You can have an overview about some skin diseases and disorders that affect most people. Most of these skin diseases have minor implications, and a few cause embarrassing effects.
Skin diseases are as common as one would experience headaches. Skin is the largest organ of the body that protects the internal organs from many infectious agents. It also helps regulate the body temperature and makes us look attractive. If it wasn’t for the skin, just imagine our internal organs and muscles jutting out, and we would all appear like freaks from a sci-fi movie! Anyway, skin can develop many diseases and disorders. Some of these diseases are very mild and are easily treatable. Some skin disorders like skin cancer affects the patient to a grave extent.
Everybody suffers from some type of skin condition at least once in their lifetime. Not all these skin diseases are reported to a dermatologist. This is because they do not arouse major concern for the patient and resolve with time. Some attribute it to hormonal changes, some blame it on seasonal infections.
Skin Diseases and Disorders that Commonly Affect People
Some of the most common diseases and disorders of the skin are covered in the following list. A few types of skin diseases are barely visible and discomforting, while some prove to be really disfiguring. We shall divide skin diseases in different groups and have a look at some of the common ones affecting skins around the world.
Common Skin Infections
Skin infections can be caused due to bacterial, viral, fungal, as well as parasitic agents. Some of the common skin infections are as follows:
Bacterial agents like Staphylococcus that are common skin inhabitants can cause acne. Acne commonly occurs in presence of papules, pustules, blackheads and whiteheads. Cysts and nodules are formed in very severe cases. Many adolescents complain of acne, as it makes an appearance around the time of puberty. Raging hormones cause the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum and cause blockage of skin pores. When the skin pores are blocked, the bacteria present on skin start growing and cause eruptions containing pus. There are other causes of developing acne besides bacteria infection. Most adults develop acne due to hormonal imbalance, stress, poor diet, impurity in blood, etc. There are many types of acne treatments that involve use of home remedies, over the counter medications and in severe cases one requires medical attention to get rid of these disfiguring pimples.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) causes warts on skin. There are many types of warts of which common warts (verruca vulgaris) and plantar warts (verruca plantaris) are very common. The other types of warts include flat warts and filiform warts. The common warts appear on hands, fingers and knees. They are flesh-colored lesions, and may appear at any site of injury. Plantar warts or papillomas appear on the soles of the feet. They are flat and they grow inwards. This makes them very painful. The flat warts are very small in size like a pin head. They appear on the face, hands and fingers of children. Filiform warts are long, finger-like projections in appearance. They generally appear on the face and therefore, also called facial warts.
Although called ringworm, this is not a parasitic, but is a fungal skin infection. The fungus grows on the upper skin layer causing itchy, red, circular skin rash. It appears as characteristic ring, thus, giving rise to the name ringworm. Ringworm on the body is called tinea corporis, tinea pedis causes athlete’s foot, tinea cruris is referred to as jock itch and ringworm of the scalp is called tinea capitis.
This is an asymptomatic S. Aureus skin infection of the hair follicles. This leads to formation of furuncles that are painful and tender to touch. When ruptured, they release a purulent discharge. Folliculitis generally occurs at the base of the neck, back and thighs.
Common Skin Rashes
A rash on skin can develop due to an infection, allergy, immune system disorder, medications as well as heat. Skin rashes cause a lot of discomfort and also tend to spoil one’s appearance. Some of the common skin rashes are as follows:
Just imagine the soft, delicate skin on your baby’s bum turning red like a tomato. The baby cries continuously due to the pain and irritation. Also called nappy rash or napkin dermatitis, it is an inflammatory skin condition. This rash is localized in the nappy area and occurs due to the skin contact with urine and feces within the nappy. It maybe due to a yeast infection like candida or thrush. In some cases, bacterial infection may cause the rash that leads to fever and pus-filled pimples on the baby’s skin. The best thing to do is keep the baby dry and clean by changing diapers frequently. Make sure you clean the baby’s bottom with alcohol-free and fragrance free wipes. Apply a little baby cream on your baby’s bottom before making the infant wear a new diaper. You can even leave the baby diaper free for sometime to allow air to help heal the nappy rash.
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is an inflammatory skin condition. This condition leads to red, scaly rash on the skin that is very itchy. It makes an appearance on the face of the infant, then spreads to the elbows, behind the knees. The rash tends to increase with age and can occur on any part of the body. Adults develop eczema as an allergic rash due to environmental factors such as cosmetic agents, fragrances, metals, jewelry, etc. Eczema can be treated by application of moisturizers and corticosteroids.
Pityriasis rosea, also called Christmas tree rash appears on the chest, abdomen or back as a single patch. This rash is very itchy and appears scaly. Soon, it spreads to other parts of the back, chest as well as towards the limbs. As it spreads, it forms an outline that resembles a Christmas tree. Thus, the name Christmas tree rash. This condition may take about 8 weeks to clear without treatment.
Skin Diseases with Unidentified Causes
Many times, the cause of the skin condition is unclear. This is because experts can’t pinpoint the exact factor that triggers the condition. Some of these diseases with vague causes are as follows:
This is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs in areas of hair like the scalp, beard or chest. In some cases, it is seen under the arms, submammary region, groin and perianal region. This condition causes red, scaly rash on the skin that has a shiny or greasy look. The exact cause is unknown, but may occur due to cold, dry weather or contact with irritating soaps, anxiety and stress. In infants it may appear as a ‘cradle cap’ that looks like a dandruff like condition affecting the scalp.
The common skin condition that causes redness on the face, along with acne, is called rosacea. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. This condition causes redness of the skin on the cheeks, nose, chin as well as forehead. In some cases, it may lead to visible blood vessels on the cheeks, small bumps or pimples on the face. There are many medications and treatments that help to keep the red rash on face under control. It is generally a harmless, cosmetic condition, that may turn dangerous if it affects the eyes.
Granuloma annulare is a chronic skin condition that causes red or skin colored bumps. These bumps form a ring like pattern on the hands, elbows, knees as well as feet. These lesions affect the cosmetic appearance of the skin and tend to become slightly embarrassing for some. These lesions tend to disappear on their own after about 24 months of appearance. Granuloma annulare causes are unknown, but is said to be associated with diabetes. This is a harmless condition and does not affect one’s health in any way.
Other skin disorders like seborrhoeic keratoses, cherry angiomas, haemangioma, ringworm infections, acne, eczema and psoriasis are also commonly observed. One should take good care of their skin and seek attention for any skin ailment that does not seem to resolve on its own. Speak to a dermatologist for more information related to any particular skin condition that is worrying you.