Weird spot on nose
February 6, 2017 6:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a dark spot on my nose that is driving me nuts. Help!

I have a dark spot on my nose about the size of a dime right on the thick part of my nose toward the bottom but not quite the tip. The spot is slightly darker than the rest of my nose. What is really frustrating about it, though, is that the spot only shows up in certain light and certain angles. You can't see it from close up or with bright light directly on it - you can see it very prominently from a couple of feet away when I am under lights or sun from above. It's not like a big freckle or age spot - you don't see darker skin or pigmentation in any obvious way when looking closely. It's more like the texture or reflectivity of the skin is different in that spot than the rest of the skin, if that makes sense. There is some different pigmentation in this area too, but not like an obvious brown/dark spot - more like a shadow or something below the surface. I went to a skin cancer doctor and he said he couldn't see anything at all on my nose - he was totally unconcerned and sort of acted like I was imagining it. But I can see the spot clear as day in the mirror (though not every mirror - depends on the lighting). I'm afraid to go to a more beauty-oriented dermatologist because I'm worried they'll just want to sell me on a laser treatment or something regardless of whether it will help. I've been trying a bleaching cream but that just seems to make everything red and peel-y. Anyone have experience with something like this or thoughts on what to do?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
IANAD, but "spots" on your face are nothing to kid around with.

Get a second opinion. It could be skin cancer, and early detection is key!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 7:30 AM on February 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Are you able to take a photo where it is visible?
posted by andoatnp at 7:35 AM on February 6, 2017

I post this with no intention of scaring you, but my father had a very similar spot on his nose that turned out to be melanoma. It was removed and he had some sort of treatment on the area because the cells were malignant, and all turned out well in the end. But he definitely waited way too long to go to the dermatologist because he has an incredibly visible scar on his nose. Like, almost a crater.

Go get a second opinion. I would definitely recommend a general dermatologist. They have all sorts of tools to find "invisible" spots like this. I think my dad's was visible under a blue light or something similar.
posted by cooker girl at 7:36 AM on February 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

Yes, just go to a dermatologist. You will need one whether it's cancer or just a cosmetic thing, and they'll be the ones to tell you.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:06 AM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is it melasma? I have some of that on my face, and like you, I find it is not always visible. Does your spot get worse in the sun? Melasma will do that. Obviously you will want a professional opinion, but in the meantime, wear sunscreen and a hat, if possible, to keep the sun from making it worse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:09 AM on February 6, 2017

I just went to a dermatologist for a cyst that was bothering me to make sure it wasn't cancerous and to have it removed. They seemed from their website like a "beauty oriented" dermatologist, but every derm I looked up did. They were super professional - I asked about some other skin conditions I have and it was obvious they have laser treatments and medications designed to make one "prettier" if they want it but she didn't push it on me at all and when I told her I was only worried for my health and not my looks in this regard, she was totally understanding. I think you'll have a similar experience with just about any dermatologist MD. Don't be swayed by their websites, they all look like they are trying to advertise a spa, that's all marketing!
posted by pazazygeek at 8:33 AM on February 6, 2017

Can you get a picture of it? Or figure out what sort of lighting makes it visible?
posted by nat at 8:41 AM on February 6, 2017

I'm afraid to go to a more beauty-oriented dermatologist because I'm worried they'll just want to sell me on a laser treatment or something regardless of whether it will help.

My dermatologist is extremely 'beauty-oriented' - they do peels and botox and all that crap, and their lobby literally has chandeliers and white leather couches in it - but when I went in with a worrisome mole on my face, they were nothing but deferential to my desires. They asked if I wanted a biopsy before they decided to remove it, I said no, they told me it would leave a very small scar, I said I didn't care, and they just cut it right out then and there with a little hole punch thingy. A week later they sent me the lab results and that was that. If I'd said the scar was going to bother me, I'm sure they would have discussed options to deal with that, but they didn't even try to sell me on anything else besides the removal.

Once you get a second opinion, which you definitely should - and when you do, you absolutely can and should insist on a biopsy of the area - then, if it turns out to be benign, you should consider wearing concealer. I am assuming you are likely male from this question, because the majority of women would have already done this if the spot bothered them, so let me assure you that there is nothing weird about guys doing this, and it will probably make you a lot happier with your appearance.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2017

I wanted to say that my mother in law had a spot exactly like this on her face. She made an appointment with a dermatologist and we were all concerned....She came home from the appointment with this recommendation: "Put Aquaphor on it". We were all like what?! That is seriously the only advice the dermatologist gave her! I'd recommend a dermatologist appointment of course, anyway, just to make sure.
posted by tangomija at 9:39 AM on February 6, 2017

By the way, you need a dermatologist for the diagnosis, but if they counsel removal once they've gotten the biopsy back, consider a plastic surgeon. For something like that on your face, you want the least scarring possible and you'll get much better results from someone who's trained to that specific outcome.

I once paid like $500 to have a mole from my nose removed by a plastic surgeon and it left no visible scar at all.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:35 AM on February 6, 2017

That it only shows up under certain lighting conditions really does make it sound like ThePinkSuperhero's suggestion of melasma, since melasma shows up strongly under a special lamp known as a Wood's lamp.
posted by jamjam at 12:11 PM on February 6, 2017

If you are female, is it possible that you are pregnant? Pregnancy causes interesting and weird stuff to happen to your skin and your face.
posted by theora55 at 12:38 PM on February 6, 2017

You should definitely go get a second opinion, preferably from a dermatologist. Even if it is nothing serious, he or she could probably prescribe you some medicine to get rid of the spot.
posted by jeenmal112 at 11:50 PM on February 12, 2017

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