Monday, November 18

Skin anatomy - Skin physiology

Skin anatomy and physiology
The study of anatomy and physiology of skin is very essential for its healthy upkeep. Knowledge of the skin physiology helps us in understanding its complex functional mechanisms.
Skin anatomy and its histology gives insights into its basic structure and structural components.

Understanding biological processes of keratinocyte cell formation, growth, differentiation, migration and death is necessary for proper skin care. These studies also help in evolving methods to protect the skin and the inner organs from pathogens, toxic agents, oxidants, dehydrating circumstances, chemicals, environment, ultraviolet radiation and physical stress.

Study of skin structure

The human skin is composed of two layers, epidermis and dermis, which are unique in structure and function. The study of skin structure is important for clinical and cosmetic research. The study of the skin anatomy gives us insights into the complex mechanisms involved in its functional physiology.

For more information on anatomy and physiology read ''.

Human complexion colors

Human complexion color is brought about by the concentration of melanin deposits and their various types. The deposition of pigments is mostly determined by four to six genes. These genes have several alleles, creating the possibility of several combinations, produce a great variety in the skin tone.

For more information on anatomy and physiology read ''.


The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It has a highly dynamic interface and covers and protects the internal organs by multiple mechanisms. Functioning as a physical barrier, it protects the body from the environmental elements and harmful microbes. Its functions include temperature regulation, sensory transduction and tactile discrimination.

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Hydration and desquamation

Hydration and desquamation are necessary processes by which the skin is kept healthy, soft, smooth and supple. Any impediment to continuous hydration of the stratum corneum and continuous desquamation of dead cells will lead to many dermatological conditions like dry, thickened and scaly epidermis and dermatitis.

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Histology and anatomy

Histology of skin deals with the microscopic study of the anatomy of its layers and cells. Skin consists of squamous keratinized outer layer called epidermis and fibrous and elastic inner connective tissue called dermis. The epidermis consists of five sublayers and dermis consists of two sublayers.

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The epidermis is the outermost protective layer of the integumentary system. Epidermis has no blood vessels and is nourished by the diffusion of nutrients from the dermis. The anatomy of epidermis shows that keratinocytes form 90% of the cells. Melanocytes, melanosomes, melanin pigments, Langerhans cells and Merkel cells are also present in epidermis.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of epidermis read ''.

Five layers of epidermis

The epidermis is composed of five well defined sublayers. The outermost sublayer of the skin is stratum corneum. The sublayers in their descending order are stratum corneum, stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum and stratum germinativum (stratum basale). Keratinocytes present in stratum basale undergo continuous mitotic cell division.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of epidermis read ''.

Epidermal keratinocyte cells

The cells constituting epidermis are mostly keratinocytes (95% of the cells). Keratinocytes function as stem cells (transit amplifying (TA) cells) and undergo continuous mitosis in stratum basale. These cells move upwards and differentiate into various layers and finally get sloughed off as dead skin.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of keratinocytes read ''.

Stratum corneum functions

Stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis. Being formed of functions as a barrier by the death of keratinocyte cells, stratum corneum functions as barrier to environment. It is multilayered and is composed of 15-20 layers flattened corneocytes. These corneocytes embedded within the multiple lamellar sheets of lipid matrix and are dead and anucleate.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of stratum corneum read ''.

Stratum lucidum functions

Stratum lucidum is a well defined epidermal layer found under the corneum in regions of thicker skin like the palms and soles. This transparent or translucent layer is composed of three to five tiers of dead flattened keratinocytes without distinct boundaries. They contain a clear intracellular protein called eleidin.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of Stratum lucidum read ''.

Stratum granulosum functions

Stratum granulosum is also known as granular layer due to visible granules present in its structure. It is found under the lucidum layer in the palms and soles and under corneum in the other areas of the skin. The keratinocytes present in stratum granulosum are the last layer of living cells which are in the process of losing their nuclei and dying.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of Stratum granulosum read ''.

Stratum spinosum functions

Stratum spinosum also known as prickle cell layer is the fourth tier from the exterior and is situated between stratum granulosum and germinativum (basale). Stratum spinosum is 5-10 keratinocyte cells in thickness. They are modified basal keratinocytes having large nuclei with very prominent nucleoli.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of stratum spinosum read ''.

Stratum basale

Stratum basale (stratum germinativum) is the basal layer of epidermis. It contains one row of constantly dividing columnar or cubical undifferentiated keratinocytes with melanocytes and Langerhans or immune cells dispersed in between. The basement membrane separates the stratum basale from the inner dermis layer.

For more information on physiology of stratum basale read' '.

Dermis layers

Dermis layer is present below the epidermis layer of the skin. Dermis is composed of outer papillary layer and lower reticular layer. Dermis contains a gelatinous matrix of elastic fibers, reticular fibers, glycosaminoglycans and collagen. Adipocytes (fat cells), fibroblasts (fiber forming cells), leukocytes and nerve cells are present in the matrix.

For more information on anatomy of dermis read ''.

Papillary layer of dermis

The papillary layer of dermis lies above the reticular layer. Papillary layer has finger-like (nipple-like) projections, which extending into the epidermis. These projections increase the contact surface and strengthens the bond between the skin layers. Papillary layer contains areolar tissue (loose connective tissue).

For more info. on anatomy and physiology of papillary layer read ''.

Reticular layer of dermis

The reticular layer of dermis is present below the papillary layer. It is the deepest part of the skin lying above the hypodermis. The reticular layer is thicker than the papillary layer and ranges from 1-3 mm in thickness. Dense irregular connective tissue and adipose tissue are the major constituents of the reticular layer.

For more information on anatomy and physiology of reticular layer read ''.

Hypodermis layer

Hypodermis is the subcutaneous tissue forming the lowermost layer of our integumentary system. Though hypodermis is not considered as part of the skin, it is very essential for anchoring the skin to the body. Blood vessels and lymphatic vessels traverse hypodermis. Fibroblasts, fat cells (adipocytes) and leukocytes are present in hypodermis.

For more information anatomy and physiology of hypodermis read ''.

