While a number of health conditions are private, with no obvious signs to those who see you on the street, there are also several that come with symptoms that make them stand out. Skin conditions in particular are among the most noticeable health issues that you might face, and while it’s true that they usually aren’t life-threatening, they can be embarrassing and even uncomfortable.
Five Very Common Skin Conditions and their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Eczema actually refers to several different medical conditions, all of which will cause the skin to become inflamed and irritated. When most people refer to this condition, they are referring to atopic dermatitis – also called atopic eczema.
- Symptoms – Eczema is characterized by a rash-like appearance that is accompanied by itching. The affected areas of the skin become dry and appear scaly, red, or brown. In patients with dark skin, the condition can actually impact the pigmentation and lead to lighter looking skin. Eczema usually appears on the feet, knees, hands, wrists, elbows, and face though it can happen anywhere on the body.
- Causes – Eczema is believed to be connected to the body’s immune system and its overactive response to various irritants or contaminants. However, it’s also apparently linked to families that have a history of asthma or various allergies, making it a potential genetic condition as well. Stress, infections, and certain chemicals and soaps can cause flare-ups of the condition.
- Treatment – There is no cure for eczema, and treatment instead focuses on relieving itching and moisturizing the skin. Lotions and creams are commonly used, including strong prescription strength skin creams.
Psoriasis is a condition that impacts the normal life cycle of a patient’s skin cells. When the condition is present, the cells build up on the skin’s surface and lead to a variety of symptoms. It’s very common, but can be embarrassing and even painful.
- Symptoms – Psoriasis causes the skin to develop thick, silvery scales that cover red patches of skin. It will also dry out the skin and lead to cracking and even bleeding. It can be painful, accompanied with burning and itching in the affected areas and can even trigger swollen or stiff joints.
- Causes – Modern medicine hasn’t conclusively found the cause of psoriasis, but most experts agree that it is probably triggered by an overactive response from the immune system and how it treats your own skin cells. Triggers usually lead to outbreaks, and those triggers include heavy alcohol use, cold weather, smoking, stress, and infections.
- Treatment – Like most skin conditions, psoriasis is commonly treated with topical creams and ointments. In particular, corticosteroids are used to combat the conditions by suppressing the immune system and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis. Oral medicines could be used as well, though they’re less common as a treatment.
The bane of most teenagers, acne can affect anyone of any age – at any time. It does impact teens most frequently, with a prevalence of 70 to 87 percent. It occurs on the face, neck, back, shoulders, and chest and while numerous treatments exist, the biggest problem with acne is its resilience.
- Symptoms – Acne comes in numerous forms including whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and more. Small to medium sized areas of tenderness and redness form, eventually developing white or black colors on the surface. These are usually painful and are very obviously visible.
- Causes – Acne is caused by clogged pores or hair follicles that become clogged. The oil glands in the body, combined with dead skin cells, leads to clogged pores that create the perfect environment for bacteria. That bacteria leads to an infection which triggers the development of the acne. Stress, certain diets, medications, and natural hormones are all factors that can trigger acne outbreaks.
- Treatment – Luckily, treatment can indeed work well. A variety of over the counter creams, lotions, and cleansers work to treat existing acne and to prevent future breakouts. Doctors could prescribe additional treatment options including antibiotics, retinoids, and more. Some treatments work better for certain people than others, and it might take time to find the right one for a particular person and their flare-ups.
Seborrheic dermatitis is actually one of the less noticeable skin conditions, but it is still important to control it. Essentially, this is a medical term that refers to what most people know as dandruff. It most commonly occurs on the scalp, but can be present anywhere on the body.
- Symptoms – Seborrheic dermatitis creates flaking skin that appears white or yellowish, and that will actively flake off from the body. It can be accompanied by bright red skin colors, itching, and burning.
- Causes – Seborrheic dermatitis’ cause isn’t completely known. However, researchers have linked it to numerous things including genetic factors, stress, cold weather, and the presence of a yeast that lives on healthy skin. Various risk factors can increase the prevalence of the conditions including depression, alcohol or drug abuse, AIDS, and more.
- Treatment – While some cases actually clear up on their own, the condition is usually a lifelong one that is treated, not cured. Certain over the counter shampoos and creams will usually be enough to control the condition, but doctors could prescribe stronger shampoos and lotions depending on the case.
Rosacea is among the most embarrassing skin conditions because it creates noticeable redness in the face. It’s more common in middle-aged women, but can impact anyone. Additionally, it can worsen over time if the condition is left untreated, and flare ups can make the problem even more noticeable.
- Symptoms – Rosacea is characterized by bright redness in the face that is usually accompanied by small puss-filled bumps. Eye dryness and irritation and an enlarged nose are also potential symptoms patients might notice.
- Causes – Rosacea’s causes aren’t well known, but it’s believed to be linked to hereditary factors as well as environmental factors. Certain things can lead to flare ups or worsening of the issue including spicy foods, hot foods and drinks, alcohol, stress, and even sunlight.
- Treatment – Rosacea has no cure, and patients instead use treatment options to control and reduce its prevalence. Doctors generally prescribe antibiotics, and some patients find that acne medications might work as well to control their problem.