The skin diseases of humans in overview

What most people are unaware of is that the skin is the largest organ of the human body and is an organ with many different functions.

The skin is the body's first barrier against harmful external influences, be they viruses and bacteria, toxins or mechanical trauma such as sharp objects. It protects us from heat loss or overheating and serves to absorb sensory stimuli. In addition, it serves the exchange of substances: gases and liquid are released, many substances are absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes.

The structure of the outer skin is divided into three layers:

  • Epidermis ( epidermis ), serves as a mechanical barrier,
  • Dermis ( dermis ), anchors and nourishes the epidermis,
  • Subcutis ( subcutaneous tissue), here are larger blood vessels, nerves and the sensory cells of the skin for tactile, pain and vibration sensation etc.

Furthermore, the skin appendages such as hair, nails and sweat glands are still part of the skin.

    Classification of skin diseases

    1. Infectious skin diseases
    2. fungal diseases
    3. Tissue-specific diseases
    4. Tumorous diseases
    5. Genetic disorders
    6. Autoimmune diseases
    7. Skin diseases of unknown origin
    8. Granulomatous skin diseases

    Infectious skin diseases


    Herpesviruses lead to an infectious disease with preferential involvement of the skin and the mucous membrane. They linger in the tissue of humans and are reactivated in weakened immune systems.
    The well-known here is the herpes simplex virus, which can be divided into a type 1 and type 2. Type 1 causes the infection on the face, often on the lips. Type 2 causes a genital infection.
    The weakened immune system should recover first. In the case of a severe course, a drug therapy with acyclovir can be sought.


    The disease phlegmon describes an inflammation of the soft tissue. This can be festering and painful in the process.
    It is triggered by bacteria, such as streptococci or staphylococci.
    A phlegmon should definitely be treated, since it can come in the worst case to a blood poisoning. For this purpose, high-dose antibiotics are used.
    If the patient goes to the hospital in time and receives adequate treatment, the prognosis is very good.


    The scabies describes a skin disease, which is caused by certain parasites (so-called itch mites). It is a highly infectious disease, which usually occurs in places with poor hygiene.
    Those affected complain of itching, rashes and dandruff. The scabies can be treated very well by means of drugs (so-called anti-scratch preparations).


    Parasites are small creatures that infect other living things to feed themselves. They settle on different parts of the body. For example, these can occur on the skin and hair.
    The most common causes of transmission are poor hygiene and associated contaminated food and drinking water.
    Depending on the location, very different symptoms can occur. Skin involvement causes severe itching and redness.

    Mushroom Erkankungen

    skin fungus

    The skin fungus can manifest in many different parts of the human body. The affected areas are characterized by a reddening of the skin surface and a strong itching. Scaly plaques form and the skin can rupture causing wounds.
    For the treatment ointments can be used, which contain the active substances, which kill the exciters.

    athlete's foot

    The athlete's foot is one of the most common skin diseases in Germany. The affected areas show redness. In addition, it comes to a strong itching and dandruff at these sites. It is also possible to ooze the skin and form bubbles.
    A risk of infection is high in public baths.
    For the therapy different creams are available or also medicaments, which are to kill the mushrooms.

    nail fungus

    An infection by a nail fungus describes the infestation of the nail bed. It comes to a thickening and deformation of the nail, which leads to instability. As a result, the nail starts to croak. In addition, it comes to a yellowish, brown discoloration. Also pain while walking can be caused.
    The risk of infection is particularly high in humid environments, such as in the sauna or swimming pool high.
    In a mild infestation, conventional home remedies such as apple cider vinegar and baking soda are a good alternative to drugs. In case of infestation of the nail bed medication can be taken, which kill the fungi.

    Tissue-specific diseases

    Acne (Acne vulgaris)

    The most common skin disease is acne. Typically, it begins between the ages of 10 and 14 during adolescence and returns at the latest at the age of 20-25 years.
    Depending on their severity, the clinical picture is characterized by comedones (blackheads), papules and pimples (pimples) and abscesses (pus formation). Affected areas are mainly the face, the shoulders, and a V-shaped area on the upper back and the chest.
    Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands, which is triggered by various factors (eg bacteria).
    The basis of the treatment is the correct and thorough skin cleansing. Depending on the extent, other treatment options, such as the use of antibiotics, may also be considered.


