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Skin diseases

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

 

All the following are classified as skin diseases, the list is not complete but gives some idea of the types and number of diseases that can affect the skin:

  • Acne - is a common human skin disease, characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules (pinheads), nodules (large papules), pimples, and possibly scarring
  • Psoriasis - Psoriasis is a common, chronic relapsing/remitting  skin disease characterized by red, scaly patches, papules, and plaques, which usually itch. The skin lesions seen in psoriasis may vary in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. “The disease affects 2–4% of the general population of the USA
  • Hives - Urticaria (from the Latin urtica, nettle,) commonly referred to as hives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Hives might also cause a burning or stinging sensation
  • Angioedema  is the rapid swelling of the dermis, subcutaneous tissue,  mucosa and submucosal tissues. Cases where angioedema progresses rapidly are treated as a medical emergency, as airway obstruction and suffocation can occur. 
  • Alopecia areata (AA) is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp.  Two known causes are fungal infection and viruses, although the fungus may invade as a result of reduced immunity from the virus
  • Tinea versicolor - is a fungus infection that commonly affects the skin of young people, especially the chest, back, and upper arms and legs. Tinea versicolor is caused by a fungus that lives in the skin of some adults. It does not usually affect the face. This fungus produces spots that are either lighter than the skin or a reddish-brown.
  • Cutaneous mycoses” occur deep into the epidermis, and also include invasive hair and nail diseases. Unlike the superficial mycoses, host immune responses may be evoked resulting in pathologic changes expressed in the deeper layers of the skin. The resulting diseases are often called ringworm (even though there is no worm involved) or tinea.  The wonderfully named  Jock itch, Tinea cruris, is in this class.  One common disease is athlete's foot. These are caused by fungi-  Microsporum, Trichophyton  and Epidermophyton fungi 
  •  Scabies (from Latin: scabere, "to scratch") is a contagious skin infection spread by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The mite is a tiny, and usually not directly visible, parasite which burrows under the host's skin, causing intense allergic itching. Initial infections require four to six weeks to become symptomatic. Reinfection, however, may manifest symptoms within as few as 24 hours. Because the symptoms are allergic, their delay in onset is often mirrored by a significant delay in relief after the parasites have been eradicated.
  • Eczema and Dermatitis - dermatitis(from Greek δέρμα derma "skin" and -ῖτις -itis "disease") and eczema (Greek: ἔκζεμα ekzema "eruption") is inflammation of the skin. It is characterized by itchy, erythematous, vesicular, weeping, and crusting patches. In some languages, dermatitis and eczema are synonyms, while in other languages dermatitis implies an acute condition and eczema a chronic one. Symptoms include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by redness, skin swelling, itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed injuries. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring and may enlarge the rash
  • Vitiligo  - is a condition that causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. There are all sorts of theories about the cause of vitiligo - genetic, oxidative stress, neural, - none of which make any sense. Vitiligo is often the end stage of one of the other types of skin disease leading one to suspect it has exactly the same causes. Some research is at last beginning to recognise the role of viruses, no doubt in time all the others in the list below will emerge. Michael Jackson acquired vitiligo from the pharmaceuticals he was prescribed.
  • Melanoma, also known as malignant melanoma, is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes. Melanomas typically occur in the skin but may rarely occur in the mouth, intestines, or eye. In women they most commonly occur on the legs, while in men they are most common on the back.  Sometimes they develop from a mole with concerning changes including an increase in size, irregular edges, change in colour, itchiness, or skin breakdown
  • Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. It produces patches of red inflamed skin, sores and blisters and occasionally ulcerous lesions around the face, hands, armpits, back of the knees, neck and genitals, which can erupt and develop yellow-brown crusts.  The lesions may be painful or itchy.  There may even be bruising in extensive infections as capillaries are broken and infected.

