SKIN DISORDERS

 

 

 

Keratosis Pilaris

It is a skin condition which commonly occurs on the upper arms, thighs and buttocks. The skin cells which flake off as a fine dust from the skin plugs in the hair follicles. The appearance is that of small pimples with a dry sandpaper feeling. Generally they are white but at times turn red. It does not usually hurt or itch. It occurs commonly in the teenagers on the upper arms. It might persist for several years but disappears gradually before the age of thirty. It is not malignant and this condition tends to get worsen during the winter season or during the period of low humidity when the skin dries out and it might also worsen during pregnancy or after the birth of child. Treatment is not required and unluckily it may give disappointing results.

 

 

 

 

It is a common skin disorder and it can cause a lot of frustration as it is difficult to cure. It is a genetic condition which cannot be cured but in a number of cases the symptoms can be controlled through proper skin care regimen. The treatment which is undertaken is meant for softening the keratin deposits in the skin and might include medicated creams that contain lactic acid or urea. Even if treatment is undertaken, the condition persists for years.

 

 

 

 

Cause

 

 

The exact cause of the disease is unknown and it is caused due to the buildup of a protein called keratin in the openings of hair follicles in the skin. It results in small, rough patches which occur on the arms, face and thighs. The disease is thought to be associated with eczema.

 

 

 

 

Symptoms

 

 

The symptoms are characterized by the development of small white papules of the size of a grain of sand on the upper arms, thighs and sometimes on the buttocks and face. The papules appear around a hair follicle and are white and firm. When one feels them, they are coarse like sandpaper but do not cause any pain and does not cause any itching.

 

 

 

 

Treatment

 

 

Since it is a genetic disease therefore no cure is possible. Initial treatment required intensive moisturizing and creams such as Vaseline or Acid mantle can be applied after a bath and should be re-applied several times a day. If no change occurs then a medicated cream containing urea or alpha hydroxy acids must be applied twice daily. One can also get rid of the plugged pores by taking a long, hot soaking tub baths and rubbing the area with a coarse washcloth. Antibiotics such as Erthromycin may be prescribed during the course of treatment

Keratoacanthoma

It is a kind of a skin cancer which is confines to the skin. The skin tumor grows from the hair follicle and generally grows quickly. It is more commonly found to occur in men. Earlier it was regarded as benign but it has been found that some of the tumors transform into squamous cell carcinoma. It is now being treated and regarded as a malignant growth. Keratocanthoma is characterized by rapid enlargements and is followed by a stable period and then a slow regression.

 

 

 

 

Cause

 

 

It is believed that sunlight causes keratocanthomas. People who smoke are more susceptible to keratoacanthomas. At times, minor trauma to the skin occurs before keratocanthoma develops. It has been seen that various chemical carcinogens have contributed to its incidence. It has been found to occur in people in their 70’s. If left untreated, a true keratoacanthoma continues to grow for several months, reaches a maximum size and then self destructs over several months. It has also been found out that some keratoacanthomas are related to infection with human papilloma virus which causes warts.

 

 

 

 

Symptoms

 

 

It normally occurs on sun exposed skin areas and is found more on the neck and face. It can also be seen on the top of the head. It is characterized by rapid growth which becomes around an inch in size within weeks and is followed by a stable stationary period. The lesions tend to slowly regress over two to six months. The color of the lesion ranges from skin to pink color. The central portion of the lesion becomes scaly and a thick crater is formed which sometimes breaks off and leaves an ulcer. The diagnosis is conducted on the basis of their history and clinical presentation. When the lesions are removed, the pathologic picture is typical which confirms the diagnosis.

 

 

 

 

Treatment

 

 

Most keratoacanthoma resolve spontaneously but the chances of squamous cell carcinoma cannot be ruled out without removing the tumor and microscopic evaluation. Since the lesion is raised and unsightly, waiting for it to regress may be disturbing and it can also become malignant. This disease can be eradicated using surgical excision that results in the appearance of a cosmetic scar. Other treatment involves electrodesiccation and curettage. Liquid nitrogen can also be used for treating these lesions. Small doses of radiation and injections of chemotherapeutic agents may be quite effective in treating keratoacanthoma. One must also keep in mind that keratoacanthoma can reappear; therefore care must be taken as this type of cancer is known to spread to the internal organs.

 

 

 

Keloids

These are prominent, irregular scar tissues which are formed after a person suffers from a small cut or scratch in the skin. Generally a bump appears at the site of the injury. The bumps get large and over a period of time full blown keloids develop. At times keloids develops spontaneously without any sign of injury on the skin. It has been found out that keloids affects ten percent of the people. Although most of the people do not develop keloids but other may develop it due to minor injuries or pimples or insect bites. People with dark skin are more prone to form keloids. Men and women are equally prone to keloids. It generally occurs on the arms, chest and upper back.