    The clinical picture of hyperkeratosis describes thickening of the outer skin layer, called horny layer. Usually it has a protective role. Due to various causes, however, it can lead to a disorder and thus more formation of the cornea.
    Hyperkeratosis occurs in various forms, such as as a wart, corns or as actinic keratosis.
    Causes for the emergence can be a mechanical irritation or UV radiation.
    The therapy depends on the form of hyperkeratosis.


    The leukoplakia describes the thickening of the cornea of ​​the mucous membranes (especially in the mouth area). It forms white stripes that are not wipeable.
    The risk of developing a skin tumor from such a skin lesion is increased.
    The cause of the genesis are mechanical irritations. Symptoms except the whitish appearance are absent.
    Therapy is the consistent avoidance of irritation. For example, patients who smoke should promptly stop. Most of the time, the leukoplakia heals by itself.

    sebaceous cysts

    Sebaceous cysts are caused by a sebaceous gland obstruction through sebaceous glands. In medical terminology, it is also referred to as atheroma. They can occur in various parts of the body, such as the head or in the genital area.
    An exact cause for the genesis is unknown.
    Sebaceous cysts are usually asymptomatic. In rare cases they cause pain. For example, if these become infected by a bacterial infection.
    The therapy consists in a removal of this cyst.


    A liver spot (lat. Nevus) describes a malformation of the skin, which occurs by an increase of pigment cells at a locally limited place. It is one of the most common skin changes. In principle, they are all precursors of skin cancer, but degeneration is rare.
    In case of abnormal liver spots tissue samples are taken and the dermatologist decides whether the removal can be useful.

    Tumorous diseases

    Skin cancer: Basalioma

    A basalioma describes a specific type of skin cancer. This tumor is based on the so-called basal cells of the epidermis ( epidermis ). Metastases (secondary tumors) make this tumor extremely rare, making it medically classified as semi-malignant, ie semi-malignant. Basaliomas occur in the face in most cases. Risk factor for the emergence are intense solar radiation and chemical pollutants, such as arsenic.
    Typical are a pearl cord-like edge wall and the small vessels that grow into the tumor ( telangiectasia).
    A basalioma can be well treated by means of an OP or by radiation.

    Skin cancer: Spinaliom

    A spinal disorder is a malignant degeneration of cells on the surface of the skin with uncontrolled proliferation. The tumor does not spread in depth but in width and for this reason is also called a horizontally growing tumor. Metastases are rare. The main risk factor for the formation of a basalioma is chronic sunbeams.
    There are numerous treatment options available. For example, the tumor can be irradiated. However, in most cases surgical resection is preferred.

    Skin cancer: melanoma

    Malignant melanoma describes a highly malignant tumor originating from the pigment cells ( melanocytes ) of the skin. Melanomas rapidly spread through the lymphatic system and into other organs.
    Risk factors for the development are liver spots, severe sunburns and also genetic factors. '
    The prognosis of this tumor depends on the stage (stage I-IV) and the metastases. The most important therapeutic measure is the surgical removal of the melanoma with a certain safety margin.

    The lipoma

    A lipoma is a crunchy knot under the skin. This is a benign growth that results from fat cells of the subcutaneous fatty tissue. As a rule, they do not cause any complaints.
    Lipomas can occur in various places, such as the back or chest. Exact causes are not yet known. One assumes a genetic disposition.
    The therapy consists in a surgical removal of the lipoma.

    Genetic dermatitis


    Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory disease. The skin cells migrate through the individual skin layers much faster than normal. Typical predilection site are the scalp, the extension side of the arms and legs, the belly button and the anal fold.
    The cause of the emergence of this disease is a certain genetic predisposition (antigen HLA-1 and HLA-2) and external environmental factors.
    The therapy consists of a skin care with various ointments, such as an ointment with salicylic acid. In addition, glucocorticoid-containing ointments (cortisone) can be used in psoriasis attacks.


