Conditions affecting skin & hair

hairThis week's article will focus on just a few of the huge number of disorders which can be investigated in Dermatology Books or websites.
All people would like to be thought of as normal in appearance, but sadly this is not always the case .To be isolated in society is indeed traumatic; so hopefully the article will shed some light on those on the fringes of "the norm" and show compassion in these unusual cases.

Albinism

This is one of the oldest conditions on record and in earlier times was seen by explorers in West Africa.
Because these "pale natives" were so unique, they subsequently became known as white negroes. Albinism is not a disease but a genetically inherited abnormality whereby the skins colouring pigment, melanin, is not produced, meaning that pigment is lacking in the skin, hair and eyes.
Due to this the skin is most vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer, the eyes are highly sensitive to light and the hair tends to have a yellowish colour.
These white skinned people tend to be living in a black society, are frequently stigmatized and cursed by fellow human beings where primitive culture exists.

As for intellect there is little discrimination as Albinos can have as high an IQ as their counterparts and as they spend much time out of the sun and indoors, study periods are often prolonged to their advantage.

Vitiligo

This is termed partial Albinism as melanin is lacking in patches, giving an appearance that white paint has been splashed onto a dark skin.
The abnormality is commonly seen in South African society. Fans of the late Michael Jackson will remember that he was a victim of Vitiligo and often seen out of doors under a sun brolley wearing dark glasses.

Psoriasis

There are various types, the most common being manifesting as round scaly, silvery patches on the skin, which may itch and burn.
Causes can be genetic with the immune system being mistakenly triggered, resulting in a proliferation of skin cells. Infection, stress and some medications may contribute.

Under normal conditions skin cells are produced between 21 and 28 days, but with psoriasis this occurs every 5 to 7 days. This rapid reproduction causes a constant shedding of dead cells.

Areas of the body that are affected varies but psoriasis is commonly seen on elbows, knees, palms of the hand and on the feet and scalp.
In previous times an element of success was achieved with the use of coal tar products, messy and inconvenient as can be imagined.
Exposure to ultra violet rays became popular with sufferers resulting in clinics being set up at the dead sea In Israel. Due to the dry, non humid conditions, an excellent percentage of ultra-violet radiates in this climate. Modern day treatments may include cortisone based preparations.

Alopecia

This being the medical term for baldness, of which there are many types and a variety of causes involved.
However, in case readers are unaware of a unique variation and the rarest known, namely Alopecia Universalis, [meaning total] some information is given.

Medically it is thought that a genetic mutation occurs in the chromosomes or that the immune system, the very one that should give protection, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. This causes the hair to fall out but the condition could be present at birth.
There is an absence of body hair, that of the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
This alopecia is harmless and does not cause pain but psychological implications are understandable.
Strangely, because the follicles have not been destroyed hair growth may occur at some time or not at all

Certain products within the MATSIMELA range are known to correct dryness of skin such as products within the Baobab seed and Marula nut ranges and consultations with therapists at health spas could prove helpful in assisting skin conditions effectively.

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