For most people, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having a huge zit right there on your face for everyone to see. But for those who suffer with chronic skin conditions, one zit doesn’t sound quite so bad. I don’t know many people who escaped puberty without a case of acne, but for many, skin problems go deeper and last a lot longer than the teenage years. Research into skin conditions brought to my attention there are so many that cover such depth, I wasn’t able to cover them all, but we do take a closer look at the top three skin conditions and disorders that society is faced with today. Modern medicine has come so far in how dermatologists are able to treat these conditions, but they still exist, and for some, it can be a consuming burden for sure.
Unless you’ve been living in a clean pore bubble all your life, you have no doubt experienced some form of acne. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from acne every year, making it the most prevalent skin condition in the nation. An easy, clear and concise definition of acne is basically what happens when pores on the skin become clogged. There are several factors that can cause this:
- An excess production of oil in the body
- Dead skin cells
- Ingrown hairs
If you are going through or have survived your teenage years, you are keenly aware that the majority of acne takes place in the teen years when the body is going through puberty. Some adults do continue to experience acne through adult life as well. There are various types of acne, so educating yourself on those and finding out which type you may have will help you as you seek help from your dermatologist to treat your acne. There is inflammatory acne and noninflammatory acne. The different types of acne are:
- Whiteheads – A type of noninflammatory acne, can be formed when a pore gets clogged with dead skin cells and sebum.*(Sebum is a waxy, oily substance produced by your sebaceous glands that moisturizes and lubricates the skin and hair.) With whiteheads the top of the pore closes up.
- Blackheads – A type of noninflammatory acne, can be formed when a pore gets clogged with dead skin cells and sebum. With blackheads the top of the pore remains open even though the rest of it is clogged.
- Pustules – A type of inflammatory acne that happens when the walls of the pore breaks down and is filled with pus.
- Papules – A type of inflammatory acne where the skin around the pore turns pink, the pore becomes clogged, hard and very sensitive to touch.
- Cysts – A type of inflammatory acne that occurs when pores become clogged by a varying degree of multiple sources: sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Cysts are often painful and can occur below the surface, usually requiring medication or removal by a doctor.
- Nodules – A type of inflammatory acne where pores that are clogged and swollen, become irritated and grow bigger.
Cysts and nodules themselves are the most severe form of acne. It is common to have more than one type of acne at a time, which is why enlisting the help of a dermatologist is always the best course of action when seeking to treat any type of skin problem and condition.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema (which is also known as atopic dermatitis – itchy skin that is dry and red and comes in patches as a rash) is a common skin condition where patches of the skin are inflamed and itchy. The places on the body where it occurs the most are: the head/face, back of the knees, arms, and inner elbows. Eczema can be extremely itchy but scratching it just makes it worse, causing it to become more red and inflamed. The causes of eczema can vary, sometimes there isn’t always a concrete explanation. What we do know is that it can occur when something alerts an overactive immune system and something irritates that part of the body. Sometimes it is the unusual response the body makes when it encounters proteins, mistaking the proteins as a bacteria or a virus. Eczema can be common in babies and children but also happens to teens and adults as well. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form but there are 3 other kinds:
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis – This comes in itchy, scaly patches where the outbreak becomes cracked, red, and painful. Happens more frequently in women.
- Contact dermatitis – This is an itchy, red, burning outbreak caused by being in contact with something that irritated the skin.
- Nummular dermatitis – This is round, dry patches of skin that typically happens in the winter months. Happens more frequently in men.
Psoriasis is a recurring skin condition that is classified as an autoimmune disease. Your immune system is supposed to protect your body, but those with autoimmune diseases suffer as the body attacks itself instead of protecting itself. The American Academy of Dermatology, reports 7.5 million people have psoriasis today in the United States. People with psoriasis have symptoms such as:
- Scaly patches of skin
- Red patches of skin
- Itchy patches of skin
- Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling that comes as a result of psoriatic arthritis
- Low self esteem
There are 5 main types of psoriasis:
- Plaque – The most common form of psoriasis with 80 to 90% of cases attributed. This form brings red, scaly patches of skin that appear on the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back.
- Guttate – This form appears as small, red places or spots on the skin and usually appears during childhood or young adolescence. This is the second most common form of psoriasis and effects around 8% of those diagnosed with psoriasis.This form appear on the limbs or torso but can also make appearances on the scalp and face. Guttate psoriasis can be triggered by things like stress, strep throat, medication or infection.
- Pustular – This form of psoriasis develops quickly and produces red skin with many white pustules (pimple containing pus). When an outbreak happens it can cover an entire area of the body like the feet and hands. It can also bring flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, fast pulse, appetite loss and muscle weakness. This is a very severe form of psoriasis.
- Flexural (Inverse) – This form of psoriasis is often shiny, red and smooth and appears in places where the skin folds up (skinfolds) like the armpits, under the breasts or in the groin area. These places produce moisture and sweat so they are not as dry and flaky as other types of psoriasis.
- Erythrodermic – This is a very rare form of psoriasis but is a very serious medical condition. It appears as burns on your skin , scaly and red and can appear on many portions of the body and it creates heavy exfoliation and shedding of skin. It can come as a result of other types of psoriasis that were left untreated or not treated properly, alcoholism, stress, infection, severe sunburn , or after discontinued use of psoriasis medication.
Hope For The Future
As modern medicine advances, research finds new treatments and therapies, there is hope for those that suffer from these skin conditions. Better, more effective treatments and, maybe one day a cure. Hope is always a good mindset, and modern medical miracles still happen every single day.
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