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Upon completion of the chapter, the reader will be able to:

  1. Describe the pathophysiology of common skin disorders.

  2. Assess the signs and symptoms of common skin disorders in a presenting patient.

  3. List the goals of treatment for patients with common skin disorders.

  4. Select appropriate nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment regimens for patients presenting with common skin disorders.

  5. Identify adverse effects that may result from pharmacologic agents used in the treatment of common skin disorders.

  6. Develop a monitoring plan that will assess the safety and efficacy of the overall disease state management of common skin disorders.

  7. Create educational information for patients about common skin disorders, including appropriate self-management, available drug treatment options, and anticipated therapeutic responses.




  • Image not available. The development of acne lesions results from four pathogenic factors, which include excess sebum production, keratinization, bacterial growth, and inflammation.

  • Image not available. Although eliminating existing lesions and preventing the development of new lesions are primary goals of acne therapy, secondary goals include relieving pain or discomfort and preventing permanent scarring.

  • Image not available. Acne is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe based on the lesion type and lesion severity. Successful treatment approaches are developed based on these categories, as well as any previous treatment information presented by the patient.

  • Image not available. Irritant contact dermatitis results from first-time exposures to irritating substances such as soaps, plants, cleaning solutions, or solvents. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs after an initial sensitivity and further exposure to allergenic substances, including poison ivy, latex, and certain types of metals.

  • Image not available. The initial treatment goal of contact dermatitis is identifying the causative substance and eliminating its exposure. The second treatment goal is symptom relief.

  • Image not available. Although many factors contribute to the etiology of diaper rash, it is most likely the result of prolonged contact of the skin with urine and feces in the diaper.

  • Image not available. The primary goal in the treatment of diaper rash is prevention and is most often accomplished through frequent diaper changes.

  • Image not available. When a diaper rash is already present, repairing the damaged skin, relieving discomfort, and preventing infection are important factors to consider when developing an effective treatment regimen.




The skin is the largest organ of the human body. One of its most important functions is to assist the immune system by serving as a barrier that protects underlying structures from trauma, infection, and exposure to harmful environmental elements. The skin also holds in place essential organs and fluids necessary for life. Any significant injury to this outer protective layer may potentially compromise an individual's overall health.


Several thousand skin disorders are currently documented, and many patients will seek the assistance of a healthcare provider when a complication with their skin develops. Others will utilize methods of self-care to effectively treat their symptoms. Some skin problems, such as mild acne or diaper rash, may be successfully treated with over-the-counter medications and lifestyle modifications. However, if left untreated or treated inadequately, ...

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