The skin is the largest organ in the body, based on surface area. The skin has a lot of functions, apart from separating the inside of the body from the outside, it protects the body from infections such as bacterial, viral and fungal infections. In addition, the skin plays a role in body temperature regulation. Although the skin is tough and can withstand a lot of injuries and trauma. It can be affected by some diseases, infections, and injuries. However, most of these conditions can be treated by physicians. There is a special field of medicine that focuses solely on the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions. This field is known as dermatology, and physicians that specialize in this filed are known as a dermatologist. This article would focus on the common skin diseases that can be treated by a physician.
Common Skin Conditions That Can Be Treated By A Physician
- Acne: Also known as acne vulgaris is a chronic skin disorder that occurs when the skin hair follicles are blocked with dead skin cells, and oil from the skin. Persons affected with this skin disorder do present with conditions such as oily skin, scarring, blackheads and so on. This condition mostly affects the parts of the body that contains a high number of sebaceous glands. They include the face, chest, and the back.
Although acne doesn’t affect the body systems, it can disfigure the face of the affected person, and also cause psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation in severe cases. The exact cause of this acne isn’t known. However, factors that contribute to the development of the disease have been identified. They include genetics, poor and unhealthy diet, poor personal hygiene, exposure to the excessive amount of sunlight and so on. Hormones also play a role in the development of this disease. Acne mostly occurs shortly after puberty, when there is a surge in the level of sex hormones. Physicians diagnose this condition by carrying out a physical examination of the patient. There are a lot of various treatment options for acne. Some of them include the use of salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid and so on. Others include the use of antibiotics and retinoids. Contraceptives are also important in the treatment of acne.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Acne Vulgaris?
Persons affected with acne vulgaris would present with the following signs and symptoms:
- Patients may present with a painful and pus-filled lump just under the surface of their skin.
- They might also present with big solid, painful lumps under the surface of their skin.
- Patients might manifest whiteheads and blackheads.
- Persons affected with acne vulgaris might develop small red and tender bumps.
When Is It Important to Go See A Physician?
Acne presents in various severities. Mild cases of acne can be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. Mild acne usually resolves without the use of any medications after some time. However, there are some cases in which acne can persist for a long time, even years in some cases. It’d be best to consult a specialist in this case. In addition, acne can be a symptom of an underlying disease, especially when the acne persists for a long time. It’s important to seek medical help if you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty in breathing: It’s important to consult a physician if you have difficulty in breathing, with chronic The condition might be as a result of an underlying disease.
- Syncope: This is a condition in which an individual faint or passes out. People affected with acne and passed out without an explainable reason must seek emergency medical help.
- Swelling of parts of the body: It’s important to seek medical help if you observe any form of swelling on the face, eyes, lips, and
- The tightness of the throat
What Are the Causes of Acne Vulgaris?
There are various conditions that could lead to the development of acne vulgaris. Some of the conditions that could lead to this disease include the following:
- Excess production of oil by the sebaceous gland: Acne occurs when the sebaceous gland of certain parts of the body produces an excess amount of oil. This mostly affects the skin of the face, chest, and upper back.
- Clogged hair follicles: There are situations where the hair follicles are clogged by dead cells or by oil.
- Infection: Infections could also lead to acne. This is why physicians sometimes prescribe antibiotics to patients suffering from this skin disease.
- High level of hormones: One of the most common causes of acne is the high level of androgens in the body. This is why most teenagers develop acne when they attain puberty.
What Are The Conditions That Could Make Acne Worse?
There are some conditions that worsen acne. Some of the factors include the following:
- Diet: Diet plays an important role in the development of acne. There are some foods that can worsen acne. Some of these foods include bread, bagels and so on. Other examples include skim milk, chips, and It’d be best to avoid these foods if you know you have a high risk of developing acne or already affected by acne.
- Stress: People that are emotionally or physically stressed are prone to develop acne. One of the ways of preventing this is by relaxing whenever you notice any breakout on your skin. This is peculiar to students whenever they’re preparing for examinations.
- Hygiene: Contrary to popular belief, acne does not occur as a result of dirty skin. However, cleansing the skin with some soaps or chemicals can cause irritation in the skin, and eventually worsen the skin condition.
- Age: Acne mostly occurs in teenagers, especially those that just attained puberty.
- Family history: People with a family history of acne are more prone to developing acne vulgaris.
Diagnosis and Treatment Of Acne Vulgaris
A lot of people do make use of over-the-counter medications. However, if this doesn’t work, it’d be beneficial to contact your dermatologist. They can diagnose, and administer the right medications, or even perform a procedure if there is a need for it. Some of the common medications dermatologists prescribe include a retinoid, antibiotics, salicylic acid, dapsone and so on. Procedures carried out by dermatologists include lasers and photodynamic therapy, chemical peels, steroid injection, and extraction of whiteheads, blackheads and so on.