Know your skin

Skin is a dynamic organ in a state of constant change. It is the largest organ in human body. In an average adult, its surface area including hair, nails and glands, may measures about 1.5-2 square meters (about 17-22 square feet) and weigh about 3.5 kilograms (about 8 pounds). It is a very complex structure made up of millions of different types of cells carrying out many varied functions.

For more information on its anatomy and physiology read ''.

Nourishing skin

For a lasting smooth clear complexion and a healthy glow of your face incorporate different fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommends including half of our food plate with fruits and vegetables to get nutrients vital for the healthy maintenance of our body.

For more information on anatomy and physiology read ''.

Current topic: Anatomy and physiology of skin.

Get glowing skin complexion. Remove acne scars and blemishes from face.

Wednesday, November 13

Acne - Scars - Blemishes

Acne, scars and blemishes
Acne is a very common skin problem faced by most of us, especially during teenage. Areas of skin affected by acne are characterized by the presence of seborrhea, blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. Acne affected areas of skin have a great possibility of development of scars and blemishes.

Tackling acne is the most researched subject and so far there is no permanent solution for it. In this skin condition the tiny pores connecting the sebaceous follicles (hair follicles) to the skin surface get clogged. An increase in testosterone and the resultant androgen stimulation causes certain changes in skin structures consisting of a hair follicle. It leads to hyperkeratinization and formation of plugs of keratin and sebum leading to blockage of follicles and blemishes.

The clogged pores can cause enlargement of sebaceous glands and pave the way for inflammation and infection. Propionibacterium acnes, a naturally occurring commensal bacterium on the skin, can grow rapidly in such conditions and cause pimples and cysts. It usually affects the areas of hyper sebaceous glands activity like face, neck, chest and back.

The inflammation and infection of the acne is followed by follicular rupture and perifollicular abscess formation. Then the healing process sets in with granulation tissue formation and matrix remodeling. In the new matrix, collagen protein has different fiber composition and alignment from that of damaged original protein of the tissue. Hence it stands out differently from the rest of the skin as scars, blemishes and hyperpigmentation.

Hormonal imbalance, harsh chemicals and environmental elements and general stress are some of the acne triggering factors. Homemade skin treatments can alleviate the acne and lighten scars and blemishes.

Types of acne scars

Acne scars and blemishes are brought about by the tissue repair mechanism. Depending upon the level of tissue damage and inflammation two different types of blemishes occur. Hypertrophic blemishes occur due to net increase in tissue formation resulting in raised thickened tissue on the skin. Atrophic types of blemishes with depressed areas of skin occur when there is net loss of tissue.

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Natural remedies for acne scars

Proper exfoliation and inducing formation of new stratum corneum with natural products are the primary correctional methods. Fruit enzymes, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids present in natural products are used for the exfoliation. On reaching dermis, alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids have been found to induce increased production of mucopolysaccharides and collagen and thereby increase the thickness of skin and remove blemishes.

For more information read ''.

Honey for acne scars

Honey is an excellent moisturizer. The high sugar supersaturation of honey makes it a difficult medium for bacteria to thrive in. Honey has exceptionally high antibacterial activity. Honey can be used as such for lightening blemishes or it can be blended with other kitchen ingredients like lemon juice, cinnamon powder, oatmeal or sandalwood powder. The ingredients help in exfoliation and honey induces new cell growth.

For more information read ''.

Manuka honey for acne

Skin moisture and exudation, help and set in motion glucose oxidase enzyme reaction and the resultant hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production. Slow release of H2O2 provide antimicrobial activity without damage to living tissue. Apart from the antimicrobial hydrogen peroxide activity, manuka honey has high levels of antibacterial methylglyoxal (MGO or C3H4O2) and a synergistic component.

For more information read ''.

Current topic: Acne scars and blemishes.

Get glowing skin complexion. Remove acne scars and blemishes from face.

Tuesday, November 12

Natural makeup application tips

Natural makeup application tips
Nowadays makeup application is being done in a more scientific manner and the trend is to give natural look to the skin with added protection.
The very basic requirement for looking good is to have a healthy body and of course healthy skin. When the skin is healthy the requirement to use makeup will be less.

Eating balanced food, avoiding fats and fast foods, drinking sufficient water and exercising regularly can go a long way in improving the general health. Following a regular skin care regimen will help in maintaining a healthy skin. Regular cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing is very important for keeping good natural looks.

The very purpose of the application is to bring out the best of your natural beauty. Makeup is, definitely, not to look like somebody else. Proper makeup application is an art by itself. Many women hesitate to apply them fearing that they may go wrong. However it is very easy to learn, if we understand the science behind it.

The best face makeup

The very first step in face application is to know the type of skin you have. There five types of skin namely, normal, oily, dry, mixed and sensitive . Each skin type requires a different approach in makeup. Oily skin require removal of excess oil before application.

Dry skin requires regular moisturization and periodic exfoliation to keep the skin soft and supple and scale free. In case of mixed skin the oily areas have to be blotted to remove face oil and the dry areas have to be generously moisturized. For tender skin, the cause of skin sensitivity has to be known before using any cream as there could be flareup of the condition.

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How to do natural look makeup

Keep your skin healthy and consult a dermatologist to get rid of acne and other skin blemishes. Regularly cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize your skin. The cardinal natural makeup application tips is 'lesser the better'. Natural look is not 'no makeup' look. You have to aim for the appreciation of your beauty and not of your makeup.

To bring out your beauty you may be required to only remove some extra face oil or conceal some of the blemishes and fine lines. If you have dark circles and blemishes use a concealer sparingly. Smear the right foundation sparingly but blend well to avoid streaks. The foundation must merge with your skin tone.

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Makeup application tips

Many professional training institutions have sprung up giving exclusive training to beginners as well as professional artists. With right type of inclination and intelligence, the art of makeup can be learnt at home. With progression you will gain confidence evolve you own methods.

For getting that stunning look prepare your face well before application. Moisturize your face and wait for 10-15 minutes before makeup. You can use primer to even out the skin, specially in wrinkle areas. Use suitable brush or use finger tips to smear primer evenly on the face.

For more information read ''.