 

 

 

 

Cause

 

 

The reason for occurrence of keloids is genetic and it cannot be prevented from occurring until and unless gene therapy is developed.

 

 

 

 

Symptoms

 

 

The symptoms of Keloids include skin lesions which are flesh colored, pink or red. These lesions are located over the site of injury or wound or other lesions. The lesions may be nodular or ridged. They may itch during their formation and growth. The diagnosis is conducted on the basis of the appearance of the skin or scar.

 

 

 

 

Treatment

 

 

Keloid normally does not require any treatments but if one wants to get rid of keloid one can undertake the following options.

 

 

Surgery

 

 

Great care is required during and after the surgery but if they appear after the surgery then they are larger as compared to the original. The chance of occurrence of keloids is 45% after surgery but normally it does not occur if it is combined with other treatments. Surgery might be followed by intralesional injections of a corticosteroid.

 

 

Radiation therapy

 

 

Electron beam radiation is used at levels where it does not penetrate the body deeply enough to affect internal organs.

 

 

Steroid injections

 

 

It is the best treatment as scars begin to thicken. A series of injections with corticosteroid or triamcinolone acetonide can reduce keloid size and irritation. The treatment area becomes extremely painful as the anesthetic wears off.

 

 

Compression

 

 

Compression bandages can be applied to the affected site over a period of time and it can range from six to twelve months. This is the best treatment which has been recommended for preventing new scars.

 

 

Cryosurgery

 

 

It is a treatment which is recommended for keloids which are small in size and occur on lightly pigmented skin. This treatment is used in combination with monthly cortisone injections.

 

 

 

Tinea Corporis

Also known as ringworm, this disease is caused by a fungus. It refers to the fungal infection of the face or body and does not include the beard area on men. It occurs generally in people living in warm, tropical climate and affects women and men equally. This disease affects people of all age equally. It occurs commonly among children and gets spread through skin to skin contact as well as by contact with contaminated items. This disease spreads readily. Human beings can contract this disease from animals such as dogs and cats. People practicing contact sports have a higher risk of contracting this infection through skin contact.

 

 

The fungi which cause this infection are divided into three groups depending upon their favorite sources or hosts. They are zoophile from animal sources, geophile from soil sources and anthropophile from humans. The fungi which causes ringworm is zoophile and is transmitted through contact with animals.

 

 

Cause

 

Contact with animals such as cats, dogs, hamsters, calves and guinea pigs causes Tinea Corporis. Children are quite prone to ringworm and they can easily pass them to other children. Farmers and people with animals are at an increased risk of contracting ringworm.

 

 

Symptoms

 

It starts as a lesion which is a scaly, flat spot which develops a raised border that advances outward in a circle. The border is raised, red and scaly whereas the inner area is normal in appearance with fine scaling. The size of the patches varies from a few mm to several cm in diameter. The infection spreads from the center of the patch and its activity is confined to the outer edge. The infected area is generally itchy.

 

 

It can be diagnosed clinically depending upon the look of the rash. It can be diagnosed on sight or the skin scraping may be taken for examination. It is examined under a microscope or put on an agar plate in a microbiological laboratory and allowed to grow.

 

 

Treatment

 

Topical antifungal drugs which contain miconazoole and clotrimazole are used for clearing up the infection. Treatment for ringworm is decided by the physician based on age, health, medical history, tolerance to specific medication, location of the ringworm and expectations for the course of the condition.

 

 

Since the fungi which causes skin infections are present everywhere therefore it is not possible to avoid it. One should abstain from direct skin to skin contact with people or animals which are suspected of having a fungal infection.

 

 

 

Urticaria Pigmentosa

It is an uncommon rash which usually affects the arms, necks, legs and trunks of children and young adults. The rashes are made up of reddish brown spots that turn into hives when they are rubbed or scratched. At times the spots blister. This disease is commonly found in children but it can also occur in adults as well.

 

 

This disease is mostly found in infants and the first patches appear when the child is few months old. At first they might be confused for insect bites but slowly they develop for several months or years. This condition can appear on any part of the body including the face, trunk, scalp and limbs. In the case of young children the patches get blistered when rubbed.   If many patches get activated at the same time, the infants might become irritable but it is rarely that severe symptoms arise.

 

 

Within the next few years the condition becomes less irritable and eventually the patches fade off. When a person enters his teenage most of the patches fade away. In case of the adults this condition persists for a longer time and is also associated with internal symptoms.

