The skin is the largest organ in the human body and its most important role is to protect the internal tissues and organs from the external world. As it acts like a barrier, it is many times affected by many environmental factors like UV rays or chemicals or by trauma. Also, because it is the human organism’s interface, the skin brings to surface conditions of the internal organs. In addition to these, the skin has its own specific diseases.
Understanding Skin Disorders
You might experience a rash, an invisible itch, a differently colored region on your skin, a bump, blisters or a big eruption. All these and other symptoms account for a variety of causes. They may be situational, or they can indicate a genetic predisposition.
There are chronic skin diseases and there are disorders that can be cured. Because 31.2 percent of the population is affected by skin diseases that require medical intervention, you are doing yourself a big favor by learning more about the various different kinds of conditions and how to relate to them. Leaving it alone, even a common disorder like acne, untreated can have a serious impact on every day life transforming even in a disabling illness. In more serious cases, it can even be fatal.
Skin is a complicated organ and the medicine branch called dermatology obviously goes into great depth to categorize it. To give you a better understanding of what are the types of disorders, here are the different types you might come across (the classifications are based on the MSD manual)
1. Acne and related disorders
Acne causes pimples on the face and upper body caused by inflammation of hair follicles. Other diseases that have a similar manifestation are rosacea that causes redness and small pimples on the face and perioral dermatitis that affects the area around mouth and chin.
2. Hives and dermatitis
Hives or urticaria can be identified by the red swellings that appear on the skin. They are most of the cases temporary and are usually caused by allergic reactions. Dermatitis is an inflammation that can manifest through itching, blisters, redness, swelling and sometimes oozing and crusting. It is a broad term and it can refer to general inflammation like atopic dermatitis or eczema and exfoliative dermatitis, or it can affect a specific area. In the latter category we can place inflammations that occur after skin is in direct contact with a substance (contact dermatitis).
3. Bacterial, parasitic, fungal and viral infections
Many factors can cause infections. There are bacteria that can cause a wide range of disorders from cellulitis to impetigo. There are also parasites like scabies, fungal infections and also there are viruses that can cause infections. The most usual viral infections are measles, chickenpox and herpes.
4. Noncancerous growths
Skin growths can appear at birth or at some point during life and they are not a reason to immediately assume cancer is present. They can be flat or raised and have different pigmentation. Most common non-cancerous growths are moles, lipomas, cutaneous cysts and seborrheic keratosis.
5. Pigment disorders
Pigmentation of the skin is caused by a substance called melanin. Disorders in melanin levels lead to albinism, vitiligo or hyperpigmentation.
6. Psoriasis and scaling disorders
Psoriasis, pityriasis rosea, lichen planus and lichen sclerosus are different diseases of the skin but they have the same characteristics that include showing clearly defined red bumps. Out of these psoriasis is a chronic disease that is connected to the immune system and might be genetically triggered. The others, except lichen sclerosus, can be caused by a reaction to a drug or a viral infection.
7. Cancerous growths
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and it is predominantly seen among those that are exposed to sun rays.
The Dermatologist Knows Best
Even if the conditions are apparent, and they can easily be seen as opposed to others that have only internal symptoms, don’t attempt to diagnose yourself. As soon as you discover an abnormality, think about the fact that skin is a very complex organ and go see a dermatologist and get professional help. A correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment can make a whole lot of difference for your living. Remember: a blister is not always just a blister and a rash is not always just a rash. And, sometimes, a growth is just a growth.