The skin is the largest, single organ in the body. It protects the internal organs from injury and invasion of microorganism and helps regulate body temperature. Some skin problems can be the symptoms of a serious underlying medical condition and should not be ignored.

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Ten Common Skin Problems You Should Never Ignore

 

Malar Rash

 

Malar rash is a purplish or red facial rash that covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. It is also known as butterfly rash. The rash can be flat or raised, scaly and itchy, but it doesn’t have blisters or bumps. It may also be painful to touch. The rash can also appear on other parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight, especially people sensitive to sunlight

Malar rash is a peculiar skin condition that requires necessary medical intervention because there could be an underlying health condition responsible for it. Conditions that may cause a malar rash include; rosacea, Bloom syndrome, Lyme disease, Seborrheic dermatitis, Systemic lupus, photosensitivity, bacterial infections (like erysipelas, cellulitis), dermatomyositis, genetic disorder (homocystinuria), vitamin deficiency like pellagra, etc.

People with malar rash may also experience additional symptoms such as fever, fatigue, neurological conditions like seizures, burning or tingling sensations, joint paints, mouth, nose or scalp sores, etc.

Diagnosis of a malar rash can pose a challenge because of the many possible causes. Treatment for malar rash depends on the suspected cause and degree of severity. Because sunlight is often a trigger for malar, the first line of treatment is to limit sun exposure and use of sunscreens rated at SPF 30 or more.

Acne

 

Acne also is known as acne vulgaris, is a common skin condition that usually affects teenagers. Although, it can also affect other age groups. Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and sebum (oil). Other common causes of acne include oily food, hormonal imbalance, certain cosmetic products, stress and so on.

Acne commonly develops on the face, shoulders, neck, back, and chest. In women, acne can be as a result of an underlying health condition like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The common symptoms of acne include papules (red bumps), blackheads, whiteheads, nodules (large painful lumps), etc.

Psoriasis

 

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes a well-defined, red, scaly and thickened skin. It is particularly common in Caucasians but may affect people of any race. There are different types of psoriasis

Psoriasis can present on any part of the body, especially on the scalp, eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands and feet, and nails.

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. But certain factors may trigger the psoriasis genes, causing the disease to manifest. Common risk factors are known to trigger psoriasis include

  • Medications (includes anti-malarial, indomethacin, lithium, quinidine).
  • Infection

Symptoms may vary from mild to severe and include: dryness, silvery-like scales, raised red patches, itching, bleeding or temporary loss of hair.

Treatment includes topical medications such as coal tar shampoo, anthralin, vitamin D and retinoids. If topical treatment isn’t effective, other treatment such as phototherapy or oral medication may be effective

Melasma

 

Melasma also called “chloasma”, is a common skin condition that causes patches of hyperpigmentation on the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body, usually on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and upper lip. The exact cause is not known but is believed to be due to an increased production of melanin. Several factors may contribute to the development of melasma, and these include pregnancy, hormonal drugs such as the contraceptive pill, and very occasionally medical conditions affecting hormone levels.

Rosacea

 

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that often affects the face. It mostly affects women and people with fair skin. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but changes in the vascular and nervous system, as well as a faulty immune system have been implicated. Normal skin flora microbes such as Demodex mites and Staphylococcus epidermidis may also play a role as triggers of rosacea. Other factors that may potentially worsen rosacea include exercise, heat, menopause, heat, psychological stress, alcohol or spicy food.

Symptoms of Rosacea

 

  • Thick skin, usually on the forehead, chin, and cheeks.
  • Frequent redness of the face, or flushing.
  • Red, dry, swollen itchy eyes and sometimes vision problems.
  • Dry, skin, usually on the forehead, chin, and cheeks

Rosacea can become embarrassing to the point of seriously affecting a patient’s quality of life. Presently, there is no cure for rosacea. However, there are various treatments which can relieve the signs and symptoms.

Acanthosis Nigricans

 

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases on the neck, under the breasts, between the legs, on the elbows or around the belly button.

The exact cause of this acanthosis nigricans is unknown. Acanthosis nigricans is not in itself a dangerous condition. However, it is associated with obesity, diabetes and certain drugs. Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumor in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.

Skin Tags

 

Skin tags, also known as acrochordon, fibroepithelial polyp, soft fibroma, or cutaneous papilloma are small, soft, tiny, painless, harmless skin growth. Common body areas for development of skin tags include the crease of the neck, armpit, inner thigh, the base of the neck, buttock folds, groin folds, under the breast and on the eyelid. How they are exactly formed is unknown.

Warts

 

Warts are small, painless, rough skin growth caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). While they usually occur on the hands and feet they can also affect other parts of the body.

Warts are a very common skin condition, with most people being infected at some point in their lives. They are benign and very contagious.

Most types of warts usually resolve without any treatment, while others may require intensive treatment such as cryotherapy, curettage and laser therapy

Seborrheic Dermatitis

 

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disorder, generally restricted to areas of the body where sebaceous glands are most prominent.

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. It is however associated with the non-pathogenic fungi, Malassezia. The fungi by-products (such as the fatty acids oleic acid, Malassezia, and indole-3-carbaldehyde) may cause an inflammatory response in sensitive individuals. Other contributing factors include stress, fatigue, change of seasons (worse in the winter season) and hormonal imbalance.

There is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, but there are treatments available to limit its signs and symptoms.

Moles

 

A common mole is a growth on the skin that forms when melanocytes (pigment cells) grow in clusters. Moles can occur anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, ears, lips, palms, soles, genitals and anal areas.

Although common moles are benign, people who have more than 50 common moles have an increased risk of developing melanoma. An irregular or abnormal-looking mole should be promptly examined by a dermatologist to rule out any skin cancer.

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References

Acanthosis Nigricans. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?con=262

Meadir, S., & Lebwohl, M. (1997). Psoriasis Literature Review. Psoriasis Forum3a(2), 6-7. doi: 10.1177/247553039703a00208

Seaton, E. (2008). Rosacea: a symptom-based approach to management. Prescriber19(7), 15-22. doi: 10.1002/psb.219