- Keloids: Keloids, also known as keloid disorder are a type of scar that develops on the skin. They are composed of collagen. The type of collagen they contain depends on the maturity of the scar. Keloids develop due to the overgrowth of granulation tissue on a healed skin injury. They are usually rubbery, shiny and fibrous when touched. They are not contagious, although persons affected with the disorder might experience some discomfort and itchiness. This disorder mostly occurs more in persons of African descent, than people from European descent.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Keloids?
- Keloids do present as a claw-like growth on normal
- Persons affected with keloids might experience some pain or itch if the keloid is pricked with a needle.
- Keloid can develop into an ulcer if it becomes infected.
Where Do Keloids Develop?
Keloids can develop in any part of the body. They usually occur as a result of pimples, insect bites, scratching, burns and other forms of skin injury. They can also develop from surgical incision wounds.
What Are the Causes of Keloid?
As earlier mentioned, keloids mostly develop due to scarring from burns, chicken pox, surgical incisions, scratches, vaccination sites and so on. Studies have shown that keloid is more prevalent in young people, especially those between the ages of 10 and 20. Genetics also play an important role in the development of this disease. It mostly develops in Africans and African-Americans, while it rarely occurs in people from other races.
When Is It Important To Seek Medical Help?
Keloids usually don’t require any form of treatment. However, it’s important to go for medical help if the keloid growth continues. Although keloid growth is benign, there is a possibility it becomes cancerous if the growth is not controlled.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Physicians diagnose this disorder by carrying out a physical examination of the patient. They may also perform a biopsy of the keloid for further analysis. Some of the treatment options include the following:
- Radiation to cause the shrinkage of the keloids.
- Laser treatment can also be used.
- Corticosteroid injections may be applied to reduce inflammation.
- Physicians also advise people to apply pressure on wounds, after getting an injury.
- Moisturizing oils can also be
- Vitiligo: Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its color in botches. The extent of this loss of skin color depends on the severity of the disease. This disorder can affect any part of the body. It’s a chronic disease that mostly affects part of the body that is exposed to the sun. This condition is more prominent in dark-skinned people because the loss of skin color stands out. The main cause of vitiligo isn’t known yet. However, some conditions that contribute to the development of the disease have been identified. These conditions are mainly genetic and environmental. In addition, the primary mechanism behind the development of this disorder is autoimmunity. The body immune system for some reasons fails to recognize the skin pigment and proceeds to attack them. Some of the factors that increase the risk of vitiligo include family history, and diseases such as alopecia areata, pernicious anemia, and hyperthyroidism. All these diseases are autoimmune diseases. There is no cure for vitiligo. However, signs and symptoms of the disease can be improved with medications.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Vitiligo?
- Persons affected with vitiligo would present with a patchy loss of skin color.
- There might also be a change in the color of the inner layer of the eyeball.
- The color of the inner lining of the mouth and nose can also be lost.
- The scalp, eyebrows, a beard can also prematurely become white or grey.
What Are the Causes Of Vitiligo?
The main cause of vitiligo isn’t known yet. However, some conditions that contribute to the development of the disease have been identified. Genetics and environmental factors play an essential role in the development of the disease. Below are some of the conditions that could contribute to the development of the disorder:
- Family history: Persons with a family history of vitiligo have a high risk of developing vitiligo.
- Immune system: Individuals with a previous history of the autoimmune disease have a high chance of developing vitiligo.
- Exposure to triggers: Examples of conditions that could trigger vitiligo includes sunburn, stress and high exposure to chemicals.
What Are The Complications Of Vitiligo?
Some of the complications of vitiligo include the following;
- Depression: This occurs as a result of the social stigmatization that is associated with vitiligo.
- Skin cancer
- Loss of hearing
Physicians diagnose this condition by taking the medical and family history of the patient. This is followed up with the physical examination of the patient. Other diagnostic tests that are commonly used in the treatment of this condition include skin biopsy, blood laboratory test and so on.
Treatment of Vitiligo
- There is no cure for vitiligo yet. However, there a lot of treatments that can help restore the skin color, and also even out the skin tone of the patient. It’s important to know that some treatment procedures have adverse effects. Physicians mostly make use of a combination of medication, surgery, and therapy. Physicians may recommend steroid creams to patients to help control inflammation, and also help return the skin color. Ointments that contains tacrolimus are also effective in the treatment of vitiligo. Phototherapy is also effective in restoring color to depigmented areas of the skin. However, this has to do multiple times for a good result to be achieved.
- Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that mainly affects the face. This disorder causes symptoms such as redness, swelling, and dilation of the superficial blood vessels. This mostly occurs in the nose, cheeks and the chin. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown; however, some factors have been identified to play a role in the development of the condition. Some of these conditions include heat, sunlight, consumption of alcohol, menopause, physical and emotional stress, a side effect of steroid creams and so on. Physicians diagnose this disorder based on the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. There is no cure for rosacea yet. However, there are some medications that can improve the symptoms. Some of them include metronidazole, doxycycline, tetracycline and so on. This disorder mostly affects adults, especially those between the ages of 30 and 50.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea?
