10 of the Most Common Skin Conditions | Photos and Identification
Got Skin Problems?
Is your skin itchy, broken out, or covered in a rash or strange spots? Skin inflammation, changes in texture or color, and spots may result from infection, a chronic skin condition, or contact with an allergen or irritant. If you think you have one of these common adult skin problems, have your doctor check it out. Most are minor, but others can signal something more serious.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
A rash of raised dots that turns into painful blisters, shingles causes your skin to burn, itch, tingle, or become very sensitive. Shingles often shows up on your trunk and buttocks, but can appear anywhere. An outbreak lasts about two weeks. You’ll recover, but pain, numbness, and itching might linger for months, years, or even the rest of your life. Treatment includes creams for your skin, antiviral drugs, steroids, and even antidepressants.It’s important to be treated early to help prevent complications.
Hives look like welts and can itch, sting or burn. They vary in size and sometimes join together. They may appear on any part of you and last anywhere from minutes to days. Causes include extreme temperatures, infections like strep throat, and allergies to medications, foods, and food additives. Antihistamines and skin creams can help.
Thick, red patches of skin covered with white or silvery scales are signs of psoriasis. Doctors know how psoriasis works — your immune system triggers new skin cells to grow too quickly — but they don’t know what causes it. The patches typically show up on your scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. They can heal and come back throughout your life. Treatments include creams and ointments for your skin, light therapy, and medications taken by mouth, injection, or IV.
Eczema is a blanket term for several non-contagious conditions that cause inflamed, red, dry, and itchy skin. Doctors aren’t sure what makes eczema start in the first place, but they do know that stress, irritants (like soaps), allergens, and climate can trigger flares. In adults, it often appears on the elbows, hands, and in skin folds. Several medications treat eczema. Some are spread over the skin, and others are taken by mouth or as a shot.
A tendency to flush easily, followed by redness on your nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead could be rosacea. It can get redder over time with blood vessels you can see. You may have thickened skin, bumps, and pus-filled pimples. It could even affect your eyes. Medications taken by mouth or spread on the skin are available. Doctors can treat broken blood vessels and red or thickened skin with lasers.
Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)
The herpes simplex virus causes small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on your mouth or nose. Cold sores last about 10 days and easily spread from person to person. Triggers include fever, too much sun, stress, and hormonal changes like periods. You can treat cold sores with antiviral pills or creams. Call your doctor if the sores contain pus, the redness spreads, you have a fever, or if your eyes become irritated. These can be treated with prescription pills or creams.
Rash From Plants
Contact with the oily coating from poison ivy, oak, or sumac causes a rash in many people. It begins with redness and swelling at the site, and then becomes itchy. Blisters usually show up within 12 to 72 hours after you touch the plant. A typical rash looks like a red line, the result of the plant dragging across your skin. An outbreak usually lasts up to 2 weeks. Treatment can include medicine spread on the skin or taken by mouth.
In babies, this is commonly known as cradle cap. Greasy and scaly patches of skin form on the baby’s skin, most commonly on the scalp. It is harmless and usually goes away on its own.
In adults, sebhorreic dermatitis may appear anywhere, and is prone to flare up and disappear for the rest of a person’s life. The affected skin may be reddish, swollen, and appear greasy. A white-to-yellow crust may appear on the surface of the skin as well. Many treatments help to bring relief from symptoms.
Abnormal moles may lead to melanoma , a serious and life-threatening skin cancer If moles have asymmetrical shapes, ragged edges, uneven colors, or change in size, they should be checked. Patients with melanoma may have surgery, or undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
An abscess is an infection characterized by a collection of pus underneath a portion of the skin. Bacteria commonly causing abscesses are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. These bacteria enter the skin through any cracks or injury to the skin.
Acanthosis nigricans is a condition characterized by abnormal thickening and darkening of the skin, especially in body creases. It is most commonly associated with obesity or polycystic ovarian disease in women; though it can occasionally be found in people who have more serious underlying health problems or who are taking certain medications.
Acne (Acne Vulgaris)
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is thought to be caused by multiple factors. Overproduction of a normal oil on the skin, called sebum, increases under the influence of hormones. This, coupled with insufficient shedding of exfoliating dead skin cells, plugs hair follicles.
While these summer skin problems can dampen your fun, they’re usually not serious. Most go away in a few days to a few weeks. If a rash or other skin problem lingers or worsens, you should call your dermatologist’s office.
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