Current topic: Natural makeup application tips.

Get glowing skin complexion. Remove acne scars and blemishes from face.

Friday, November 8

Hypopigmentation - Hypomelanosis

Skin hypopigmentation and hypomelanosis
Hypopigmentation (hypomelanosis) is the loss of or reduction in production of skin pigment. Depending upon the type of skin disorder, hypopigmentation may be total, partial or localized.
Hypomelanosis may be due to a specific cause as in albinism (genetic) or due to an unknown cause as in idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. The affected skin area may be well defined and geographic in shape with total loss of pigment as in the case of vitiligo. In some cases hypopigmentation may be congenital. The congenital lack of pigment is stable and nonprogressive and it can be either total or localized.

Infections of the skin, especially fungal infections like tinea versicolor, can cause hypomelanosis. Post inflammatory hypopigmentation (PIH) is caused as a result of inflammation, damage or trauma to the skin as in the case of infections, dermatitis, burns, blisters and pimples. In some cases, improperly conducted chemical or cosmetic laser treatments can cause skin damage and hyperpigmentation or hypomelanosis. Here in this post various skin conditions leading to hypopigmentation are briefly described.

White discoloration on skin

White discoloration of skin occurs due to loss of or reduction in melanin pigment and hypomelanosis on the skin. The melanin pigment in the skin gives the skin coloration ranging from white to dark black. The amount of melanin to be produced by the skin and the color of a person are decided by the genetic factors.

For more information read 'white discoloration on skin'.


Albinism disorder is an inherited hypomelanosis condition wherein little or no pigment is produced by the body. Albinism involves different genes and hence there are different types. Albinos have various degrees of vision impairment and tender skin. Some affected persons may be nearly blind. The retina of albinos may be impaired during the development.

For more information read 'Facts about albinism disorder'.

Albinism disorder types

Albinism, hypomelanosis disorders, are of several types and basically all types are caused by genetic defects. There are 15 genetic locations in the chromosomes, the defects of which are associated with albinism. Oculocutaneous type of albinism involves hypomelanosis of eyes (ocular), skin (cutaneous) and hair. The mutation of GPR143 gene on X chromosome causes ocular albinism (OA1).

For more information read 'Types of albinism disorders'.

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis are very common hypopigmentation spots seen usually on the exposed parts of the body like shin and forearm. These hypomelanosis spots are drop-like in appearance and are small in size (2-5 mm). These hypopigmentation white spots begin to appear around the age of 30 years and are found to affect far more women than men.

For more information read 'idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis'.

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis - causes

The causes for this hypopigmentation disorder are not exactly known. As these hypomelanosis white spots are generally found on the exposed parts of the body, one possible cause may be excessive exposure to sunlight. These spots start appearing in the late twenties and early thirties. Hence, aging process could be one of the possible causes of hypomelanosis.

For more information read 'idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis causes'.

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis - treatment

These hypopigmentation white spots are harmless and do not require any treatment. However for individuals conscious about aesthetic appearance treatments for hypomelanosis are available. Treatments includes application of topical steroids or retinoids, dermabrasion or microdermabrasion, cryotherapy, cosmetic cover-up, surgery and grafting.

For more information read 'idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis treatment'.

Nevus depigmentosus

Nevus depigmentosus is white spot with hypopigmentation. Nevus depigmentosus is congenital, benign and non progressive. These patches usually appear on the trunk, hands and feet. In most of the cases they are present at the time of birth. Functional and morphological anomalies of melanocytes and melanosomes appear to cause this condition.

For more information read 'nevus depigmentosus'.

Pityriasis alba

Pityriasis alba is an atopic dermatitis with hypopigmentation. Pityriasis alba affects children mostly on their face. Children of the age between 3 and 16 years are generally affected. Initially the hypopigmentation spots may appear red or pink. Later these white patches fade and appear pale and dry.

For more information read 'pityriasis alba white spots'.

Pityriasis alba - causes

The real cause of pityriasis alba is not known. A number of possible causes are being postulated. The microscopic analysis of the skin scrapings rules out the involvement of bacteria or fungi. Further studies have revealed that there is reduction in the number of functional melanocytes and decrease of melanosomes in size and number.

For more information read 'causes of pityriasis alba'.

Pityriasis alba - symptoms

Pityriasis alba initially appear as raised red patches which after some days become flat and pale. The hypopigmentation is partial in the spots. The hypomelanosis macules are usually limited to face, especially on the cheeks, around mouth and chin. On closer examination these white patches show small dry scales.

For more information read 'symptoms of pityriasis alba'.

Pityriasis alba - treatment

In most of the cases pityriasis alba resolves by itself without any treatment after some time. However the pigmentation of the hypopigmentation spots of the affected skin will be slow and take considerable time. The application of moisturizers can help in dehydrating the skin and reduce and prevent dryness as well as scale formation.

For more information read 'treatment for pityriasis alba'.

Tinea versicolor

Tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) are fungal infections. Tinea versicolor is superficial, benign, common, recurrent and noncontagious. This infection is usually restricted to stratum corneum layer of the epidermis. Tinea versicolor characterized by patches of hypomelanosis. Sometimes these spots may be hyperpigmented.

For more information read 'tinea versicolor'.

Tinea versicolor - causes

Tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is caused by yeast variety of fungi belonging to Malassezia group. Malaassexia furfur and M.globosa are the main causative fungi. They are part of the normal resident flora of the human skin. Under certain conditions like heat and humidity, these fungi can proliferate rapidly and cause the infection and hypopigmentation.

For more information read 'tinea versicolor causes'.

Tinea versicolor - symptoms

Tinea versicolor appears as itchy patches of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation. The flat macules are of circular and oval shape with sharp margins. The infection worsens in hot and humid conditions with intense itch. It is superficial infection affecting the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis. Usually fine scales are present.

For more information read 'tinea versicolor symptoms'.

Tinea versicolor - treatment

Tinea versicolor can be effectively treated with a wide variety of medications. In early stages topical creams and lotions available over the counter can be bought and applied. Some of the topical applications are, tea tree oil, selenium sulphide shampoo, clotrimazole cream, terbinafine cream, cassia alata leaves and ciclopirox olamine.

