Joel Schlessinger MD discusses scary skin disorders on Halloween

Every year on Halloween, people spend hours using makeup and props to create scary scars, blood stains and other disfigurations. Some of these issues that people try to recreate have a basis in dermatology and skin disorders. Certain myths associated with creatures such as vampires and werewolves can be explained by dermatology. Here, Joel Schlessinger MD mentions a few scary skin disorders and their symptoms.

Certain unnatural symptoms could be related to porphyria, explains Joel Schlessinger MD.

Porphyria is the name for any condition that causes a buildup of natural chemicals in the body that produce porphyrin. This substance is essential for the proper function of red blood cells. High levels of porphyrin can cause problems for some people and some forms of it can cause sun sensitivity as well.

These conditions are generally passed down genetically and they can affect the nervous system, organs and skin. In recent years, we are better able to understand these conditions and realize that this is simply a medical condition, but hundreds of years ago the science wasn’t advanced to know this. Myths about werewolves and vampires were more common and people may have used them to explain certain symptoms associated with porphyria.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains some of the “scary” symptoms of porphyria.

Sensitivity to the sun and artificial light can be a symptom of cutaneous porphyria. Skin can also become fragile and pale with this type of condition. Conditions like this may have been attributed to vampires who traditionally have an aversion to sunlight.

Another symptom that is sometimes present with porphyria is excess hair growth. Hair sprouting up on the arms, face and legs could have been associated with werewolves hundreds of years ago. Because they did not have a medical explanation for the symptoms, people often associated them with the supernatural.

What do you think of the link between these Halloween myths and this medical condition?

Posted Thursday, October 29th, 2015 at 9:38 pm
Filed Under Category: Skin Care
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