Common Skin Conditions


The medical term for common acne is ACNE VULGARIS. It occurs when the hair follicle becomes filled with oil and dead skin cells. It is characterized by:

  • Breakouts of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or deep painful cysts and nodules on the skin surface

  • If left untreated, it may leave scars or darken spots on the skin

  • It is commonly found on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and upper back

Cold sore

This is a common viral infection commonly known as fever blisters. It is characterized by:

  • The painful, pus-filled blister that appears near the mouth and lips and usually red in colour

  • Tingle or burning sensation on the affected area before the sore visibly manifests

  • Outbreaks of a cold sore on the skin may be accompanied by symptoms of mild flu such as low fever, body aches and swollen lymph nodes


This is a small serum-filled bubble on the skin surface caused by burning, friction or other types of damage to the skin. It is characterized by:

  • The watery fluid-filled area on the skin surface

  • Usually smaller than 1 cm (vesicle) or larger than 1 cm (bulla) and can be an isolated case or manifests in groups

  • An outbreak can occur on any part of the body


This is a skin order that manifests suddenly as swollen sometimes painful bumps across the skin surface. Characteristics of hives include:

  • Itchy welts on the skin that happens after an exposure to a substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

  • Smoothly elevated, red, warm, and slightly painful when touched

  • Can appear as small, round and ring-shaped patch with a blanched center or large and randomly shaped

Actinic keratosis

This skin disorder manifests on the skin after years of exposure to the sun. It can be characterized by:

  • Thick, scaly or crusty patch on the skin that’s usually less than 2 cm

  • Infects the parts of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure (hands, arms, face, scalp, and neck)

  • Varies between brown, tan or gray but most times, its pink in color


This is a common chronic skin disorder that can be characterized by:

  • It goes through cycles of fading and relapse after the initial outbreak

  • Its relapse can be triggered by sunlight, alcohol, stress, spicy foods and Helicobacter pylori which is an intestinal bacteria

  • Rosacea is be classified into four forms which encompass a wide variety of symptoms

  • Common symptoms include elevated red bumps, facial redness, dryness of the skin and increased skin sensitivity.


This is a skin disorder mostly caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria which can gain access into the skin through the hair follicle, scraping on the skin surface or puncture. It is characterized by:
• Red, painful, and irritated lump that is connected under the skin

• Sometimes accompanied by fever, body aches, and fatigue

• Might lead to skin crustiness or oozing

Latex allergy

This skin condition is considered to be a medical emergency. Urgent medical attention may be required.
• Skin rash may manifest shortly after exposure to a latex product

• Warm, itchy, red wheals on the contact surface that may look dry and crusted with repeated exposure to latex

• Cough, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes may be induced by airborne latex particles

• The more severe cases of latex allergy can cause swelling and difficulty breathing


This is the type of skin disorder with different stages and types. It can be characterized by:
• Scaly yellow or white patches on the skin that usually flakes off

• Affected skin surfaces may appear red, itchy, greasy or oily

• Hair loss sometimes accompany areas where the rash breaks out 
This is a common long-term disease that has no cure. It is characterized by:

• Skin patches that are usually scaly, silvery and sharply defined

• It commonly manifests on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back

• Can either be itchy or asymptomatic



This is one of the more serious types of skin disorder that is caused by bacteria or fungi that usually affects the skin surface on the lower legs but could also manifest on the face, arms and other areas. Its symptoms include:
• Reddish skin area 

• Swelling

• Tenderness

• Pain

• Fever

• Blisters

This condition is classified as a medical emergency. Urgent medical care may be required.


This is a type of childhood infection caused by a virus. It can be prevented with a vaccine. Its symptoms include:
• Fever

• Sore throat

• Red, watery eyes

• Loss of appetite

• Cough

• Runny nose

It can be characterized by:

• Red rash which spreads down to the body from the face within five days after the first symptom

• Appearance of tiny red dots with blue-white inside the mouth


Basal cell carcinoma

This is the most common and most occurring form of skin cancer. It is characterized by:
• Elevated, firm and pale areas on the skin surface that may look like a scar

• Pink or red, shiny and pearly dome-like areas on the skin that may have a sunk-in centre 

• Visible blood vessels on affected areas

• Wounds that easily bleed or ooze that doesn’t seem to heal or reappears soon after it heals

Squamous cell carcinoma

This is a common form of skin cancer that manifests in the middle and outer layers of the skin that often occurs in areas that have been exposed to UV radiation. It can be characterized by:
• Scaly, reddish patch of skin which later turns into a raised bump that doesn’t stop growing

• Wounds or growths that easily bleed or ooze that doesn’t seem to heal or reappears soon after it heals


This is the most severe type of skin cancer that manifests in the cells that produce melanin. It is characterized by:
• Mostly occurring fair-skinned people

• Appearance of  moles with irregularly shaped edges, asymmetrical shape, and multi-coloured mole anywhere on the body 

