Do Autoimmune Conditions Dull Your Skin Glow?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Autoimmune disorders frequently cause damage to the body in unseen ways. Additionally, some impact your outward appearance, affecting the skin in various ways. Obtaining appropriate medications and treatments for the underlying condition can alleviate symptoms, whether they are visible or invisible. Below is a list of autoimmune diseases and symptoms related to the skin.

Which Autoimmune Disease Causes Skin-related Symptoms?

This autoimmune disease list contains disorders that cause skin-related issues.

  • Psoriasis: Plaque psoriasis, the most prevalent form of psoriasis, leads to the rapid overproduction of skin cells. These cells accumulate, forming plaques, typically found on the elbows, lower back, knees and scalp. On white skin, plaques often appear pink or red with silvery-white scales, while on darker skin, they may present as salmon-coloured with silvery-white scales, or violet or dark brown with grey scales. Treatment options for this autoimmune disease include prescription and over-the-counter topicals (lotions, foams, creams, ointments, shampoos, tars, etc.), phototherapy and systemic drugs (injections and pills).
  • Vitiligo: Vitiligo develops when the immune system attacks melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for pigment production, resulting in white or light patches of skin. In some instances, a person’s skin may lose all pigment, turning completely white. Various methods can help reduce the visibility of vitiligo patches. These include regularly using sunscreen to diminish the contrast between affected and unaffected skin areas and applying makeup or self-tanner on white spots. Additionally, there are numerous treatments available for this autoimmune disorder. Topical medications and light therapy may be beneficial.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, arises when the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of hormones. Often, hypothyroidism is a consequence of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition in which the immune system targets the thyroid. One of the autoimmune disease symptoms is severe skin dryness. While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, doctors can manage it with a synthetic form of thyroid hormone, such as Synthroid, administered in a daily pill. Periodic blood tests can help your doctor ensure that you are receiving the correct dosage.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating glucose levels in the body. Without sufficient insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, hindering its conversion into energy. Diabetes can affect blood flow, leading to dry and itchy skin and increasing susceptibility to bacterial and fungal skin infections. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are also more prone to developing vitiligo. Effectively managing this autoimmune disease through insulin therapy, and adopting healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits, can alleviate symptoms, including skin issues.
  • Dermatomyositis: Dermatomyositis is a not-so-common inflammatory condition resulting in a rash (reddish-purple) on the shoulders, back, upper chest, around the knuckles, and on the eyelids and face. The primary treatments for this autoimmune condition typically involve immunosuppressants (corticosteroids, rituximab, etc.). In children, symptoms may appear between 5 to 15 years of age. However, dermatomyositis may affect people between 40 to 60 years old. As the condition can progress to pneumonia or even lung failure, it’s important to seek an expert’s help/consultation if you notice this type of rash.
  • Lupus: Lupus is characterised by a butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks, marking the condition where the immune system targets organs and tissues across the body, causing inflammation. Individuals with this autoimmune disease may also develop skin lesions following sun exposure. Treatment options for lupus encompass nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, and antimalarial drugs.

 

Conclusion

Autoimmune disorders start showing in various ways, it could affect the skin’s appearance and also one’s health. These conditions can lead to skin-related symptoms, ranging from rashes to dryness and discolouration. However, with appropriate medical intervention and management, individuals can mitigate these symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. Seeking timely medical advice and adhering to prescribed treatment is essential in addressing autoimmune-related skin issues and maintaining skin health.

 

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