    The term albinism derives from the Latin word for white, " albus ". The affected suffer from a lack of pigment, which is noticeable by a very light skin and hair color.
    The cause of this disease is a mutation of the genes that code for the color pigment melanin.
    The risk of sunburn and skin cancer is increased.
    The therapy of the present genetic defect is unfortunately not yet possible. For this reason, these patients should pay particular attention to UV protection.

    Xeroderma pigmentosum

    This disease is a genetic defect in the repair enzymes of DNA. As a result, DNA damage caused by UV rays can not be repaired. This results in increased photosensitivity, premature aging and increased risk of skin cancer.
    There is currently no therapy for this genetic defect. Affected patients should avoid UV rays and be regularly examined for skin lesions.

    Neurocutaneous melanosis

    Neurocutaneous melanosis describes a rare skin condition that can affect parts of the brain and spinal cord.
    The exact causes of this disease are not fully understood yet.
    Those affected have extensive liver spots all over their bodies. The diameters of these liver spots can grow up to 40cm. They are caused by accumulations of melanocytes (pigment-forming cells of the skin).
    A specific therapy is not available. Patients should have their liver spots checked by the dermatologist on a regular basis as they are at an increased risk for the development of cancer cells.

    Autoimmune skin diseases

    Lupus erythematosus

    The clinical picture of lupus erythematosus describes a systemic disease of the skin and connective tissue. This is an autoimmune disease from the group of collagenoses.
    Those affected complain of fever, weakness and pain in the joints. In the majority of patients, the skin is also involved, which manifests itself in the form of a rash. But other organs can be affected.
    The cause of the genesis is still unknown. Also, a specific therapy is unfortunately not available.


    Scleroderma describes an inflammatory rheumatic disease of the skin. It is an autoimmune disease from the group of collagenoses. It deposits collagen in the small blood vessels and Bindegebe. This is how the skin hardens over time.
    The exact cause of the genesis is not yet clarified. A specific therapy is not available. Most commonly used as a drug D-penicillamine or glucocorticoids.

    Skin diseases of unknown origin


    Neurodermatitis, also called atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory disease of the skin. It is a chronic disease that occurs permanently or in chronic relapsing form. Those affected suffer from severe itching and dehydration of the skin. In addition, there are red spots, blisters, poplars and scales in these areas.
    The exact causes of this disease are still unclear.
    The basic therapy for each patient is to provide sufficient liposuction of the skin to rebuild the barrier function and prevent dehydration. Depending on the course, glucocorticoids or drugs that model the immune system are also used.


    The disease rosacea describes a chronic inflammation of the facial skin. Symptoms of rosacea include redness and the formation of veins. In more severe cases it can also lead to inflammatory papules and pustules. The rosacea can also manifest itself in the eyes.
    The cause of the genesis is still not fully understood. The therapy consists in alleviating the symptoms, such as local and systemic drug treatment.

    Lichen Ruber Planus

    The disease Lichen planus, also called Knotchenflechte, describes a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin and mucous membranes, which is relapsing. This causes itching nodules in different parts of the body. In addition to the brownish discoloration, the affected areas may also have fine milky white stripes ( Wickham streaking ).
    In infestation of the mucosa can be found reticulate white deposits.
    The causes are unfortunately not completely clear. The therapy consists of a local treatment with cortisone-containing ointments. Alternatively, strongly keratinized lesions can be treated with salicylic acid or even with UV light.

    Granulomatous skin diseases

    The granuloma

    The term granuloma comes from the Latin and means "nodule". He describes an inflammatory reaction. They can occur in different parts of the body.
    The causes are very diverse. Possible causes may be tuberculosis, sarcoidosis or Crohn's disease. The symptomatology is very individual and depends on the localization of the granulomas.
    A uniform therapy for granulomas is not available. Important bases for this are medicamentous and operative measures.

    How to Identify Skin Conditions (February 2020).

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