Your skin is very important for many body functions.
One of the skin’s most important jobs is to protects our bodies from a multitude of bacteria and viruses as well as from ultraviolet rays.
The epidermis is the visible layer of our skin and is responsible for many of these functions. It also gives the skin its color, protects it, and makes new skin cells.
The middle layer of the skin is known as the dermis, which contains nerves and blood vessels. Because the dermis is made primarily of collagen, it is responsible for giving skin its tremendous flexibility and strength. Oil glands, sweat glands, and hair follicles are also located in this layer of skin. Therefore it is not surprising that the dermis grows hair and produces oils and perspiration. The nerve endings located in the dermis give us a sense of pain, touch, pressure, temperature, and much more. A very important aspect of the dermis is the lymphatic blood vessels and their ability to fight infections and ward off other harmful substances.
The innermost layer of our skin is known as the hypodermis or subcutaneous fat. It obtained this nickname because it is mostly made of fatty tissue. The main purpose of this fatty layer is to protect our bodies from extreme temperatures. The hypodermis provides us with a sort of cushion to insulate our organs, bones, and muscles, and protect us from injuries. In addition to this important function, the hypodermis is a source of energy storage for our bodies.
As you can see, the various layers of our skin protect us from our everyday lives and perform essential functions for our bodies. We would not be able to survive without the support of our skin. Therefore, it is vital to take good care of it. To do that, we need to be aware of common skin conditions that take a toll on our skin’s health.
Common Skin Abnormalities
Below are abnormalities that you should be aware of when inspecting your skin.
Moles & Warts. The human papillomavirus is responsible for the formation of warts. These growths commonly occur on the hands and feet but can also be found elsewhere on the body.
Warts are identified as dots on the skin. If you notice black dots within your wart, it may be a sign of infection due to blocked blood vessels. In this case, it is important to treat your wart to eliminate the infection. Treatments for warts include applying mild irritation by freezing, using chemicals, and sometimes lasers to the growth areas.
Moles, on the other hand, appear on the skin in a variety of colors. These include black, brown, red, and sometimes even skin-colored. Additionally, they can be raised or flat. It is essential to keep an eye on moles in order to identify any changes to them. If you notice that your mole has changed shape, color, or size, it is necessary to get it checked by a dermatologist to ensure that your mole is not an early detector of cancer or other underlying issue.
Acne & Eczema. When hair follicles become clogged, oil and dead skin build-up underneath, and acne forms. This blockage creates an infected pore due to bacteria build-up. Acne appears as red or pink bumps on the skin and most commonly presents itself on the face, chest, and back. There are treatments for acne including a variety topical products and antibiotics.
Eczema can sometimes be mistaken for acne. It appears on the skin as red, inflamed patches. It typically is present in similar areas as acne but also frequently forms on the neck, hands, and behind knees and elbows. Eczema is a condition that comes and goes. Sometimes, it is triggered by specific irritants, and other times it occurs on its own. Eczema can damage the skin barrier function of your skin if left untreated. This can cause increased sensitivity of the skin, and resulting in lower immunity function and dryness.
Psoriasis. This is a condition of the skin where the autoimmune system attacks healthy skin cells. This causes new skin cells to multiplying at a faster rate than the older ones are decaying, creating thick scaly areas. These patches on the skin are known as plaques and can appear on the scalp, elbows, torso, and knees. It is common for psoriasis to cause a painful burning sensation or itchiness.
The great majority of individuals who experience psoriasis can attribute their flare-ups to genetics. However, many patients are not 100% sure of the cause of their psoriasis. There are several reasons for the immune system to attack itself including injury, smoking, stress, infection, certain medications, and even extremely cold temperatures. It is important to address psoriasis as early as possible because it can significantly affect the body beneath the skin.
Psoriasis complications include arthritis, cardiovascular disease, psychosocial disorders, among other health concerns. Topical medications and injectable drugs are available to provide relief for psoriasis patients. It is also important for people with psoriasis to manage stress levels and alcohol intake, as well as practice a healthy diet. These relevant lifestyle changes can potentially help prevent future flare-ups and resulting complications.
Skin Cancer. There are several types of skin cancers, each carrying different levels of concern.
Basal Cell Carcinoma appears on the skin as pink or pearl-colored areas typically on the ears, neck, or face. BCS is the most common type of skin cancer. It is important to treat this type of skin cancer immediately. Although Basal Cell Carcinoma rarely spreads beyond the initial tumor site, it has the potential to grow and become much more dangerous.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and presents itself as scaly patches or sores on the skin. They are typically pink or white. Although this type of cancer is generally not life-threatening, it is important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. If left untreated, this type of cancer can grow, spread to other areas of the body, and eventually create serious health complications.
Melanoma is the rarest but also the most serious type of skin cancer. It typically appears as dark spots on the skin, which eventually change in appearance or bleed. It is crucial to seek medical treatment early – Melanoma is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths.
It is safe to assume that our skin is a very important aspect of the human body. Not only does it perform many great functions but can also be an indicator of serious underlying health issues. That is why it is important to take great care of our skin and be on the lookout for any abnormal changes. The skin conditions depicted above are just a few instances where you should seek treatment or professional help. Doing so could prevent extensive damage to your skin and avoid potential health complications.
It is important for people of all ages to perform regular self-checks as well as visit a professional dermatologist annually. Dr. Gurgen is a dermatologist in The Villages and Leesburg, Florida, specializing in skin care treatment and Mohs Surgery.
If you haven’t been to the dermatologist in over a year or notice any changes to your skin, contact our office for an appointment.