8 Harmful Skin Problems

Skin Problems

Skin Problems

Skin problems are conditions that affect your skin. They may cause rashes, inflammation, itchiness or other changes. Some conditions may be genetic, while lifestyle factors may cause others. It’s treatment may include medications, creams or ointments, or lifestyle changes.


Importance of Skin

Not only does the skin hold everything in, it also plays a crucial role in providing an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between the outside world and the highly regulated systems within the body to stay away from various skin problems. It also helps with temperature regulation, immune defence, vitamin production, and sensation.

Our skin is a big deal – literally. It’s the largest organ in the body and one of the most complicated. It has many roles in the maintenance of life and health, but also has many potential skin problems, with more than 3,000 possible skin disorders.

The skin is unique in many ways, but no other organ demands so much attention and concern in both states of disease and health. There is a huge focus on skin health, with fierce competition to have glowing, clearer, healthier, younger and fresher skin. And this focus can cause secondary problems with self-esteem and mental health.

The structure of the skin

The skin is divided into three layers known as the epidermis, dermis and subcutis. These layers are well defined but together they allow the skin to function effectively.

The epidermis is the outermost, cellular layer of the skin which varies in thickness depending on the body site. On average it’s less than half a millimetre thick. The epidermis resembles a “brick wall” of cells known as keratinocytes, which are bound tightly together and act to prevent free movement of moisture, pathogens and chemicals into or out of the body.

Keratinocytes replicate from the basal layer and work their way up to the outer surface (known as the stratum corneum) over a period of about 28 days. Once they reach the surface the tight bonds between them break apart and they are shed.

Other than keratinocytes, pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes and immune cells known as Langerhans cells also exist within the epidermis. Melanocytes inhabit the basement membrane, at the base of the epidermis and produce a pigment known as melanin both innately (giving the skin its natural colour), and in response to ultraviolet light (UV) exposure (giving the skin a sun tan).

The melanin is a brown pigment that is taken up into the overlying keratinocytes. This pigment will then absorb UV light (from the sun) when it hits the skin, thereby protecting the basal calls underneath from UV damage.

The epidermal cells also develop hair follicles, sweat glands and sebaceous (oil) glands which extend down into the layer below known as the dermis. The small ducts from each of these glands open onto the skin surface. Sweat and sebum (oil) provide an antibacterial and protective barrier on the skin.

The dermis lies beneath the epidermis and is 20-30 times thicker. It’s made up of a dense layer of fibrous (collagen) and elastic (elastin) tissue. The dermis gives the skin its integrity, strength and elasticity; and houses blood vessels, glands and hair follicles, as well as nerves and their receptors.

Beneath the dermis lies the subcutis (also known as the hypodermis), a specialised layer of adipose (fat) and fibrous tissue. The thickness of this layer varies dramatically depending on the site and a person’s body shape and weight. It cushions the body from external trauma, insulates from the cold and stores energy (fat).

Skin Problems

The function of the skin in avoiding skin problems

The extraordinary array of functions performed by healthy skin is still coming to light. The basic day-to-day functions include:

  • Working as a barrier – protecting against water loss as well as physical and chemical injury, and bugs
  • Helping us fight off bugs, allergens, toxins and carcinogens via the parts of our immune system that exist in our skin
  • Regulating our temperature by dilating and constricting our blood vessels near the skin surface, controlling the transfer of heat out of the body. Temperature is also regulated by evaporative cooling due to sweat production and by the insulating effect of erect hairs on the skin surface.
  • Heat loss is also affected by the insulating layer of subcutaneous fatProtecting us from UV radiation by producing melanin
  • Giving us the sense of touch _ providing interaction with physical surroundings, allowing all fine and gross motor activities and allowing pleasurable and sexual stimulation
  • The production of Vitamin D, which helps prevent many skin problems including osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, obesity and neurological diseases
  • Wound healing, Beauty and physical attraction – the quality and condition of the skin greatly contributes to the perception of health, wellness, youth and beauty.


Types of Skin Problems

Although most skin problems affecting the skin originate in the layers of the skin, such abnormalities are also important factors in the diagnosis of a variety of internal diseases. There is some truth in the belief that the skin mirrors a person’s internal health. Often, the visibility and accessibility of skin make it the first organ of the body to show detectable signs of underlying disease. Abnormalities of the skin frequently suggest metabolic, malignant, and glandular diseases.

Like other tissues, skin is afflicted by all types of pathological changes, including hereditary, inflammatory, benign and malignant (neoplastic), endocrine, hormonal, traumatic, and degenerative processes. Emotions affect the health of the skin as well. The reaction of the skin to these diseases and disorders differs from that of other tissues in many ways.