For more information read 'tinea versicolor treatment'.

Vitiligo (leucoderma)

Vitiligo (leucoderma) is a skin disorder in which hypopigmentation patches occur due to loss of melanin pigment of the skin. The loss of skin pigmentation, can be focal, segmental and non-segmental. These white patches of hypopigmentation may spread and grow over time to cover greater area of the body.

For more information read 'vitiligo (leucoderma)'.

Vitiligo - causes

The basic cause of vitiligo is the stoppage of melanin pigment production or death of melanocytes. Due to some physiological conditions, hypomelanosis patches form and grow. Possible factors causing this hypopigmentation disorder are, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, hereditary and genetic disorders, stress and environmental conditions.

For more information read 'causes of vitiligo'.

Vitiligo - signs

Signs of vitiligo include the development of flat hypopigmentation patches without any scale formation. These hypomelanosis patches occur prominently on the extremities. Though vitiligo appears initially as small spots, it progresses and spreads all over the body. The orifices of the body as well as the sun the exposed areas are mostly affected by hypopigmentation.

For more information read 'signs of leucoderma'.

Vitiligo - diagnosis

Hypopigmentation of face particularly around mouth, eyes, nostrils and ears indicate the possibility of development of vitiligo. The hypomelanosis of the orifices of the body like mouth, nostrils, ears, umbilicus, anal opening and genital opening could be the indicator of development of leucoderma disease.

For more information read 'diagnosis of leucoderma'.

Vitiligo - camouflage by micropigmentation

For focal, non progressive and static vitiligo micropigmentation (camouflage tattoo) can be successfully done. Colors like black, white (titanium oxide), camel yellow, brown (iron oxide), red (mercuric sulphate, cinnabar) are used in vitiligo camouflage. The expertise of the tattoo professional play a great part in the success of this tattoo procedure for treating hypopigmentation.

For more information read 'vitiligo camouflage by micropigmentation'.

Vitiligo - cure - repigmentation

In patients with focal or segmental vitiligo, autologous melanocyte transplantation and repigmentation of the hypopigmentation spots can be tried. Patient's own melanocytes are harvested from his normal areas of skin and cultured in a medium. These cultured melanocytes are introduced into hypomelanosis spots for further growth and repigmentation.

For more information read 'vitiligo cure and repigmentation'.

Vitiligo research

Vitiligo research is now focused on autologous melanocyte transplantation, stem cell transplantation and genetic aspects of vitiligo. undifferentiated melanocytes or stem cells are present in the outer root sheath of hair follicle. The transplantation of these stem cells will repopulate the deficient skin with active melanocytes at the hypopigmentation sites.

For more information read 'latest research trends in vitiligo research'.

current topic: Skin hypopigmentation (hypomelanosis)

Get glowing skin complexion. Remove acne scars and blemishes from face.

Skin diseases - Skin disorders - Skin problems

Skin diseases, disorders and problems
Skin, the outermost organ of the human body, often gets affected by external environmental factors, invading microbes, internal physiological factors and hereditary conditions.
Many skin diseases, disorders and problems resolve by themselves, requiring no treatment. However some situations require medical intervention in order to stop aggravation of the skin disease. The basic knowledge of the various skin disorders and their differentiation guides us in the follow up action to be taken.

Acne scars

Acne scars are either hypertrophic or atrophic. The tissue repair mechanism of the skin based on the level of inflammation and damage causes either of the two types of acne scars. Hypertrophic types of scars are characterized by raised thickened tissue formation on the skin. Atrophic types of scars are depressed areas of skin.

In hypertropic types of acne scars there is over production of collagen and increased tissue formation resulting in raised level of skin. Atrophic types of scars are characterized by loss of skin tissue.

For more information read 'acne scars'.


Albinism is an inherited disorder wherein little or no pigment is produced by the body, affecting the color of the skin, eyes and hair. Albinism is usually associated with debilitating health and vision issues. This genetic disorder is found to affect individuals of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Albinism involves different genes and hence there are different types. In oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes is affected. Ocular albinism (OA) is a rare disorder wherein only the pigment in the eyes is affected.

For more information read 'albinism'.


Allergic reaction to food or medicines can cause edema and swelling of the subcutaneous tissue, known as angioedema. Unlike the allergic reactions in hives which are superficial, angioedema reactions are below the skin. The angioedema swellings may range from small spots to large lesions of several inches in diameter.

Angioedema swellings usually occur on the face, around the eyes and lips, inside the mouth and throat and on the tongue. Swellings affecting the mouth and throat may block the airway and become life threatening.

For more information read 'angioedema'.


The presence of silver in the body causes a rare blue skin disorder known as argyria. Protracted excessive exposure to metallic silver, silver salts and silver compounds or their ingestion causes argyria. Apart from skin, sclera, conjunctiva, mucous membranes, nail beds, gums and visceral organs also may get affected with argyria.

Generalized form of argyria results from ingestion of silver salts and silver compounds for prolonged periods. Localized argyria is caused when there is continuous localized excessive skin contacts with silver and its compounds.

For more information read 'argyria'.

Chronic hives

Hives (aka urticaria) are itchy pink-red welts (wheals) appearing on the skin. If the problem of swelling and redness persists or recurs for more than six weeks, it is considered chronic. Allergic reactions triggered by food, chemicals, physical stimuli or medicines cause hives.

However on many incidences the cause and the trigger are not known or idiopathic. The lesions are pink-red in color and appear as well-marked round, oval or generalized raised skin swellings. In some patients it may last or recur for years.

For more information read 'chronic hives'.


Cellulitis is the 'inflammation of the cells' of dermal and subcutaneous tissues. The inflammation is usually caused by Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. The area of skin affected by cellulitis is characterized by swelling, redness and pain. If the infection is severe, the inflammation is accompanied by febrile illness.

Cellulitis caused by the streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria spreads fast due to the availability of the cell nutrients. The release of the metabolic wastes, toxins and enzymes by the microbes damage the surrounding skin tissues.

For more information read 'cellulitis'.

