It’s easy to take our skin for granted and not look after it properly or even get it regularly checked out — until it’s too late. As the body’s largest organ, serving multiple functions, the skin comprises several layers and is a complex structure that can suffer various conditions and diseases.
So it’s worth attending the dermatology department of a hospital to make sure there are no problems with your skin, especially if you’re concerned about something that doesn’t seem to be going away. Here are some common skin conditions that affect people of all ages that a private dermatology clinic can help you deal with.
Typically afflicting image-conscious teenagers, acne can also erupt on older people’s faces and be difficult to eradicate. It occurs when dead skin cells and the oily substance called sebum become trapped in the pores of hair follicles, and this then causes pimples, blackheads and whiteheads to form. While acne often develops on the face, it can also break out on the upper part of the back and areas of the shoulders, as these all have the most oil-producing sebaceous glands in the body.
Treatment: Applying a cream that helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation and redness.
This is another common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide; it leads to patches of dry and red skin that are itchy. Specific allergies are believed to cause eczema, such as those triggered by soaps, pollution and pollen. Various foods can also cause a flare-up, including dairy products and nuts. Symptoms are usually mild, although eczema can become more severe and painful, with affected skin crusting and sores starting to weep.
Treatment: As there’s no cure for eczema, a dermatologist will recommend that people regularly cleanse the skin and use a moisturiser immediately afterwards. Anti-inflammatory creams and antibiotic medications may be prescribed in some cases.
Psoriasis also causes red and itchy patches on the skin, usually on the abdomen, scalp and around the knees and elbows. The condition is not fully understood, but as it occurs when the skin cell turnover becomes faster than normal, it may have its origins in issues relating to the immune system. Psoriasis can flare up and worsen due to several factors, including cold weather, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking and different types of medication.
Treatment: Creams including those containing corticosteroids and retinoids are typically used to treat affected areas.
This is the most serious type of skin affliction, as it can be fatal. Melanoma is a skin cancer and is generally caused by exposure to too much sunlight and the ultraviolet light of tanning beds. It can occur anywhere on the body and can be successfully treated if caught early. Signs to look for include changes in an existing mole — if one or more become bigger or darker in colour. It’s important to note that melanomas can appear on parts of the body that rarely receive any sunlight, such as the soles of the feet, which is why it’s vital to inspect all areas of your skin regularly.
Treatment: Depending on the stage of a melanoma, treatment options include surgery to remove it and any affected surrounding areas. If cancer has spread, treatment may also include radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Many other conditions can strike the skin, including rosacea, hives, cold sores, keratosis and more, meaning it’s vital to see a dermatologist should you suspect you have something.