To pay no attention to skin diseases and skin conditions is to set yourself up for unhealthiness, exposing the largest part of your body to infections, lesions, rashes, and other unwanted visitors that invade the human skin.
There is a thin line between skin diseases and skin conditions, and most times, these terms are used interchangeably, but there are some critical differences. A skin condition usually refers to a wide range of skin diseases pointing at a person’s state of health. In comparison, a skin disease is a narrowed-down condition showing illness and needing urgent medical attention.
If you’ve ever had acne episodes, you will understand the gravity of the least dangerous skin condition. Acne on your body could cause continual headaches that last for hours, amongst other uncomfortable symptoms. Likewise, a tiny blister could cause further infections with the capacity to induce a septic shock.
Did you know that sunburn could lead to death? When you hear sunburn, it sounds like the most it could do is change your skin color to a darker one, but an untreated sunburn could cause an insufficient blood flow to body organs, which could eventually lead to death.
These seemingly harmless skin conditions and diseases can be life-threatening.
WHAT ARE SKIN DISEASES?
Skin diseases are any abnormalities associated with the skin. They could be a disorder in the normal function of the skin’s various structures or could be because of microbial infections. Skin diseases range from acne to skin cancer, eczema, diaper rash, sunburn, and so on.
There are various causes of skin diseases, and treatment mainly depends on the cause. One major cause of skin diseases is microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Other causes include genetics, as regards acne, or a weak immune system as regards skin rashes.
Besides, some skin diseases are self-limiting and environmental, i.e., they resolve on their own and sometimes occur because of environmental changes. The skin as the body’s biggest organ carries clues or markers on them that can draw the attention of health professionals to an underlying illness in a patient or the overall health condition of various organs of the body.
For example, diabetes can be implicated in a person with rashes around the arms slightly darker than their normal complexion. Also, liver and kidney diseases can be suspected from various skin disorders.
It is crucial to know that not all skin diseases are clinically important. They manifest in various ways: they can be painless, fatal, painful, acute, chronic, temporary, or permanent.
WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT SKIN DISEASES
According to the World Health Organization, “skin diseases are among the most common of all human health afflictions and affect almost 900 million people in the world at any time. Five common conditions account for over 80% of all skin diseases.”
Millions of people live with at least one skin condition. You can expose your skin to many infections if you have poor body hygiene because infections, especially microbial infections, spread faster from hand to mouth or hand to eye, nose, and mouth.
Also, not all skin diseases involve medical treatment, but you can keep your skin in good health by a good lifestyle and diet.
Here are some tips for good skin:
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Eat a lot of fruits.
- Learn to wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid too many nuts.
- Inculcate good lifestyle habits.
- Practice proper personal hygiene.
Skin diseases are not just about what came into contact with your skin but can also result from other health conditions that manifest on the skin or what you consume.
UNDERRATED SKIN DISEASES/SKIN CONDITIONS
There are several underrated skin diseases and conditions, and most of these conditions are without a cure but can be treated. It is almost impossible to track down the causes of these skin diseases/skin conditions as they are often indicators of several other health conditions. Still, specific triggers could help a health professional narrow down a best-suited treatment plan.
Here are five (5) of these skin conditions/diseases.
- ECZEMA: Also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition associated with itchy and red skin. It is caused by several factors, including poor skincare, dry skin, specific food choices, excessive skin exposure to heat, stress, weak immune system, genetic factors, allergies. These causes are not absolute because eczema is an indicator of several skin conditions, including asthma and hay fever, and triggered by the body’s immune system into an inflammatory response.
In Africa, especially Nigeria, eczema is commonly seen among children but not limited to this age group. It affects both the outer (epidermis) and the middle layer (dermis) of the skin.
Note that when eczema is left untreated or becomes severely infected, it could lead to blindness or even death.
2. PSORIASIS: Like eczema, psoriasis is a skin disease associated with itchiness and redness of the skin. One difference between eczema and psoriasis is the scaly patches associated with psoriasis. Psoriasis is also self-limiting and caused by environmental changes, meaning it can appear for some time, heal itself, go into remission, and reappear.