Fordyce spots

Some sebaceous glands on the skin are formed without connection to hair follicles. They are known as Fordyce spots (Fordyce granules or Fordyce disease). Fordyce spots are named after John Addison Fordyce, an American dermatologist. Fordyce granules are ectopic glands and open directly onto the skin surface.

Fordyce spots are seen in both men and women, but are very common in men and about 80% of them have it. Fordyce spots are benign, painless and usually appear as small raised pale, white bumps on the skin on lips, nipple or genitalia.

For more information read 'Fordyce spots'.


Hemangioma meaning 'blood-vessel-tumor' is a benign tumor, usually appears on the skin, especially on the head, face and neck. It is formed by the abnormal growth and buildup of blood vessels. It may form on the top layer of skin or form deep inside the skin. Hemangioma may also form on the internal organs like liver, spine and vertebrae.

Hemangioma skin lesions may be present at birth or develop in the early infancy. These lesions grow rapidly for twelve months followed by a resting phase of about twelve months. Then the involution phase starts and the lesions disappear by ten years.

For more information read 'hemangioma'.

Hereditary angioedema

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare genetic disorder causing episodic attacks of cutaneous and submucosal swellings. Hereditary angioedema is found to affect up to 0.01% of the population with mortality ranging at 15-33%. The swellings affect the face, extremities, respiratory tract, genitalia and gastrointestinal tract.

Up to 75% of HAE clinical manifestations are familial inheritances. Fresh mutations contribute to 25% of the cases. In some instances involving the throat and mouth, HAE can block airways and become life threatening.

For more information read 'hereditary angioedema'.

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis are hypopigmented pale white spots usually appearing on skin of shins and forearms. The reasons for the development of these spots is not clearly known (idiopathic). Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis spots are 'drops' like in appearance and are small in size (2-5 mm).

In some rare cases macules as big as 10 mm in diameter have been observed. It is believed that excessive exposure to sunlight might be a causative factor or a trigger. This disorder usually observed from late twenties of age.

For more information read 'idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis'.


Methemoglobinemia (aka hemoglobin M disease or Erythrocyte reductase deficiency) is a form of blood hemoglobin disorder. The oxygen carrying capacity of Red blood cells (RBC) is reduced in this disorder and the oxygen supply to the tissues including skin is affected. This leads to bluish discoloration of skin and cyanosis.

Acquired form of methemoglobinemia may be caused on exposure to certain medicines, food products and chemicals. Hereditary form of methemoglobinemia is caused either due to erythrocyte reductase deficiency or generalized reductase deficiency.

For more information read 'methemoglobinemia'.

Milk spots - milia

Milk spots (aka milia, oil seeds or baby milk spots) are benign cysts filled with keratin. When dead epidermal skin gets trapped without natural exfoliation in pockets, milia arise. Usually milia appear as whitish or slightly pinkish bumps on the skin. Baby milk spots are usually associated with newborns and infants.

Affecting both boys and girls equally, baby milk spots usually disappear within 15-30 days and may not need any treatment. Milia usually appear on the skin around the eyes, forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. About half of the newborn develop milia.

For more information read 'milia'.

Mongolian spot

Mongolian spot (aka congenital dermal melanocytosis or Mongolian birthmark) is a benign asymptomatic skin birthmark. Mongolian blue spot may be present at birth or appears shortly thereafter. These skin macules of hyperpigmentation, usually appearing on lumbosacral area and buttocks, are flat and irregular in shape with indistinct wavy border.

Mongolian spot may also occur on shoulders and other parts of the body. Usually head, face, palms and soles are spared. Erwin Bälz, who was a German and was a personal physician to the Japanese Imperial Family, discovered and named 'Mongolian spot'.

For more information read 'Mongolian spot'.

Nevus depigmentosus

Nevus depigmentosus is a white macule, patch or spot lacking pigmentation. Nevus depigmentosus is congenital, benign and non progressive skin lesion. The cause of this hypopigmentation skin disorder is not fully understood. However during the lifetime of the affected individual, nevus depigmentosus is stable in size as well as in distribution.

Nevus depigmentosus patches usually grow only in proportion to the growth of the body.Though the macules can form on any part of the body, they are found to usually affect the skin of trunk, hands and feet.

For more information read 'nevus depigmentosus'.

Nevus simplex

Nevus simplex (aka nevus flammeus nuchae or salmon patches) are very common birthmarks found in about 30% newborns. When found on the nape of the neck they are known as 'stork bite'. These vascular birthmarks are congenital skin capillary malformations. They are caused by the dilation and stretching of capillaries under the skin.

Though nevus simplex may appear anywhere on the body, in most of the incidences they are found on the nape of the neck, forehead, on or around eyelids, on or around nose and upper lip. Salmon patches are pink colored, flat and irregularly shaped skin lesions.

For more information read 'nevus simplex'.

Pityriasis alba

Pityriasis alba is a common atopic dermatitis mostly affecting children of the age between 3 and 16 years. Pityriasis alba appears as fine-scaled oval and round dry pale white patches or spots on the facial skin of the children. More number of boys are affected than girls and is more prevalent in lighter-skinned individuals.

Pityriasis alba may be colored pink or red initially. Later the redness fades leaving a pale hypopigmented patch usually on the cheek, chin and mouth areas. The border of the patches is not clearly marked and blends gradually with the normal skin.

For more information read 'pityriasis alba'.

Raynaud's disease

Raynaud's phenomenon or Raynaud's disease involves the arteries of fingers and toes. In this disease of circulatory system the blood vessels of the fingers and toes undergo sudden vasospasm restricting the blood supply. Raynaud's disease was discovered by a French doctor A. G. Maurice Raynaud (1834–1881).

Hyperactivity of sympathetic nervous system leads to constriction of peripheral arteries and the bluish discoloration on skin of toes and fingers. The condition may last from a few minutes to several hours. In some rare cases ear lobes, nose, lips and nipples may also be involved.

For more information read 'Raynaud's disease'.


