Skin Diseases: Types of, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
Posted on 05/17/2023 by Dr. Asma Akhlaq
What is a skin disease?
A skin disease is also known as a dermatological disorder or dermatosis is referred to as any condition affecting the skin, hair, nails, or mucous membranes. Skin diseases involve manifestation in various ways which includes changes in skin color, texture, appearance, and overall function. These diseases can be an outcome of countless factors such as genetics, infections, allergies, autoimmune reactions, environmental factors, and any other underlying medical conditions.
Skin diseases range from mild and temporary conditions to disorders that are chronic and debilitating. It impacts individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and can have a strong influence on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being.
If you are experiencing skin symptoms, make sure to consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist for an appropriate diagnosis and suitable treatment.
What are the types of skin diseases?
There are various types of skin diseases affecting people, each with its own set of symptoms and attributes. Here are some of the skin disease types:
- Acne: A skin condition determined by pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammation.
- Eczema: Also known as dermatitis, it is referred to as a group of conditions that leads to dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.
- Psoriasis: It is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes a rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to thick and scaly patches.
- Rosacea: A chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the face causing redness, flushing, and blood vessels which are visible.
- Dermatitis: It is a skin inflammation caused by several factors like contact with irritants (contact dermatitis) or allergies (allergic dermatitis).
- Vitiligo: It is a condition determined by the pigment loss in some areas of the skin causing white patches.
- Fungal Infections: These infections are caused by fungi and cause conditions such as ringworm, athlete's foot, or yeast infections.
- Bacterial Infections: It is caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria and is also known as cellulitis which is a deeper skin infection.
- Viral Infections: It causes skin conditions like cold sores, shingles, or warts (human papillomavirus).
- Skin Cancer: There are several types of cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma which can be developed due to abnormal growth of skin cells.
- Pemphigus: It is an autoimmune disorder that leads to skin blistering and mucous membranes.
- Lichen Planus: It causes the development of itchy, flat-topped, purplish bumps on the skin or mouth.
- Scabies: It is a contagious infestation caused due to tiny mites causing intense itching and a rash.
What causes skin diseases?
The most common causes of skin diseases include:
- Infections: It is a result of bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites leading to conditions like acne, impetigo, cellulitis, ringworm, or scabies.
- Allergies: These involve reactions to certain foods, medications, cosmetics, or environmental factors.
- Autoimmune disorders: Certain autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, vitiligo, or lupus, can cause the immune system to wrongly attack the skin causing inflammation and skin issues.
- Genetic factors: Examples of genetic factors include epidermolysis bullosa, ichthyosis, or albinism.
- Environmental factors: Excessive exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can contribute to the development of skin diseases, including skin cancer. Other environmental factors are also there such as pollution, chemicals, or irritants.
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal changes which occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause leads to affect the skin and contribute to conditions such as acne, melasma, or rosacea.
- Systemic diseases: There are conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease which can manifest symptoms on the skin or enhance the risk of growing skin-related problems.
- Trauma or injury: Physical trauma, burns, cuts, or wounds can cause certain skin conditions which include scars, keloids, or infections.
How to identify skin disease symptoms?
There are various types of skin diseases and each type has its own set of symptoms. However, here are some of the common symptoms linked to several skin conditions:
- Rash: It can be itchy, painful, or have a burning sensation. It occurs because of several reasons which include allergies, infections, autoimmune disorders, or contact with irritants.
- Itching: It can be a symptom of different skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, scabies, or allergic reactions.
- Redness: Skin redness occurs due to skin disorders such as rosacea, lupus, or contact dermatitis.
- Scaling: It is the shedding or flaking of the skin's outer layer. It is primarily seen in conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or fungal infections.
- Blisters: They are fluid-filled sacs appearing on the skin and indicating signs of conditions such as herpes, impetigo, or allergic reactions.
- Ulcers: They are open sores and are usually painful, oozing, and take time to heal. They are seen in conditions such as venous insufficiency, diabetic ulcers, or vasculitis.
