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Skin Conditions

 
Dermatology Experts treat different aspects and conditions of the skin, including acne, rashes, dry skin, various infections, and skin cancer. Click on topics to learn more.
 
Acne
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is characterized by whiteheads, blackheads or pimples on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne affects people of all ages but is most common among teenagers.
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Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition causing facial redness, acne-like pimples, visible small blood vessels on the face, swelling and/or watery, irritated eyes. This inflammation of the face can affect the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead or eyelids. More than 14 million Americans suffer from rosacea. It is not contagious, but there is some evidence to suggest that it is inherited.
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Head Lice
An estimated six to 12 million infestations occur in the U.S. annually. Head lice are particularly common among pre-school and elementary school children. Head lice do not transmit any diseases, but they are very contagious and can be very itchy.
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Rashes
Rashes can be a symptom of many different types of medical problems, as well as allergies or exposure to chemicals or other irritants. Rashes cause redness, itching, and may sometimes include small bumps. Genetics can make people more likely to get rashes. Dermatologists can help pinpoint the causes and treatments for different rashes.
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Eczema
Eczema, or dermatitis, is a series of chronic skin conditions that produce itchy rashes; scaly, dry and leathery areas; skin redness; or inflammation around blisters. It most frequently appears in the creases on the face, arms, and legs.
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Lumps, Bumps, Cysts
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of lumps, bumps, and cysts associated with the skin. Fortunately, the vast majority of these are harmless and painless. If you’re concerned, see your dermatologist.
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Psoriasis
Psoriasis creates red patches of skin with white, flaky scales, most commonly on the elbows, knees, and trunk. It is a chronic condition that will cycle through flare-ups and remissions throughout the rest of the patient's life.
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Blisters
A blister is a soft area of skin filled with a clear fluid. Blisters may form in response to an irritant, oral and topical drug or as a symptom of bacterial or viral skin infections. Blisters also form from burns, contact with a hot surface or sun exposure.
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Vitiligo
Vitiligo refers to the development of white patches anywhere on the skin. With this condition, pigment-forming cells (known as melanocytes) are destroyed by the immune system causing the loss of pigmentation in the skin. Vitiligo usually develops between the ages of 10 and 40. It affects both men and women and appears to be hereditary.
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Pruritis
Pruritus refers to the sensation of itching on the skin. It can be caused by a wide range of skin conditions, including dry skin, infection, fungus, other skin diseases and, rarely, cancer. While anyone can experience pruritus, it is more commonly seen among the elderly, diabetics, people with suppressed immune systems and those with seasonal allergies, like hay fever or eczema. Additionally, there is a type of pruritus, called PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules & Plaques of Pregnancy) that affects pregnant women.
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Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants that cause an allergic reaction among humans, leading to burning, itching, redness, and blisters. The inflammation is a form of contact dermatitis. It is not contagious.
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Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Also known as neurodermatitis or scratch dermatitis. It’s caused by a chronic cycle of scratching and itching an area of skin that becomes rough or leathery. It can be a difficult cycle to break because of the severity of the itchiness.
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Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease resulting from an overproduction of collagen in the skin and other organs, usually appearing in people between the ages of 25 and 55. Women get scleroderma more often than men, and the disease worsens slowly over the years.
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Keratosis Pilaris
Also known as follicular keratosis, this is a hereditary skin disorder that causes goosebump-like lesions on the back of the arms, thighs or buttocks. The patches of bumps tend to get dry and itchy, particularly during the winter months. Keratosis pilaris occurs at any age. Because it is hereditary, there is no method of prevention. In some cases, it goes away on its own over time; in other cases, the condition is chronic. Keratosis pilaris is not harmful, however, it is very difficult to treat.
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Hives
Hives are usually an allergic reaction to food, medicine or animals, but can also be triggered by sun exposure, stress, excessive perspiration or other, more serious diseases, such as lupus. Hives are characterized as itchy red, raised welts (also known as weals) on the skin's surface. They tend to appear and disappear suddenly.
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Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a severe and potentially painful form of acne. The chronic skin inflammation usually occurs deep in the skin in areas of the body with sweat glands, such as the groin or armpits. The inflammation is a combination of blackheads and red lesions that break open and drain pus and may cause itching or sweating.
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Wrinkles
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process and occur most frequently in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, back of the hands and forearms. There is a higher incidence of wrinkles among people with fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin.
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Birthmarks/Pigmented Skin
Birthmarks are abnormal skin colorations in spots that are either present at birth or appear shortly thereafter. They are generally harmless. Depending on the area of the body, they can affect self-esteem. Some are permanent, others will naturally fade with age.
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Herpes Simplex Virus

A group of viral infections that cause sores on the mouth (oral herpes) or genitals (genital herpes). There are two types of Herpes Simplex Virus:

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 is the most common form of herpes that affects most people at least once during childhood.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 is sexually transmitted either to the genital area or mouth. About one in five adults in the U.S. has this form of the herpes virus, although many people don't know they have it.