Rhinophyma is the large, erythemic, bulbous, uneven swelling of the nose. Phymatous rosacea in its advanced-stage can cause rhinophyma. The Greek word 'rhis' means nose and 'phyma' meaning growth, swelling or bulb on the skin. People of English, Irish and Scottish descent are more prone to develop rhinophyma.

Rhinophyma is found to affect middle-aged and elderly men. It rarely occurs in women. Rhinophyma is the hypertrophy of the sebaceous glands on the tip of the nose. Rhinophyma can become unsightly and may even obstruct respiration and vision.

For more information read 'rhinophyma'.

Tactile defensiveness

Tactile defensiveness is due to the exaggerated tactile sensitivity experienced by the affected patient. It is a sensory processing disorder found in about 75% of the boys with 'fragile X syndrome' and some girls with full X mutation. The affected patient develops a defensive attitude to touch perception and dislikes being touched.

This skin sensory disorder of the midbrain region affects the filtering of the incoming stimuli. This causes overemphasized perception of the touch stimuli of the skin, resulting in great distress, misery and discomfort.

For more information read 'tactile defensiveness'.

Tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor)

Tinea versicolor (aka pityriasis versicolor) are usually superficial, benign, common, recurrent and not contagious macules or patches formed on the skin. They are fungal infections affecting the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis. Tinea versicolor disease is characterized by hyperpigmented or hypopigmented macules and colored patches.

Tinea versicolor infection is caused mainly by the Malassezia globosa fungus and in a small number of cases Malassezia furfur has been found to be the causative fungus. These skin patches are versicolored appearing in multi colors of white, creamy, pale pink and brown.

For more information read 'tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor)'.


Vitiligo (aka leucoderma or leukoderma) is a skin disorder wherein there is loss of skin pigment causing white depigmented patches. In vitiligo, due to some physiological conditions, genetic disorders, thyroid disorders, psychological stress or autoimmune diseases, there is stoppage of melanin pigment production or death and loss of the melanocytes.

About 1-2% of the world's population is affected by the loss of skin pigment. Patients suffering from autoimmune diseases and thyroid disorders are prone to develop vitiligo. It equally affects both the genders and appears prominent in dark-skinned patients.

For more information read 'vitiligo'.

Current topic : Diseases, disorders and problems of skin.

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Monday, October 28

Skin discoloration

Skin discoloration
Skin discoloration is the most common dermal condition experienced by us. Though skin discoloration usually may not pose as a problem, in some cases serious diseases may be associated with it.

Normally skin coloration and skin pigmentation are dependent on the ethnicity of an individual. On many instances the normal human skin color gets changed in patches or in great areas due to many factors including environment, hormones, foods, immune responses and diseases. The following pages discuss individual skin discolorations and their causes.

Types of skin discoloration

Changes in skin color usually appear as small irregular patches. However sometimes a greater area may show change in color. These skin discolorations can take up different hues. Changes in melanin pigment, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances and immune diseases can cause hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation leading to pale, white, dark or brown color change.

Hypervascularization, inflammation or infections can cause red or pinkish color change in the affected area. Cyanosis, diet, hypercarotenemia, mineral overload, medicines and jaundice can also cause skin discolorations.

For more information read 'Types of skin discoloration'.

Skin discoloration pictures

The pictures of dermal color changes gives us a clear comparative idea about the medical conditions and help us in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Addison's disease is a disorder of adrenal gland insufficiency. Addison disease primarily manifests as hyperpigmentation showing symptoms of patchy tanning.

Patients affected by type 2 diabetes develop scleroderma diabeticorum, a rare disorder of epidermis causing its thickening with excess black or dark brown melanin deposits. Mostly the skin on the upper back and the back of the neck is affected.

For more information read 'Skin discoloration pictures'.

White discoloration on skin

Though the human color is hereditary, pale or white patchy color changes can occur due to hypopigmentation or hypomelanosis. The reduced pigmentation may occur due to avitaminosis, certain congenital disorders, injuries or infections. Genetic disorders as in albinism and defective embryonic development as in leucism can cause complete or high level of whitening.

Color changes due to vitiligo are mostly brought about by autoimmune diseases causing death of melanin pigment producing cells (melanocytes). These hypopigmentation patches occur usually on the extremities like fingers. Color changes also occur around body orifices like umbilicus, mouth, genitalia, nostrils and eyes.

For more information read 'White discoloration on skin'.

Dark brown or black discoloration of skin

Excess production and deposition of melanin pigment (hyperpigmentation) on the epidermis gives rise to black or dark brown color changes. The appearance of dark brown or black patches may be due excess sun exposure, sun damage, excess tanning, diseases, hormones or injuries. It is found that persons of Mediterranean, African or Asian origin are more prone to excess pigmentation.

Melanocytic nevus, commonly known as birthmark, is a common dark brown or black growth of the epidermis. Melanocytic nevus may form subdermally or form as a pigmented growth on the skin. Birthmarks are congenital being present at the time of birth and melanocytic nevi may appear in the later stages of life. Moles and birthmarks which change color, shape or size and those which are painful may have to be medically investigated as some can turn into melanoma (a type of cancer).

For more information read 'Dark brown or black discoloration of skin'.

Reddish skin discoloration

Reddish color change is due to increased blood flow to dermis (hyperemia), bleeding underneath epidermis or formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. The hyperemia of dermis is also known as erythema wherein there is increased blood flow in capillaries. Inflammations, injuries, cellulitis or infections can cause increased blood flow in the affected area. These color changes usually disappear with the resolution of the medical problem.

When there is bleeding underneath the dermis purple or reddish discoloration change occurs which is known as purpura. Purpura does not blanch on applying finger pressure while erythema disappears. Inhalation of carbon monoxide can form carboxyhemoglobin in the blood giving reddish coloration. Carbon monoxide inhalation causes debilitating effects at low levels and is fatal in high levels.

For more information read 'Reddish skin discoloration'.

Bluish discoloration of skin

Bluish coloration is usually due to oxygen depleted blood as in cyanosis, Raynaud's Syndrome and methemoglobinemia. Oxygen depleted blood appears dark red in color and generates shift in optical effects leading to bluish appearance. Mongolian spots appear as bluish patches with irregular shape and wavy borders.

