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.
Birthmarks are pigmented spots on the skin that are present at the time of birth or occur shortly after birth. The pigmentation can occur in a number of different colors like tan, dark brown, purple, red, black, pink, white, pale and blue. It is not necessary for everyone to compulsorily have a birthmark. These colored spots can be flat or sometimes be raised slightly above the skin surface. In some cases, the pigments also extend to the tissues under the skin.
Boils are infections occurring in the hair follicle or the oil glands. When the pores get clogged, the dirt and oil trapped inside become the breeding ground for bacteria. First, the skin turns red after which a tender lump develops in the area. After about a week, the infected area forms a bigger lump and starts accumulating pus inside it. Boils usually occur in areas such as buttocks, armpits, face, neck, shoulders and sometimes eyelids. The ones occurring in the eyelid are called sty or stye. If the boils occur in a cluster, the condition is known as a carbuncle.
Cellulitis is a painful skin condition caused due to bacterial infection. It first appears as a swollen, red area that feels hot and tender to touch and may rapidly spread to other parts of the body. Although the infection can occur anywhere in the body, it commonly appears in the lower legs. It affects the surface of the skin and the tissues lying immediately below. In more serious cases, cellulitis also spreads to the lymph nodes and bloodstream.
Dermatitis is a skin inflammation characterized by red, dry and itchy skin. If the condition gets severe, it could also lead to painful cracks, crusty scales, and fluid filled blisters. There are many types of dermatitis and the diagnosis is done based on the category of dermatitis affecting the skin. The symptoms, as well as the treatment of these different types of dermatitis, are fairly similar.
Eczema is a condition in which the affected person experiences a dry, red and itchy area on the skin caused due to inflammation. Although it is most common in children, people of any age can get affected too. Eczema also goes by the name atopic dermatitis and the treatment can include anything from oral medications to steroid creams to light therapy depending on the severity of the condition.
Erythema is a skin inflammation on the fatty layer of the skin. On spreading of the legs, they give the skin a red appearance along with pain and tender lumps. The lumps could vary in size from one to five centimeters. They usually affect the front part of the legs. Erythema is a self-limited skin condition and even if no treatment is taken, it can clear off by itself within a period of 3 to 6 weeks. After healing, it may leave behind a bruised appearance over the area where the fatty layers had been destroyed. This, however, fades with time.
Impetigo is caused due to a bacterial infection on the skin. It appears as red sores on the surface of the skin, they may get filled with fluid, break open and form crusting. These can develop on any part of the body. Impetigo most commonly affects children and is also known as school sores. However, in some cases, it is also likely for adults to develop the condition. The sores usually appear in and around the mouth. However, constant scratching may also spread the sore to other areas of the body. It is a contagious skin condition and often spreads through the sharing of sheets, towels, and clothing.
Impetigo is caused due to two types of bacteria – streptococcus and staphylococcus. These bacteria often enter the skin when there is a puncture in the skin barrier such as burns, cuts, insect bites, poison ivy or other skin conditions such as eczema that reduce the skin’s defense making it easier for the bacteria to get through. They are also likely to occur after cold or allergies that leave the skin weak. However, it is also equally likely to develop in people with healthy skin.
The most common symptoms of impetigo include
- Small red spots that eventually turn into blisters and break open. Although the sores are not painful, they do cause intense itchiness
- The blisters may ooze out fluid and form a crust
- The sores may rapidly proliferate thus covering a large area in a very short span of time. Theses sores can come in any size, as a small as a pimple or as large as a coin
Impetigo is in no way a life threatening condition. Upon correct treatment, they can clear off in just days. However, there are also certain complications that can arise out of the condition. These include
- Kidney problems
Scarring can be intense, especially if the child is constantly picking at the sores. If the affected person contracts cellulitis, it could spread to the lymph nodes and the blood stream, which can become life threatening. In rare cases, impetigo also causes a condition known as post streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which can cause kidney failure.
Impetigo is not at all a threatening condition and clears away very easily on being treated. If the condition is still mild, regular cleansing of the sores, crust removal followed by the application of antibiotic ointments like mupirocin can effectively control and heal the condition in a very short span of time. Non-prescription antibiotics like Neosporin are usually not rendered effective. Oral antibiotic medications are taken only if the condition becomes severe and spreads to a wider area.
Since most of the staph germs have developed resistance to antibiotic over the years, not every antibiotic may be effective for everyone. The ones which have a higher chance of effectively treating the condition include penicillin derivatives such as amoxicillin – clavulanic acid and cephalosporins such as cephalexin. Examination of the bacteria taken from the affected area may help the doctors in giving more effective prescriptions.
Lichen planus is a chronic skin condition that appears as a rash. It occurs due to the inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes and is accompanied by small, flat topped, polygonal bumps. These bumps can grow in clusters and develop into rough, scaly plaques on the skin, thus causing serious skin conditions.
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.