A scar is a mark left on the skin after a wound has healed. It is a natural part of the skin’s healing process.
Shingles is caused due to the same virus that causes chicken pox. The virus is known as varicella – zoster virus and it belongs to the group of herpes viruses which is why shingles is also known as herpes zoster. After the recovery from chicken pox, these viruses can remain in the central nervous system in a dormant condition of an indefinite amount of time. These viruses can, however, reactivate any time and upon reactivation, they travel down the nerve fibers thereby causing new infections.
There are mainly two strains of Herpes virus, HSV1, and HSV2. HSV1 affects the areas in and around the mouth and lips. Although HSV1 is the most prevalent cause of oral herpes, 20 % of the cases result from HSV2. These viruses are mainly transmitted during anal, oral and vaginal sex.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that usually appears on the chest, back or abdomen. It often begins as a small oval or circular spot, but with time, it could spread into a larger area of up to 4 inches across. This skin condition can affect people of all age groups, but is most common in those between 10 and 35 years of age. The rashes may be accompanied by itching and can take around 10 weeks to heal completely.
Pruritus is the medical term used for itchy skin. The itchiness can very intense and chronic. It could give rise to a strong urge to scratch, thus puncturing the skin. However, this should be avoided as the breaking of the skin’s natural barrier could lead to other secondary infections. The itchiness can occur in a small area like the nose or it can also occur in the entire body.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results in the thickening and scaling of the skin. Although it is a non-contagious condition, the dried and flaky skin can rapidly proliferate in the affected person thus covering up a large portion of the skin. It generally affects the skin above and around the elbows, knees, and scalp. They can vary in intensity from mild scalding to thick plaques with red inflamed skin.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in the face. If the condition gets severe, these red bumps on the skin can also swell up and get filled with pus. The symptoms can keep on flaring up and diminishing until they are treated. If the condition is mild, they may also be mistaken for other conditions such as acne or allergic reactions.
Scabies is itchy and contagious skin condition caused due to parasitic infestation. They are caused due to the itch mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei. These are very small eight legged parasites that can burrow into the skin so as to produce itching. The itchiness can intensify, especially during the night. The mites that infest the humans are females are 0.3 to 0.4 mm long and not easily noticeable to the naked eye. These mites can crawl, but are unable to fly or jump. They become immobile at temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, although they can survive at such low temperatures for a relatively long period of time.
Since the mites can easily be transmitted through direct skin to skin contact, scabies is highly contagious. This is also the most common mode of transmission for the parasitic mites. Common risk factors for catching scabies include close physical contact with the infected person, shaking hands, sexual contact, sharing clothes or furniture and even hanging the clothes together with those belonging to an infected person.
Even brisk physical contacts like a mother hugging her baby are enough to spread the skin condition. Sexually active young people are most likely to get the condition through sexual contact. It is also not unlikely for people staying together to get affected by the parasites together.
The most common symptoms of scabies is itchiness which gets more intense during the night. This is often accompanied by a pimple-like rash. These rashes could develop anywhere in the body and more commonly in the wrists, armpits, elbows, between fingers and toes, around the nails and delicate areas of the skin that usually remain covered by clothing such as nipples, genitals, buttocks and belt line. Among the infants and young people, the rashes are more likely to develop over the face, forehead, head, neck, palms, and soles. If the person has a weak immune system, the rashes may form crusts.
Since scabies is very itchy, it can induce vigorous itching, thus resulting in the breaking of the skin barrier which could further lead to a secondary bacterial infection such as impetigo. Impetigo is caused due to the infestation of staphylococci and streptococci bacteria. If the condition gets more severe, it can lead to skin crusting. Crusting usually takes place in people with weak immune system or people who are staying in hospitals and nursing homes. If the crust spreads to a larger area, they can be difficult to treat.
So far, there are no over the counter products for scabies. Any medications that are to be used have to be first prescribed by a doctor. Immediate treatment options include topical creams which are directly applied to the affected area. Elimite is a commonly used cream which is applied, kept overnight and washed off the following morning or anytime within 14 hours. This is again followed by a second application which is done after 1 or 2 weeks. Other popular medications include crotamiton cream and lotion, lindane, sulfur ointment and benzyl benzoate. Lindane also poses a risk of seizures and is generally not regarded as a first line treatment.