Mongolian spots are due to melanocytes being entrapped and embedded deep in the dermis during their embryonic development and accumulation of melanin. Argyria is the bluish coloration due to accumulation of silver on the dermis caused by ingesting silver compounds as health potions.

For more information read 'Bluish discoloration of skin'.

Yellow discoloration of skin

Yellow coloration can be due to the buildup of bilirubin in the blood and the onset of jaundice. Many diseases and conditions lead to buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Yellow coloration requires medical evaluation as it may be due to very serious life threatening diseases.

Increased rate of breakdown of red blood cells can cause pre-hepatic jaundice. Hepatocellular jaundice is caused when the bile does not flow to duodenum. Post-hepatic jaundice is usually due to interruption to the flow of bile inside liver as well as to duodenum.

For more information read 'Yellow discoloration of skin'.

Reddened skin

Reddened skin can be due to thin epidermal layer and/or lack of pigment as in the case of lips. It can be also due to benign growths, swellings or tumors caused by endothelial cells involution as in the case of hemangioma. Hemangioma are benign infancy tumors and they usually resolve by the age of ten years.

Nevus flammeus, a birthmark, produces reddened coloration due to dilation of superficial and deeper capillaries. Nevus flammeus usually persists throughout the life. Salmon patches (nevus simplex) are again highly prevalent birthmarks appearing on the forehead, eyelids, knees, on lips or back of neck. Salmon patches are due to dilation of superficial blood vessels and resolve as the child grows.

For more information read 'Reddened skin'.

Orange skin discoloration

β-Carotene, a carotenoid antioxidant, imparts yellow-orange coloration to fruits and vegetables. When excess of fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, are consumed the carotenoids are deposited in the intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum imparting yellow-orange color (carotenemia).

The coloration is more pronounced where the stratum corneum is thicker as in palms, soles and nasolabial folds. Secondary carotenemia occurs when there is decreased metabolism or excretion of carotenoids requiring medical treatment. Normally orange coloration resolves over a few days when excess consumption of carrots is stopped.

For more information read 'Orange skin discoloration'.

Current topic: Skin discoloration. 6 2 27 12

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Tuesday, October 22

Homemade moisturizers - Homemade treatments

Homemade treatments - Homemade moisturizers
Homemade moisturizers and treatments are safer to skin, easier to prepare and are less expensive when compared to cosmetic products purchased from stores.
Homemade moisturizers and treatments made from kitchen ingredients can increase fairness and give glowing complexion. Many environmental, hormonal and nutritional factors make the skin leathery, oily or dry. These conditions lead to freckles, age spots, acne scars, liver spots and other discolorations and hyperpigmentations. Special homemade preparations can target and correct specific skin problems.

Homemade face moisturizers

Skin naturally contains moisture and this water content makes it soft, supple and glowing. However this moisture is lost to the environment due to exposure to sun, heat, cold, winds and chemicals. The dehydration can lead to many dermal problems. Application of homemade moisturizers, especially before going to bed can help the skin in regaining the lost moisture.

Read more about homemade face moisturizer recipes.

Homemade dry skin moisturizers

Dry skin condition is brought about by nutritional deficiencies, poor quality moisturizers and cosmetics, mental and physical stress, unbalanced diet and dermal ailments. In such situations the pH balance of the skin is disturbed leading to loss of moisture from the epidermis. Oil-based moisturizers can corrected the dry skin (aka xerosis or xeroderma). Preparations containing olive oil, rosehip oil, castor oil, shea butter, almond oil and other vegetable oils are effective and are easy to prepare.

Read more about homemade dry skin moisturizers.

Homemade treatments for dry skin

The basic problems with dry skin are dehydration of stratum corneum layer of epidermis and reduced production of skin oil (sebum) by the sebaceous glands. The smoothness and glide of the skin is brought about by the sebum filling up the intercellular spaces in the epidermis. Correcting the dryness skin has to first start with the treatment of nutritional deficiencies of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Insufficient intake of water can also lead to dry skin conditions. Further, early treatment of skin diseases is a must in order not to end up with xeroderma.

Read here more about homemade treatments for dry skin.

Homemade treatment for oily skin

For the treatment of oily skin, we have to go the root cause. In many instances oily skin condition is familial, being prevalent among the family members. In such hereditary conditions one has to put up with the problem or continuously use preparations to blot the oil. Homemade applications can reduce the oiliness. Steaming the face can open up the pores and drain the excess oil. Periodical exfoliation can also keep the pores open and drain the oil.

Read more about oily skin treatment.

Homemade skin whitening tips and treatments

Many homemade preparations are very effective in increasing the fairness. Lemon juice is used to mildly exfoliate and remove the dead skin and expose the healthy young skin. Free radicals stimulate melanin production leading to darkening of the skin. Tomato juice and orange juice contain antioxidants and inhibit melanin production and darkening of the skin.

Read more about homemade skin whitening tips.

Homemade olive oil moisturizer

Olive oil as such is a good moisturizer and it can be blended with many ingredients to make ideal treatments of our choice. The antioxidants present in the olive oil protect the skin from oxidative damage from sunlight as well as from free radicals formed in the skin.
Oxidative damage is the primary cause of age spots, wrinkles and other blemishes formed on the skin.

Read more about homemade olive oil moisturizer recipes.

Current topic: Homemade moisturizers and treatments

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Monday, September 30

Common sensitive skin conditions

Skin becoming sensitive is a common condition. There are many possible causes. Understanding the sensory processes will help in finding remedies.
The following pages can give us insights into the processes and diseases involved.

Skin sensitive to touch

Skin becomes sensitive to touch due to many reasons. The most common factors contributing to painful and tender skin conditions are its reaction to external stimuli and the underlying adverse health conditions.

Read more about common conditions leading to sensitive skin to touch.

Causes of skin sensitivity

The common causes of hypersensitivity of skin can due many known internal and external conditions. Sometimes it is idiopathic. Among the known common factors environment, food, race, age, gender and genetic predisposition play a greater part. Genetic conditions like albinism can cause lifelong hypersensitivity to sunlight.

Read more about common the causes of skin sensitivity.