• Moles that change in colour and size over time

• Manifest mostly in areas of the body that don’t receive much exposure to sunlight


system attacks its organs and tissues. Symptoms include:
• Fatigue

• Headaches

• Fever

• Swollen or painful joints

It is characterized by:

• Painless scaly disc-shaped rash

• Its outbreak is common on the shoulders, forearms, neck, and upper torso and it worsens when exposed to sunlight

• Warm, red rash that spreads across the cheeks and bridge of the nose which worsens when exposed the sun

Contact dermatitis

• Appears within days after exposure to substances that cause allergic reactions

• Resulting rash has visible borders that appear where the skin touched the allergen

• Red, itchy, scaly or raw skin surface

• Crusty, or oozing blisters


This is a skin disorder that causes loss of skin pigmentation in some areas due to autoimmune destruction of cells that gives the skin its colour. It can be in the form of:
• Focal pattern: The skin loses its colour in a few areas that may merge together

• Segmental pattern: Affects one side of the whole body and causes it to lose its colour

• Loss of pigmentation in the hair causing premature greying of the scalp and/or facial hair


A small hard, benign skin growth caused by a virus (human papillomavirus)
• Manifests on the skin or mucous membranes

• Can be a single isolated case or occur in groups

• It is contagious and can quickly be passed to others


This is a contagious type of skin disorder caused by varicella virus and mainly infects children. It can be characterized by:
• Clusters of red and itchy pus-filled blisters on the skin surface throughout various stages of healing

• Outbreaks of rash that is accompanied by fever, body aches, sore throat, and loss of appetite

• It remains contagious until all visible blisters crust over

Seborrheic eczema

Seborrheic eczema is a common skin irregularity that mainly affects the scalp. It is characterized by:
• Scaly yellow or white patches that flake off

• Affected areas may appear red, itchy, greasy or oily

• Areas where the rash appears may experience hair loss 
Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris

is is a common and mostly harmless skin condition that can be characterized by:
• Mostly affects the arms and legs but might also manifest on the face, buttocks and trunk

• Most cases clear out before the age of 30

• Bumpy, slightly red and rough patches of skin 

• Gets aggravated during dry weather


Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis is a fungal infection of the skin characterized by:
• A ring-shaped scaly rashes with an elevated border

• The skin in the centre of the ring  may appear clear and healthy while the edges of the ring spread outward

• If left untreated, the skin becomes irritated and painful


• It’s a common skin disorder that triggers the appearance of dark patches on the face and sometimes, the neck, chest or arms

• It is common among pregnant women (chloasma) and individuals with dark skin colour and heavy exposure to sunlight

• It has no other symptoms beyond skin discolouration

• It can either heal on its own within a year or become permanent


• Common and highly contagious skin infection that mostly affects babies and children

• It is characterized by a rash that is often located in the area around the mouth, chin, and nose

• The resulting rash is irritated and becomes pus-filled blisters that can be popped easily and form a honey-coloured crust


Contact dermatitis

This is one of the most common disorders that can be categorized under occupational illnesses. It commonly occurs after the skin has been exposed to chemicals or other irritating substances. These substances can give rise to a reaction that causes the skin to become itchy, red, and inflamed. Most cases of this skin disorder aren’t severe, but they can be rather itchy and cause discomfort. It cab be easily treated with topical creams and avoiding the causative irritant.

Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a minor skin condition that causes small, rough bumps to emerge on the skin. These bumps are usually located on the upper arms, thighs or cheeks. They’re traditionally a painless spot of red or white, and they don’t itch. While treatment isn’t necessary, medicated creams can be used to improve skin appearance.

Permanent skin disorders

Some chronic skin conditions are congenital (from birth), while others manifest suddenly at a later stage in life.
The cause of these skin disorders are not always known and while many permanent skin disorders have effective treatments which guarantee extended periods of remission, they are incurable and symptoms can be triggered at any point in time. Examples of these chronic skin conditions are:
• Rosacea: Characterized by small pus-filled red bumps on the face

• Psoriasis: Characterized by scaly, itchy, and dry patches on the skin

• Vitiligo: Causes large, irregular patches on the skin

Skin disorders in children

While children can get infected with the same skin disorders as adults, some of the skin disorders are common only among children, especially the rare kinds because of their higher exposure to germs. Many of these childhood skin disorders disappear as they age, but some of the permanent skin disorders could be inherited. In most cases, the doctors are able to treat these childhood skin disorders with topical creams, medicated lotions, or drugs that are specific to the skin condition.
Examples of skin disorders common among children include:

• Eczema

• Diaper rash

• Seborrheic dermatitis

• Chickenpox

• Measles

• Warts

• Acne

• Fifth disease

• Hives

• Ringworm

• Rashes from infections (bacterial or fungal )

• Rashes from allergic reactions

Symptoms of skin disorders

kin issues that may appear due to common problems like blisters from a new shoe or chafing of skin due to tight pants are not always because of a skin disorder. Skin disorders have a plethora of varying symptoms; however, skin problems that have no obvious cause may be a symptom of an actual skin condition that requires treatment. 
Skin conditions that are likely to be a symptom of a skin disorder include:
• Elevated red or white bumps 

