Skin disease is a group of conditions that affect the outer layer of your skin (epidermis). Healthcare providers diagnose different types of skin diseases by evaluating your medical history and physical symptoms.
Some skin disorders are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as a hereditary condition or autoimmune disorder. Some are a result of environmental factors, such as sun exposure and certain drugs.
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in large patches on your scalp or elsewhere on your body. It usually starts in adolescence or early adulthood and can lead to total body hair loss, known as alopecia universalis.
It’s an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system mistakenly attacks something in your body. Scientists think it’s caused by a genetic trait and that a virus or something in your environment triggers the autoimmune reaction.
Your doctor can diagnose alopecia areata by looking at the areas where you have lost hair. The doctor may also examine your skin with a special instrument called a dermatoscope.
The doctor may recommend tests, such as blood work, to rule out other autoimmune disorders and diseases. Other conditions that are associated with alopecia areata include thyroid disease, vitiligo (a skin disorder that causes patches of white hair), diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis.
Treatment for alopecia areata depends on how widespread your hair loss is and how long it’s been present. It can include medication, topical creams or injectable treatments.
Some people with alopecia areata experience itching or burning in the area where they have lost hair. Other people have changes in their fingernails or toenails, such as pitting or dents.
If you have alopecia areata, your dermatologist will teach you how to manage it and prevent it from spreading. This includes avoiding stress and other things that may make it worse.
Some alopecia areata patches grow back without treatment, although it can take months for regrowth to occur. In other cases, you’ll need to use multiple treatments to speed up regrowth and improve your quality of life.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that develops when DNA damage from exposure to the sun or indoor tanning causes changes in basal cells, which are the microscopic cells that line the outer layer of your skin. These cells shed as new ones form, forming small growths that can look like open sores, red patches, pink growths or shiny bumps. These can appear on the head, neck, arms or legs.
Most BCCs are found on parts of your body that get a lot of sunlight, such as your face and hands. They often grow slowly, so it’s easy to catch them when they’re small.
If you notice a growth that looks different than others on your skin, talk to your health care provider right away. He or she can check it with a microscope and perform a biopsy. This test will let your doctor know whether or not you have skin cancer and the type of it.
Your health care provider can also tell you how to prevent and treat basal cell carcinoma. Getting the sun’s rays off your face and avoiding overexposure to sunlight, especially in the middle of the day, are good prevention measures for all types of skin cancer.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These treatments work by killing the cancer or stopping it from growing.
The type of treatment you receive depends on your doctor’s diagnosis and your personal preferences and ability to do follow-up visits. If the cancer is large and has spread, you may be referred to a specialist.
Surgical removal is the most common type of treatment for basal cell carcinoma. During this procedure, the surgeon removes the lesion and some healthy tissue around it. He or she analyzes the skin as he goes and examines each layer for cancer cells until no more can be found. Then the surgeon closes the wound with stitches.
Birthmarks appear when cells that give our skin its color, melanocytes (meh-lan-oh-cites), clump together. The result is a mole, cafe-au-lait spot, or nevus sebaceous (knee-vus seh-bay-ceous).
Some birthmarks fade by themselves over time, especially if they are located in a prominent place. But others need to be treated if they interfere with health or appearance. For example, a large port-wine stain on the face can be unsightly or may interfere with vision.
There are two types of birthmarks: vascular and pigmented. Vascular birthmarks are caused by improperly formed blood vessels, often red. These include hemangiomas and port-wine stains.
Pigmented birthmarks are clusters of pigment cells that give skin its natural color. They can be brown, tan, black, or blue. Examples of pigmented birthmarks include congenital moles, cafe-au-lait spots, and Mongolian spots.
Most birthmarks are harmless and can fade over time. However, some may grow quickly or become permanent.
For these types of birthmarks, there are several treatment options. For example, oral medications can be effective in reducing the size and lightening the color of hemangiomas. Other types of medication can be injected directly into the birthmarks.
Laser treatments can also reduce the appearance of birthmarks and may help shrink them. Some laser therapies can be uncomfortable, but they usually produce permanent results.
If you notice any changes in the color or shape of your child’s birthmark, visit a dermatologist. They can check your child’s skin for cancer or other conditions that could cause the birthmark to change or become larger. They can also take pictures to compare over time.
Botox and dermal fillers
Botox and dermal fillers are minimally invasive cosmetic treatments used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other skin problems. These treatments can produce results that last up to three months, and they are safe and effective.
Botulinum toxin, or Botox, is a popular cosmetic treatment that freezes muscles and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Doctors primarily use it to treat wrinkles, but it can also be used to help with migraine headaches and other conditions such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
In the United States, there are several different brands of neurotoxins like Dysport and Jeuveau that doctors can use to freeze muscle tissue. But Botox is the most well-known and widely used brand.
The toxins are injected into specific facial muscles to block the nerve signals that cause the muscles to contract. This allows the skin to relax, which smooths out wrinkles and softens them.
Dermal fillers are also a popular choice for people wanting to improve the appearance of their skin. These fillers use hyaluronic acid and similar substances to add volume and soften areas that have lost their fullness or smoothness due to the aging process. They are also used to plump thin lips and cheeks that have lost fullness over time.
Both of these injections are minimally invasive, and patients don’t experience any pain during the procedure. After treatment, the face looks refreshed and more youthful.
During your consultation, the practitioner will assess your face and suggest how they would like to treat you. This may involve using both Botox and dermal fillers, or just one.
While both treatments can provide dramatic results, they work differently on different areas of the face and should be viewed as complementary rather than competing. For example, Botox works best on dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that appear when you make facial expressions), while dermal fillers can be used on static lines that remain even when you’re not making an expression.
Eczema is a common skin disease that causes itching and rashes. It can also lead to a weakened immune system and increased risk of infection. It can also cause depression and anxiety in some people, according to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
There are many different types of eczema. The most common type is atopic dermatitis, which affects children and adults alike. It causes itchy rash, scaly patches and blisters in the skin.
It’s a chronic condition that can last for years or even a lifetime. Treatments include ointments, creams and oral medications to control itching and keep flare-ups at bay.
The first step in treating eczema is to identify triggers. Some things can make the itching and rash worse, such as perfumed soaps, laundry detergents and bubble baths.
Your doctor may also recommend a patch test to find out which allergens trigger your eczema. This involves placing a small amount of an allergen on your skin and seeing how it reacts.
Another important part of eczema care is moisturizing (hydrating) your skin. Moisturize your skin regularly or when it becomes dry. This can help seal in the moisture that’s already on your skin, which helps improve itching and rash.
Your doctor can prescribe steroid creams to treat your eczema, which can help ease itching and relieve symptoms. They can be used as a short-term therapy or as a long-term treatment.