The skin is a precious part of the body. Not only does it provide a barrier between the inside of the body and the outside of the body, but it also has a role to play in the physical appearance of the body. An even skin tone and a perfect level of elasticity is something we all desire, but, unfortunately, things aren’t always as simple as it seems. Quite a large number of skin conditions can develop at any time and the causes of many skin diseases are often not entirely understood. While numerous treatment measures have been developed to treat these common skin conditions, side-effects are often a consequence that people have to face when they utilize these treatment options.
Table of Contents [Hide]
- The Importance Of The Skin + Some Interesting Facts About The Skin
- Anatomy Of The Skin
- A Comprehensive Overview Of Common Skin Conditions And Diseases
- Other Common Skin Conditions
- Final Verdict
In this guide, we would like to focus on the numerous conditions that can affect the skin. We would like to discuss possible causes, the conventional treatment options and also focus on some of the most effective natural remedies that can be administered from the comfort of your own home to help treat these skin conditions without having to suffer from the side-effects that are often experienced when conventional treatment options are utilized. We are also going to take a look at some potential supplements that can be used to treat these conditions without being at risk of experiencing adverse reactions to the compounds used within the supplements.
The Importance of the Skin + Some Interesting Facts about the Skin
While it might seem somewhat strange, the skin is actually classified as an organ. In fact, the skin is the biggest organ of the human body. It measures around two square meters in total and the skin can weigh as much as five kilograms in adulthood. Skin is the thickest on the heels, where it measures around four millimeters in thickness. The skin that is located on the eyelids is the thinnest, measuring around 0.5 millimeters in thickness. One final interesting fact about the skin – it acts as an important barrier between the body’s outside and the inside of the body.
Now that we have discussed some interesting facts concerning the skin let’s take a look at the functions that the skin plays. We’ve already explained that the skin acts as a barrier between the inside and the outside of your body, but this isn’t the only function of the skin. The Histology Guide explains that the skin acts as a protective layer against certain environmental stressors, including chemicals, thermal and mechanical stresses. The skin also protects the body against exposure to UV light – in other words, the skin protects the body against the sun. In addition, the skin also prevents microorganisms from invading the body.
The skin also contains numerous receptors that are responsible for sensation – this includes the sensation we experience when we are touched, when pressure is placed upon a part of our body and when we are exposed to higher or lower temperatures. Furthermore, the skin also contains pain receptors. In addition to the thermal receptors, the skin also has a part to play in the body’s thermoregulation. Adipose tissue, sweat glands and hair all play a part in regulating the internal temperature of the human body.
In addition to these important functions, the skin has one particular function that might seem somewhat strange – it is involved in certain metabolic functions. Adipose tissue on the body, which, according to Science Daily, is connective tissue that is made up of adipocytes (in short, adipose tissue really is fat), has a role to play in the production of two essential substances in the body – triglycerides and vitamin D.
Anatomy of The Skin
Before we start to discuss the various skin conditions that have been identified by medical scientists and how they can be treated, let’s first consider the anatomy of the skin. This will shed some light on how the skin is structured and will also make it easier to understand how certain diseases that affect the skin work – and how deep they really penetrate the skin. The skin is made up of three essential layers. According to Phil Schatz, the first two layers of the skin are the most essential when the protective function of the skin is considered, with the underlying layer, or the third layer, being an associated layer that mainly consists of fatty tissues. Let’s take a look at these three layers that make up the largest organ of the human body:
The outermost layer of the skin is known as the epidermis. This is the thinnest of all three layers. The epidermis acts as the first layer of defense between the outside world and the inner body. The epidermis itself also consists of numerous layers – with the thinner parts of the epidermis consisting of four cellular layers and the thicker parts of the epidermis consisting of as much as five cellular layers. At the deeper end of the epidermis, often called the stratum basale, cells are rapidly produced and then moves upwards toward the top layer of the epidermis. As these cells move up, their appearance also changes. The timeframe for a cell to move from the stratum basale to the outside layer of the epidermis is approximately two to four weeks. Since the epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin, it is also the most vulnerable to the damaging effects of the outside world.
