10 Most Common Skin Problems
Sometimes we are our best doctors. We know our bodies better than anyone. With our skin it is easy to panic since it is the first thing people notice about us. Healthy skin is also a crucial element of a health lifestyle. But our skin is constantly changing every day. So before we even consult with a doctor, we should make sure it is not a false alarm. These are 10 common skin problems that would warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
The chicken pox virus produces the viral disease of Shingles. Symptoms of shingles are a rash with blisters on the places where chicken pox formerly was. Shingles appear because the body’s immune system can no longer contain the chicken pox. Fortunately, shingles are not directly contagious. Chicken pox on the other hand is.
Shingles are considered to be an old person’s disease and only appear on younger people if they have a weakened immune system. People in constant stress are susceptible to this because stress weakens the immune system.
The disease starts with itchiness, tingling, and then pain in the skin. Fast forward a few days later, a rash with blisters appears. The blisters will then dry out and crust for some time. Usually the rash and blisters are all concentrated in one region of the body only.
Hives are red skin bumps that sometimes itch. Most of the time, allergic reactions to drugs are what cause them. When you have an allergic reaction, the body releases chemicals that make the skin swell up. That is why people with allergies are more prone to hives than others. On a rare occasion, stress or infections triggers hives.
There is no reason to panic though because hives will go away on its own. However if you have allergies you should go to a hospital. In a worst case scenario, swelling might impede the airway suffocating the person.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease. You can only get it once. Psoriasis happens when the immune system sends out false signals to make the skin cells grow faster. Fortunately this is not contagious.
There is a variety of psoriasis but the most common is plaque psoriasis which is diagnosed by red and white scaly patches on the epidermis.
Plaque psoriasis accumulates quickly on skin giving it a silvery-white form. The common areas where psoriasis shows up are on elbows, knees, scalp, soles of feet, genitals, and the palms of hands.
Dermatitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Eczema is a form of dermatitis. Although sometimes both words eczema and dermatitis are synonyms for each other. Nonetheless the term eczema applies to a variety of skin conditions.
Dryness, recurring skin rashes, skin swelling, redness, crusting, flaking, itching, oozing, cracking, blistering, and bleeding are some of the symptoms of eczema. It is never recommended to scratch open a lesion because it will scar and make the rash worse.
Rosacea is diagnosed by long term facial redness (erythema). Luckily it is seldom dangerous as long as it doesn’t cover the eyes. People with rosacea should stay away from steroid medications as this will only make the problem worse.
Rosacea can affect both genders but is more common in women 30-60 years old. It affects mostly Caucasians but is not limited to them as other races can acquire it as well.
Symptoms begin with redness in the face across the cheeks, the forehead, or nose. But other cases have shown it appears in the chest, neck, ears and scalp. Sometimes red domed bumps and pustules also accompany the redness. Other patients have even complained about burning and stinging sensations.
Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)
Cold sores are blisters that appear on the lip and around the mouth. The surrounding skin then becomes swollen, sore, and red. If the blisters break open, the fluid will leak the scab over several days. It takes numerous days to weeks for cold sores to heal.
Cold sores start with pain around the mouth and lips, fever, sore throat, swelling of glands in the neck. In smaller children there might be the presence of drooling before the condition hits. Then the blisters appear. Some people cannot tolerate the pain of cold sores.
Razor bumps with the scientific name of pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB for short) is a term shaving men are familiar with. They usually affect men with thick or curly facial hair. Almost 40% of black men experience these bumps after shaving.
After shaving, the curly hair curls toward the skin puncturing it and becoming ingrown. This produces skin irritation and red bumps. Some men may find these painful.
Skin Tags (Acrochordon)
Is a small tag of skin which may or may not have a stalk that looks like a small piece of soft hanging skin. They appear anywhere in the body but typically appear in the eyelids, armpits, under the breasts, groin, neck, and chest. They appear in these areas because here, the skin rubs against other skin.
Acne (Acne Vulgaris)
Is one of the most common skin problems identified by scaly red skin (seborrhea) blackheads/whiteheads (comedones) pinheads (papules) pimples (pustulates) and sometimes scarring. Acne occurs in the areas of skin where there are the most number of oil glands (sebaceous follicles). So usually you see acne in the face, the back, and the chest. Some acne is inflammatory while others are not.
Acne makes an appearance during adolescence and sometimes into adulthood. If they appeared as a teenager it is because of testosterone levels. Even women have testosterone only at a lower level. Teenage acne regularly disappears in the early twenties. But there have been cases of 40 year old people still with their acne.
Acne has no serious physical effects on the patient. Other than it gives greater damage psychologically because of reduction in self-esteem. In grave cases it has even lead to depression and suicide.
Moles appear when skin cells (melanocytes) grow in a cluster with surrounding tissue. Everyone has a mole or two so it is not unusual. An average of 25 moles can be found in every human. Sometimes people may even gain new moles. By age 40 though, the addition of moles stops.
Normal moles are brown, tan or pink. They can either be flat moles or raised moles. They are round in shape and smaller than a pencil eraser. Once a person has dysplastic nevi, (abnormal mole) they must consult with a doctor. Abnormal moles usually grow larger, changes in color, and bleeds. If left undetected abnormal moles can lead to melanoma skin cancer.