If you’ve ever been in contact with poison ivy, you’ve experienced contact dermatitis. Literally “skin inflammation that occurs through contact,” contact dermatitis is a common form of allergic reaction that can cause the skin to develop a rash that can itch, swell, or blister.
Some people develop contact dermatitis when they touch latex. Other people react to lotions or skin products. Metal jewelry often contains nickel as an alloy, which is a common allergen that can cause contact dermatitis.
Thankfully, contact dermatitis usually disappears on its own soon after the allergen is removed. If the allergen remains in contact with the skin for a long period of time, a doctor may prescribe a steroid cream to reduce the inflammation.
Contact dermatitis isn’t the only common, but not well-known skin condition. Let’s look at some other conditions that you may not be aware of:
Milia are small white bumps or cysts that appear on the skin, usually the face. They are composed of small buildups of dead skin directly under the top layer of the skin, the epidermis.
Who gets milia? This condition is common in babies but can also appear in adults.
What causes milia? It is not known what causes milia to form.
What is the treatment for milia? No treatment is needed. Milia are harmless and will disappear on their own within a few weeks.
Cherry angiomas are bright red or purple bumps that can occur anywhere on the body, but are most often found on the torso. They are formed when a cluster of small blood vessels, or capillaries, forms directly under the skin’s surface.
Who gets cherry angiomas? Adults tend to develop cherry angiomas after age 30.
What causes cherry angiomas? It is not known what causes cherry angiomas to form, but they do tend to be genetic.
What is the treatment for cherry angiomas? Cherry angiomas are harmless, so no treatment is needed. However, they can be removed by a dermatologist if desired. Do not attempt to remove them yourself, as the blood vessels will break and may induce bleeding, scarring, or infection.
Tinea versicolor is a common, non contagious fungal infection that is characterized by patches of white, pink, red, or brown discoloration on the skin. In some cases, the patches may itch or appear dry.
Who gets tinea versicolor? This condition is most common in adolescent boys and young men.
What causes tinea versicolor? Tinea versicolor forms when conditions cause naturally-occurring yeast on the skin to proliferate and react with the skin’s pigmentation. Conditions may include a hot, humid climate, excessive sweating, or oily skin.
What is the treatment for tinea versicolor? Oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed by your doctor, but the discoloration may last for months and may recur if conditions are right.
Telangiectasias are miniscule blood vessels directly under the skin’s surface that, over time, dilate and form a red pattern of lines on the skin. Telangiectasias can occur anywhere in the body, but are most easily seen on the skin.
Who gets telangiectasias? This condition can occur in anyone, but is commonly found in pregnant women and the elderly.
What causes telangiectasias? Telangiectasias can be caused by chronic sun exposure, rosacea, alcoholism, genetics, aging, varicose veins, or pregnancy. In rare cases, they can form as symptoms of several diseases.
What is the treatment for telangiectasias? In themselves, telangiectasias are harmless. If desired, a person with this condition can have them removed by a vascular surgeon for cosmetic purposes.
Contact dermatitis, milia, cherry angiomas, tinea versicolor, and telangiectasias are all mild skin conditions which require minimal to no treatment. However, if you experience any symptoms that concern you, it’s best to see your primary care provider or make an appointment with a dermatologist.