Common Skin Conditions


Rash: Nearly any change in the skin’s appearance can be called a rash. Most rashes are from simple skin irritation; others result from medical conditions.

Dermatitis: A general term for inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) is the most common form.

Eczema: Skin inflammation (dermatitis) causing an itchy rash. Most often, it’s due to an overactive immune system.


Psoriasis: An autoimmune condition that can cause a variety of skin rashes. Silver, scaly plaques on the skin are the most common form.

Dandruff: A scaly condition of the scalp may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema.

Acne: The most common skin condition, acne affects over 85% of people at some time in life.

Cellulitis: Inflammation of the dermis and subcutaneous tissues, usually due to an infection. A red, warm, often painful skin rash generally results.

Skin abscess (boil or furuncle): A localized skin infection creates a collection of pus under the skin. Some abscesses must be opened and drained by a doctor in order to be cured.

Rosacea: A chronic skin condition causing a red rash on the face. Rosacea may look like acne, and is poorly understood.

Warts: A virus infects the skin and causes the skin to grow excessively, creating a wart. Warts may be treated at home with chemicals, duct tape, or freezing, or removed by a physician.

Melanoma: The most dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma results from sun damage and other causes. A skin biopsy can identify melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is less dangerous than melanoma because it grows and spreads more slowly.

Seborrheic keratosis: A benign, often itchy growth that appears like a “stuck-on” wart. Seborrheic keratoses may be removed by a physician, if bothersome.

Actinic keratosis: A crusty or scaly bump that forms on sun-exposed skin. Actinic keratoses can sometimes progress to cancer.

Squamous cell carcinoma: A common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma may begin as an ulcer that won’t heal, or an abnormal growth. It usually develops in sun-exposed areas.

Herpes: The herpes viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause periodic blisters or skin irritation around the lips or the genitals.

Hives: Raised, red, itchy patches on the skin that arise suddenly. Hives usually result from an allergic reaction.

Tinea versicolor: A benign fungal skin infection creates pale areas of low pigmentation on the skin.

Viral exantham: Many viral infections can cause a red rash affecting large areas of the skin. This is especially common in children.

Shingles (herpes zoster): Caused by the chickenpox virus, shingles is a painful rash on one side of the body. A new adult vaccine can prevent shingles in most people.

Scabies: Tiny mites that burrow into the skin cause scabies. An intensely itchy rash in the webs of fingers, wrists, elbows, and buttocks is typical of scabies.

Ringworm: A fungal skin infection (also called tinea). The characteristic rings it creates are not due to worms.

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