The bottom layer of the epidermis is known as the stratum germinativum or, as we’ve already noted, the stratum basale. The next layer is known as the prickle layer or the stratum spinosum. This part of the epidermis consists of around eight to ten cellular layers. The third layer from the inner part of the epidermis is called the granule layer, or the stratum granulosum. This part of the epidermis contains around three to five cellular layers. The final layer is called the keratinized squamous layer, or the stratum corneum. This layer consists of dead skin cells and contains keratin that is packed quite densely. In thicker parts of the epidermis, an additional cellular layer, known as the stratum lucidum, can be found between the stratum corneum and stratum granulosum layers of the epidermis.
Underneath the epidermis lies the dermis layer of the skin. This is the middle layer of the skin and is considerably thicker than the epidermis layer. The dermis consists of connective tissue and serves numerous important purposes. This layer of the skin acts as a protective layer, it is important for sensation and it also plays a vital role in thermoregulation. In the dermis, various important elements are found – including sweat glands, fibroblasts, nerves and, of course, blood vessels. The sweat glands, in particular, expand to the skin’s surface.
The final layer of skin, which is the deepest layer, is known as the hypodermis. This layer of skin consists of sweat glands and adipose tissue, or fat. The hypodermis plays an essential role in the metabolism of triglycerides and vitamin D. Both of these substances are essential for human health. Triglycerides are a particular type of fat, known as lipid, which is present in the body’s blood supply. Note that the body does not require a large amount of triglycerides – a count of 150 milligrams or less per deciliter of blood is considered adequate, with any higher concentrations considered harmful to cardiovascular health. Vitamin D, on the other hand, should be present in relatively higher levels and serves important functions in the wellbeing of the human body. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and also helps to keep bones in the body healthy and strong. In addition to its role in calcium absorption, vitamin D also inhibits parathyroid hormone production, which is a particular hormone that can absorb bone tissue and cause bones to become weak. Furthermore, Cleveland Clinic reports that medical scientists have discovered that vitamin D also assists with the regulation of the immune system and with muscle function.
A Comprehensive Overview of Common Skin Conditions and Diseases
Thus far, we have discussed the importance of the skin, looked at some interesting facts about the skin and we explored the three layers of the skin. Now, let’s turn our focus toward the main aim of this guide – to educate you on the most common skin conditions and diseases, the symptoms they produce, their causes and any potential risk factors and, of course, how you can treat these conditions with both conventional treatment methods and natural remedies that can be administered at home.
Acne is probably the most well-known skin condition that affects millions of people. While the condition is usually associated with puberty and teenagers, acne affects quite a large number of adults as well. In medical terms, this skin condition is called Acne Vulgaris. This condition is classified as a skin disease. Acne affects oil glands that are located at the base of the hair follicles that can be found in the second layer of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that acne affects around 50 million individuals in the United States every year and it is classified as the most common disease that affects the skin in the country. They also report that acne does not only cause physical symptoms, but can also lead to several psychological symptoms, including anxiety, a low self-esteem and, in some cases, even depression.
Acne Spot Types
First, we should consider the different types of acne spots that can develop on your body. The less severe types of acne include whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules. In addition to these types of acne spots, there are also more severe types of acne spots that can develop on your body. Acne.com reports that nodules, acne conglobate and cysts are all classified as more severe forms of acne. Let’s take a look at these different acne forms individually:
- Whiteheads – While sebum is needed to nourish the skin and to protect it, excess sebum can lead to clogged pores. In addition to excess sebum, dead skin cells can also clog pores. This leads to the development of spots that have white heads – as the name suggests.
- Blackheads – A blackhead is the result of a hair follicle that became oxidized. They appear as black spots on the skin. Blackheads are quite similar to whiteheads in the fact that they are both classified as comedones (a hair follicle that has become clogged), but blackheads are not closed as whiteheads, but rather open.