 

 

No specific tests are required as the appearance of this condition is generally characteristic. At times a skin biopsy is necessary for confirming the diagnosis. One must avoid exercise or heat as it can aggravate the symptoms.

 

 

Cause

 

The spots formed have a large number of mast cells and these are immune cells which live in the skin. The mast cells lead to formation of histamine which leads to itching, hives and flushing. It is still unknown as to why people with urticaria pigmentosa have an abnormal collection of mast cells in the skin.

 

 

Symptoms

 

This disease is characterized by huge amount of mast cells in the skin. One can see brown or red spots on the skin, mainly around the forehead and chest. Irritation of the mast cells produces too much histamine which triggers an allergic reaction that can lead to hives localized to the area of irritation. It is followed by severe itching and scratching the affected area only severe the symptoms. The symptoms could be mild to life threatening.

 

 

Treatment

 

Since it is not a serious disease therefore it does not require any treatments in most of the cases. There are certain treatments which could be helpful in this condition such as oral antihistamines, low doses of aspirin, photochemotherapy, topical steroids and interferon.

 

 

 

 

 

Warts

These are small, rough cauliflower like growth which generally occur on the hands and feet. These are caused by a viral infection called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is also believed that they are caused due to stress. Warts generally disappear after a few months but there is a chance that they can last for years and also recur. It has been found out that certain types of warts can be contagious from region to region but are not transferable.

 

 

Warts can either grow on the skin or inside of the mouth or genitals or rectal area.   It has been found that some type of HPV virus cause warts on the skin whereas the other type of virus results in warts on the genitals and rectal area.

 

 

Cause

 

Warts are caused due to an infection of the skin which is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are a number of HPV viruses which can infect the skin. In case the wart gets damaged, the virus which gets released might cause small warts to develop in the surrounding area. The virus acts by stimulating thickening of the skin.

 

 

Symptoms

 

The symptoms of this disease include small, raised bumps of skin and these bumps begin as small lumps and slowly grow larger. The surface of the warts is rough and has clearly defined borders with color similar to the skin. In some cases the color turns darker. Wart do not pain or itch but warts occurring on the soles of the feet cause pain when one puts weight on the affected foot. This virus is widespread and it can get caught by contact.

 

 

Treatment

 

The treatment comprises of

 

Imiquimod

 

It is a topical cream that helps the body’s immune system in fighting wart virus by encouraging production of interferon.

 

Cyrosurgery

 

This treatment involves the freezing of wart which results in the wart and the dead skin around it falling off.

 

Candida injections

 

These injections can help in stimulating the body’s immune system.

 

Laser treatment

 

Laser treatment can also be undertaken for curing warts

 

 

It has been found out that none of the treatments mentioned above have been effective on single uses and they resurface after the skin has healed as a result of the treatment. Repeated treatment has been found out to be effective in getting rid of warts. They tend to disappear after a few months or years. Treatment is necessary only if the lesions become painful or are causing cosmetic problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Vitiligo

It is a pigmentation disorder of the skin in which the melanocytes, retina and the mucuous membrane are destroyed. This causes white patches to appear on different areas of the body and the hair which grow in vitiligo affected areas turn white. Around one to two percent of the world`s population has vitiligo and this disorder affects people of all races and sexes equally. It is more commonly found in people suffering from certain autoimmune diseases. It could also be genetic and run in families. Chances are that children whose parents are suffering from vitiligo have a greater chance of suffering from this condition.

 

 

This disease can have a psychological effect on the patient and this is particularly true in case of dark skinned people. In some communities there is a stigma attached to this disease. People suffering from this disease might feel depressed because of the stigma attached to it or the appearance might change dramatically. Half of the patients of this disease develop signs of the disorder before the age of twenty and patches of de-pigmented skin appear on the extremities. The patches might grow or remain constant in size.

 

 

Cause

 

The cause of this disease is unknown.

 

 

Symptoms

 

It results in the formation of white patches on the skin. The patches commonly occur in sun exposed areas such as arms, hands, feet, face and lips. Other areas where the patches appear are the groin and armpits and around the eyes, mouth, navel, nostrils and genitals. It appears in one of the three patterns: focal pattern, generalized pattern and segmental pattern. Besides white patches of the skin, it might result in premature graying of scalp hair, eyebrows, beard and eyelashes. People who have a dark skin might notice a loss of color inside their mouths.

 

 

Treatment

 

The purpose of the treatment is to restore the function of the skin and improve the appearance of the patient. The treatment of vitiligo lasts from six months to eighteen months. The choice of treatment depends upon the number of white patches, how widespread they are and the preference of the patient for treatment.

