Skin Disease Symptoms

Identifying problem skin

Our skin does much more than wrap our body. It regulates our body temperature, and through sensing painful stimuli, it helps us prevent injury. Thus, it makes good sense to protect and care for your skin.

Skin conditions sometimes can be visually identified by their size, shape and color. Doctors are able to take biopsies of skin to enable diagnosis of disorders that cannot be identified without lab results.

Superficial skin disorders can often be identified by sight. These are disorders that involve the outermost layers of skin. Superficial skin disorders include: calluses and corns, psoriasis and pityriasis rosea.

Skin disorders that are more serious - such as melanoma, toxic epidermal necrolysis and skin cancers - may involve more than the top two layers of skin and can be life-threatening or fatal.

Simple and common skin problems are non-life-threatening. Here are just a couple examples of common skin ailments:

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. Symptoms include a dry and greasy scalp and flaking of the skin. Pimples can appear in more serious cases.

Treatment for the scalp area can be accomplished with over-the-counter shampoos containing any of the following ingredients: tar, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid or sulfur. Other areas of the skin, such as the face, use mild corticosteroid solutions or ketoconazole cream.

Stasis dermatitis is chronic redness and scaling that develops on the lower legs. Other symptoms include warmth and inflammation. Skin may appear dark brown from blood pooling underneath it. This disorder could be a sign of a much more serious skin disorder and should be checked by a doctor. Treatment may consist of the inflicted person wearing support hose. If the condition is more serious, the doctor may prescribe a special boot for the patient.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition marked by recurring scaling, bumpiness and raised patches. The scaling is caused by an abnormally high rate of growth of skin cells. The areas psoriasis can affect are the scalp, the buttocks and the elbows and knees. Psoriasis can be treated with emollients like petroleum jelly and vitamin D ointment.

More serious skin disorders should be treated by your doctor. If you notice any changes in your skin or any moles changing size or color, you should go see your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Here are some examples of serious skin disorders:

Toxic Epidermal Necrlolysis is a life-threatening skin disorder. Symptoms include the top layer of skin peeling off in sheets, fever, chills and red areas that are painful. Hospitalization is usually required, and treatment provided by your doctor may include antibiotics and administration of large amounts of fluid and salts.

Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the pigment-producing cells of the skin. It appears most often on the sun-exposed areas of the skin but can appear in other areas as well. Melanoma can begin in already-existing pigmented moles or start as a new pigmented area on the skin. These pigmented growths will spread into the skin and other tissues. The earlier a growth is diagnosed, the better the chance for survival.

Basal Cell Carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lowest layer of the epidermis. This type of cancer usually develops on sunlight-exposed areas of the skin. Tumors develop as firm, small, raised nodules on the skin. They can grow slowly and not be noticed. The nodules can become flatter so as to resemble scars, and sometimes, the border can take on a pearly-white appearance. They may bleed and scab.

Skin disorders should never be diagnosed by you or anyone else who is not a qualified professional. You should pay a visit to your doctor and let a qualified medical professional diagnose your skin disorder. Your doctor has been trained to identify, biopsy and treat diseases of the skin and is your primary source of knowledge in identifying and treating life-threatening skin disorders.

By Danette M. Scott