- Swelling: It occurs due to skin diseases like angioedema, cellulitis, or allergic reactions.
- Lesions: They are in different forms such as bumps, nodules, pustules, or vesicles, and occur due to conditions like acne, eczema, or skin infections.
- Discoloration: Skin discoloration, such as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation occur because of conditions like vitiligo, melasma, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Pain or discomfort: There are various conditions such as shingles or cellulitis causing pain or discomfort in the affected areas.
How are skin diseases diagnosed?
The diagnosis of skin diseases is initiated by combining clinical examination, medical history review, and other additional diagnostic tests. The diagnostic process for skin diseases involves:
- Medical History: The healthcare provider starts by taking a detailed medical history such as information about the patient's symptoms, problem duration, any earlier skin conditions, family history, etc.
- Physical Examination: The healthcare provider next involves performing a physical examination to determine specific attributes like appearance, color, texture, pattern, and skin lesions or rashes.
- Dermatoscopy: Also known as dermoscopy is a technique that involves using a handheld device called a dermatoscopy. It helps to view the skin surface with magnification and illumination.
- Skin Biopsy: It is required in certain cases to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. It helps to determine the specific nature of the skin disease.
- Laboratory Tests: These involve blood tests, cultures, or allergy tests and are ordered to identify underlying causes like infections, autoimmune disorders, or allergies.
- Patch Testing: A specialized diagnostic test is used to identify allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis.
- Imaging Techniques: In certain cases, imaging techniques like ultrasound, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or CT (Computed Tomography) scans are ordered to evaluate the skin condition.
What are the options for skin disease treatment?
The options for skin disease treatment depend on the particular condition and its extent. Following are some of the most common treatment options for different skin diseases:
- Topical Medications: Most skin diseases are treatable with creams, ointments, or lotions applied directly to the affected area. Medication options include corticosteroids, retinoids, antibiotics, antifungals, or immunomodulators.
- Oral Medications: These are ordered in certain cases to treat skin diseases. These medications are usually used for severe acne or bacterial infections, antihistamines for allergic reactions, or antiviral drugs for viral infections such as herpes.
- Systemic Therapies: There are skin diseases that require systemic treatments affecting the entire body. It involves oral or injectable medications like immunosuppressants, biologics, or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
- Cryotherapy: It is a procedure that involves freezing the affected skin with liquid nitrogen for destroying unusual or diseased cells. This option is used to treat warts, precancerous lesions, and certain skin cancers.
- Surgical Interventions: They might be needed for diagnosis, treatment, or removal of certain skin diseases such as biopsies, excisions, grafting, or laser surgery, depending on the specific condition.
- Lifestyle Modifications: With certain lifestyle changes, one can easily manage skin diseases. It involves avoiding triggers worsening the symptoms, maintaining good hygiene, keeping the skin moisturized, and using products that are gentle on the skin.
How to prevent skin diseases?
There are certain tips that can help in preventing skin diseases such as involving good skincare habits, and keeping the skin clean, moisturized, and protected from excessive sun exposure. Preventing triggers and irritants, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking medical advice when required on time also help to prevent the development or worsening of skin diseases.
Skin diseases are common conditions affecting a significant number of people across the globe. The impact of skin diseases on individuals varies greatly, from physical discomfort and pain to psychological and emotional distress. It can impact an individual’s self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life. Hence, it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of skin diseases and seek medical attention. It is important for individuals to stay informed, follow recommended preventive measures, and consult with healthcare professionals like Rukmani Birla Hospital, one of the well-known multispeciality hospitals in Jaipur for their proper diagnosis and management of skin diseases.
Does skin disease spread?
Yes, skin diseases are contagious and can be transferred from one person to another easily.
Can liver disease cause skin discoloration?
Yes, liver diseases can cause skin discoloration also known as hyperpigmentation.
Is cellulitis a skin disease?
Yes, cellulitis is a common skin bacterial infection causing redness, swelling, etc.