 

 

The type of therapy id dependant on the number of white patches, how widespread the patches are and it also depends upon the patient’s preference for treatment. Every patient’s response to the treatment is different and a particular treatment might not work for everyone. The treatment options which are available currently include surgical and adjunctive therapies along with medical treatment.

 

 

 

Natural Treatment for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition that shows itself through patches of red areas or silvery scales that appear on the legs, knees, arms, elbows, scalp, ears, and back. Toes and fingernails can also be affected by losing their shine and developing ridges and pits. This condition is linked to rapid growth of the outer layer of skin, and is often hereditary. The growths of skin cells never mature and go through an entire growth cycle, leaving patchy, scaly, immature areas of the skin. The affected area tends to spread. The condition is characterized by a series of flare-ups and remissions, and usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 25. It can be triggered by anything that can inflame the skin; stress, illness, sunburn or any kind of laceration of the skin (like cuts, injury, or surgery) as well as poison ivy or bacterial infection. Although the underlying cause is not known, it is known that an unhealthy immune system plays a role in psoriasis, as well as a possible faulty utilization of fat. Toxins in the colon can also aid in psoriasis development. There are many natural ways that can aid in preventing and controlling psoriasis. Here are a few;

 

Ginger Bath

 

Add two teaspoons of ginger to your bath water. Ginger is an age old remedy used to fight many skin and stomach conditions. 

 

Goldenseal Extract

 

If you suffer from sever redness and swelling, lightly brush off the scales with a loofah, and apply an alcohol free goldenseal extract to the skin to help relieve symptoms.

 

Try Sea Water

 

Sea water is considered a natural mineral treatment for many conditions. Apply to the affected area several times a day with a cotton ball.

 

Get a Healthy Amount of Sun

 

Too much sun can be very detrimental to this condition, but exposure to the sun for 15 to 30 minutes (not longer) a day can help reduce the scaling and redness of the skin.

 

Eat a Lot of Fiber

 

To ensure you have a healthy colon that is flushing toxins, you must consume a good amount of dietary fiber each day. A colon cleanse at least once a year is also a great idea to maintain skin health.
 

Skin Allergies and Rashes:
How to Get Relief

Skin allergies can be caused by a myriad of different things ranging from environmental agents to ingredients found in personal care products like soaps, detergents, cosmetics, or even household products or pets. It is still unknown why allergic reactions to products occur in some people but not others, although it is known that people who have allergies to certain agents are genetically predisposed, so if you find yourself itching like crazy at just the sight of a specific laundry detergent, you have at least one parent to thank.

 

 

How Do Skin Allergies Manifest?

 

Skin allergies manifest in different ways, depending on the type. The most common and most frequently diagnosed are eczema and dermatitis and both are equally as uncomfortable. What are the signs that you may have one of these skin allergies? The first and most common sign shared by all skin allergies is that of a rash. Both dermatitis and eczema manifest themselves in the form of a rash, dermatitis having a thick, red, cracked, and sometimes bleeding or oozing rash, and eczema manifesting the same type of rash, although not as thickened.

 

 

How Are Skin Allergies Activated and What Causes the Rash?

 

Well, that all depends on what type of skin allergy you have. Dermatitis is mainly caused by a lack of moisture in the skin`s stratum and, therefore, understandably worsens in the winter months. The most frustrating characteristic of eczema may be its ability to be activated by any number of things including jewelry, clothing, personal care products, or airborne allergens. Some people may have very specific allergies that include such things hair dyes, body powders and perfumes, latex, metals, plants, or preservatives in household products.

 

 

Treating Your Rash: The Do`s and Don`ts

 

When considering what works for a rash, it`s best to follow the common-sense advice of dermatologists. If it`s a dry rash, give it moisture; if it`s a moist rash, keep it dry. Number one on the list of `Dont`s` when it comes to rashes? Don`t scratch. As strong as the urge may be to scratch a rash in response to the itch, since scratching causes further inflammation and irritates surface cells, scratching itself can actually trigger a rash. In fact, many rashes may subside without treatment just by avoiding the area altogether. Dermatologist encourage those who suffer from intense itching to keep nails trim so as to avoid the compulsion to scratch. Other things to avoid exposing rashes to include perfumes, dyes, fragrances, extreme hot or cold, and regular soaps. Additionally, prolonged exposure to water.

 

 

The do`s include applying an emollient moisturizer containing mineral oil and lanolin, using soaps and moisturizers that contain the calming benefits of oatmeal, applying a hydrocortisone cream to the irritated area twice daily, and avoidance of any identified triggers of the allergic reaction.

 

 

When to seek the treatment of a dermatologist? When at-home care provides no relief, the rash worsens, or the area opens and exposes you to infection

Author: Mags Kavanaugh

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