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Inflammatory Disorders of the Skin

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  • 0:06 Different Skin Conditions
  • 0:41 What Is Acne?
  • 1:44 What Is Urticaria?
  • 3:21 What Is Psoriasis?
  • 4:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will discuss three important and well-known conditions that affect the skin. Namely, acne, urticaria, and psoriasis. We will go into why they occur and how they may be treated.

Different Skin Conditions

It's nice to be young, they say. Your knees and back don't hurt, you can actually hear the birds outside, and you don't have to wear diapers. Unless you're really young, that is.

But, everyone who is no longer a teenager, and some of those who aren't, has had plenty of skin problems of which inflammation is a part of: zits, pimples, and the like, or rashes from poison ivy or poisons oak, and so on. The elderly aren't immune from some of these conditions either. This lesson will discuss these problems that may sound the same and are often confused, but are actually a bit different.

What Is Acne?

One skin condition many a young teen has had to go through is staring into the mirror upon waking up and seeing that they have transformed into Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer overnight thanks to a gigantic pimple. While pimples may be one component of acne, they're not the only one. Acne is a skin condition that results from oil and dead skin cells plugging up hair follicles.

Now, I just mentioned that acne involves pimples, more technically called pustules, because they contain pus, the white stuff that squirts onto your mirror when you squeeze your pimples. There are other problems that arise, though, such as comedones, which are blackheads and whiteheads.

In order to treat acne, a whole host of different methods may be used, depending on what the underlying cause of its development may be. Antibiotics may be given since bacteria may play a role in its development, namely the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. Topical medication that helps to decrease any inflammation may be prescribed as well.

What Is Urticaria?

Anti-inflammatory medication would be important in people with urticaria as well. At its simplest, urticaria is hives, something I'm sure you've heard of and most likely had the distinct displeasure of experiencing. The clearest components of urticaria are red, itchy, bumps and swellings all over the place. All of those things, by the way, are typical signs of inflammation.

Hives occurs as a result of the release of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes; and you thought all those lessons on these two substances were for nothing! Furthermore, the release of histamine plays a big role. I won't go into detail as to why since many lessons harp on these explanations.

But, the bottom line is that you should know that these substances cause fluid to leak into the area of the skin that's affected, causing the redness and swelling, and the histamine also does a good job of stimulating all that itchiness you probably experienced. The signs and symptoms of hives can be caused by allergens in the environment, food, drugs, and may be a part of, or caused by, autoimmune disorders. Many times, the exact cause of hives is actually never identified.

In order to combat hives, anti-histamines are given for obvious reasons, and steroids can be used for short-term control of severe hives. Another lesson pointed out why short-term steroid use is important; it's because steroids may do a good job of suppressing inflammation and the immune system as a whole, but they also have a ton of side-effects.

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