Causes

Stress

There appears to be a commonly held view that skin problems are caused by 'stress'.  This is partly true, because stress often compromises the immune system and once this barrier to our defences has been breached the real culprits can have a field day. Thus stress may be a principle cause of the start of problems

As mental and psychological issues are important in the development of many dermatologic diseases, these factors are of special interest in research. Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body, and it was comprehensively described for the first time about 30 years ago. Communication between the mind and the skin involves the psycho-immuno-endocrine-cutaneous system, encompassing the activities of the brain, the immune system and the skin, with participation of different neuropeptides, interleukins, and immune system messengers. Many common dermatologic diseases have some form of psychomediated pathogenesis that partially accounts for the development of skin lesions. There is a link between emotional stressors (acute or chronic), psychiatric diseases, and dermatoses (e.g., psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, viral warts, herpes simplex, vitiligo, acnes, alopecia, prurigo, etc.) and different cytokines and mediators produced in the skin and involved in their pathogenesis. A prominent role is played by those agents that belong to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. PMID: 24558766

But to just say it is stress would be missing the point, we now need to look further for root causes.

Pharmaceuticals

Several thousand pharmaceuticals cause skin diseases.  ACE inhibitors, for example can cause both angioedema and other allergic reactions such as asthma.  Statins can cause Psoriasis.  The list is too long to list here, so I have provided some links to the eHealthme web site where you can search the lists for yourself

In 2016, eHealthme completely reordered their site.  This meant that every link we had provided to their data no longer worked.  The links to eHealthme take you to their site but not the relevant section.  Thus you can use the link, but you will need to search under ‘symptoms’ and then use the section ‘drugs causing symptoms’ to get the information. 

  • this LINK can be used to get those causing dermatitis
  • this LINK can be used to get those causing psoriasis.
  • this LINK can be used for those causing angiodema
  • this LINK for alopecia
  • this LINK for hives
  • this LINK for acne
  • this LINK for Vitiligo

Vitamin supplements

Overall there is a a strong link between both allergic and asthmatic conditions as well as skin diseases and vitamin supplements, especially in the young [in the following paper atopy is hypersensitivity]

 

Vitamin A supplementation was associated with increased atopy.... especially in those who received simultaneous BCG …. Early vs delayed BCG was not associated with symptoms of atopic disease, but vitamin A supplementation increased odds of wheeze …. neonatal vitamin A supplementation was associated with increased atopy. PMID: 23991838

Food allergy

In this case the body is treating a food substance as a poison or toxin.  It is most important, however, that you read the section on both food allergies and other allergies as the ultimate cause of these may be to blame - note that vaccines are one culprit here.

Nutritional deprivation

Including both vitamin imbalance and mineral imbalance.  There are papers that link zinc deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency for example with both alopaecia and vitiligo.  The link to Vitamin D deficiency in those with vitiligo is of especial interest as people with this condition often have to wear a sun blocker because of their lack of pigmentation.  As the sun is a major source of vitamin D, it would follow that they become Vitamin D deficient, thus this may be an effect and not a cause.

 

The aim of the study was to evaluate the status of vitamin D in patients with alopecia areata .....A cross-sectional study was conducted of 86 patients with alopecia areata, 44 patients with vitiligo, and 58 healthy controls. …. The prevalence of 25(OH)D deficiency was significantly higher in the patients with alopecia areata (90.7%) compared with the patients with vitiligo (70.5%) and the healthy controls  (32.8%)  ... Furthermore, a significant inverse correlation was found between disease severity and serum 25(OH)D level in the patients with alopecia areata PMID: 24655364

Fungal infections

Fungi are a major source of skin infections as will be evident from the descriptions in the introductory section, but there appear to be some cases where the fungus only gains a hold because the immune system is struggling to combat a viral infection.  In effect the fungus is less a cause and more of a symptom, for example

Tinea capitis (TC) is a common fungal infection.… This study evaluates the clinical characteristics and mycological studies of adult TC among the Egyptian population.  The study included 58 patients … A history of close contact with animals was reported in 17.2% and Hepatitis C virus infection was recorded in 34.4%. Clinically, scaly scalp (37.9%), alopecia (22.4%), and pyoderma-like lesions (13.8%) were the most common presentations.   PMID:  24336943

Toxins

A large range of toxins appear to be one of the causes of skin diseases including all the heavy metals.  I would like you to take note of the fact that the one thing that did not cause ezcema in the children in the following study was lanolin, and yet there have been reports circulated by the scientific community sponsored by pharmaceutical, cosmetics and chemical companies that lanolin is a culprit........