- Papules – Papules are the result of whiteheads that have advanced into a next phase. Sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria clogged the pores of the follicle and, by the time the Whitehead turns into a papule, additional symptoms, such as irritation and inflammation, also become present. Note that papules do not contain puss and these spots become worse when products are applied to it that dries out the particular area of the skin.
- Pustules – Pustules are also a result of a whitehead that advanced into a next phase and it is similar to papules in appearance. Unlike papules, however, pustules does contain puss and, when squeezed, puss will be excreted from the spot.
The more severe types of acne usually cover large areas of the face with red spots that are inflamed and often much larger than the less severe types of acne. These spots penetrate much deeper into the skin and their symptoms can be more painful due to a tenderness around the affected regions. When these spots are not properly treated, they can cause permanent skin damage.
Acne can be caused by quite a number of different factors. For example, during puberty, the body starts to produce a larger concentration of male hormones – this happens in both male and female bodies – which, in turn, causes oil glands to “activate” and produce sebum. This is a common cause of acne in teenagers that are going through puberty. Apart from the increased hormone production during puberty, various other factors also play a part in the formation of acne. Mayo Clinic explains that the primary causes of acne include bacteria, dead skin cells, excessive oil production and clogged pores. There are, of course, other factors that can also lead to the formation of blemishes or spots.
Changes in hormone product, such as during puberty, often causes symptoms of acne to appear, but during pregnancy and during menstrual cycles, a woman also goes through hormonal changes, which can lead to acne breakouts. Consuming a lot of carbohydrate-rich foods also has an impact on the development of acne. Chocolate, in particular, is known to aggravate acne breakouts. Furthermore, certain drugs can also cause acne to become worse – with corticosteroids, lithium and androgen being some of the most significant ingredients that can aggravate acne.
Acne can be treated in different ways. The particular treatment method used by a person often depends on the form of acne they are suffering from and how severe their breakouts are. A person also needs to consider whether they are seeking treatment for an existing breakout, to heal scarring or to prevent future breakouts – as there are different treatment measures for these purposes. Most treatments can be purchased without a prescription at local pharmacies, but for more severe cases of acne, prescription level treatments might be necessary.
There are quite a large number of topical treatments that can be purchased without a prescription from a doctor. Let’s consider the particular ingredients that are often found in these topical gels, lotions and creams.
- Benzoyl Peroxide – This is a very popular ingredient that can be found in many topical forms of treatments for acne. Benzoyl peroxide is very effective against blackheads and whiteheads. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, benzoyl peroxide can cause irritation, dry skin, as well as a burning and stinging sensation when applied to the skin. A lot of patients also find that benzoyl peroxide causes the skin to peel and redness in the applied region.
- Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid is another popular ingredient used to treat acne. It is most often recommended for patients with excessively oily skin. This particular ingredient is an exfoliant. Facing Acne explains that, on a chemical level, it is quite similar to a particular ingredient often used to treat inflammation and pain, known as aspirin. There is one problem that people often face when it comes to salicylic acid – for this ingredient to work effectively, the perfect concentration of salicylic acid, together with the perfect pH balance, is needed. It is important not to use salicylic acid with any astringents or cleansers that may dry out your skin as salicylic acid itself can cause dry skin. Products containing this ingredient should also not be used on skin that is inflamed, infected or broken.
Apart from benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, another potentially effective ingredient include alpha hydroxyl acids.
Should the regular topical treatments that can be purchased without a prescription not work effectively in treating a patient’s acne, then a general practitioner or dermatologist can be consulted for a prescription treatment. Prescription treatment obtained from a physician or dermatologist may also include topical treatments that contain either antibiotics or retinoids. Azelaic acid is also sometimes used to treat certain forms of acne. In addition, antibiotic tablets and isotretinoin tablets can also be prescribed to patients. If the patient is female, then combined contraceptive pills can be prescribed to the patient, which often results in positive effects if the acne is caused by hormonal issues.
