What are Diseases of the Integumentary System?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2019
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Diseases of the integumentary system or skin, can include psoriasis, athlete's foot, rosacea, impetigo, alopecia, dermatitis, and shingles. Skin diseases can vary widely in their severity, and some, like skin cancer, can be deadly. These diseases may be viral, fungal, bacterial, or even congenital in origin. Factors such as stress, hygiene, and sun exposure can influence the development of diseases of the integumentary system. These diseases can have a significant impact on health, since the skin is often considered one of the body's most important organs, for its role in defending against pathogens, as well as protecting the internal organs, regulating internal fluid levels, and assisting in the elimination of toxins.

Skin irritations such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema are considered some of the most common congenital diseases of the integumentary system. Symptoms of eczema can include inflammation and the formation of oozing pustules. Psoriasis can often cause flaky, inflamed patches to appear on the skin, and this condition often worsens with stress. Dermatitis, unlike other congenital skin diseases, usually causes inflammation and itchiness in the presence of a contact irritant. Allergic contact dermatitis may be one of the most common hereditary diseases of the integumentary system.


Some diseases of the skin are bacterial in origin. Acne vulgaris, also known as acne, pimples, or spots, may be the most common of these. This disease typically causes the overproduction of skin oils, which can lead to the blockage of pores and the formation of the pus-filled papules known as acne. In severe cases, acne vulgaris can cause painful, unsightly cysts and leave the skin severely scarred. Other bacterial diseases can include impetigo, often caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria.

Viral diseases of the integumentary system can include herpes simplex, which typically affects the mouth or genitals, causing small, painful blisters to appear. Warts are also usually caused by a viral infection, and there are several types of warts, including plantar warts, flat warts, and genital warts. Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, typically occurs in people who have suffered from chicken pox at some point during their lives. Shingles generally causes a painful, distinctive rash to appear on one side of the body.

Fungal infections of the skin can include ringworm, verrucas, athlete's foot, and skin yeast infections. These conditions can often be treated with topical creams and sometimes oral medications. They typically cause symptoms of inflammation and itching. Some are infectious, while others, like skin yeast infections, can develop due to personal hygiene practices.

Skin carcinomas may be among the most serious diseases of the integumentary system. Skin cancers often develop as a result of excessive UV exposure, and typically manifest as abnormal moles or lesions on the skin. Without prompt treatment, these cancers can disfigure or even kill their victims.


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Post 4

I had no idea what was going on when a rash appeared on my side. It wasn't so bad at first, but then I had a lot of pain. Come to find out, I had shingles. I had also had chicken pox as a child. I never realized that a skin disease like this could be so painful. It took me months to recover from this disease.

Post 3

I had kind of a strange integumentary system disorder than ended up being somewhat hard to treat until they finally figured out what it was.

A small red spot showed up on my chin that looked like an open wound. It was inflamed and had some pus. It was embarrassing to go anywhere with this ugly spot on my chin.

The first time I went to the doctor she thought it might be MRSA, which is very difficult to treat and resistant to most antibiotics. She went ahead and gave me an antibiotic which did clear up the spot for awhile.

After a few months the spot appeared again. This time I was seen by a different doctor who thought the problem was caused by a viral disease, and she gave me a completely different medication. This completely took care of the spot, and it has never returned.

Post 2

When I was a teenager I struggled with acne. I still have some mild scarring on my face from this. The only thing I found that really helped with the acne was taking oral antibiotics. Topical creams helped a little bit, but the oral antibiotics worked the best.

The most frustrating thing with this was that I developed a yeast infection from all the antibiotics. It became a vicious circle trying to treat both of them at the same time.

Post 1

My husband works outside all the time and he developed skin cancer. The strange thing about this is the cancer was on his shoulder. This area of his skin never sees the sun, but that is where the skin cancer appeared.

He was being seen for a respiratory infection when the doctor noticed the spot. He was referred to a dermatologist, where they took some tissue and it came back positive for cancer.

It has been over five years since he has been treated for that spot. He no longer has to schedule a check up for that cancer, and thankfully no other spots have appeared.

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