number of conditions that result in uncomfortable or painful areas of your skin. And they may not be what you expect. We caught up with Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City to discover why skin sometimes hurts, what causes it and when to see your doctor.

1. Fibromyalgia 

What It Is: “It is a chronic pain condition with tenderness in certain characteristic areas, like your skin,” says Dr. Fenton. “Symptoms also include stiffness, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. It can also be accompanied by a wide variety of other symptoms such as anxiety or depression.”

What Causes It: In short: no one really knows. “It is a diagnosis of exclusion: all other possible causes for the symptoms need to first be ruled out; without any other explanation, fibromyalgia can be made as the diagnosis.” This is not a condition generally diagnosed by your derm.

How to Treat It: “There are a variety of treatment options including medications such as pain medications, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and anticonvulsants,” says Dr. Fenton. “People also utilize behavioral and psychological therapy methods.”

2. Sunburn

What It Is: “Sunburn is a result of excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. It causes redness, pain, tenderness, sometimes blistering, and peeling,” says Dr. Fenton.

What Causes It: “The ultraviolet light causes damage to the skin cells, which then release inflammatory signals and some undergo programmed cell death.”

How to Treat It: “Sunburns are usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications like ibuprofen or aspirin and cool baths or showers for symptomatic relief,” says Dr. Fenton. “It is important to stay well-hydrated with a sunburn because there can be some fluid loss, and severe sunburns may require IV fluids and prescription pain medications. Some topical emollients such as aloe vera can help with symptom relief but do not necessarily speed recovery.”

3. Shingles

What It Is: Shingles is caused by the chicken-pox virus, so if you’ve had the chicken pox or have been vaccinated, you already have the virus in your nervous system. Shingles, like the pox, appears as a scabbing, irritation or series of itchy red spots on the skin.  Read more 


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