Dermatological Conditions.

Dermatological Conditions.

Skin, along with hair and nails, is the protective covering of the body. Skin prevents germs from entering the body and damaging internal organs. It supports the life of all other body parts and plays a role in maintaining the immune system.

Skin also helps to regulate body temperature through the sweat glands. When the body becomes overheated, sweat glands give off moisture, which cools the body as it evaporates. As the body part responsible for the sense of touch, skin works with the nervous system to alert the body to potential dangers by detecting pressure, pain, heat and cold. It is also the largest organ of the body.

Visit your dermatologist regularly to find out if you have any skin disease or damage.

Actinic keratosis.

For many people sunlight is a source of wellbeing. Sunlight provides warmth, vitamin D and the release of 'feel-good' hormones like serotonin. However, many people still underestimate the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer of the Caucasian population. Around 240,000 people are diagnosed yearly and the number is rising rapidly. Combined with a diminishing ozone layer, sunlight exposure becomes an increasing health risk.

Psoriasis.

Nearly three percent of the world's population, men, women, and children, even new-born babies, endure the symptoms of psoriasis. Many tolerate constant pain from cracking and bleeding skin. Some wrestle with a crippling form of arthritis.

Yet, much of the world's population finds psoriasis a trivial matter requiring little understanding or sympathy. Some people still equate psoriasis with being unclean or self imposed and shun those who bear its mark when, in fact, many people with psoriasis isolate themselves because of such a deep sense of shame.

Eczema.

Living with eczema can be an ongoing challenge for both patients and family members. The word ‘eczema' is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘to boil over', which is a good description for the red, inflamed, itchy patches that occur during flare-ups of the disease. The skin disease can range from mild or moderate, to severe.

What is eczema?
Although the term eczema is often used for atopic dermatitis, there are several other skin diseases that are eczemas as well. A partial list of eczemas includes: atopic dermatitis, nummular eczema (coin shape), dyshidrotic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis. All types of eczema cause itching and redness and some will blister, weep or peel.
 
Atopic dermatitis often affects people who suffer from asthma and/or hay fever or have family members who do. The word 'atopic' was originally used to describe the allergic conditions asthma and hay fever.
 
Atopic dermatitis is not contagious. It almost always begins in childhood, usually during infancy. Its symptoms are dry, itchy, scaly skin, cracks behind the ears, and rashes on the cheeks, arms and legs. It alternately improves and worsens. During flare-ups, open weeping or crusted sores may develop from scratching or from infections.
 
Atopic dermatitis is a common disease, present worldwide, though it is more common in urban areas and developed countries. An estimated 10 percent of all people are at some time affected by atopic dermatitis (this may not apply in the tropics). It affects men and women of all races equally.
 
Types of Eczema.
All types of eczemas cause itching and redness and some will blister, weep, or peel. There are several skin diseases that are eczemas. A partial list includes:
 
  • Atopic dermatitis: the most severe and chronic (long-lasting) kind of eczema.
  • Contact dermatitis: a reaction that can occur when the skin comes in contact with certain substances, which can cause skin inflammation.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: a blistering type of eczema, which is twice as common in women. It is limited to the fingers, palms and soles of the feet.
  • Nummular eczema: non-itchy round patches of dry skin often appearing in the winter months. It can affect any part of the body, particularly the lower leg.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: a red, scaly, itchy rash that can appear in various locations on the body. The scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, and skin behind the ears and on the middle of the chest are the most common areas affected.
  • Stasis dermatitis: a type of eczema that can develop in people when the veins in their lower legs don't properly return blood to their heart.

 

 
Triggers.
Trigger factors may be different in different people. Most eczema patients can get worse when they have a cold or infection. Some patients have worse problems in the winter, while others simply cannot stand the sweating during hot, humid summer weather. Common eczema triggers include following:
  • Dry skin – wind, low humidity, cold temperature, excessive washing without use of moisturisers, and use of harsh, drying soaps can all cause dry skin and aggravate eczema.
  • Irritants – these are any substances outside the body that can cause burning, redness, itching or dryness of the skin.
  • Allergens – these are materials (such as pollen, pet dander, foods, or dust) that cause allergic responses and can worsen eczema.
  • Stress – people with eczema often react to stress (frustration, anger, fear, embarrassment) by having red flushing and itching. Eczema itself, and its treatments, are also a source of stress. The challenge is to recognise stress and find stress reduction techniques that work for you.
  • Heat and sweating – Most people with atopic dermatitis notice that when they get hot, they itch. They have a type of prickly heat that doesn't occur just in humid summertime but anytime they sweat.
  • Infections – Bacterial ‘staph' infections are the most common, especially on arms and legs. Such infections might be suspected if areas are weeping or crusted or if small ‘pus-bumps' are seen. If some lesions look different, consult your doctor.
Genetic Factors.
Researchers have found that some people with eczema have a genetic defect that causes a lack of filaggrin in the skin. Filaggrin is a type of protein that helps form the protective outer layer of our skin. This skin barrier protects the body from germs and other foreign substances. A lack of filaggrin dries out and weakens the skin barrier. This makes skin vulnerable to irritants such as soap and detergents. A weak skin barrier also makes it easier for allergens like pollen to enter the body. Scientists believe that this exposure may cause sensitivity to allergens and even certain foods.
Care.
The most important treatment for dry skin is to put water back into it. The goal of bathing and moisturising is to help heal the skin. The best way to hydrate your skin is to have a brief bath or shower and to moisturise immediately afterwards.
 
Use of an effective moisturizer several times every day hydrates your skin and improves its barrier function. Moisturiser should be applied to the hands every time they are washed or come in contact with water.
 
Once inflammation begins, see your doctor as soon as possible, as prompt treatment is needed. 
 
 
 
NOTE: SCRATCHING OPEN A HEALING LESION MAY RESULT IN SCARRING AND CAN EXACERBATE THE RASH