As is true of many of the diseases on the medical spectrum, skin diseases reference a wide array of conditions which affect the skin. Diseases affecting the skin can be caused by complications of other medical conditions, fungal infections, bacterial infections, allergic reactions, and even insect bites. The skin is affected by both internal and external conditions and factors. The skin is exposed to a range of environmental hazards making it vulnerable to all manner of threats. Genetic predispositions to certain conditions are also attributed to the emergence of certain skin diseases. Even the occurrence of one type of skin disease can lead to the appearance of another.
Skin diseases usually fall into a specific category or type. The most common types of skin diseases include inflammatory disorders, viral, bacterial, cancerous, and fungal. The skin diseases associated with a certain type will usually exhibit similar symptoms, be caused by similar sources, and is treated and/or cured in a similar manner. Of course each skin disease will exhibit variances in the symptoms and severity and may display some unique characteristics. Skin diseases can range from barely noticeable to disfiguring, even to life threatening. But the type of skin disease will help determine the probable cause and the best course of proven treatment to follow.
Inflammatory skin diseases reference most of the more common rashes. Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and diaper rash fall into this category. Acne is also an inflammatory skin disease. Most of these conditions are long term. These conditions cause redness, swelling, blistering, lesions, and raised plaques on the skin. The skin becomes inflamed and can be warm to the touch. Blisters can form and ooze. Many of the inflammatory skin diseases are associated with itching. The symptoms can become severe if left untreated; sometimes even painful. Certain of the inflammatory skin diseases can lead to scarring and disfigurement. The symptoms need to be treated to control the severity and often the spread of the condition.
The skin diseases considered to be an inflammatory disorder are generally treated with medications to relieve itching, swelling, and skin dryness. Patients are given topical ointments to apply to the affected areas. Cortisone ointments can be obtained off the shelves of most stores. Corticosteroid topical medications are often prescribed for more severe and reoccurring rashes like psoriasis. When blisters or cysts become infected, they may need to be looked at and drained by a doctor. Oral medications are sometimes prescribed to treat the underlying causes of the condition. Light treatments are also commonly used to control and diminish more extensive rash symptoms.
Viral skin diseases
Viral skin diseases are those which are caused by a virus of some type. Many of the viral skin diseases are short-lived conditions which come with a list of uncomfortable symptoms. Chicken Pox and measles are the most recognizable. Both diseases are accompanied by fevers, a skin rash, and some cold like symptoms. Chicken pox is infamous notorious for the itchy blisters which cover the body. Later in years, the chicken pox virus rears its head again in the form of shingles. Shingles results in a blistering rash. The blisters fill with pus, scab, and then heal. Shingles is a painful condition which lasts several months. Herpes 1 and 2 are another type of viral skin disease. Both are spread by physical contact. Blisters cover the areas associated with the particular type of herpes contracted. Herpes 1 causes cold sores to form on the lips. Herpes 2 causes them to form on the genitals. Both are painful. Type 2 sores cause itching.
Viral skin diseases are treated with medications. Topical medications are used to cure the viral infections which cause warts and for type 1herpes. Prescription medications are used to treat most of the other viral skin diseases and to control the spread of the diseases. A series of vaccinations are recommended for chicken pox. Even those who have had chicken pox are encouraged to get a vaccination later in life to prevent the reoccurrence of the condition leading to shingles. The herpes viruses are still not curable at this time and are reoccurring conditions. The symptoms are controlled with medication, but a permanent cure has yet to be discovered to eliminate the disease completely.
Skin cancer is a condition caused by exposure to certain light rays from the sun and from tanning beds. This cancer has been on the rise in the general population for many years and has emerged as the leading type of cancer in men. People are being diagnosed with this type of cancer at much younger ages than in decades past. Skin cancer is preventable. In order to protect yourself from skin cancer, sun block must be applied to your skin everyday, all year long. Lips should be protected using a lip balm which contains sun protection. Tanning beds should be avoided.
Skin cancer is completely curable with detected early. Most of the skin cancers diagnosed are basal cell cancer, which spreads very slowly. The most dangerous cancer attacks the inner most layer of skin and spreads rapidly to other organs and throughout the body. If not caught early enough, melanoma will result in death. The cancers usually present themselves as lesions or moles which change in shape and color. People with light hair, light eyes, and light skin tones are usually most susceptible to skin cancer. Regular screenings are important and rapid treatment is necessary to prevent a diagnosis of skin cancer from becoming a tragedy.
Bacterial skin diseases
Most bacterial skin diseases are caused by staphylococci or staph. This bacteria causes the majority of the bacterial skin diseases. The staph bacteria which cause the diseases live on humans. In fact, as much as 40% of humans are carriers of the type of staph which causes diseases. Bacterial skin diseases occur when bacteria enters through a break in the skin. The infections are generally a result of another underlying condition which makes the person more susceptible or vulnerable to infections. Conditions such as diabetes or atopic dermatitis are among those which are most often attributed to the emergence of this type of infection.
Many serious skin diseases are among those classified as bacterial skin diseases. Impetigo, cellulitis, MRSA, folliculitis, scabies, and (probably the most feared skin disease of all) necrotizing fasciitis. These diseases include a wide range of symptoms from mild to life threatening. The skin can break out in rashes, pimples, boils, and lesions. The conditions spread over the skin and some can spread internally also. Necrotizing fasciitis is the most serious of the bacterial infections. The bacteria which cause this infection release toxins that cause clotting in the blood vessels. The disease results after a surgery or significant injury. But the bacteria can enter the body through even a small cut. Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include pain around the injury area, flu symptoms, intense thirst, low blood pressure, and a high temperature.
Many of the staph infections are treated with antibiotics. But some of the staph has become antibiotic resistant; causing great concern among the medical community and a reluctance to administer antibiotics. Doctors are stressing the importance of preventive measures to keep people from contracting a staph infection in the first place. In an effort to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance, often the underlying cause for the staph infection is treated. When necessary, the infected area is drained or removed. Sometimes hospitalization can be necessary depending on the severity or type of bacterial infection diagnosed.
Fungal infections are those caused by microscopic fungi. The fungi survive by living off of our dead skin cells. Most of the time, these organisms are harmless. But fungi can become a problem when they reproduce rapidly. Fungal infections include ringworm and athlete’s foot. Candida is another fungal infection that most commonly affects the genital area. The symptoms of the various fungal conditions are very similar. Itching and burning are common. Some can cause redness and raised areas on the skin. Lesions may also appear.
Fungal infections are treated with medications. Topical antifungal ointments and creams or powders eliminate the fungi causing the infection. Some infections are treated with oral medications prescribed by a doctor. Usually the more severe infections are treated in this manner. Oral antiseptics are also prescribed. Precautionary methods should be taken to minimize or eliminate the risk of reinfestation. The affected area should be cleaned regularly. Towels, sheets, blankets and clothes should be washed regularly. Try to wear loose clothing to prevent the fungi from multiplying.