Human senses of pain, touch, cold and warmth

Human senses like pain (including itch), cold, warmth and touch (including light pressure, deep pressure, vibration and tickle) are perceived by different nerve endings. Meissner's corpuscles, Ruffini corpuscles, Pacinian corpuscles, Merkel nerve endings, bulboid corpuscles and nociceptor are the common nerve receptors transmitting the sensory impulses.

Read more about the processes involved in skin senses.

Tactile defensiveness - Tactile sensitivity - Sensory processing disorder

The person affected by tactile defensiveness, a sensory processing disorder, experiences hyperarousal and hypersensitivity to normal touch stimulus. It results in extreme distress and discomfort to the affected individual. Tactile defensive condition can affect motor coordination.

Read more about tactile defensiveness.

Current topic: Common sensitive skin conditions.

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Wednesday, September 25

Hereditary angioedema - Symptoms - Treatment

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare genetic disorder affecting up to 0.01% of the population with mortality rates estimated at 15–33%.
Hereditary angioedema causes episodic attacks of cutaneous and submucosal swellings affecting the face, extremities, respiratory tract, genitalia, and gastrointestinal tract.

Detecting the early symptoms help in the correct diagnosis, management and treatment of hereditary angioedema. 75% of the clinical HAE symptoms and manifestations are familial inheritance whereas 25% of the symptoms are caused by fresh mutations in the individuals. As the autosomal mutation is a dominant trait, a child has 50 percent chances for inheriting the disorder if one of the parent is affected by angioedema.

Hereditary angioedema types and causative factors

The primary cause of this hereditary disorder is the increased release of bradykinin, a plasma kinin responsible for raised capillary permeability and leakage, hyperpermeability of small vessels, pain and edema. Low blood plasma levels of functional C1 esterase inhibitor proteins leads to overactivation of the kallikrein-kinin cascade. The overactivated kallikrein-kinin cascade leads to localized release of bradykinin.
C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH)
C1 esterase inhibitor is an important protein regulating the release of bradykinin. Genetic mutations in the C1 inhibitor gene (C1-INH gene or SERPING1 gene), which is mapped to chromosome 11 (11q12-q13.1), can affect or alter the production of normal C1 esterase inhibitor protein.

In type I disorder, gene mutations cause inadequate levels of C1 esterase inhibitor production. 80-85% of hereditary angioedema afflictions come under type I.
In type II disorder, though gene mutations do not lower the production levels of C1 esterase inhibitor protein, the protein produced is ineffective or non-functional in regulating the bradykinin. About 15-20% of of HAE cases come under type II.
In type III disorder, there is no deficiency or inefficiency of C1 esterase inhibitor protein. There is increased levels of kininogenase activity causing increased levels of bradykinin. Increased levels of estrogen hormone can aggravate type III disorder symptoms. Affected Women on oral contraceptives may develop symptoms and have recurrent episodic attacks. They are also susceptible to recurrent episodes during pregnancy. Mutations in F12 gene coding for a serine protease called Factor XII cause type III disorder.

Symptoms of hereditary angioedema

Nonpitting cutaneous swelling is a common symptom affecting the face, hands and legs.
The gastrointestinal afflictions cause edema of the intestinal mucosa leading to symptoms like vomiting, stomach pain and intestinal spasms.
The respiratory tract afflictions can cause blocked airway, suffocation and asphyxiation. Edema of the respiratory tract is a life-threatening emergency requiring treatment at a hospital. Hereditary angioedema patients with the slightest throat or airway swelling symptoms should seek immediate emergency treatment.

Diagnosis of hereditary angioedema

Correct diagnosis of the symptoms of this disorder is vital for proper treatment to avoid potentially fatal consequences. The following symptoms can point to hereditary angioedema.
  • Frequent episodic symptoms of angioedema without hives,
  • frequent episodes of abdominal pain and vomiting,
  • frequent episodes of laryngeal swelling and edema of upper airway and
  • familial history of angioedema.
Blood tests taken during the episodes can help in right diagnosis. Quantitative and functional analysis of C1 esterase inhibitor is carried out.
Low C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) level indicate type I.
The diagnosis may be complemented with radiography of the chest and abdomen and ultrasonography and CT scanning.

Hereditary angioedema treatment, management and prophylaxis

Hereditary angioedema does not respond to treatment with antihistamines, corticosteroids, or epinephrine.
Treatment of this hereditary disorder with C1 inhibitor replacement products, plasma kallikrein inhibitor, and bradykinin-receptor antagonist have given significant relief to the patients.

Treatment with plasma derived C1 inhibitor products like C1-INH concentrate replace the deficiency and take over the regulation of the mediating proteins. The nano-filtered C1-INH concentrate, Cinryze, is found to be effective in the treatment of acute episodic attacks.

Treatment with selective bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist, Icatibant, blocks the function of bradykinin.
The kallikrein inhibitor, ecallantide, when used prevents the release of bradykinin.
Attenuated androgens, such as danazol, have been found to reduce the severity as well as frequency of episodes when used on early symptoms. Treatment with these medications induces the body to produce more C1 inhibitor.

Treatment of hypertension with ACE inhibitor (or angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor) drugs is contraindicated in this disorder, as these drugs can cause bradykinin accumulation and trigger the symptoms.
Fresh episodic symptoms may be triggered by dental and surgical procedures, stress, infections and even menstrual cycle. Specific triggers that have previously led to episodes of attacks may need to be avoided to prevent future hereditary angioedema attacks.

Image source:
Image author: LucyHAE | License: CC BY-SA 3.0

1.Hemperly, SE; Agarwal, NS; Xu, YY; Zhi, YX; Craig, TJ (July 2013). "Recent Advances in the Management of Hereditary Angioedema". Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 113 (7): 546–555. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.006.
2.Zuraw BL, Bernstein JA, Lang DM, et al. A focused parameter update: hereditary angioedema, acquired C1 inhibitor deficiency, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-associated angioedema. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013; 131:1491.

Current topic in the dynamic nature skin care: Hereditary angioedema - types - causes - signs and symptoms - diagnosis - treatment - prevention.

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