Dermatology Health Center

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is skin disorder?

A skin disorder is an irritation or inflammation of the skin. This is usually caused an allergic reaction from your body or a microbe clogging your skin pores. Your skin will feel itchy, inflamed and sometimes painful. Signs of a skin disorder will vary depending on the severity of your condition. Some skin disorders may be mild and treatable while other skin disorders may be more severe and need special treatment.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. The main function of your skin is to cover and protect your body. Other functions of your body may include:

  • Holds body fluids to prevent dehydration;
  • Keeps harmful microbes out to prevent infections;
  • Help you feel things are hot, cold or painful;
  • Regulates your body temperature;
  • Produces vitamin D that is essential for your body during sun exposure.

When any of these functions are affected, your skin will react and cause a skin disorder.  Some of the most common skin conditions include:

  • Moles;
  • Chickenpox;
  • Acne;
  • Rashes;
  • Hives;
  • Eczema (atopic, allergic, or nummular dermatitis);
  • Skin cancer;
  • Rosacea;
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (causing cradle cap or dandruff);
  • Psoriasis;
  • Vitiligo;
  • Impetigo;
  • Warts.

Skin conditions may resolve after a short period of time but most of the time will require a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin disorders. If you suspect you have a skin problem, please let your doctor know right away.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of skin disorder?

Skin conditions have a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms that appear because of common problems are not often signs of a skin disease or disorder. This can include blisters from new shoes or chafing from tight pants. Skin problems that have no immediately identifiable cause may be a sign of an actual skin condition requiring treatment.

Although pictures are the best way to identify specific skin problems, irregularities that are signs of a skin disorder include:

  • Raised bumps that are red or white in color;
  • A rash, with or without pain or itch;
  • Scaly or rough skin;
  • Chafing and peeling skin;
  • Ulcers;
  • Open sores or lesions;
  • Dry, cracked skin;
  • Discolored patches of skin;
  • Fleshy bumps, nodules, warts, or other skin growths;
  • Changes in mole color or size;
  • Loss of skin pigment;
  • Excessive flushing with or without stimulus.

Know the causes

What are the causes of skin disorder?

There are some skin disorders that have unknown causes while some may arise from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental stressors like illness, allergens, or exposure to irritants. Common known causes of skin disorders include:

  • Bacteria trapped in skin pores and hair follicles;
  • Fungus, parasites, or microorganisms living in the skin;
  • Viral infections;
  • Weakened immune system (with or without coexisting infection);
  • Contact with allergens, irritants, or another person’s infected skin;
  • Genes and inherited susceptibility;
  • Illnesses affecting the thyroid, immune system, kidney, and other body systems;
  • Unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

Everyone’s body reacts differently and may have different causes. You can discuss further with your dermatologist to identify specific causes that are causing your skin disorders.

Know the risk factors

Who is at risk of skin disorder?

Factors that may increase your risk of skin disorder may include:

  • Prolonged sun exposure;
  • Family history of allergies or skin problems;
  • You have allergies or asthma;
  • Unhealthy diet or lifestyle habits;
  • A weak immune system;
  • Exposure to allergens, substances that can cause allergies;
  • Stress or smoking;
  • Excessive weight increase your risk for some skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Managing your risk factors can help you manage your skin disorder. Your doctor will most likely instruct you to change your diet and lifestyle habits as part of your treatment.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is skin disorder diagnosed?

To diagnose skin cancer, your doctor may:

  • Examine your skin.Your doctor may look at your skin to determine whether your skin changes are likely to be skin cancer. Further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.
  • Remove a sample of suspicious skin for testing (skin biopsy).Your doctor may remove the suspicious-looking skin for lab testing. A biopsy can determine whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have.
  • Take an allergy test. This test can sometimes tell you what you what is causing your allergic skin reaction. By knowing the exact cause, your doctor can treat your skin disorder more effectively.

What are the treatments for skin disorder?

Many skin disorders may be helped by topical, oral, or subcutaneous treatment.

Not all skin disorders respond to treatment, but common treatment methods for treatable skin conditions include:

  • Antihistamines;
  • Steroid cream and pills;
  • Antibiotics;
  • Vitamin or steroid injections;
  • Laser therapy;
  • Targeted prescription medications.

Permanent skin conditions often go through phases or cycles of severe symptoms. Certain incurable conditions can be forced into remission. However, most conditions reappear during times of stress, illness, or overexertion. Painful skin disorders can be partially addressed with pain medication. Skin conditions that involve open sores, lesions, or contagions may also be treated with medical ointments and bandages.

Skin disorders that are temporary and merely cosmetic in nature can often be treated with:

  • Medicated make-up;
  • Over-the-counter skin care products;
  • Hygiene techniques;
  • Small lifestyle changes.

In addition, some skin conditions can be treated or improved with changes in diet.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

How can I manage my skin disorder?

Some skin disorders cannot be prevented. Genetic conditions and disorders that are brought on by other illnesses cannot be avoided. However, it’s possible to manage the severity of your skin disorder.

Avoiding contact with people or items that may carry the disease can sometimes prevent infectious conditions like ringworm and scabies. Infectious skin disorders can often be prevented by:

  • Following proper hand hygiene;
  • Avoiding contact with the infected skin of others;
  • Avoiding contact with the mucus of individuals with a skin or other infection;
  • Cleaning public spaces (like gym equipment or toilet seats) before use;
  • Wearing protective clothing and shoes;
  • Not sharing personal items such as blankets, hairbrushes, shoes, or swimsuits;
  • Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and avoiding excessive physical or emotional stress;
  • Eating a nutritious diet;
  • Getting vaccinated for infectious skin conditions, such as chickenpox.

Non-infectious skin disorders, such as acne and atopic dermatitis, can sometimes be prevented. Although prevention techniques will vary depending on the condition, some preventive steps include:

  • Following proper hand and skin-washing hygiene;
  • Using moisturizer;
  • Avoiding breaks in the skin;
  • Avoiding environmental and dietary allergens;
  • Avoiding contact with harsh chemicals or other irritants;
  • Avoiding overexposure to water (from swimming or washing too frequently);
  • Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and avoiding excessive physical or emotional stress;
  • Eating a nutritious diet;
  • Protecting skin from excessive cold, heat, dryness, and wind.

Learning about proper skin care and skin disorder treatment can be very important for skin health. Some conditions require the attention of a doctor, while others can be safely addressed at home. Read about your symptoms or condition to learn the best ways to treat or cure your skin disorder and to prevent its exacerbation.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: May 19, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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