The largest organ of the body is the skin. It is an essential component that protects the internal organs, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. The skin is affected by wear and tear, impairments, diseases and conditions. One of the reasons why this occurs is because of the skin’s continued exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, bacteria and other harmful elements. If the condition deteriorates, a skin specialist known as a dermatologist will have to be consulted.
What is Dermatology / Cosmetology?
Dermatology can be defined as the research, study and diagnosis of disorders of the skin, fat, hair and nails. The science of dermatology is only relevant to those body parts that are connected to the skin. Only in the rarest of occasions do conditions and their subsequent diagnosis and investigations go beyond the layer of fat beneath the skin. The insides of the mouth and other bodily cavities may be involved in some cases.
While dermatology is the science of treating skin related illnesses, cosmetology works towards improving the physical appearance and aesthetics of the patient’s skin.
Areas of Care in Dermatology / Cosmetology
There are multiple areas of care under dermatology, including:
Surgical dermatology is able to offer treatments in the form of surgery and care for patients diagnosed with skin cancer including,
A broad range of rare cancers, including,
Paediatric dermatology is a speciality that diagnoses and treats skin conditions in children. The most common skin disorders that children tend to suffer from are,
Cosmetic Dermatology aims to improve the appearance of the skin. The common services under this speciality include,
Dermatoimmunology is a subspecialty that studies the tissues specimens and serum samples for testing and diagnosing of the condition.
Dermatopathology is a branch under dermatology that examines samples under microscopic conditions.
Causes of Dermatological Conditions
The known causes of dermatological conditions including:
• The bacteria getting locked in the hair follicles and pores on the skin
• Micro-organisms, fungus and parasites living on the skin
• An immune system that is already weak
• If the skin comes in contact with allergens, irritants or even the infected skin of another individual
• Hereditary factors
• Existing diseases that impact the thyroid, immune system, kidneys and other organs and systems in the body
Other factors such as pre-existing health conditions and lifestyle choices may be a cause of developing dermatological disorders. However, there are some conditions for which there is no known cause.
Secondary causes of dermatological conditions including:
Inflammatory bowel disease, an intestinal condition that leads to an extended period of the inflammation of the digestive tract. This development can also result in dermatological disorders such as,
Diabetes is a disease that heightens the risk of infection and blood circulation problems in the patient. In addition to that, diabetic patients may be exposed to diabetes-related dermatological disorders, namely,
Lupus, an inflammatory condition that is primarily chronic in nature, may lead to impairment of the skin, joints or organs in the body. Common dermatological conditions as a result of lupus are,
Pregnancy leads to several hormonal changes in the body that may possibly result in skin problems such as,
Stress too causes hormonal imbalance that may act as the catalyst in the development of dermatological conditions including,
Sun exposure may trigger several types of skin disorders such as,
Symptoms of Dermatological Disorders
There is a broad spectrum of symptoms that may indicate a possible dermatological condition. The common symptoms include:
A number of diagnostic screenings may be performed in order to determine and diagnose dermatological conditions such as skin allergies, bacterial or fungal skin infections or any other skin related irregularities. The common diagnostic tests used are:
Patch testing methods are utilised to help in the diagnosis of allergies related to the skin. Specifically identified allergens are stuck on to the skin at the back of the individual with the help of adhesive patches for a designated period of time. During this period, the skin is observed to check for any allergic reactions.
Scrapings is a skin test that is used to help diagnose fungal infections and scabies.
Wood light testing is applied that assists clinicians to determine and define the extent of skin lesions – the borders of pigmented lesions before excision. This diagnostic screening can also aid in differentiating hypopigmentation from depigmentation
Tzanck testing is generally performed to diagnose contagious viruses, for example, herpes simplex and herpes zoster. The test must be executed when the functional intact vesicles are present.
Diascopy is applied particularly to diagnose if the erythema present in the lesion on the skin is being caused by the blood within the superficial vessels or it is due to a possible haemorrhage.
Culture is performed in order to check for micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungus or a virus that is affecting the skin in the form of an infection. Surface scrapings, biopsies, contents of pus, bumps and blisters from the skin may also be cultured in order to identify these micro-organisms.
The healthcare provider may also recommend dermatological tests that are able to differentiate between cancerous and benign growths on the skin. Tests include:
A skin biopsy may be performed in order to help in the diagnosis of malignant or benign skin conditions. A small sample of the skin is removed post application of a local anaesthetic which is then tested for the presence of cancerous cells under laboratory conditions. There are three types of skin biopsies, namely,
The majority of dermatological conditions can be cured with timely treatment. The most widely used methods of therapy include:
• Medicated creams and ointments
• Vitamin or steroid injections
• Laser therapy
• Targeted prescription medications
• Skin grafts
If the suspected condition is skin cancer, the following forms of therapy may follow:
• Biologic therapy
• Photodynamic therapy
• Radiation therapy
• Targeted therapy
For basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are the two most common types of skin cancer, the most effective treatment is Mohs micrographic surgery.
If the dermatological condition is a temporary or cosmetic one, then the common means of treating it include:
• Medicated makeup
• Over-the-counter skin care products
• Good hygiene practices
• Small lifestyle adjustments, such as making certain dietary changes
Not all dermatological conditions respond to treatment and some disorders may go away without any medical intervention at all. Individuals with permanent dermatological disorders often experience severe symptoms at times. For some individuals, treatment helps to force incurable disorders into a state of remission. However, stress or any other forms of illnesses may trigger them to reappear.
About the Department
With skin diseases, many have opted to turn to the Department of Dermatology / Cosmetology at Fortis Chennai, for help in the past several years. Well recognised in the region, dermatologists and cosmetologists at Fortis Chennai are able to offer the highest standards of quality care, thus helping patients to be able to enjoy their daily activities whilst reducing the severity and impact or eliminating the symptoms completely.
This only ensures that patients at Fortis Chennai receive the best and the most modern methods of dermatological treatments. The care team at the Department of Dermatology / Cosmetology consciously integrates the entire program of diagnostic and therapeutic services, thereby making sure that the full spectrum of comprehensive services is easily accessible to the patients.
It is a commitment of the Department of Dermatology / Cosmetology at Fortis Chennai to serve as a leader in research, education and patient care for all types of dermatological and cosmetological conditions. The team of specialists are continuously imbibing new and innovative knowledge and therapy methods into treating normal and diseases skin while maintaining the utmost standards of ethics and excellence.
At Fortis Chennai, the Department of Dermatology / Cosmetology continuously gives emphasis to patient care and also aspires to do world-class research, upgrading to innovative methods of therapy.