 

OBJECTIVES: To analyse the frequency of contact hypersensitivity and allergic contact dermatitis among Polish children with eczema.
PATIENTS/METHODS: During an allergy screening programme involving 9320 children aged 7 and 16 years, 12.6% reported symptoms of chronic/recurrent eczema. From this group, a representative sample of 229 eczema children underwent patch testing: 96 children aged 7 years and 133 teenagers aged 16 years. Patch testing was with 10 allergens.
RESULTS: 49.4% tested children were found patch test (PT) positive.
43.8% of 7 year olds with eczema were PT positive, with sensitization to

  • nickel sulfate (30.2%),
  • thimerosal (10.4%),
  • cobalt chloride (8.3%),
  • fragrance mix I (7.3%),
  • methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) (6.3%),
  • potassium dichromate (6.3%),
  • M. pereirae (3.1%),
  • mercury ammonium chloride (2.3%), and
  • colophonium (1.0%).

52.6% teenagers were PT positive, with sensitization to

  • nickel sulfate (23.3%),
  • thimerosal (27.8%),
  • cobalt chloride (10.5%),
  • potassium dichromate (6.0%),
  • mercury ammonium chloride (2.3%),
  • M. pereirae (1.5%), and
  • MCI/MI (0.8%).

The final diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis was confirmed in 36% of 7 year olds and 26% of 16 year olds.
CONCLUSIONS: Every second child with eczema is PT positive, whereas every third child is finally diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis.  PMID: 19397618

 

 

One major source of problems is cosmetics and other supposed skin care products ranging from sunscreen lotions, to baby care shampoos to lipsticks, and eye shadow , which often have high levels of heavy metals or a toxin called Methylisothiazolinone - found in 'leave on' hand creams,  foundation, sunscreen lotion, baby skin care lotion plus a number of related products.  It is a preservative but causes dermatitis amongst other problems.  There is also an alarming new trend to put nanoparticles in skin care products such as sunscreen lotion, hand creams and cosmetics.  Skin diseases will be the least of a person's problems in this case, as nanoparticles can cause gene mutation.

Vaccines

If you look at the paper above one of the culprits was Thiomersal.  Thiomersal is also known under the trade name Merthiolate. It is based on mercury, so it can be classified as a heavy metal and toxin. It has been used as a preservative in vaccines, immunoglobulin preparations, skin test antigens, antivenins, ophthalmic and nasal products, and tattoo inks.

Its use as a vaccine preservative was controversial, and it was theoretically phased out from routine childhood vaccines in the United States, the European Union, and a few other countries “to assuage popular fears”. The current scientific consensus is that no convincing scientific evidence supports these fears. The paper above might make them change their minds.

The other problem with vaccines, is the use of live viruses in some.  As will be apparent if you read the following section on viruses, viruses can cause skin diseases.  Although the theory states that a vaccine is intended to induce the immune system to create an immunological response to the virus, a large number of viruses do not get 'killed', they simply get subdued by the immune system and lie low, waiting for the immune system to be compromised.  Thus a vaccine can give a person a virus they did not have, which then erupts at some later time and produces disease - one of which is skin disease.

Artificial food colourings 

There is a proven link between these and hives as well as Angiodema.  If we again use the paper above we have another example.  Colophonium - is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is also called Rosin. Despite being potentially poisonous, Rosin is used as a glazing agent in medicines and chewing gum. It is denoted by E number E915. A related glycerol ester (E445) is also used as an emulsifier in soft drinks.

Parasites 

A number of parasites are implicated in skin infections and diseases, for example, researchers have isolated the bacteria Bacillus oleronius, carried by the Demodex folliculorum mite as the root cause of Acne [Ref  PMID:  24248990].  Leishmania - a genus of trypanosomatic  protozoa causes skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person affected is bitten by sand flies.

For more details see the section on Acne and Parasites.

One major cause of skin diseases, however, is also a parasite and that is the mite.  Mites belong to the order Anthropoda: Chelicerata: Arachnida: Acarina.  The order Acarina includes mites and ticks and both are capable of causing extremely serious diseases - itching and ear diseases, lung diseases, intestinal disease...........

