Different Types of Skin Diseases and Disorders

March 9, 2012By

Millions of people all over the world suffer from skin diseases and disorders. Hardly anyone makes it through their teenage years without having to deal with acne and many people face worse problems: psoriasis, warts, eczema and more. The first step to dealing with such problems is knowing what they are. Here are some of the more common skin problems to help you identify what’s wrong:

Common Types of Skin Problems

Acne

Photo of a woman with skin diseases and disordersOut of all skin disorders and problems, acne is the most common. People of nearly any age can suffer from it, though it’s most frequently experienced by adolescents and people in their early 20s. It can appear in a variety of forms, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, inflamed skin and hard cysts. There are a variety of treatments available, including skin cream, cleansers, and various prescription medications.

Ingrown Hair

You may get small sore bumps or infections resembling acne from ingrown hairs. This is the result of the end of a hair penetrating the skin and growing inwards, and generally doesn’t happen unless the hair is cut or broken (by shaving or friction, for example), creating a sharp end. People with curly hair are much more likely to suffer from this condition, since the curls can point the end of the hair back towards the skin. This is a minor condition and can be treated with proper shaving techniques and skin cream.

Rosacea

Rosacea can easily be mistaken for other skin diseases like acne or sunburn. It often causes red, irritable patches of skin, pimples and bumps (but not blackheads), and easily visible blood vessels. One type of rosacea can appear in the eyes, causing both eyes and eyelids to redden and become irritable; this can result in permanent vision loss if untreated. Another common symptom from long-term untreated rosacea is disfigurement of the nose from excess skin growth, resulting in large, permanent bumps (imagine a caricature of an evil witch). While there is no permanent cure for rosacea, it’s often possible to make symptoms disappear entirely with proper treatment.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis can range from a mild irritation to a potentially life-threatening disorder. Its symptoms vary but most often include scaly plaques on the skin, formed by the body producing new skin cells more rapidly than it can deal with them. They most commonly appear on the outside of joints and look white or silvery. Other times, it can appear as red patches similar to rashes or acne. Psoriasis on scalp areas can lead to severe dandruff as well. Those suffering from this disorder will likely require lifelong treatment, but fortunately even severe cases can usually be managed well with medication.

Warts

Warts have a variety of appearances but commonly show up as hard or cauliflower-like bumps or flat lumps. They only rarely cause pain, but genital warts can cause cancer in women. All warts are the result of the human papillomavirus and are contagious. Like acne, they can also spread from one area to another through touching or scratching, so avoid touching them and wash your hands immediately afterwards if you do. Warts generally go away on their own, but there are treatments and surgical procedures available to remove them.

Cysts

Cysts are generally small, smooth bumps beneath or on the skin. They can appear nearly anywhere and can be frightening to discover, as they can be mistaken for tumors. However, they cause no pain and sometimes go away on their own. They are often caused by previous damage to the area they appear in or by genetic predisposition, meaning they are essentially unpreventable, but they can be removed surgically or, in certain cases, drained. Despite the chances of a given lump being benign, you should see a doctor immediately if you are at all uncertain as to the cause.

Eczema

Most commonly suffered by the very young and people with allergies, eczema begins as an itching feeling and can progress into a rash and eventual cracking and bleeding. Infants will generally, but not always, grow out of eczema. This condition is often fairly easy to treat at home with moisturizers and careful avoidance of allergy sources and scratching; however, it is best to consult your doctor if you think you have eczema.

Hives

Hives are a common disorder frequently caused by allergies, drugs or sunlight. While they can be part of an anaphylactic reaction (which is potentially fatal), hives by themselves are not dangerous. They appear as elevated red patches of nearly any size and they often itch, sting, or burn. Usually, they will disappear in a matter of hours or days. Hives are typically treatable with antihistamines. If you suffer from hives, try to single out the cause of the reaction, and then avoid it whenever possible.

Skin disorders and diseases aren’t something you just have to suffer through. If you’re dealing with any of these conditions or any that aren’t listed, talk to your doctor about the options available to you.

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