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Friday, 11 July 2008 16:04

Common Disorders of the Skin

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A healthy skin is slightly moist, soft and elastic.  Its texture is ideally smooth, fine grained and it is free from disease or disorder.  The skin under normal conditions is resistant and self renewing.  The skin forms the boundary between the external world and the internal organs.  Its main function is to provide a protective covering against micro-organisms and other harmful substances/ but it also performs other functions:

Provides heat regulation by controlling sweat evaporation
Provides a system that allows for cell renewal
Provides a waste disposal system, ridding the body of toxins
Provides a sensory perception
Provides a tough outer net giving form to the body
Provides protection from UV radiation

Common Disorders of the Skin:

Dehydrated skin: lacks moisture and is often mistaken for dry skin, but can be present in all skin types.  Example: dry-dehydrated and oily-dehydrated. Dehydration is characterized by flakiness and a network of fine lines that look like the dry desert.

Enlarged pores: are caused when excessive oil production fills the pore and becomes trapped stretching the pore opening and shaft.

Comedo: is a plug of oil filling the pore capped with black debris caused by oxidation,  commonly called a ‘blackhead’.

Milia: is a small accumulation of cholesterol below the surface of the skin.  Often called a whitehead, Milia can be easily removed during a basic deep pore cleansing.

Cysts: occur when the walls of the pore break deep into the dermis and large amounts of sebum leak attracting bacteria and potential infection.

Acne: is an inflammatory disease of the oil glands brought on by hormonal imbalances. Commonly seen in teenage years but may also appear in adults; Characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and pustules.

Hyper-pigmentation: may be characterized by freckles, brown spots or patches in the skin.  The cause is abnormal melanin production usually from exposure to sunlight or from an injury.

Hypo-pigmentation: is a loss or lack of pigment cells.  An example of this condition is a disease called Vitiligo.  It commonly will effect the face, backs of hands, and body folds.  There usually is a positive family history.

Chloasma: also called ‘mask of pregnancy’ is a brown pigmentation on the face associated with pregnancy or the use of birth control pills.

Seborrhea: is a condition caused by overactivitiey and excessive secretions of the sebaceous glands that forms crusts or scales.  Itching and burning usually accompanies seborrhea.

Dermatitis: is seen as scaly, flaky irritated patches of skin with little white pimples. The underlying cause may be an allergic contact reaction.

Eczema: is a chronic inflammatory condition usually brought on by stress and appears as dryness, red scaly skin accompanied by sensations of itching or burning.

Folliculities: is an inflammation of the hair follicle caused by infection, chemical irritation, or physical injury.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps): is a foreign body reaction to hair. If hair cut below the surface when shaving the sharp tipped whisker may curve into the follicular wall and a pustule may occur.

Keratosis: a skin growth caused by an over production of the main protein (keratin)

Couperous: are thin walled blood capillaries that burst and appear red and spidery under the surface of the skin.  Causes of broken capillaries: 
1. Extreme sudden temperature changes, hot/cold
2. Exposure to sunlight
3. Drinking alcohol
4. Birth control pills
5. Smoking
6. Caffeine

Rosacea: is a chronic disorder of the capillaries. It usually effects the nose and cheeks and appears as a red inflammation sometimes accompanied by pustules (acne rosacea).

Scars: are likely to appear after the healing of an injury or skin condition that has penetrated the dermal layer.

Wrinkles: appear first as fine lines in the skin due to a loss of muscle tone and gravity.  As the aging process continues each year the face gradually becomes older looking.  People may become more attractive as they mature, and the signs of aging add character and expression to their face.