Skin diseases not only hurt you physically but also emotionally. Flaws or irregularities on the surface can deliver a crushing blow to your confidence.
While some skin conditions can be very serious, others may not warrant an immediate visit to the dermatologist.
That said, you should never take skin diseases lightly as the condition can worsen over time.
The danger in skin disease
Many people take skin changes lightly especially if these do not cause any disturbing symptoms.
Such an attitude is understandable as it is natural to think that something is serious only if it causes pain or disturbs normal daily function.
Usually you tend to ignore it and wait for it to go away. The thinking is that if it’s no longer there, it’s no longer a problem.
Such thinking is ill-advised as prolonged disregard can escalate a trivial problem into a terrifying one very quickly.
Failing to address a common skin problem for too long can lead to unwanted consequences.
Here are three skin diseases that can deteriorate horribly without adequate medical treatment:
Moles are celebrated by some, despised by others and largely ignored by many. Unless they are in the facial area, they are often covered underneath your outfit.
A mole is not exactly a skin disease but this common skin feature can be an important indicator of a more sinister problem – skin cancer.
A typical mole is usually an evenly coloured brown, tan or black spot of varying size on the skin. It can appear anywhere and may be slightly embossed compared to the surrounding skin.
Though some moles can be present at birth, most appear during childhood or adolescence.
However, should they start to appear later in life, it’s worth having yourself examined by a doctor as they can be malignant.
Besides the sudden appearance of new skin moles, you should also pay attention to existing ones. Changes to existing skin moles can also indicate the presence of skin cancer.
If you notice any drastic changes to a mole, be sure to consult a doctor immediately as it could be a red flag for something a lot worse.
2. Seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) refers to a chronic inflammation of the skin that causes the formation of scaly patches, red skin and dandruff.
It usually occurs in the scalp but can also appear in other places such as the beard, eyebrows, chest, mid-face and ears.
Dry skin and prolonged scratching may break your skin’s integrity, opening the possibility for secondary bacterial infection.
This situation can cause an increase in redness, production of exudate and local irritation.
In fact, SD can be more than just itching, redness and scaly skin. Just like an evolving mole, SD can be an indicator of a more serious disease.
Studies show that this skin condition is more prevalent in immune-compromised patients such as HIV/AIDS patients.
People who have been infected with the virus rarely experience any signs and symptoms in the first five years.
This makes them believe that they are healthy, running the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
Therefore, take heed of the early warning signs of SD and visit a doctor immediately to have yourself properly screened, especially if you have other risk factors such as sexual promiscuity and use of intravenous drugs.
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with dead skin and oil, leading to inflammation.
The oil-producing glands under your skin are called sebaceous glands, while the holes in your skin are called pores.
The hair follicle is what connects your pores to the sebaceous glands. An inflammation occurs due to the colonisation of the clogged hair follicles by Cutibacterium acnes (C acnes) bacteria.
Acne can affect your facial area, shoulders, back and chest. For the most part, acne deals a bigger blow to your self-esteem compared to your physical health.
Unaddressed acne problems can lead to visible and long-term scarring. This exacerbates the self-esteem problem and predisposes you to social anxiety, panic disorder and depression.
Leaving your acne problem untreated can be life-threatening. The area from the corners of your mouth to the bridge of your nose are considered high-risk areas.
This is because the venous system underneath these does not have a valve, which opens the possibility of bacterial infection from the overlying skin to spread to your brain.
From there, it can deteriorate further to meningitis, cavernous sinus thrombosis or to a brain abscess.
Your skin can definitely tell a lot about what’s going on deep inside your body. As trivial as skin diseases may appear to be, consult your dermatologist immediately if you experience any worrying visible signs on your skin.
This article first appeared in Hello Doktor. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.