Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, and is a critical shield against infection.
With more than 3,000 skin disorders known to dermatology, it’s important to learn more about them, their causes and how to treat them. [Read more]
Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies. And is a critical shield against infection.
It is made of 3 layers that all have vital responsibilities.
Every day the first layer of your skin, known as the epidermis, comes into contact with parasites, bacteria, viruses and all sorts of other micro-organisms. This layer is the toughest of the three and acts as a support to your immune system, as it needs to stop these micro-organisms from causing internal infections. Even the smallest cut can allow this to happen.
The second layer is called the dermis, and this acts as the assistant to the epidermis, with important tasks like providing it with nutrients and helping to make it strong enough to continue being a barrier against any infections.
The third layer is the subcutaneous zone. And this final layer is what keeps your temperature steady, and helps to store energy. This layer is actually a thin layer of fat that absorbs pressure and keeps the internal organs safe from knocks and bumps.
If you have a weakened immune system, bacteria, fungi, and viruses that usually struggle to get past the epidermis will be able to use even a tiny cut to get in. Sometimes with a weak immune system, a cut isn’t even necessary to cause an infection on the surface of the skin. Signs and symptoms will differ, depending on what has caused the infection.
Impetigo is a bacterial infection that most often affects boys and in summer. It can cause sores that are often crusty on the face and hands. It’s often caused by a tear in the skin but sometimes there is no obvious site of infection. This requires an antibiotic treatment that is either oral or topical, depending on its severity.
Since the introduction of a vaccine in 1995, chickenpox is not as common as it was. However, there are still a relatively high number of cases each year. It most often affects children, but can affect adults as well, and is highly infectious. It starts as a rash with spots that develop into blisters of clear fluid. These blisters eventually dry up and form scabs that heal. Most often it spreads from the torso to the face and then spreads to the limbs.
Cold sores, also known as ‘fever blisters’ develop on the skin around the lips and are extremely common, especially in young children. They are caused by Type 1 herpes or oral herpes which is an infection that only goes dormant between outbreaks. They often flare up after being triggered by a weak immune system through illness, or through stress and hormonal changes. They can spread to other parts of the body through touch, so good personal hygiene is important during an outbreak.
Most of the three types of infection can be treated with oral medication or a topical cream. Your doctor will determine the cause and then give you a prescription or recommend an over-the-counter treatment.
If there is a small growth, your doctor may remove it and send it for further testing to determine what it is before suggesting necessary treatments.
If you are worried about anything you see on your skin that looks or feels unusual, then see your doctor for the correct treatment to clear it up as quickly as possible, as some infections can cause pain and fever.