Natural Acne Treatments
In many cases, the side-effects people experience when they use over-the-counter and prescription treatments are unpleasant. Irritation, peeling skin, dry skin and more – these can cause further psychological effects and interfere with the patient’s ability to regain their self-esteem. Fortunately, numerous natural treatment options can also be utilized to effectively get rid of acne and reduce the appearance of the scars that are often left behind once acne spots have been effectively treated.
Before we take a look at the best natural acne treatments, we do first want to note that two particular remedies that are often recommended should really be avoided. Prevention reports that people often recommend using rubbing alcohol and coconut oil to treat breakouts. Unfortunately, coconut oil is very greasy and can cause pores to become clogged. Rubbing alcohol, on the other hand, has the opposite effect – it is too harsh and can cause the skin to become excessively dry, as well as irritated. Rubbing alcohol can also aggravate inflammation and lead to redness.
If you are looking for more effective natural remedies that will not lead to excessive oiliness or make your skin too dry, then consider giving one or more of the following natural remedies a try:
- Green Tea Extract – By applying green tea to your skin as a topical treatment, the activity of oil-producing cells in the skin is inhibited. This causes oil production to be reduced. Green tea extracts also possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce soreness and swelling around acne spots.
- Willow Bark Extract – Willow bark extract is a natural alternative to topical salicylic acid treatments. This natural remedy helps to remove dead skin cells.
- Aloe Vera Extract – While Aloe Vera will not actually get rid of your acne, two particular compounds in this plant extract, known as aloesin and aloin, can reduce inflammation caused by acne. This, in turn, can help to reduce some of the symptoms that inflamed acne often causes.
- Sulfur – Sulfur is also an effective natural remedy that has antibacterial agents that can kill the bacteria that causes acne. In addition to its antibacterial properties, sulfur can also help to unclog pores. This remedy should be used with a moisturizer as it can cause skin to become dry.
Other natural remedies include clay-based exfoliators and masks, as well as tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar.
Apart from acne, eczema is also another skin condition that is commonly diagnosed and affects quite a large number of the global population. According to the National Eczema Association in the United States, at least 31.6 million adults in the country experience some symptoms of eczema, with around 17.8 million of these adults experience more severe symptoms of the skin condition. The word “eczema” is sometimes used to describe any type of skin condition that causes a rash, but, at the same time, it is also used to describe the most common type of eczema, known as atopic dermatitis. Symptoms of eczema usually include a red rash on the skin, which can be accompanied by inflammation in the affected area, as well as itchiness. In some people, eczema also causes the skin to become rough and cracked.
Various types of eczema have been identified by dermatologists and medical experts, each causing a set of symptoms that make it easier to identify the particular type of eczema a patient is suffering from. The most common types of eczema include:
- Atopic dermatitis, which is the most commonly diagnosed form of eczema
- Contact dermatitis
- Hand eczema
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Stasis dermatitis
- Nummular eczema
While several medical studies have conducted research to determine more accurate information about eczema, a specific cause for this skin condition has not been identified. Medical News Today reports that medical scientists have found that certain environmental factors, combined with genetic factors, increases a person’s risk of developing symptoms related to eczema. They have also been able to determine that the skin condition often develops in childhood and, in some cases, continues to cause symptoms in adulthood. When a child’s parent has eczema or any other atopic condition, their risk of developing this skin condition increases. A two times higher risk is observed in children where both parents suffer from eczema or other atopic conditions.
Various environmental factors also play a part in causing eczema symptoms to develop. Irritants are often to blame, which can include ingredients found in disinfectants, shampoos, soaps and detergents. Allergens from mold, pollen, pets and dust mites can also cause symptoms to develop. In addition to these, some food types, as well as very high and very low temperatures also seem to spark a breakout of symptoms related to this skin condition.
It is also important to note that stress can aggravate eczema symptoms and hormones also play a part in the development of these symptoms in women.
