August 30, 2006
By Heather Brannon, MD
Skin disease is a very broad term that describes numerous conditions. Some skin diseases are serious and deadly, while others are just annoying. Some skin diseases are disfiguring, while others are barely visible.
Acne is the most common skin disease treated by physicians. It is a chronic condition that affects over 85% of adolescents and young adults. There are different types of acne that respond to different types of treatment.
* Seborrheic Keratosis
Seborrheic keratoses are benign lesions that don't necessarily look benign. They can have various colors, grow quickly, itch, and sometimes bleed. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to distinguish from skin cancers.
The term dermatitis describes many classifications of rashes. The most common dermatitis is atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Oral and genital herpes are caused by the herpes simplex virus. An infection with this virus is life-long, however the rash can be controlled with medication. Herpes infections in pregnant women can cause serious infections for the baby.
Hives are caused by an allergic reaction in the skin releasing the chemical histamine. Acute hives can usually be treated with medications but chronic hives, lasting longer than 6 months, require an investigation into the cause.
Infections are caused when an outside organism gets into the skin. They are classified by the type of organism causing the infection - bacterial, fungal, or viral.
Psoriasis is a lifelong skin condition caused by changes in the immune system. The rash of psoriasis is very distinctive. In the last couple of years there have been many strides in the use of biologic medications that make psoriasis less of a "heartbreak".
Rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by redness of the face and acne. We don't know exactly what causes rosacea, but there are effective medications and treatments to keep it under control.
Warts are a common skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus. There are many effective treatments, and yes, duct tape is one of them.
* Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis causes a characteristic rash on the hair-bearing areas of the face. Sometimes it can be controlled with dandruff shampoo.
* Skin Cancer
There are several types of skin cancer from the slow-growing basal cell carcinoma to the potentially fatal melanoma.
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