What are skin diseases?
Skin diseases are a wide range of conditions that affect the skin and include diseases caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections, allergic reactions, skin cancers, parasites, hereditary issues, or even their cause may be unknown.
Types of skin diseases
There are many different types of skin diseases, most of which are unrelated except for the fact that they affect the skin.
Skin diseases can be classified as being caused by infection (bacterial, viral or fungal), allergies, autoimmune reactions, parasites or cancers.
Some common types of skin diseases are:
– Bacterial infections:
- Cellulitis: common infection caused by bacteria entering a break in the skin.
- Impetigo: highly infectious and itchy, tends to manifest as red sores. More commonly seen in children and infants than in adults.
- Boils: infections of the hair follicles or sebaceous glands that develop as a sore lump for a few days, eventually filling with pus. A carbuncle is a painful concentration of boils joined together under the skin.
- Staphylococcal infection: caused by staphylococcus entering and infecting a cut in the skin. Varies in severity from simple boils to flesh-eating infections.
– Viral infections:
- Warts: usually harmless bumps caused by a virus that usually disappear without treatment, although it takes a long time to do so.
- Plantar wart: a type of wart that commonly appears on the foot.
- Cold sores and herpes: caused by the herpes simplex virus, these cold sores can appear in the mouth (cold sores) or genitals (herpes).
- Chickenpox: a common infectious disease in children known for the red itch it causes.
- Shingles: A reactivation of the latent chickenpox virus, shingles causes clusters of painful blisters. It only occurs in people who have already had chickenpox.
- Ringworm, including athlete’s foot. Not a worm, as the name implies, it usually appears as an itchy, red, scaly patch. It may appear in a ring or bump.
- Yeast infection (candidiasis): caused by the fungus candida, which occurs naturally in small amounts in the body. Infections occur when yeast builds up and grows out of control. Infections in the mouth and throat are called thrush.
– Allergic reactions:
- Eczema (allergic dermatitis).
- Urticaria: skin rash with elevated itching. They can be caused by allergies, and also by insect stings, nettle stings, etc.
– Autoimmune diseases:
- Psoriasis: characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin, this chronic condition is believed to be caused by the immune system attacking skin cells.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
- Scabies: an infestation of mites that burrow into the skin and lay eggs, causing a rash and intense itching.
- Bedbugs: small parasitic insects that suck human blood, preferring warm environments, such as beds.
- Lice: small wingless insects that live in the hair and drink blood from the scalp. They are commonly found in children’s hair, and schools frequently experience outbreaks. Their eggs (nits) are often found attached to the patient’s hair.
- Mites: small arachnids related to ticks. There are several types that feed on humans, including scabies (see above).
– Skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma.
- Squamous cell carcinoma.
Medical tests for skin diseases
The dermatologist will perform a physical examination to look for suspicious areas of skin disease.
In some cases, such as carcinoma or melanoma, a biopsy will be performed to determine the diagnosis. This consists of extracting a sample of the affected skin to analyze its cells in a laboratory.
Which specialist treats it?
Dermatologists specialize in treating skin diseases, while other specialists may be needed to treat certain conditions, such as skin cancer.