Below are some of the signs and symptoms of rosacea:
- Facial redness: Persons affected with rosacea do present with a persistent redness on their face. This mostly occurs in the central part of the face. This can be attributed to the dilation and swelling of the small blood vessels on the nose and on the cheeks.
- Eye problems: Studies have shown that about 50% of people affected with rosacea do manifest symptoms such as dryness of the eyes, irritation, and swelling of the eyelids. Most patients experience eye symptoms before skin symptoms.
- Nose: Nose of persons affected with rosacea usually become thicker, and develop rhinophyma.
- Red bumps: Most persons affected with rosacea do present with pimples on their face. These pimples might also contain pus and are usually hot and tender when touched.
What Are The Causes Of Rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea isn’t known yet. However, conditions that contribute to the development of the disorder have been identified. They include genetics and environmental factors. Contrary to popular belief, rosacea isn’t caused by poor hygiene. Below are some of the factors that could trigger rosacea:
- Consumption of alcohol: Alcohol has been identified to be one of the factors that could trigger rosacea.
- Emotions: This condition tends to occur when affected persons are stressed emotionally.
- Food: Consumption of hot drinks and spicy foods also plays a role in the development of this disease.
- Extreme temperature: Exposure to extreme temperatures, such during a hot summer or an extremely cold winter.
- Cosmetics: There are some cosmetic products that could induce this disorder.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Physicians diagnose this condition by physical examination. Some tests might also be carried out to exclude other diseases that share some similarities with this disease such as acne, eczema and so on. The treatment of rosacea involves controlling the signs and symptoms. The duration of treatment mainly depends on the severity and type of symptoms. Physicians usually administer medications that would help to reduce the redness, oral antibiotics and so on.
- Psoriasis: This is a common chronic skin condition that abnormally increases the life cycle of skin cells. These cells accumulate rapidly on the surface of the skin. This eventually would develop into scales, which might become itchy and painful for patients. Psoriasis is intermittent in nature, in that it often comes and goes. Physicians diagnose this disorder by physically examining the patient. There is no cure for this disorder yet, although the signs and symptoms can be managed through a combination of change in lifestyle and medications. Some of the medications used include topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs and so on.
- Contact dermatitis: This is a condition that occurs as a result of an allergy, or due to contact with a substance. This disorder isn’t life-threatening, and contagious. Some of the materials that can induce contact dermatitis include jewelry, fragrances, plants and so on. Physicians diagnose this condition by evaluating the signs and symptoms of the patient. They might also recommend a patch test, to know exactly what the patient is allergic to. Treatment is usually a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Examples of medications used in treating this condition include corticosteroids and ointments.
- Lichen planus: This is a chronic inflammatory condition, that affects the skin, nails, hair and the mucous membrane. The condition causes the irritation and swelling of parts of the body. Mild cases of lichen can be managed at home. However, severe cases have to be treated by a physician.
- Nail disease
- Skin infection: There is some microorganism that can infect the skin. This infection might be bacterial, viral, fungal and so on.
- Lupus erythematosus: This is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects various organs of the body, such as the skin, kidneys, brains, heart, lungs and so on. This disease is usually difficult to diagnose because of the various signs and symptoms presented by patients. One of the most distinctive features of the disease is that patients do present with a facial rash that looks like a butterfly on the face and across the cheeks. Physicians diagnose this condition by taking the medical and family history of the patient, followed by a thorough physical examination of the patient, and the evaluation of the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. Other tests that physicians may order for include complete blood count, biopsy, urinalysis, imaging tests and so on. The disease is treated by administering medications such as antimalarial drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and so on.
- Impetigo: This is a highly infectious skin condition that occurs predominantly in infants and children. Patients do present with symptoms such as red sores on the face, and also around the nose, mouth, hands, and feet of patients. Physicians diagnose this condition by assessing the signs and symptoms of the disease. They could also carry out other tests to exclude other diseases. In situations where the sores don’t clear off within some days, you should call for medical help. Physicians treat this disease with a combination of medications and changes in lifestyle. Some of the medications used include antibiotics.
- Eczema: This is a skin disorder that causes the inflammation and irritation of the skin. Most patients are diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. This means that patients are prone to developing the redness and irritation of the skin, due to heredity. Eczema affects about 10-20% of all infants in the United States of America. However, most of these infants tend to outgrow this disease, although about three percent of adults and teenagers still present with symptoms of this skin disorder. Some of the symptoms of eczema include severe itching, swelling of the skin, and skin lesions
- Poison ivy
- Cold sores
Overall, it’s important to consult a dermatologist near you if you notice develop any skin problems that have persists for a long time, and isn’t responding to home remedies.
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Lam, C. and Vleugels, R. (2012). Management of cutaneous bruises. Dermatologic Therapy, 25(2), pp.112-134.
Scadden, D. and Srivastava, A. (2012). Advancing Stem Cell Biology toward Stem Cell Therapeutics. Cell Stem Cell, 10(2), pp.149-150