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Noticed dark circle on shoulder. Applied acne cream. What is the problem and how to treat it?

Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15761 Questions

Posted on Wed, 19 Dec 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: I have just discovered a dark/(reddish/?) flat circle about the size of a dime on my back in the area of the lower right shoulder. The center of circle seems to be normal flesh tone about the size of drop of water with the dark circle rim surrounding it. Dark circle feels very very slightly rough/dry--not soft like the
smooth texture of the normal skin surrounding it on the rest of my shoulder.
Applied acne cream to see if perhaps it was a strange pimple but it had no affect on the dark circle. It did not fade or change at all. Remains the same.
Not panic-stricken-just proactive. What is the problem and how to treat it?
Thank you.

Seems to be about the size of a dime. Not a pimple but applied acne medicine on it but no change. What does it sound like to you?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 5 hours later
Hi, thanks for using health care magic

There are different possibilities, it would be difficult to say exactly what it may be because dermatology is a visual speciality.
It is possible that it may be a fungal rash , this may occur as a single lesion and the outer aspect is usually different than the inner, this is however, usually associated with itching though this symptom may be absent in some persons. This would resolve with a topical antifungal cream that can be bought over the counter.
Another possibility would be a herald patch- this is part of a rash called pityriasis rosea, the herald patch appears a week or two before the other rash starts.The herald patch is a pink to red patch with a scaly border.

Most other rashes are associated with more than one lesion such as an allergic response, heat rash, chicken pox etc

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 43 hours later
I do not have, nor have had, any rash itching or lesion. Would not have known the circle was there if i had not happened to glance in the mirror. I did apply acne
cream to see if it affected the dark circle but the cream made no changes. The
texture of the dark circle is barely noticiably different than the normal skin
but can feel a minute difference. How should I treat it to make it clear up?

What causes a fungal rash that you described above? What would cause this circle to appear and will it grow larger and spread? Most importantly, does the description sound like a cancerous condition?

Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 6 hours later

Fungal rashes are common and are caused by contact with particular fungal organisms that are associated with these lesions.They are easily spread from one person to the next so it is possible to get the rash from some one else. If it is a fungal rash, they normally resolve easily with application of antifungal cream.

The lesion would spread if it is untreated.

The description does not sound like an acne lesion.

In terms of a cancerous lesion: there are different cancers that can occur on the skin, usually the lesions grow slowing and do not appear suddenly and spread quickly.The fact that you say that it is spreading reduces the chances of cancer but the only way to accurately diagnose the lesion would be to have a doctor take a look at it

Dermatology is one of the areas of medicine that is best diagnosed by visualisation of the lesion, a GP or dermatologist also may , in some cases use magnifying glasses and biopsy if simple inspection is insufficient for a diagnosis.

Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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