Some skin diseases are autoimmune, meaning that your body’s immune system mistakes healthy cells for harmful ones. The overzealous response can result in rashes, plaques, blisters and other skin changes.
Rashes are itchy, red patches of skin that may become infected. They usually clear up quickly with home remedies, but some rashes can be signs of more serious conditions that require medical attention.
There are many causes of rashes, including allergies, infections, and medications. Some rashes can be caused by skin disorders, such as eczema and acne.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that typically affects adults and children. It is often inherited, and can be very severe.
Another common skin rash is called psoriasis. This disease causes a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin that look like itchy, red spots.
Some rashes, such as urticaria or hives, are the result of an allergic reaction to something on your skin, such as pollen, latex, food, or medicines. The rash is itchy and red and can be spread over your entire body or just one area.
Other rashes are the result of conditions that affect the immune system. Some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause rashes.
Other skin rashes can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. They usually appear in skin folds or areas where the skin rubs against clothes, such as the stomach or groin.
Viruses are tiny infectious organisms that must invade a living cell to reproduce (replicate). They contain a piece of genetic code and a coat of protein and lipid (fat) molecules to protect them.
They can enter the body through the nose, mouth, eyes, anus or genitals, or through a break in the skin. When they get inside, they use the host cell’s genetic material to make more copies of themselves.
Viral infections can cause rashes that are different from those caused by bacteria. They may appear as a red bump, which can feel tender and warm, or as a rash that looks like itchy, itchy blisters.
The most common viruses that affect the skin are a poxvirus, herpes simplex virus and papillomavirus. Other viruses that can cause a rash include enteroviruses, cytomegalovirus and hepatitis C virus.
Symptoms of most viral infections resolve on their own within 10 to 14 days. If they don’t improve, your doctor might prescribe medications to help you recover.
Most viral infections are contagious, which means they can spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or close contact with surfaces or objects that someone with the virus has touched. They can also be spread by bites from an infected animal, mosquito or tick. Eating contaminated food or swallowing contaminated water can also lead to infection. If a disease becomes severe, it can be life-threatening and result in sepsis.
Allergic reactions are a type of skin disease that happen when your immune system overreacts to something that is usually harmless. Generally, these reactions cause red, itchy or scaly skin rashes.
The most common types of allergic rashes are atopic dermatitis (eczema), allergic contact dermatitis, and hives. These conditions can be triggered by many different substances, including soaps, perfumes, latex and pollen.
Most people who develop atopic dermatitis will notice itching and skin that feels rough or dry. This is because the condition often causes inflammation, according to WebMD.
When a person comes into contact with an allergen, the immune system produces antibodies that bind to certain white blood cells in the bloodstream and to certain mast cells in the tissues. The mast cells then release chemicals that cause swelling and inflammation in the tissues around them.
Some examples of allergens include pollen, hay fever, and animal dander. Allergens may also be found in foods, medications and soaps.
A doctor can determine if you have a skin allergy by performing a skin test. The test pricks a small amount of allergen into your skin and checks your reaction after a set time.
You can also get an injection of a medicine called epinephrine in case your allergy is severe. This can help prevent anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening.
If your rashes are accompanied by other symptoms like itching, burning or other skin changes, those can be a sign of skin disease. They can be a result of a medical condition, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease. They may also be a side effect of pregnancy or a hormonal change.
If you have one of these conditions, it’s a good idea to get it diagnosed by a doctor as soon as possible. They can give you the treatment you need to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
For example, psoriasis is a common skin disorder that causes raised plaques of itchy, red skin. It can affect your elbows, knees, scalp, lower back and groin area. There are several different types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis and pustular psoriasis.
Chronic skin disorders can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health. They can also make people feel ashamed or socially isolated.
Patients with a skin disorder have been found to have higher levels of distress, anxiety and depression than those without. Psychiatric evaluation of patients with skin diseases is essential to determine whether or not there is a psychological problem.
Some skin conditions can be controlled with medications, diet and lifestyle changes. These can include getting plenty of rest, eating healthy, limiting your contact with allergens and avoiding certain environments. It’s also a good idea to learn more about your skin disorder and talk with your dermatologist about treatment options.
Many skin problems aren’t signs of a disease or disorder, such as blisters from new shoes or chafing from tight pants. However, if you have any changes in the color or texture of your skin, let your doctor know right away.
Some serious conditions that can signal a skin disease include certain cancers, such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Check your body for any moles that look different, bleed easily or change size or color.
You can also tell when your skin isn’t healthy by looking for red dots that appear when capillaries (small blood vessels in the body) bleed into the skin, called petechiae. These tiny red spots may be a sign of infection or health problem, so it’s important to visit your doctor.
Another common warning sign is a skin disease that increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, such as Kindler syndrome or epidermolysis bullosa. This type of condition causes multiple layers of blisters to form on your skin and can be seen from birth or early childhood.
Other rare diseases include ichthyosis, thick, hard patches or plates on your skin that are present at birth; and lamellar ichthyosis, a waxy skin layer that sheds in the first few weeks of life, revealing scaly, red skin. Other hereditary conditions, such as psoriasis, actinic prurigo (AP) and argyria, can affect the skin’s appearance and function. Learn about these diseases, how they are diagnosed and treated, and how to prevent them.
There are a wide range of conditions that affect your skin, including noncurable ones. These may include blisters from new shoes or chafing from tight pants. But if you have any symptoms that have no obvious cause, it’s important to see your healthcare provider.
Some people develop permanent skin conditions, such as rosacea or eczema. These conditions can be triggered by many things, including stress, pregnancy or hormone treatments like birth control.
These diseases can also be inherited, so you might have one if your parents had it. They can also happen when you take certain drugs, such as HIV medication or antibiotics.
Symptoms of these chronic conditions can include red, itchy, dry or cracked skin. They can also include scaly patches, swelling and pain.
It can be hard to diagnose these conditions, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. They can also help you find ways to avoid them or make them easier to manage.
Some of these conditions, such as rosacea and eczema, may be treated with medication. Others, such as a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, aren’t treatable and can lead to serious health problems.
These skin diseases often have a substantial burden, both financially and emotionally, for patients and their families. Identifying and treating them is important, as they can lead to long-term health problems and impairment of quality of life.