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Skin Diseases

Skin Diseases – Partial Listing

Skin is composed of two layers, the surface = “epidermis,” and below that is the “dermis,” a thicker layer. Beneath the dermis is a layer of fat called “subcutaneous fat.”

The surface skin has cells at its base that continuously divide to produce new cells. as they die they move up to the surface, are shed or worn away.

Boils and carbuncles are signs of an infected hair follicle and the organism which creates the infection is usually Staphylococcus.

Warts are caused by a virus invading the skin and causing cells to multiply, much like cancers do.

Corns and calluses are thickened skin caused by pressure.

Eczema and dermatitis. Dermatitits is an inflammation of the skin and eczema is a specific form of dermatitis. Types of dermatitis include contact and infantile. Eczemas include: seborrheic (seb-or-EE-ik), dyshydrosis, discoid, housewife’s, and irritant.

Psoriasis (sore-EYE-uh-sis) is caused by too high a production of new cells which thickens the skin in an unsightly way.

Acne vulgaris and rosacea (rose-AY-shuh). The vulgaris problem typically just called “acne” is a typical adolescent problem. Rosacea is when the tiny blood vessels under the skin of the cheeks, nose and forehead enlarge and look streaky.

Hives or “wheals” are usually triggered by an allergic reaction to foods, additives or drugs.

Impetigo (im-peh-TIE-go) is a bacterial skin infection which can occur anywhere but usually appears in the area around the nose and mouth. It is contagious.

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria that enter though a small cut or sore. The bacteria produce chemicals called “enzymes” that break down the cells. Most often infection occurs on the face or lower leg. Red lines may appear, running from the infected area along the lymph vessels to nearby lymph glands (and the glands typically swell). The main risk is septicemia (blood poisoning) so antibiotics are used to treat (usually by I.V.).

Carcinomas: basal cell, squamous cell, malignant melanoma are the skin cancers. [See Cancer]

Sebaceous cysts (sehb-ASH-uss) come from tiny glands that lie just beneath the skin which produce an oily, waxy substance to keep the skin supple. When the gland fills with a thick cheesy fluid and accumulates, it becomes cystic and is felt or seen as a pale lump under the skin.

Keloid is a scar that grows excessively. It occurs often after an operation, a burn, vaccination, acne or body piercing.

Lichen planus is an itchy skin rash. Small, shiny, reddish spots appear suddenly (often on the wrists), or patches of thickened, discolored skin appears that gradually fades and leaves a brown mark.

Pitiyriasis rosea (pih-tear-RYE-uh-sus) is a skin rash (cause unknown) that some think it is viral. It starts as one or more large, red, scaly spots, generally on the trunk which may spread further.

Ichthyosis (ick-thee-OH-sus) is a genetic skin disorder with very dry skin, especially on the hands, and is broken up into plates that look like fish scales (root word is fish).

Abnormal skin pigmentation occurs when cells called “melanocytes” that produce brown coloring pigments don’t work well and create either brown spots or pale areas of skin that do not tan.

Related words are: albinism, vitiligo, chloasma (cloh=AS-muh), moles, and seborrheic warts.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and is provided as a supplement for students enrolled in Meditec’s medical career training courses. The information should NOT be used for actual diagnostic or treatment purposes or in lieu of diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician.