Autoimmune skin conditions can be solitary problems just on the skin or they can be a symptom of a more invasive autoimmune condition. When the immune system strikes otherwise healthy cells, when it is supposed to target diseases and unknown invaders, it is considered an autoimmune condition. They are numerous and are commonly misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed because the early symptoms appear like other dermatological disorders.
Autoimmune blistering conditions, or bullous skin diseases, are the most common type of autoimmune diseases that affect the skin. In these particular situations the proteins that hold an individual's skin cells together are assaulted by the immune system. Lesions and blisters are the consequence. Though skin concerns are popularly associated with lupus, only 5% of lupus patients experience bullous skin symptoms.
Bullous pemphigoid is a disorder where fluid filled blisters show up on the body. This disease is most common in older adults and the blisters tend to show up on the arms, legs or torso. Medications to inhibit the immune system and therefore keeping it from leading to this skin condition are what most physicians will prescribe if the condition is serious enough. The major side effect of this treatment is that your immune system is also weakened against killing germs and diseases. Corticosteroids are treatments that are also used which decreases inflammation.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is an autoimmune skin condition that targets those with celiac disease. Hives and itchy blisters will develop usually on an individual's back or buttocks; This condition is handled by eliminating all gluten containing products from a person's lifestyle. People with rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism or Sjogren's disease are also known to get this skin disease.
Lichen planus happens along with other autoimmune conditions. It is more common in those with alopecia, autoimmune hepatits, lupus and scleroderma but it can appear with any number of additional autoimmune disorders. The condition causes small purplish lesions that can be erosive. The lesions frequently cluster together and usually shows up on the insides of the wrists and forearms or on the shins, ankles and heels. In about 75% of individuals with lichen planus, oral lesions will also be present.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition indicated by the rapid increase in skin cell creation. This leaves what is referred to as "plaque" where patches of raised skin appear. The patches appear like red swollen skin topped with dead silvery white skin cells. These lesions normally happen on the elbows, knees, lower back and the scalp. White people are most at risk for psoriasis and it affects 4.5 million people in the United States.
Autoimmune skin conditions can be treated with anti-inflammitories, ointments, antibiotics and immune suppressants. Be sure your general practitioner completely understands your current and past health conditions so that you can get a precise diagnosis. Along with using whatever remedy a general practitioner recommends for you, you will need to take extra good care of your skin. This means using gentle soaps, hypoallergenic lotions and avoiding extended sun exposure.