Before we look at treatment options for eczema, it is important to understand that eczema cannot be cured. Instead, the symptoms that this skin condition causes can be treated and flare-ups can also be prevented with some treatment measures. The most common type of treatment used to treat flare-ups of eczema includes topical ointments and creams that contain corticosteroids. This ingredient can reduce inflammation and also reduce the redness of the rashes that often develop when eczema flares up. Emollients, which is a type of moisturizer, is also used to prevent the skin from becoming too dry.
When these treatments do not work, a patient can use antihistamines to reduce itching. Certain topical creams containing tacrolimus and pimecrolimus can also be used. In more severe cases, a patient can make an appointment at a dermatologist to obtain prescription-strength treatments.
Patient.info reports that many of these topical treatments can lead to the development of side-effects. A burning sensation is often experienced when topical steroids are first used. Skin can also become thinner in the areas where these topical treatments are applied. In addition, blood vessels may also appear “spidery” in the applied areas – this condition is called telangiectasias. Furthermore, it is also important to note that topical steroids can cause symptoms of some other skin conditions to become more severe.
Eczema Natural Remedies
Numerous natural remedies have been discovered that can help to treat the symptoms of eczema and lessen the severity of the symptoms that develop during a flare-up. These natural remedies usually does not cause the same unpleasant side-effects as the conventional treatment options and usually cost less than topical ointments that can be purchased at a local pharmacy.
Reader’s Digest recommends adding mineral oil to a warm bath. This will help to soothe the skin that is affected by eczema and also act as a moisturizer. Vegetable oil can also be used instead of mineral oils. Apart from these, they also recommend mixing a glass of milk with about two teaspoons of olive oil and then adding this mixture to a bath. Another common remedy for eczema is an Epsom salts bath – simply mix about three cups of Epsom salts in a warm bath and relax.
Apart from these, Dr. Axe recommends using creams that is enriched with vitamin E. They also recommend eating foods that are rich in probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids. This can help to reduce inflammation of the skin and improve immunity from within. Vitamin D3 is also an essential nutrient that has antimicrobial properties and it can lead to an enhanced immune system.
Other Common Skin Conditions
While acne and eczema are amongst the most common skin conditions that affect quite a significant number of people throughout the entire world, there are many other skin diseases and condition that also affect many people. Let’s take a quick look at some of the other common skin disorders, as well as their symptoms and natural remedies.
Cold sores develop on the lips and around the mouth. The condition causes red blisters to develop. These blisters are filled with fluids. Cold sores are usually tender and a painful sensation can be experienced when they are touched. Medical News Today recommends using a lip balm that contains lemon balm, consuming lemon tea, using aloe vera gel and consuming tea that contains Echinacea. Creams that contain lysine is also effective in assisting with the repairing of cells.
Warts causes skin to appear grainy and rough. They have a rounded top. Plantar warts are usually found on the bottom part of the food and hardened skin surrounds these warts. Flat warts have a colored top, with pink and brown being the most common colors. A slightly yellow color tone can also sometimes be observed. Annmarie Gianni recommends eating foods and consuming supplements that boosts the immune system to help treat warts. In addition, pineapple, garlic, aspirin, tea tree oil and baking powder can also be used as natural remedies.
Calluses and Corns
These skin conditions causes thick skin to form in round circles. They are usually relatively small. zCorns and calluses most often develop on the side of the toes, as well as on the top of the toes. They are also sometimes found on the foot’s soles. Reader’s Digest recommends using apple cider vinegar, castor oil, lemon, onion and Epsom salts to treat these skin conditions.
The skin has many important functions to play and stretches over the entire body. It does not only provide thermoregulation functions, but also protects your body against environmental stressors and sunlight. In addition, the skin also play a role in certain metabolic function, and consists of three essential layers. Unfortunately, the skin can also develop quite a large number of diseases and conditions, which may lead to unpleasant symptoms. In this guide, we’ve explored some of the most commonly experienced conditions, as well as looked at how these conditions can be treated – not only through medicine, but also through natural remedies that does not lead to the unwanted adverse reactions often experienced when medicine is used as a treatment method.
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