For example, extensive inflammation of the skin may affect metabolism within other organs and systems of the body, causing anemia, circulatory collapse, disorders of body temperature, and disturbance of water and electrolyte balance in the blood. The skin has such vigorous healing properties, however, that widespread injury, as in thermal burns, may be followed by a marked degree of regrowth of the injured or diseased areas, with a disproportionally small degree of scarring.



Some skin problems are minor. Others cause severe symptoms. Some of the most common diseases include:

  • Acne, blocked follicles that lead to oil, bacteria and dead skin buildup in your pores.
  • Alopecia areata, losing your hair in small patches.
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema), dry, itching that leads to swelling, cracking or scaliness.
  • Psoriasis, scaly skin that may swell or feel hot.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon, periodic reduced blood flow to your fingers, toes or other body parts, causing numbness or color change.
  • Rosacea, flushed, thick skin and pimples, usually on the face.
  • Cancer, uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells.
  • Vitiligo, patches that lose pigment.

Certain lifestyle factors can lead to the development of  skin problems. Underlying causes may affect your skin, too. Common causes of skin problems include:

  • Bacteria trapped in your pores or hair follicles.
  • Conditions that affect your thyroid, kidneys or immune system.
  • Contact with environmental triggers, such as allergens or another person’s skin.
  • Genetics.
  • Fungus or parasites living on your skin.
  • Medications, such as the ones that treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Viruses.
  • Diabetes.
  • Sun.

These problems symptoms vary significantly, depending on what condition you have. The changes are not always due to their problems.

For example, you may get a blister from wearing ill-fitting shoes. However, when changes show up with no known cause, they may be linked to an underlying condition.


Hereditary skin problems

The formation of almost all components of the skin (for example, hair texture and colour and skin pigmentation and thickness) is under genetic control. A large number of common skin problems also are directly or indirectly determined by a person’s genotype (genetic constitution), but their expression may require an external influence or an altered hormonal milieu.

The hereditary skin problems psoriasis and atopic eczema are examples of skin disorders in which sunlight (as an extrinsic factor) or stress (as an intrinsic factor) activate the condition. Even when heredity has an immediate determining role, other factors may influence the expression of disease. The hereditary blood vessel diseases of the skin, for example, many of which are under direct genetic control, sometimes do not become evident until the hormonal changes of puberty create conditions optimal for disease expression.

A common genetic abnormality is the nevus, often called a mole or birthmark. Nevi are due to primary abnormalities in the structure or number of skin cells. A local increase in the concentration of melanocytes is termed a melanocytic or pigmented nevus; an area of increased capillary concentration, a capillary nevus. In nevus anemicus, an area of skin is pale because of reduced blood flow, even though there is no evidence of a structural disorder. Although most nevi are benign, malignant transformation may cause melanocytic nevi.

If an abnormality is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait and one parent is affected, then, from the laws of Mendelian inheritance, each child has a 50 percent risk for the disease. Amniocentesis, often performed between the 12th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, entails little risk to the mother or fetus and makes it possible to diagnose prenatally severe disorders such as epidermolysis bullosa, a blistering and scarring disorder; albinism, or a generalized lack of pigment from the skin; and xeroderma pigmentosum, a precancerous condition in which sunlight-induced skin damage cannot be enzymatically corrected by the affected skin cells.


Causes of Skin Problems

Generally, the skin problems may cause:

  • Discolored patches (abnormal pigmentation).
  • Dry skin.
  • Open sores, lesions or ulcers.
  • Peeling skin.
  • Rashes, possibly with itchiness or pain.
  • Red, white or pus-filled bumps.
  • Scaly or rough.

Some health conditions can increase your chances of developing a disease. You may be more likely to experience changes or symptoms if you have:

  • Diabetes: People with diabetes may have trouble with wound healing, particularly on their feet.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Some IBD medications can lead to problems such as vitiligo or eczema.
  • Lupus: This chronic condition can lead to inflammation and  skin problems, such as rashes, sores or scaly patches.

Changes can also be the result of pregnancy, stress or hormonal changes. For example, melasma is one of the common skin problems that mostly affects pregnant women.

Conditions like alopecia areata, acne, Raynaud’s phenomenon or rosacea may get worse when you’re stressed.


skin problems

Skin problems caused by cosmetics

We use cosmetics to make ourselves look better, but sometimes a make-up allergy can cause some unsightly skin conditions instead.


