Generally, a skin complaint, or skin disorder, is usually skin that’s itchy, covered in a rash, broken out or has unusual spots. This can happen if there’s an infection, a chronic skin condition, or contact with an irritant or allergen. Though many skin conditions are minor and common, more serious ones need medical attention. Skin complaints can include eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, shingles, swelling, stasis dermatitis, moles, cancer, lacerations, dysesthesia, temporal arteritis, phlebitis, varicose veins, cellulitis, erysipelas and abscesses.
Some of the more common causes of skin disorders include:
- Contact with allergens, irritants or another person’s infected skin
- Bacteria trapped within hair follicles and skin pores
- Parasites, fungus or microorganisms living on the skin
- A weak or weakened immune system
- Genetic factors
- Illnesses affecting the thyroid, immune system, kidneys and other body systems
Common Skin Problems
Contact dermatitis – This usually happens when a substance like soap, fragrances, cosmetics, jewelry or poison ivy irritates the skin or triggers an allergic reaction. The skin often reddens into a rash wherever it came into contact with the irritant. If the irritant can be avoided, the rash usually clears up in two to four weeks. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can help reduce itching.
Keratosis pilaris – When the skin makes too much of a protein called keratin, it can block hair follicles and cause bumps to develop on the skin. This usually happens on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. The bumps are often white, sometimes red, and typically don’t hurt or itch. This condition usually disappears by age 30. Body creams with lanolin, glycerin or petroleum jelly can help calm the condition.
Skin conditions have a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms that appear due to common problems aren’t always the result of a skin disorder. Such symptoms can include blisters from new shoes or chafing from tight pants. However, skin problems that have no obvious cause may indicate the presence of an actual skin condition that requires treatment.
Skin irregularities that are typically symptoms of a skin disorder include:
- A rash that may be painful or itchy
- Raised bumps that are red or white
- Scaly or rough skin
- Peeling skin
- Open sores or lesions
- Dry, cracked skin
- Discolored patches of skin
- Fleshy bumps, warts, or other skin growths
- Changes in mole color or size
- A loss of skin pigment
- Excessive flushing
Some skin disorders respond to treatment. Some common treatments include:
- Medicated creams and ointments
- Vitamin or steroid injections
- Specific prescription medications
- Laser therapy
Should I go to Indigo?
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can help you identify that pesky rash or other skin complaint, and make treatment recommendations or refer to you to a higher level of care as needed.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you’re better off heading to your nearest emergency department:
- The rash covers your body.
- A high fever with the rash.
- The rash is sudden and spreads rapidly.
- The rash occurs as a reaction to medication and breathing becomes difficult.
- The rash blisters.
- The rash affects the skin around your eyes, multiple areas in your mouth or your genitals.
- The rash becomes increasingly painful.
- The rash is itchy and has yellow or green fluid, swelling, crusting, pain and warmth in the area of the rash, or a red streak coming from the rash.