A 31-year-old Saudi man was seen at an ear, nose, and throat clinic at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with bilateral itching in the external auditory canal. On otoscopic examination, the skin lining the ear canal was thickened with whitish sheets of sloughed cells and thick discharge. Large numbers of mites of an undescribed species closely related to members of the genus Loxanoetus (Histiostomatidae) were present. ... PMID:  17488924

And Hantavirus which causes skin eruptions

[we] demonstrate the role of rat mite (Ornithonyssus bacoti) in the transmission of Rattus-borne hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS)….. O. bacoti may play a role as the vector of HFRS and a reservoir host as well.  PMID:  12078291

and Rickettsialpox caused by bacteria of the Rickettsia genus (Rickettsia akari), which is transferred to humans via mites.  The first symptom is a bump formed by the bite, eventually resulting in a black, crusty scab. Many of the symptoms are flu-like including fever, chills, weakness and achy muscles but the most distinctive symptom is the rash that breaks out, spanning the infected person's entire body.  It can be mistaken for chicken pox.

Several species of Trombiculidae bite their host in their larval stage and cause "intense irritation" or "a wheal, usually with severe itching and dermatitis".  They can also cause Scrub typhus.  So mites may be small, but they are major culprits in skin diseases.

Bacterial infection

A number of links are now being made between skin diseases and bacteria.  For example, there is a known link between Psoriasis and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.  This is not the only bacteria to be implicated, however, many more are starting to be named, for example:

 

Evidence exists that microorganisms, particularly in the throat and skin, play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether evidence for the presence of bacteria, including Streptococcus pyogenes, can be demonstrated in the peripheral blood of patients with guttate and/or chronic plaque psoriasis. Peripheral blood samples from 20 patients with psoriasis, seven guttate, six chronic plaque and seven chronic plaque with associated guttate flare and from 16 control subjects were studied for the presence of bacteria ... Ribosomal bacterial DNA was detected in the blood of all 20 patients with psoriasis, but in none of the controls. Streptococci were detected in six of seven patients with guttate psoriasis, but none had staphylococci. In contrast, staphylococci were identified in 9 of 13 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis, whilst only 2 demonstrated streptococci. In three psoriasis patients, species other than streptococci and staphylococci were identified. These findings suggest that psoriasis is associated with bacteraemia, with distinct taxonomic groups present in guttate and chronic plaque psoriatic subtypes. The causes of the bacteraemia and its implications in psoriasis have yet to be determined.  PMID: 20607546

One of the interesting things about the range of bacteria that are able to cause skin diseases are that many of them have not been caught but were possibly acquired via vaccines. In the example paper below the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria causes diptheria, but these children had not had diptheria.

 

A survey of skin diseases was carried out in pre-school children in five Ujamaa villages in Rufiji district and 532 children (5.3% of the total population) were screened. The results showed that scabies was the commonest skin problem affecting 31% of the children. Primary pyoderma and fungal infections were relatively less common and accounted for 7.0 and 2.4% respectively. Staphylococcus aureus, Group A beta haemolytic streptococci and Corynebacterium diptheriae were the commonest pathogeneic bacteria isolated from both infected scabies and primary pyoderma. Tinea capitis was similarly the commonest fungal infection and Microsporium audouinii was the main pathogen. PMID: 810929

In trying to identify the cause of the skin disease, one needs to be aware that secondary infection can result via the wounds in the skin

Mind and body - Dr Stephen Black
During the 'weeping stage', the exudate of serum provides a ready culture medium for pus producing bacteria.  And the resulting secondary infection may then give rise to boils and abscesses with consequent painful swelling of distant lymph glands, so that even a more generalised inflammatory infection may result - and then involve the lymphatic system which drains the affected area of tissue fluids.

Viral infections 

Viruses are an increasingly recognised and major source of skin infections of all sorts from lesions to ulcers, dermatitis to psoriasis.  Just about all the major viruses produce symptoms that affect the skin in some way and in some cases the effects on the skin are about the only indication that the virus has entered the body.  Small cold sores, for example, can be an indicator of major viral infection.  Viruses are longterm killers, as many lay low in the body until the immune system is at a low ebb, at which point they re-emerge and attack, thus any form of skin infection needs to be treated seriously.  It is clear from the papers on Pubmed that some viruses and the skin infections they cause could only have been acquired via vaccination.  The section on viral infections gives far more detail, but just as an example:

 

Herpes simplex virus is a common virus that causes a variety of clinical presentations ranging from mild to life-threatening. ….. It is responsible for a variety of ....presentations, including herpes gladiatorum, herpetic whitlow, eczema herpeticum, and ocular herpes. PMID: 24649621

It may be worth repeating one of the findings in the viral infection section

The Simian virus 40 is a polyomavirus that is found in both monkeys and humans. ...it became a highly controversial subject after it was revealed that millions were exposed to the virus after receiving a contaminated polio vaccine produced between 1955 and 1961.