Psoriasis is majorly caused by a weakened immune system and can last for a lifetime. If untreated, it can increase the risk of developing cancer but DOES NOT cause cancer. From research, psoriasis could also cause kidney problems, arthritis, headaches, and so on but cannot lead to death or reduce life span if treated.
3. COLD SORES: Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common indicator of Malaria and are caused by the Type-1 Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). These sores commonly appear by the upper/lower lip; they are usually hard, small, and clustered blasts filled with nasty fluid. Cold sores are another example of a self-limiting skin condition because they can heal themselves between 2-3 weeks, but it’s best to treat the blisters as soon as they gather to avoid infections. Cold sores also go into remission to reappear when triggered.
Cold sores could be caused by a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), but not often. In any case, it’s advisable to treat them as they appear to prevent grave complications.
4. CANDIDIASIS: Candidiasis is an infection caused by a fungus called candida. Candidiasis is commonly associated with vaginal infections. Candida can also live on several parts of the skin; a condition called cutaneous candidiasis. Candidiasis of the skin could result from poor hygiene, weak immune system, tight clothing, infrequent underwear changes in babies and adults, or exposure to warm weather as candida thrives in warm and moist areas.
Cutaneous candidiasis, like eczema and psoriasis, is associated with skin redness and itchiness. It can spread to other areas of the body if untreated but not as life-threatening as some skin conditions.
5. SCABIES: Scabies is not a self-limiting skin disease, neither is it an infection. It is a skin infestation caused by mites. One could also get scabies through prolonged contact with an infected person or via sexual contact. Another similarity with the above skin condition is that scabies can go into remission to appear at a later time if left untreated. It is also associated with itchiness, skin redness, and rash.
Scabies left untreated can lead to kidney problems, severe heart conditions, bloodstream infection, and so on.
TREATMENT FOR THE ABOVE SKIN DISEASES/SKIN CONDITIONS
The majority of these skin conditions/diseases have no known cure yet but are majorly treatable. Natural remedies tend to work better for the above skin conditions, but a synthetic medication will suffice when a natural treatment isn’t readily available.
- ECZEMA: There are several holistic ways to treat eczema, including avoiding irritants to the skin, using aloe vera gel, coconut oil, or taking lukewarm baths. Applying topical corticosteroid creams and ointments, pain relief meds, and topical antiseptic like Dettol also works. If eczema persists after these treatments, please see your doctor.
- PSORIASIS: One of the most effective treatment plans for psoriasis is to remove the scales surgically to reduce the growth rate. Aside from that, incorporating a good skincare plan into your lifestyle habits could help prevent future episodes of psoriasis. Also, topical ointments, sun therapy, apple cider or tea tree oil, using aloe vera gel, eating fatty fishes, or taking dietary supplements rich in vitamin-D work in treating psoriasis. If psoriasis persists after these treatments, please see your doctor.
- COLD SORES: Do you remember the cause is a virus? In this case, the best treatment plan is taking an antiviral medication coupled with pain relief and NSAID. Holistically, you could apply soothing balms to the affected area, use rubbing alcohol to dry up the sores, or apply aloe vera gel. If cold sores persists after these treatments, please see your doctor.
- CUTANEOUS CANDIDIASIS: Similar to cold sores, candidiasis is a microbial infection, specifically a fungal infection. Treating the candida using an antifungal medication or apply a topical antifungal cream/powder to the infected area. If cutaneous candidiasis persists after these treatments, please see your doctor.
- SCABIES: Since scabies are caused by an insect called mites, treating it with an insecticide is often the best action course. The most common medications include malathion lotion and permethrin cream. Alongside these treatments, oral consumption of ginger + garlic mixture also works. If scabies persists after these treatments, please see your doctor.
It would be best if you treated no health condition with levity. Remember, what’s not cared for eventually destroys. I am not insinuating that you panic whenever a strange mark appears on your skin; instead, ensure to know what that mark, swelling, or growth means and follow the appropriate course of action.
Your skin is STILL the largest organ in your body; take proper care of it.