Wednesday, September 18, 2013

10 Unusual skin problems you ignore

The thought that every zit, eruption, or boil on your skin is a pimple or acne is untrue. There are a lot of skin conditions that are caused due to allergies, cosmetics, sun damage, stress, puberty or even pollution.

Dr Rickson Pereira, Consulting Dermatologist, M.D. (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprosy) from Dr Minal's Dermatherapie Centre talks about 10 unusual skin conditions that people generally ignore.

Keratosis pilaris is identified as skin-coloured or slightly red bumps on the skin. It starts during adolescence and affects the outer arms, back and thighs and rarely the face. It occurs because the unshed skin forms hard plugs in the opening of the hair follicle. The skin has an uneven and spiny feel. It can be treated with moisturisers and exfoliating treatments containing alpha hydroxy acids.

Milia are tiny, pearly, keratin-containing cysts that appear just under the superficial layer of the skin. They can appear at all ages, but more in those who have sun damaged skin. They can be removed easily by a dermatologist. A retinol containing cream can reduce the formation of new ones.

Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) is an abnormal response of the skin to sunlight. It can appear as whitish to slightly reddish itchy patches on the face, neck and outer side of the arms. PMLE needs a dermatologist's attention. It may heal with some residual marks. A broad-spectrum sunscreen (both UVA & UVB blockers) can prevent recurrences.

Pityriasis alba is a common skin condition seen in children and adolescents. It presents as dry, pale patches on the face and can be confused with fungal infections (pityriasis versicolor) or vitiligo. It is a benign, self-limiting condition. A dermatologist can confirm the diagnosis. It responds to treatment with moisturisers and mild steroid creams.

Pigmentary demarcation lines (PDL) are natural patterns on the skin, composed of dark-coloured areas with abrupt transition into light-coloured skin. This occurs on the face, arms, chest and legs. PDL of the face is a frequent concern among women and appears as tanned patches on the cheeks (bat-wing pattern), forehead and under eye area. Avoiding undue sun exposure, use of a sunscreen and combination of skin-lightening creams, peels and Q-switched lasers can lighten these lines.

Acanthosis nigricans is a condition presenting as dark brown to black, velvety patches of skin in the body folds such as undereyes, neck, underarms, groin, elbows, knees and fingers. It may be familial and the condition worsens with weight gain. It is the most common cause of darkening underarms and neck and sometimes dark under eye circles. Exercise, weight loss and dietary modifications improve the appearance. Mild peels, Q-switched Nd-Yag laser or fractional laser in combination with skin-lightening creams can give good results.

Macular amyloidosis appears as brown-grey, rippled patches on the upper back, outer arms, elbows and rarely, the face. Vigorous scrubbing of the skin, constant friction, prolonged sun exposure and occasionally, an underactive thyroid can be associated with this condition. Combination of exfoliating creams, peels and lasers can be beneficial in this condition, though it cannot be eliminated completely.

Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN) is a skin condition presenting as numerous, small, brown-black, dot-like growths on the face, neck and decollete. They usually appear during puberty and increase with age. A family history may be present. They are benign, and can be treated to address cosmetic concerns by radiofrequency cautery.

Rosacea is a common skin disease and manifests as an easy tendency to blush or flush easily with or without acne-like breakouts, large pores and a coarse skin texture. Skin may be very sensitive and sting and burn. Stress, sunlight, spicy foods, alcohol and many skin care products can aggravate or trigger rosacea. Oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications are needed to treat an episode. Avoid the trigger factors and use skin care products designed for sensitive skin to avoid flare-ups.

Sensitive skin type is a skin condition in which skin is prone to itching, burning and transient redness when using cosmetics and toiletries. Individuals may also report intolerance to facials and other dermatological procedures. Opt for sulphate-free cleansers and use moisturisers compatible with sensitive skin. Also, avoid skin care products containing alcohol, alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid. Mineral sunscreens and make up suitable for sensitive skin.


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