Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? This is in terms of weight – between 6 and 9 pounds – and surface area of about 2 square meters. Your skin separates the inside of your body from the outside world. It protects you from bacteria and viruses and regulates the temperature of your body.
Conditions that irritate, obstruct or ignite your skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning and itching. Allergies, irritants, your genetic makeup, certain diseases and immune system problems can cause dermatitis, hives and other skin problems. Many skin problems, such as acne, also affect your appearance. Your skin may also develop several types of cancers.
Here are some key facts about some of the most common skin problems:
Acne – A disease that affects the sebaceous glands of the skin. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to the sebaceous glands under the skin. These glands produce a substance called sebum. Pores connect to the glands through a channel called a follicle. When the follicle of a cutaneous gland clogs, a pimple develops. Acne is the most common skin disease. it is estimated that 80% of all people have acne at some point. Early treatment is the best way to prevent scarring. Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Eczema – Also called atopic dermatitis, it is a long-term skin disease. The most common symptoms are dry, itchy skin, rashes on the face, elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. At present, there is no single test for diagnosing eczema. Doctors rely on information about you and your family.
Hives – Red, sometimes irritating bumps on the skin. An allergic reaction to a drug or food is usually the cause. People who have other allergies are more likely to have hives than others. Other causes include infections and stress. Hives are very common. They usually leave on their own, but if you have a serious case, you may need medical help.
Impetigo – Cutaneous infection caused by bacteria. The cause is usually Staphylococcus (Staphylococcus), but sometimes Streptococcus (Streptococcus) can also be the cause. It is more common in children aged 2 to 6 years. It usually starts when the bacteria enter the skin, such as a cut, a scratch or an insect bite. Symptoms begin with red or pimple-like sores surrounded by red skin. These wounds usually appear on the face, arms and legs. The wounds fill with pus, then tear after a few days and form a thick crust. You can treat impetigo with antibiotics.
Melanoma – a serious and potentially fatal skin cancer. The “ABCD” of what to watch with moles on the skin:
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. Melanoma, a more serious type of skin cancer, is less common.The number of cases of skin cancer has increased. Sun exposure is a major factor.
In 2006, more than 30 million people visited health care providers for rashes.
Moles – Growths on the skin. They occur when skin cells, called melanocytes, develop into a cluster surrounded by tissue. Most people have between 10 and 40 moles. A person can develop new moles from time to time, usually until around age 40. About one in 10 people have at least one unusual (or atypical) mole that does not look like an ordinary mole. They are more likely than ordinary moles to develop melanoma, a type of skin cancer. For this reason, you should ask a health care professional to check if your moles look unusual, if they get bigger, if they change color or if they are contoured, or in any other way.
Psoriasis: skin disease causing peeling and swelling. Most psoriasis causes patches of thick, reddish skin with silvery scales. These patches can cause itching or pain. They are often found on the elbows, knees, other parts of the legs, the scalp, the lower back, the face, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. But they can also appear on other areas. Psoriasis can be difficult to diagnose because it can look like other skin diseases. The doctor may need to examine a small skin sample under a microscope. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, the size of the psoriasis patches, the type of psoriasis and the patient’s response to certain treatments.
Rash (basic dermatitis) – Dry, irritated skin; Rashes on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees, on the hands and feet. Your doctor will help you set up a good skin care routine, avoid the elements that cause rashes, and treat the symptoms as they occur.
Rosacea – frequent redness (redness) of the face; small red lines under the skin; eyes / eyelids inflamed, nose swollen and skin thicker. Your doctor can usually diagnose rosacea with a complete medical history and physical examination. There is no cure for rosacea, but it can be treated and controlled.
Skin cancer – Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They are usually formed on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is more dangerous but less common.
Wrinkles – Your skin changes with age. You may notice wrinkles, age spots and dryness. Sunlight is a major cause of aging skin. (See “Skin and sun – not a good mix”). Smoking also contributes to wrinkles. Wrinkles increase with the number of cigarettes and years that a person has smoked. Many products claim to revitalize skin aging or reduce wrinkles, but the Food and Drug Administration has approved only a few for sun-damaged or aging skin. Various treatments soothe dry skin and reduce the appearance of pigment spots.
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