List of skin conditions

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A common inflammatory disorder of the sebaceous (oil secreting) glands of the skin causing inflamed red pimples on the face and neck. Most people affected by acne are aged between 12 and 25. However, men and women in their 30s and 40s can also suffer. There are many treatments available to help deal with the condition.


Alopecia means sudden hair loss. There are many different causes and patterns of hair loss. Any area can be involved including eyebrows and eyelashes.

Athletes foot

A fungus infection of the foot sometimes known as tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot. The fungus is contracted from public places and then grows in the warm and moist environment of your footwear.

Birthmarks (Naevus)

Birthmarks are darker or coloured patches on the skin that are either present at birth, or develop very soon afterwards the most common of which is known as the “strawberry” birthmark. Most birthmarks are harmless and don't need any treatment. However, occasionally there are medical reasons that mean it's necessary for the birthmark to be treated. You may also wish to have treatment for cosmetic reasons.


Dried plugs of fatty material in the ducts of the sebaceous (oil secreting) glands of the skin causing a black colour at the surface of the plugs. Blackheads should never be squeezed as this increases the risk of infection.


Blisters are the outpouring of fluid under the outer layer of the skin as a result of local damage. They are often caused by friction on tender skin (on the hands from unusual physical work or on the feet by ill fitting shoes) by heat (as in burns and scalds) and also by irritating chemicals. Blisters should be kept clean to avoid infection.


Boils are painful red swelling in the skin caused by a bacterial infection of a hair follicle or sweat gland. They are contagious via the pus (bacterial) and therefore if left untreated could development into further boils or in extreme cases to blood poisoning.

Bowen's Disease

Bowen’s disease is a rare skin growth, which is confined to the outer layer of the skin. It usually appears as a slow-growing red and scaly patch. Occasionally Bowen’s disease can become cancerous.

Bullous pemphigoid (BP)

Bullous pemphigoid is a chronic blistering of the skin. It can range from small mild itchy welts to severe blisters and infection, and can be confined to a small area of the body or be widespread. Most of those affected are elderly, but it has been seen at all ages.


Damage caused to the skin by either dry or wet heat. The severity of burns is assessed by the amount of skin that is damaged. First degree burns cause reddening of the skin and affect the top layer of the skin only, second degree burns cause the formation of blisters and third degree burns destroy the full skin thickness leaving the area looking white or charred.


Carbuncles are large boils with multiple openings which usually appear where the skin is thick in particular the back of the neck. They can reach the size of an apple and cause severe pain, fever and general feeling of being unwell.


A severe infection of the skin and the tissues beneath it. The infection spreads through the tissues producing pus with accompanying pain and discomfort. The toxins released by the infection produce fever and general feeling of being unwell.


Chilblains appear as hot, red, swollen patches of itchy skin on toes, feet, fingers and hands after exposure to extreme cold and/or moisture. Normally they will go of their own accord after a few days but occasionally they can become chronic causing discoloration of the skin and painful blisters containing blood stained fluid followed by ulceration.


A sac or pouch within the body, usually filled with fluid.

Darier's disease

Darier’s disease is a very rare genetic skin condition, where the skin in certain areas develops numbers of small brownish bumps containing pus It normally affects the chest, neck, back, ears, forehead, and groin, but can involve other parts of the body. It can be aggravated further by heat, humidity, and exposure to sunlight.


Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin which can be as a result of an infection or a substance that has come into contact with the skin. Classified as acute, sub-acute or chronic depending on the severity.


Inflammation of the muscles normally accompanied by a rash over the eyelids, cheeks, chest and knuckles. Muscles become weak, stiff and painful and the skin over these muscles feels thicker than normal. There may also be bouts of nausea, weight loss and fever.


Eczema, also known as dermatitis, describes a group of skin conditions where the skin is irritated or inflamed. There are many different types of eczema - the most common is atopic eczema (also called endogenous eczema). About 1 in 6 children get atopic eczema in the UK, but most grow out of it by their teens. However for some people, it can continue into adulthood.


Redness of the skin which is caused by congestion of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) near the surface. The blood vessels may become dilated and congested with blood as the result of many different factors.


A skin eruption which occurs as a symptom of an acute viral disease, as in scarlet fever or measles.


Inflammation of the hair follicles of the skin or the scalp usually caused by bacterial infection.


A condition caused by the direct effect of freezing on the tissues, made worse by the lack of blood to the area. The skin firstly takes on a pallid colour which progresses to a reddish violet and finally to black as the tissue dies.


A highly infectious virus which causes crusted sores most commonly around the lips and mouth (cold sores) and the genitals. It begins with itching of the skin followed by redness and swelling which turn to fragile blisters which rupture to excude a sticky fluid which rapidly crusts over.