• Painful or itchy rash

• Scaly or rough skin

• Peeling skin

• Ulcers

• Open sores or lesions

• Dry, cracked skin

• Discolored patches on the skin surface

• Skin growths like fleshy bumps or warts

• Moles that changes in colour or size

• Loss of skin pigment 

• Excessive flushing

Causes of skin disorders

Commonly known causes of skin disorders include:
• Bacteria stuck in skin pores and hair follicles

• Fungus, parasites or microorganisms living on the skin surface

• Viruses

• Weakened immune system

• Exposure to allergens, irritants or someone else’s infected skin

• Genetic factors

• Any illnesses that affect the thyroid gland, immune system, kidneys and other organs or body systems

Development of skin disorders have also been associated to numerous health conditions, and lifestyle factors and some skin conditions have no known cause.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a term used to define a group of intestinal disorders that cause extensive and prolonged inflammation in the digestive tract. Skin disorders are of the result of these bowel-related disorders. Also, some skin disorders are as a result of side effects of some drugs used in the treatment of this disease. Examples of said symptoms include: 
• Anal fissures

• Skin tags

• Stomatitis

• Vasculitis

• Vitiligo

• Allergic eczema


At some point, people diagnosed with diabetes start experiencing skin disorders. These skin irregularities only affect people with diabetes but other types of skin disorders manifest more frequently in people with diabetes because diabetes increases the risk of blood and circulation infections. Skin conditions related to diabetes include:
• Bacterial infections (boils, styes, and folliculitis)

• Yeast infections, ringworm and athlete’s foot (fungal infections)

• Diabetic blisters

• Diabetic dermopathy

• Digital sclerosis


This is a chronic inflammatory disease which can damage the skin, joints or any organ inside the body. Common skin disorders that are related to lupus include:
• Round lesions usually on the face and head

• Thick, red, scaly lesions

• Red, ring-shaped lesions on the parts of the body exposed to sunlight

• Flat rash on the face and body resembling sunburn

• Red, purple, or black spots on extremities (fingers and toes)

• Sores in the mouth and nose

• Tiny red spots on the legs


• Flat rash on the face and body resembling sunburn

• Red, purple, or black spots on extremities (fingers and toes)

• Sores in the mouth and nose

• Tiny red spots on the legs


A drastic change in hormone levels during pregnancy has been found to be the cause of some skin disorders and the aggravation of preexisting skin problems. Usually, skin conditions that manifest during pregnancy go away after childbirth, but in some cases, medical attention needs to be sought during pregnancy
Common skin conditions that are pregnancy-related include:
• Stretch marks

• Melasma

• Pemphigoid

• Pruritic urticarial (papules and plaques)

• Eczema


The sun can cause common and harmless skin disorders, but it can also be the cause of some rare and life-threatening skin disorders. Knowledge about how the sun affects a skin disorder is important for the proper treatment of that skin disorder
Exposure to sunlight may cause or aggravate the following conditions:
• Moles

• Wrinkles

• Sunburn

• Actinic keratosis

• Some skin cancers

• Photosensitivity


Treating skin disorders

A lot of skin disorders can be cured using common treatment methods like:
• Antihistamines

• Medicated creams and ointments

• Antibiotics

• Vitamin or steroid injections

• Laser therapy

• Specifically prescribed medications
Some skin conditions clear out by itself without treatment, and some don’t even respond to treatment. People with permanent skin disorders may go through periods of severe outbreaks, and sometimes, some of these incurable conditions can be forced into remission, which may later reappear when triggered by either stress or illness.
 Skin disorders that are temporary and cosmetic can sometimes be treated with:
• Medicated makeup

• Over-the-counter skincare products

• Good hygiene practices

• Small lifestyle adjustments (dietary changes, reduced intake of alcohol)

Preventing skin disorders

Skin disorders that are as a result of genetic conditions or related to other illnesses are not preventable. 
However, other types of skin disorders can be prevented using the following tips: 
• Sanitize your hands by washing with soap and warm water.

• Not sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses with other people.

• Avoiding direct contact with people who have a skin infection.

• Sanitizing things in public spaces before using them.

• Not sharing personal items like blankets, hairbrushes or swimsuits.

• Ensure adequate rest by sleeping for at least seven hours every night.

• Regular hydration.

• Avoiding physical and emotional stress.

• Consumption of nutritious diet.

• Be properly vaccinated for infectious skin conditions like chickenpox.
Noninfectious skin disorders (acne and atopic dermatitis) are sometimes preventable. The prevention technique t be adopted according to the condition. 
Some tips for preventing some of the noninfectious skin disorders include:
• Washing of the face with a gentle cleanser and warm water every day.

• Adequate moisturizing.

• Avoid allergens in the environment and in your diet.

• Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals and other irritants.

• Ensure adequate rest by sleeping for at least seven hours every night.
• Adequate hydration.

• Eating a healthy diet.

• Protect your skin from extreme environmental conditions like cold, heat and wind.