The skin is the largest bodily organ. It protects the muscles, ligaments, bones, veins, and organs from physical damage and pathogens. It regulates body temperature and allows us to feel different sensations. There are at least 3000 conditions and diseases that can affect the skin, and here are 6 of them.
Psoriasis is a condition thought to be caused by the body's immune system producing too many skin cells and mistaking healthy cells as a threat, and attacking them. Dry, red scaly patches of skin appear during a flare-up.
The patches of skin can become very itchy and uncomfortable and require treatment such as corticosteroid creams and ointments to soothe them. If these treatments do not work or the psoriasis is severe, oral or injectable drugs may be required. Light therapy is another treatment that may be effective as it exposes the skin to UV light which slows down the rate at which scaly skin develops.
If you suffer from psoriasis, consult a dermatologist in your area, such as a dermatologist in Utah County who can look at your skin and recommend the best course of treatment.
Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is most common in children, but adults can develop it too. It is a condition that is linked to other allergies, hay fever, and asthma and can be genetic.
Healthy skin acts as a moisture barrier and protects the body from allergens, bacteria, and irritants. However, people who suffer from eczema do not have the gene that helps the skin develop this protection, and the skin becomes red, scaly, and itchy when troubled by an irritant.
Treat eczema with topical corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation and moisturizers to stop the skin from drying out. Limit exposure to soaps and detergents that irritate, and protect your skin from the sun and extreme weather conditions.
Bacteria such as streptococcus and staphylococcus can infect the skin and cause red blisters or sores to develop. This condition is known as impetigo and is highly contagious. The infection often starts around the stomach area or on the hands and can quickly spread, burst, and become crusty and itchy.
Impetigo usually only lasts for 7-10 days if it is treated immediately with an antibiotic cream or tablets. Suffers should avoid contact with other people, keep the sores clean, dry, and covered with a loose dressing and avoid sharing towels, bedding, and facecloths with other people.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the world and affects most people at some point in their lifetime.
When the skin becomes oily, hair follicles become blocked with sebum and skin cells, and bumps form. Acne displays as whiteheads and blackheads, which are blocked open and closed pores, respectively, papules are small red bumps, pustules are papules with a crown of pus, and large solid lumps beneath the skin known as nodules or cystic lesions.
Areas of the body with the most sebaceous glands, such as the face, back, shoulders, and chest, are most prone to developing acne. As mentioned, most people develop some form of acne in their life, but it is most prolific in the teenage years when hormones known as androgens increase and cause the oil glands to enlarge and produce excess sebum. Stress, some medications, and eating certain foods can trigger an acne breakout.
Mild to moderate acne can usually be treated with over-the-counter creams and liquids. If the case is severe, then a doctor or dermatologist should be consulted because the acne can lead to skin scarring and may cause a person to feel emotionally stressed and lack self-esteem. Medical professionals may prescribe antibiotics, retinoids, azelaic and salicylic acid, light therapy, steroid injections, or chemical peels.
The skin dermis contains cells called melanocytes that make and store melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives hair, skin, and eyes their color. When skin is exposed to any form of light such as UV, radiation, or infrared light, the production of melanin increases.
Hormone levels can lead to changes in the manufacturing of melanin, and 15-50% of pregnant women will develop melasma. Usually, it will only last the duration of the pregnancy, and the woman will never experience it again. However, some people have the condition for many years or their entire life.
Melasma usually appears as flat patches or spots on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. There are three different types - epidermal, dermal, and mixed melasma. Epidermal melasma is dark brown and the most responsive to treatment. In contrast, dermal melasma doesn't respond well to treatment and can appear in light brown or blue shades. Most people have a mixture of the two.
Medications and creams containing tyrosinase inhibitors will help stop the creation of melanin and thus stem the appearance of more patches. Suffers should also avoid exposure to the sun, tanning beds, led lights and screens, and medications containing hormones.
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes the face to look flushed and facial blood vessels very noticeable. It can sometimes be mistaken for acne because the redness is often accompanied by pustules and papules.
The symptoms of this skin condition are not always present, and a few things such as temperature extremes, alcohol, hot beverages, spicy foods, exercise, emotional stress, some cosmetics, and medications can trigger a flare-up.
The people most susceptible to developing rosacea are white, female, over age 30, smokers, and have a history of the skin condition in their family. There is no cure, but the symptoms can be lessened with topical cream treatments, wearing a high factor sun cream, avoiding skincare products containing alcohol, camphor, urea, and menthol. It is also helpful to keep a diary of what you eat each day, what you have used on your skin, what the weather is like, and whether or not your rosacea flared up. That way, you may be able to determine factors that trigger an outbreak and avoid them when possible.
Seek advice from a doctor or dermatologist if you develop rosacea or any skin condition, as ignoring it or attempting to treat it yourself could make it worse.
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