Irritant Cosmetic Dermatitis

This is one of the most common skin problems that can be caused by cosmetics. The most frequent complaint is a rash and facial itching.
Types of cosmetics that may cause irritant contact dermatitis include:
• Facial cleansers: these often contain surfactants that are necessary to clean the skin
• Toners and astringents: these may contain alcohol or acids such as alpha-hydroxyacid (AHA), which can cause skin problems in some people
• Facial treatment: this involves the use of manual manipulation and application of chemicals on the skin, often resulting in exfoliation of the upper skin surface. Mild irritation is inevitable, but severe skin inflammation like dermatitis can occur
Excessive or inappropriate use of any of these skin care products and procedures can cause skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive skin or underlying skin problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Irritant Cosmetic Dermatitis

The patient may experience only a burning or stinging sensation after applying the cosmetic on the skin, but in severe cases, itchiness, redness, swelling and later scaling and peeling of the skin can occur.


Treatment of Irritant Cosmetic Dermatitis

Stop using all cosmetic products on the affected skin immediately and consult your doctor. Do not seek treatment from beauticians or other medically unqualified people.
After the rash has cleared, patch testing may be required at a later date to exclude an allergy to the cosmetics. Your doctor will advise you on the appropriate cosmetics to use.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Another important disease in this segment of skin problems caused by cosmetics is allergic contact dermatitis, which occurs less frequently than irritant contact dermatitis. It is often difficult to differentiate between the two by the appearance of the rash alone. Cosmetics ingredients that can cause skin allergy include fragrances, preservatives and sunscreens.


Symptoms and Signs of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

The patient may not experience any problem with the cosmetic initially. An allergic reaction can occur even after repeated exposure to the substance.
Symptoms include itchiness, redness, swelling or even blistering on the affected skin. Secondary spread beyond the affected site may occur. The same reaction will recur if the patient uses another product that contains the same ingredients.

Treatment of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

You should stop applying all cosmetics on the affected skin or anywhere else immediately. Your doctor will prescribe a topical or — in severe cases — oral corticosteroid to reduce the skin inflammation. Oral antihistamines may reduce intense itching. Patch testing should be done when the rash subsides to ascertain the cause of allergy.
Patch testing is a procedure that helps your dermatologist to identity the exact substance that you are allergic to. During the test, pieces of tape will be plastered on the back for 48 hours. You will return after 72 hours and/or a week later to determine if there is any allergic reaction. You will be tested with specially prepared patch test material and also with your own cosmetic products. After the evaluation, you can then be given appropriate advice as to which substance/s you must avoid in future.

Cosmetics induced pimples

Acne or pimples can occur in patients who may or may not have a past history of adolescent pimples. Some cosmetics, e.g. foundation and moisturisers which are left on the skin for a long period of time, can cause comedones (“blackheads” or “whiteheads”) and inflamed pimples to appear.
Patients with cosmetic-induced pimples are treated as for ordinary pimples, i.e. appropriate creams/gels with or without oral medication, depending on the severity. Patients should preferably stop using all cosmetics until the skin improves. However, if the patient is uncomfortable with blemishes on the skin during the healing process, they should use oil-free or low oil-content cosmetics.

Special Cosmetic Allergies

Hair-dye allergy is one of the most common causes of cosmetic dermatitis in men and women. Some people are able to dye their hair initially without any problem, but may suddenly develop an allergy to the dye after repeated use. The face, ears and neck are often affected.

The substance in hair dye that often causes an allergy is para-phenylenediamine (PPD). It can be found in almost all brands of permanent hair dyes. Those who are allergic to PPD hair dyes must avoid all synthetic chemical hair dyes. The only suitable substitutes are henna, a vegetable dye, or metal pigment dyes.
Sunscreens protect our skin from sun damage. However they can also cause skin problems. Besides being sold commercially as sun-blocking agents, they are also incorporated into numerous cosmetic products such as lipsticks and facial foundation.
Sunscreens can cause irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis and photoallergic contact dermatitis. Photoallergic dermatitis differs from allergic contact dermatitis, as the rash occurs only after the skin comes into direct exposure with the combination of the allergic substance and sunlight.
All chemical sunscreens have the potential to cause photoallergic dermatitis. Physical sunscreens, which contain metal elements, such as titanium dioxide, do not cause this problem.
Consult a dermatologist for a skin patch test if you suspect that you have sunscreen allergy. After the patch test, your dermatologist should be able to advise you on the type of sunscreen that you can use.


Know More about Skin Problems

Visit our treatments page to know more about your exact skin problem to help you consult the right doctor.



Consult one of our vaidyas to speak about your skin problems and find solutions to them. Take an appointment from the vaidya of your choice, at the day and time of your choice, and even the language of your choice.

Privacy Policy | Shipping Policy | Terms and Conditions | Return and Refund Policy

the joy of vedic health solutions