Study of Skin and Scalp

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Common Skin Diseases


A disease in any departure from a normal state of health. A skin disease is an infection of the skin which is visible and may consist of scales, pimples or pustules. Some of the common terms applied to skin diseases are : 

  • An acute disease : Is manifested by symptoms of a more or less violent character and is of a short duration. 

  • A chronic disease : is of long duration, usually mild but recurring. 

  • An infectious disease : is caused by pathogenic germs taken into the body as a result of contact with a contaminated object.

  • A contagious disease : is communicable by contact. 

  • A congenital disease : is one that is present in the infant at the time of birth.

  • A seasonal disease : is influenced by the weather, like rashes caused by prickly heat in summer. 

  • An occupational disease : is afflicted by one’s occupation. 

  • A parasitic disease : is one that is caused by a vegetable or an animal parasite, such as pediculosis or ringworm.

  • A pathogenic disease : is produced by a disease – producing bacteria.

  • A systemic disease : is the result of over functioning of the internal glands and is caused by a faulty diet.

  • A venereal disease : is a contagious disease commonly acquired by contact with an infected person during sexual intercourse. 

  • An epidemic disease : is the manifestation of the disease that attacks simultaneously a large number of persons living in a particular locality.

  • An allergy : is a sensitivity which certain persons develop due to normally harmless substances. Skin allergies are very common and are caused by contact with certain types of foods, cosmetics, medicines and tints. This may result in itching, accompanied by redness, swelling, blisters, oozing and scaling. An inflammation is characterized by redness, pain, swelling and heat. 

Sebaceous Gland Diseases

1. Blackheads : These are a worm-like mass of hardened sebum, appearing most frequently on the face, forehead and the nose. Blackheads always accompany pimples and often occur during the teens. 

2. White heads : These are caused by the accumulation of sebaceous matter beneath the skin. They occur on different parts of the face, neck, chest and the shoulders. Whiteheads are usually associated with fine textured and often dry skin. 

3. Steatoma ( Sebaceous Cyst) : It is a subcutaneous tumour of the sebaceous glands filled with sebum, varying in shape from the size of a pea to that of an orange. It usually occurs on the scalp, neck and the back. 

4. Asteatosis : It is a condition of dry scaly skin characterized by absolute or relative deficiency of sebum, due to senile changes or some bodily disorders. It generally develops in old age; in youth it may be caused by the reaction of alkalies such as soaps and washing powders. 

5. Seborrhoea : It is a skin condition due to overactivity and excessive secretion of the sebaceous or oil glands. An itching or burning sensation may accompany it. An oily condition or shining of the nose, forehead, or scalp indicates the presence of seborrhea. 

6. Acne : It is a chronic inflammatory disease occurring most frequently on the face, back and the chest. Acne appears in a variety of forms ranging from simple non-contagious pimples to a serious deep-seated skin condition. 

Sweat Gland Diseases

  • Bromidrosis or Osmidrosis : It refers to foul smelling perspiration, usually noticeable in the armpits or on the feet. 

  • Anidrosis : It refers to lack of perspiration ( consult a doctor) 

  • Hyderidrosis : It refers to excessive perspiration and is caused by excessive heat or body weakness ( consult a doctor)

  • Miliaria rubra ( Prickly Heat) : It is generally caused by exposure to excessive heat and is accompanied by burning and itching of the skin.