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A Variety of Skin Disorders

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.



Overview of Skin Disorders

There are multiple, common skin issues that can occur, such as simple acne and skin that is too dry or too oily. There are also several skin carcinomas, which will not be reviewed in this article. Several common skin disorders will be reviewed.


Psoriasis is not contagious, but it is a long lasting autoimmune disease that is characterized by raised areas of abnormal skin. These areas of skin tend to be red or purple on people with darker skin. The skin tends to dry, become scaly and itchy. The severity may vary from one person to another, but it can cover the entire body.

There are five types of psoriasis, known as:

  1. Plaque (plaque vulgaris) - This type makes up about 90% of the cases.
  2. Guttate - drop-shaped lesions
  3. Inverse - forms red patches in skin folds
  4. Pustular - small, noninfectious, pus-filled blisters
  5. Erythrodermic - occurs when the rash in widespread and can develop from other types of psoriasis

The symptoms of psoriasis tend to get worse in the winter, and some medications, like beta blockers or NSAIDs, also increase symptoms. Diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms.

Psoriasis Treatment




Acne typically begins during the teen years but can affect people of all ages. It is a condition that occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. While there are many effective treatments acne can be very persistent. When acne is severe it may cause emotional distress and it can cause some scarring.

Washing your face regularly and using a cleansing agent for the best result. Medications for acne kill bacteria, removing excess oil from the skin, and there are ones that speed up the growth of new skin cells while removing dead skin cells. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and sulfur are medications prescribed by Mayo Clinic for treatment of acne.




Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition, Your skin loses the pigment, so white patches appear that typically have sharp margins. Any hair on that area of skin may also become while. Vitiligo can also affect the nose or inside of the mouth. It is believed to have a genetic susceptibility that is triggered by an autoimmune disease, as the cause is unknown.

There is no real cure either. Treatments include steroid creams, hydroquinone or phototherapy to darken the lighter patches. Surgery is used in some cases.


Shingles has been recognized since ancient times.This vIral infection (varicella-zoster virus) results in a painful rash that may occur anywhere on the body, but it is typically a single stripe of blisters wrapping around one side of the torso. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox, which lies inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. Many years later this virus can regenerate in the form of shingles. There is a vaccine (Shingrix) to help prevent this disease and is recommended for people over the age of 50 as it is over 90% protective.

This condition is not life threatening but it can be very painful, which is the first symptom.

The signs and symptoms include:

  • Buring, pain, numbness and tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A few days after the pain begins a red rash appears
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching

Other symptoms include: headache, fever, fatigue and sensitivity to light.

How To Treat Shingles

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Hives (urticaria) has itchy, raised welts, which occurs following an exposure to an allergen. The welts are mildly painful to the touch. Avoid foods or medications that cause hives. Some people have chronic hives and the cause is difficult to determine. Thyroid disease, hepatitis, infections of cancers may be the culprit.



Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis rosea is a rash, called a herald patch. It usually begins with an oval or circular spot on your chest, back or abdomen and it can be up to 4” (10 centimeters) across. While it can affect any age group but the most common ages are between 10 and 35 years of age. This rash typically goes away without treatment, but it may cause itching.

This rash may be preceded by a headache, fatigue, fever, sore throat and a scaly spot that resemble a pine-tree pattern. There are several over-the-counter for the itching.


A wart is caused by different types of a human papilloma virus (HPV) that may be found on the skin or on mucous membranes. Warts may grow singly or in a group. They are contagious. A physician will scrape off the top layer to look for signs of dark, pinpoint dots (clotted blood vessels) and then remove a small section to be analyzed in the laboratory.

Warts typically go away without any treatment, although it may take a year or two. Warts can be treated with salicylic acid or it may be frozen with liquid nitrogen for removal.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis will appear hours to days following a contact with an allergen. There is a rash with visible borders where your skin touched the allergan. The skin will be red, scaly, itchy and raw. You may have weeping blisters that become crusty.

One treatment is steroid creams or an ointment. The physician may also prescribe oral steroids to reduce the swelling, antihistamines to relieve the itching and antibiotics to fight any bacterial infection. Applying cool, wet compresses may help relieve the discomfort. Avoid scratching. Wash and dry your hands gently, then use a moisturizer.