and it would appear there is a link between this virus and eczema  [ref  EFFICACY, POTENTIAL AND HAZARDS OF VACCINES.KATZ SL. N Engl J Med. 1964 Apr 23;270:884-8. PMID: 14110035]

Surgery and trauma

There appears to be some evidence [see references] that sutures that do not disperse, sutures that harbour bacteria, objects left in patients accidentally during surgery including sponges etc, are a cause of psoriasis.  They can of course be a cause of a great deal more problems in some patients including death, organ damage and great pain and distress, but skin problems are an outward manifestation that something has gone wrong.

Liver damage

One of the causes of skin problems can be liver damage.  People or children, for example, with a damaged liver have in studies often developed eczema/dermatitis.
“These results suggest some relationship between atopic dermatitis and liver function in infants.  PMID: 7613128”
One of the side effects of the liver damage may be that it damages the enzymes needed to process Essential Fatty Acids and this inability to process the EFAs may then result in the eczema in the chain explained below

Patients with atopic eczema and a mixture of allergic illnesses show biochemical evidence suggesting impairment in the desaturation of linoleic acid and linolenic acid by the enzyme delta-6 dehydrogenase. …... A distortion in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which might result from this block, can account for the immunological defects of atopy and a variety of clinical symptoms experienced by atopic individuals. Dietary supplementation with essential fatty acids relieves the signs and symptoms of atopic eczema ….PMID:  2424959


So this tells us why people with liver damage may get eczema and other skin problems.  But this is not identifying the cause of the damage, simply treating the effects, which is helpful but not enough.  To treat the eczema we have to treat the liver damage.

Lymph system disease

The lymph system disease may itslef be caused by one of the above, but it helps to know the role of the lymph system in causing these sorts of eruptions.  Where the lymph system is damaged or blocked via surgery or a pathogen, inflammation will occur followed by weeping of the lymph fluid out of the area via the skin.  Eczema can follow a similar pattern and for the same reasons.

Treatment

Find the cause.  In the observations below I have provided some papers from Pubmed, plus observations from other sources describing foods and medicines that help alleviate the symptoms and chelate the cause. 

References and further reading

An exceptionally important section that is pertinent to this section is that on Anaphylaxis.  The reason will become clear if one follows the LINK.  The description uses the work of the Nobel prize winner Dr Charles Richet

  • Contact Dermatitis. 2009 May;60(5):264-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01537.x.Contact hypersensitivity and allergic contact dermatitis among school children and teenagers with eczema.  Czarnobilska E1, Obtulowicz K, Dyga W, Wsolek-Wnek K, Spiewak R. Institute of Clinical and Environmental Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakrow, Poland.
  •  Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Sep;302(7):495-8. doi: 10.1007/s00403-010-1065-0. Epub 2010 Jul 4.  Evidence for the presence of bacteria in the blood of psoriasis patients.Munz OH1, Sela S, Baker BS, Griffiths CE, Powles AV, Fry L. Department of Food Sciences, The Volcani Institute, Beth Dagan, Israel.
  • ROLE OF TRAUMA IN ISOMORPHIC RESPONSE IN PSORIASIS.  FARBER EM, ROTH RJ, ASCHHEIM E, EDDY DD, EPINETTE WW.  Arch Dermatol. 1965 Mar;91:246-51. PMID:  14246164
  • Prolonged outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus surgical site infection traced to a healthcare worker with psoriasis.  Crusz SA, Yates C, Holden S, Kearns A, Boswell T.  J Hosp Infect. 2014 Jan;86(1):42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Oct 31.  PMID:  24296162
  • Dermoscopic prevention and improved detection of retained sutures.  Naimer SA.  J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Mar;70(3):e57-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.11.030.  PMID:  24528916
  • Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1995 May-Jun;107(1-3):189-93.  Study of liver function in infants with atopic dermatitis using the 13C-methacetin breath test.  Iikura Y1, Iwasaki A, Tsubaki T, Akasawa A, Onda T, Katsunuma T, Miura K, Ebisawa M, Saito H, Koya N, et al.
  • Am Coll Nutr. 1986;5(2):213-28.  Increased requirements for essential fatty acids in atopic individuals: a review with clinical descriptions.  Galland L.

Related observations