In order to get a general overview of the topic of skin diseases, the following text provides information about the causes, the diagnosis and the course of skin diseases as well as their treatment and prevention.
What are skin diseases?
According to AbbreviationFinder, a skin disease (medical term: dermatosis ) is understood to mean diseases of the skin and the skin appendages (nails, hair, talc and sweat glands) as a reaction to a wide variety of influences and stimuli from the environment or from inside the body.
The severity and appearance of skin diseases varies considerably. The classification of skin diseases is based on the affected parts and surfaces of the body. A distinction can be made between:
Generalized skin diseases: are, for example, allergic skin reactions, psoriasis, itching or eczema that occur on the entire skin surface or in several places.
Local skin diseases: are, for example, skin cancer and infectious diseases, acne, hair loss, corns or skin fungi and cuts or abrasions that only occur in one place or area of the skin.
As different as the skin diseases can be, the causes are just as extensive. They start with simple injuries such as cuts or abrasions, are caused by infections or disorders of the metabolism, the immune system or the skin, allergies and even skin cancer.
Several causes can also occur together as triggers. The human predisposition is often the cause of a skin disease such as psoriasis or neurodermatitis. The triggers can also be increased by stress or an unhealthy diet, i.e. an unhealthy lifestyle. For many skin diseases, however, it is still not possible to determine the exact cause.
Typical & common skin diseases
- Skin cancer in the form of melanoma (black skin cancer) or spinalioma (squamous cell carcinoma)
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Symptoms of skin diseases can be both visible and noticeable for those affected. The symptoms are particularly noticeable with dry skin, even if this does not always have to change visually. People with dry skin often experience a more or less strong feeling of itching, and burning can also be possible.
This is especially true if the itching causes the skin to become scratched. Dry skin can also be seen with the naked eye: the affected areas can appear red and scaly. Skin diseases can also appear in the form of lichen, pustules, pimples or raised marks. Bleeding from the skin is rare.
Such bleeding can have various causes, including completely harmless ones, for example if dry skin has been severely scratched. This is sometimes the case, especially with severe neurodermatitis in children. But if birthmarks or other skin areas bleed for no apparent reason, this is always a warning sign of a possibly malignant skin disease.
Complaints with bleeding from skin areas should always be clarified promptly by a specialist. Rapid treatment improves the prognosis significantly, especially in the case of malignancies.
Diagnosis & History
So that the attending dermatologist (dermatologist) can make a diagnosis of the skin disease, he will first ask the patient about his symptoms and possible previous illnesses. The skin and affected areas are then examined for symptoms.
Common symptoms can be:
- Cracked and dry skin
- skin redness
The skin change can often be used to diagnose the skin disease. On the one hand, the course of the symptoms can be harmless, such as with sunburn, acne or warts, so that the symptoms go away again without treatment or with brief treatment.
On the other hand, they can also be signs of a serious skin disease such as psoriasis or neurodermatitis. These cannot yet be completely healed and affect the patient for a long time.
As a rule, skin diseases can lead to various complaints and complications. For this reason, a general prediction is not possible and usually not meaningful. However, the skin diseases always have a negative effect on the patient’s quality of life. In most cases, this causes pain, itching or redness.
Those affected also suffer from reduced aesthetics and thus often from inferiority complexes and reduced self-esteem. It is not uncommon for depression to develop as a result of skin diseases. The skin appears dry and may be covered with papules. As a rule, skin diseases do not lead to death and do not reduce the patient’s life expectancy. They can often be treated easily, so that there are no special complications.
Drugs as well as creams and ointments are used in the treatment. These soothe the skin and fight skin diseases. As a rule, good hygiene also has a positive effect on these symptoms and can minimize the risk of skin diseases from the ground up. In severe cases, radiation or chemotherapy may also be necessary to cure these diseases in the long term.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of skin changes of any kind, it is always advisable to consult a doctor. If the skin is red, excessively scaly, or if the patient suffers from excruciating itching, the cause should be clarified by a dermatologist as soon as possible. In addition to the dermatologist, the family doctor can also be the first point of contact. If necessary, the doctor will refer the patient to a specialist. Common skin diseases such as acne do not necessarily require medical treatment.
However, a visit to the doctor is still recommended, especially if the symptoms are severe or last for a long period of time. The same applies if the skin disease is accompanied by great emotional stress, as is the case with neurodermatitis and psoriasis, for example.
Particular urgency is required if the skin changes affect the eye area and/or the skin is severely inflamed. Suddenly occurring pigment disorders must also be examined by a dermatologist in order to rule out serious diseases. In addition, a visit to the dermatologist is always essential when children are affected by skin diseases.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of skin diseases depends on the severity of the skin disease. In the case of mild or harmless skin diseases, anti-inflammatory ointments, creams, pastes, solutions or lotions are usually sufficient for treatment.
