Summary

Skin is the largest organ of the body composed of two major layers—the epidermis and dermis. Skin controls body temperature, provides protection against infection, the environment, and prevents the loss of bodily fluids.

There are many skin disorders. The more common are acne vulgaris, psoriasis, warts, dermatitis, alopecia, burns, abrasions, and lacerations.

Acne vulgarisis is an inflammation of the pilosebaceous glands and is treated by using a cleansing agent and applying topical anti-acne medication.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder characterized by erythematous papules and plaques covered with silvery scales appearing on the scalp, elbows, palms of the hands, knees, and soles of the feet. Psoriasis is treated by using antisopri-atic medication to loosen the psoriasis scales.

A wart is a benign lesion characterized as a hard, horny nodule on the hands and feet. Warts are removed by freezing, electrodesiccation, or surgical excision using topical treatments salicyclic acid, podophyllum resin, and cantharidin.

Dermatitis is a skin eruption that is caused by medications (drug-induced dermatitis) or by a chemical agent coming in touch with the skin (contact dermatitis). Dermatitis can be treated by using topical glucocorticoids.

Alopecia is male pattern baldness and occurs when the hair shaft is lost and the hair follicle cannot regenerate. Minoxidil (Rogaine) returns hair growth, but alopecia returns within 3 to 4 months after the patient stops using the drug.

A burn causes lesions that break-down skin and expose the body to infection. Burns are classified by degree, which is based on the tissue depth of the burn. There are three burn classifications: first-degree (superficial), second-degree (partial-thickness), and third degree (full-thickness) burns. Burns are treated by cleaning the burn site, removing charred skin, and then administering anti-infectives to prevent infection.

An abrasion is a scrape and a laceration is a cut. Both are cleaned and treated with topical antibiotics.

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