By The Skin Of Your...Skin: Autoimmune Disorders That Affect Your Skin

Autoimmune diseases – a group of diseases all characterized by their causing of the abnormal response of your immune system to substances and/or organs that are supposed to be in your body – can affect any and every part of your body. However, most people don't think of the ways that autoimmune disease can affect the largest organ of your body: your skin. So if you are interested in what different autoimmune diseases could do to the skin on your body, then here's what you need to know.

Epidermolysis Bullosa

Technically referred to as epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, this autoimmune disease generally develops later in life (usually in your 50s and/or beyond) and is characterized by the large blisters it leaves on your skin. These blisters, which are filled with fluid, can be caused by even extremely gentle contact with the skin (like brushing up against someone else) or even by mild temperature fluctuation in a room. Treatment of this condition is the least advanced of any on this list, but current medical research is trying to see the effects of changing the mixture of keratins within the skin.


Contrary to how the name of this autoimmune disease begins, dermatomyositis primarily affects your muscles (and organs like your heart and lungs), irritating and inflaming them. However, it can also regularly cause your skin to become irritated and inflamed as well, causing angry red rashes to appear, especially around joints such as your knuckles, elbows, and knees. It can even affect the skin on your eyelids, causing it to become puffy and purple. Steroids such as prednisolone are the best treatment for these swollen patches, but antimetabolite drugs like methotrexate are also used.


Last but not least, this autoimmune disease limits most of its effects to those present on your skin. This disease is characterized by your body's overproduction of skin cells, which causes these cells to build up into the patchy areas that are typical of psoriasis. Psoriasis causes patches of rashes (called plaques) to appear pretty much anywhere on your skin, though areas like the back, arms, and scalp are among the more common places for these plaques to occur. Luckily, the treatment for this disease (though it remains incurable with present-day technology and medicine) is as simple as slathering on a topical cream; generally speaking, creams with retinoids, Vitamin D, and (once again) high-powered corticosteroids are the most effective (and thus most prescribed) solutions to this itchy red rash.

For more information, contact Henry D. McKinney M.D. or a similar medical professional.