Some of these ointments or creams contain cortisone and should only be used for a short time. The advantage, however, is the targeted application, because the active ingredient only works where it is applied. In the case of severe skin diseases, ointments are usually not sufficient for healing. In addition, medication (tablets or drops) must be prescribed, but these often have side effects. Antibiotics are often given for treatment.
In general, the drugs used to treat skin diseases are also called dermatics. Dermatologists in particular are familiar with their area of application. Dermatics promote wound healing by protecting, caring for and regenerating the skin.
In addition, they and relieve itching. Ointments or medicines are ineffective for the worst skin disease, skin cancer. This requires surgery and, in advanced cases, additional radiation or chemotherapy.
Outlook & Forecast
Neurodermatitis causes intense itching that cannot be eliminated by scratching. The skin becomes increasingly dry and rough due to a lack of skin lipids. There is dandruff formation. Anti-inflammatory agents promise relief from incurable neurodermatitis. Ointments and creams with a high fat content have a soothing effect on itching.
Chickenpox causes blisters to form all over the body. It mainly affects children. Severe itching and fever accompany the course of the disease. The highly contagious chickenpox can also affect adults, in whom the course of the disease is usually more intense. Skin changes caused by rosacea (copper rose) initially appear as clear redness, mostly on the face. As the disease develops, nodules and purulent pimples appear.
Shingles causes the skin to swell rapidly, which then develops reddish nodules and blisters. Antiviral and pain-relieving drugs should be taken early to prevent complications. After that, the symptoms can subside quickly.
Winter eczema can increasingly develop due to cold outside temperatures, dry heating air and sweating in overheated rooms. This can cause skin reddening, itching and burning. The complaints are reduced through the use of greasy, moisturizing skin products and water evaporation containers in the living areas.
Dyshidrotic eczema (non-contagious, chronic skin disease) mainly develops on the palms of the hands. Blisters filled with edema fluid develop, which can become inflamed and associated with itching. The disease can last for several weeks and become chronic. Cold, moist compresses and anti-inflammatory, moisturizing ointments relieve the symptoms.
In the case of skin diseases in the form of allergies, preventive measures can be taken by avoiding the triggers. For example, sun-sensitive people should avoid the sun. If you come into contact with skin-irritating substances at work, gloves should be worn. Allergy tests can also be carried out if the triggers for a skin disease are unknown.
So-called skin protection ointment can be bought in the pharmacy if required. You should still pay attention to a healthy diet. In order to prevent skin cancer, one should go to regular check-ups and have moles and moles examined.
The aftercare measures for skin diseases usually depend very much on the exact disease, so that no general prediction can usually be made. However, all skin diseases must first and foremost be evaluated and treated by a doctor to avoid further complications or discomfort. The earlier this disease is recognized and treated by a doctor, the better the further course, which is why the person concerned should consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs appear.
Since some skin diseases are contagious, contact with other people should be avoided. A high standard of hygiene can also have a positive effect on the course of such diseases. In most cases, these diseases are treated by applying creams or ointments and taking medication.
The affected person should pay attention to regular use and the right dosage in order to permanently relieve the symptoms. Regular check-ups by a doctor are very important. In most cases, the skin diseases do not have a negative effect on the life expectancy of the affected person. Contact with other patients can also be useful.
You can do that yourself
Anyone who suffers from a skin disorder that does not improve for several days should definitely consult a doctor, preferably a dermatologist right away. Whether and what the patient can contribute to improving his or her condition depends on the type of skin disease and its cause.
A widespread problem is the numerous forms of acne that no longer only plague teenagers. Anyone suffering from acne should ban all comedogenic skin care products, including color cosmetics, from the bathroom. In pharmacies and in specialist shops there are special products for acne patients that are marked as “non-comedogenic”.
In addition, regular and thorough cleaning of the affected areas of the skin is recommended, but this should not be done with aggressive agents. Good results for blemished skin and mild acne are achieved with micellar-based cleansing products that can be bought in drugstores.
Skin diseases that are the result of a contact allergy or food intolerance can also be observed very frequently. If the allergen is not known, the affected person can find out by keeping a diary whether there is a statistical connection between the occurrence of the allergy and certain behavior.
Under no circumstances should the affected areas of skin be scratched, especially not with bare fingers, otherwise there is a risk of secondary infection. Over-the-counter antihistamines from pharmacies help against unbearable itching.
In the treatment of neurodermatitis, an improvement is often achieved with care products that contain the active ingredients urea (urea) and evening primrose oil.