Your skin is your body’s largest organ and caring for it is the best way to keep it healthy. Still, no matter how many precautions we take or how much time we spend on our skin care regime, skin conditions arise and we have to face them head on. Below you will find that almost every American will have to deal with a skin condition at some point in their lives and that sometimes all it takes to solve it is recognition and action.
Most people would say that acne is just a part of growing up. Once you’re past the awkward developing stages of adolescence you’ve more or less gotten your skin in check. For many people that is true but out of the 80% of Americans who will experience acne at some point in their lives, 60% will continue to struggle with it well into adulthood.
Although there are many reasons acne will occur including heredity, hormones are the main factor in its development which is why it generally peaks during teenage years when the growth hormone is so frequently released. Luckily treating acne can be as simple as purchasing creams and soaps at a drugstore or trying more potent solutions like the Proactiv acne treatment system. You can also consult your dermatologist to find a solution that will best fit your needs. Keep in mind that acne can leave scars and dark marks long after it’s gone and the best way to deflect that is to refrain from picking at or irritating the breakouts.
Atopic dermatitis is eczema in its most common form. The skin becomes extremely itchy, inflamed, scaly and all around irritated. About 35 million people in the U.S. are affected by this form of eczema, and it appears most often in babies and young children. The rash can be triggered by a number of outside sources such as:
- Chemical irritants like soaps, cleaners, perfumes, sprays
- Changes in temperature or humidity
- Physical irritants like rough fabrics such as wool or tweed
- Extreme stress
- Allergens like dust, pollen, mold, pet dander etc.
About two thirds of eczema cases occur in babies less than a year old, and 9 out of 10 people who have it were first affected before they were 5. The breakouts may become less frequent into adulthood, but often those affected will always have sensitive skin. The best way to treat it is to seek a prescribed topical cream or some other form of medication. Also remember that the last thing you want to do is give in to the overwhelming itch because it will only heighten the symptoms of the breakout and flare up the rash.
According to studies, about 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, which is about 2.2 percent of the nation’s population, making it the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S. It can be developed at any age, but most commonly appears between the ages of 15 and 25. It is a rash that is often found on the knees, elbows, torso and scalp although it can occur anywhere on the body. The condition can get so bad that it results in joint pain or psoriatic arthritis. Although there is not yet a cure, there are treatments that can control the psoriasis and put you into remission.
4. Skin Cancer
The most common of all cancers, skin cancer affects more than 3.5 million Americans, nearly half of all cancers cases in the U.S. Melanoma, which is the most severe form of skin cancer makes up about 76,000 cases in the United States. Other forms of skin cancer are less severe and generally occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin like the face, neck, ears etc. If you have any indication that an area of your skin may be affected by skin cancer, be it an odd irritation or growth, get it checked at once. The disease is very treatable and the best results always come with early detection.
Your risks of acquiring skin cancer are increased by factors such as:
- Exposure to coal tar, creosote, radium or arsenic compounds
- Unprotected or excessive UV radiation exposure (sunbathing or tanning beds)
- Paler, easily sunburned skin
- Multiple or unusual moles
Luckily skin cancer, even melanoma is almost always curable when detected early so alert your doctors of any changes in your skin paying close attention to changing moles, or spots. Look for dark coloring that appears to be spreading, skin that is newly tender, itchy or painful to touch, and patches of the skin that feel scaly or lumpy.
Characterized by reddened or flushed skin usually in the face, rosacea affects about 14 million people in the U.S. The condition is most common in women—particularly during menopause—also people with fair skin and most often, adults between the ages of 30 and 60. The condition can lead to swollen and inflamed eyes and/or nose and thicker skin on the forehead, chin, or cheeks.
Although there is no cure, rosacea can be treated and controlled. Speak to a dermatologist about the best way to treat your particular conditions. Common solutions are oral and topical antibiotics, and forms or laser surgery for cosmetic purposes.
Dr. Darling is the head of the Skin & Vein Center and has practiced dermatology for over 12 years. The Skin & Vein Center in Kansas City is attached to Liberty Hospital, and performs a broad range of treatments for skin conditions and disorders.