A hereditary condition which is characterized by thick scale and very dry skin. Mild cases may pass off as dry skin, but in severe cases the skin looks like fish skin or alligator hide. The dry, scaly skin is usually most severe over the legs but may also involve the arms, hands, and middle of the body. Persons with this condition may also have many fine lines over the palm of the hand.


Impetigo is a skin infection caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. Impetigo causes spots containing pus (pustules) that become crusty yellow sores. It often occurs on the face around the mouth and nose. It can be treated with antibiotic creams or tablets.


Inflammation and chafing of the skin caused by two surfaces rubbing together. Normally occurs on the inner thighs, armpits, underside of the breasts, folds of the abdomen and between fingers and toe. There may also be scales and blisters and the affected skin may have an odour.


A yellow discolouration of the skin.


Inflammation of the cornea (the transparent front layer of the eye)


A skin condition where patches of rough skin appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks.

Lichen planus

Lichen planus is an itchy rash that can appear anywhere on the body. Generally speaking, about 1 in 50 people may develop the condition, which most commonly affects those between the ages of 30 and 60, and women slightly more often than men. It's rare for children or older people to be troubled by lichen planus, though not impossible.

Linear IgA disease

A very itchy rash with annular grouped vesicles. Histology shows a subepidermal blister and immuniofluorescene shows a linear band of IgA at the basement membrane.


Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It begins in skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin, which gives skin its color. When people spend time in the sunlight, the melanocytes make more melanin and cause the skin to tan. If the skin receives too much sunlight, the melanocytes may begin to grow abnormally and become cancerous. This condition is called melanoma.
The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, or color of a mole. But melanoma can also appear on the body as a new mole.


A blemish on the skin which maybe present at birth or may develop over time. Moles are made up of clusters of nevus cells which contain the pigment melanin. They can be small or large, flat or raised, smooth, hairy or warty. They vary in colour from yellowish brown to black.


A chronic but painless fungal infection of the nail caused by a number of fungal species


A benign tumour which resembles a wart and is normally found on the skin and in the membranes that line the intestinal and urinary tracts.


Red and purple spots on the skin approximately the size of a pinhead. They are formed by the escape of blood into the skin.


A chronic inflammatory eruption of the skin which is normally accompanied by small whitish spots and severe itching.


Itching of the skin around the anus or the vulva.


Psoriasis is a long-term (chronic) scaling disease of the skin, which affects 2% – 3% of the UK population. It appears as red, raised scaly patches known as plaques. Any part of the skin surface may be involved, but the plaques most commonly appear on the elbows, knees and scalp. It can be itchy, but is not usually painful. Nail changes are present in 50% of people and 10% to 20% of people will develop psoriatic arthritis


A group of spots or an area of red, inflamed and normally itchy skin which can be localised in one part of the body or involve extensive areas.


Firstly the fingertips go white and cold, then the rest of the fingers feel numb and may become stiff as their blood supply is cut off. On recovery the blood comes back into the fingers which turn bright red and then become painful.

Ringworm (Tinea)

A group of fungus infections of the skin, hair, toenails and fingernails. Ringworm usually causes reddened and scaly patches on the skin, which form in an irregular ring shape with a slightly raised edge. The patches may be very itchy.

Rodent Ulcer

A chronic ulcer arising from a tumour normally present on the face or nose of elderly people.


A chronic disease where the skin is coloured red or pink as a result of the dilation of tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin normally on the nose, forehead, cheeks and chin.


A skin infection caused by the infestation of mites which burrow into the skin and lay their eggs. The burrowing causes intense itching.


A rare disease which produces hardening of the skin which becomes smooth, shiny and tight. The skin of the face may shrink so much that it becomes difficult to open the mouth fully.

Sebaceous Cyst

A term used for large, smooth nodules under the skin which are most commonly found on the scalp, face, ear and genitals. The cyst contains a smooth yellow cheesy material.

Shingles and Chickenpox

Shingles causes a painful rash of small blisters that appear on one side of the body, often in a band on the chest and back. The virus that causes shingles is called varicella zoster. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.


An increase in the size of blood vessels beneath the skin causing redness and an appearance of broken veins. Most commonly found on the nose and cheeks.

Urticaria (Hives)

A skin eruption or red and white raised patches on the skin similar to that caused by nettles. The patches cause great irritation and are normally seen on the trunk and on the face.


Light coloured blotches which appear on the skin or hair as a result of the absence of the pigment melanin, the presence of which gives the skin its colour.


Common highly contagious but harmless growths on the skin as a result of a virus infection.


A disorder in which the skin becomes very rough and very dry with premature aging. Benign skin tumours may also develop.