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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. It is relatively rare but can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, and brain. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is characterized by a rash that begins as small red spots or blotches on the wrists, ankles, palms or soles of the feet. It spreads up the arms and legs to the trunk of the body. These symptoms take between one and two weeks to appear following a tick bite. The rash is often accompanied by fever, chills, muscle ache, red eyes, light sensitivity, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and/or fatigue.
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Ringworm / Tinea Corporis
Ringworm is a common fungal infection, especially among children, that appears on different parts of the body. It is characterized by ring-shaped, scaly and itchy patches of the skin. The patches may blister or ooze fluid. Ringworm is contagious and can be passed from person to person or through contact with contaminated personal care products, clothing or linens. Pets, particularly cats, can also pass on the infection.
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Impetigo
Impetigo is a common skin infection usually found in children and infants. It is characterized as single or multiple blisters filled with pus, which pop easily and leave a reddish, raw-looking base and/or honey-colored crust. In most children, impetigo first appears near the nose and then spreads through scratching to other parts of the face, arms or legs. The blisters tend to be itchy.
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Erysipelas
A particular type of skin infection (cellulitis) that is characterized by blisters; skin that is red, swollen, warm and/or painful to the touch; or by lesions with raised borders that most frequently appear on the face or legs. It also appears as sores on the cheeks and bridge of the nose. It is usually caused by Streptococcus bacteria and occurs in both adults and children. Erysipelas requires medical treatment, so you should contact your dermatologist as soon as you suspect you may have this infection.
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Chicken Pox (Herpes Varicella Zoster)

Chicken pox is a common illness, particularly among children. It is characterized by itchy red spots or blisters all over the body. Chicken pox is caused by Herpes Varicella Zoster virus. It is highly contagious, but most cases are not dangerous.

Chicken pox can be passed on from two to three days before the rash appears until the blisters are crusted over. It spreads from exposure to infected people who cough, sneeze, share food or drinks or by touching the blisters. It is often accompanied by a headache, sore throat and possibly a fever. The incubation period (from exposure to the first appearance of symptoms) is 14 to 16 days. When the blisters crust over, they are no longer contagious and the child can return to normal activity. This normally takes about 10 days after the initial appearance of symptoms.

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Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection that is caused by either Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria. Both of these bacteria occur naturally on the skin. A break or cut in the skin causes the bacteria to enter the body, which leads to an active infection. Cellulitis most often occurs from:

  • cracking or peeling skin between the toes,
  • insect bites or stings, and
  • a skin cut, break or trauma

Cellulitis appears as a swollen red area of skin that is tender and hot to the touch. Symptoms include chills, fever, muscle ache, fatigue, pain or tenderness in an area with a skin rash or sore. The redness increases in size as the infection spreads. It typically comes on suddenly and spreads quickly. Cellulitis can arise anywhere on the body but usually appears on the face or legs. Be sure to contact your dermatologist as soon as you observe these symptoms to start an effective treatment.

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Candidiasis
Candidiasis is the medical term for yeast infections in the body. There are three forms of candidiasis that relate specifically to the skin: oral candidiasis (thrush), diaper rash, and candidal intertrigo. If you suspect you have a yeast infection, see your doctor or dermatologist for treatment.
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Boils

Also known as skin abscesses, boils form as a result of a cut or break in the skin, which leads to a bacterial infection. They are characterized as a red, tender area with a painful, pus-filled center that can open spontaneously or by surgical incision. Some boils are caused by ingrown hair. Others are caused by blocked sweat glands, which occurs with some types of cystic acne. 

Anyone can get a boil. They grow quickly and are usually painful until they drain. However, left alone a boil will naturally come to a head and burst open, allowing the pus to drain and the skin to heal. People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to boils than the general population.

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Shingles / Herpes Zoster

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It usually appears as a band or strip of blisters on one side of the body that goes from the spine around the front to the breastbone. Shingles derives from the same virus that causes chicken pox. After having chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue underneath the skin. Years later, and with no known reason, it reactivates and causes shingles.

Shingles is contagious and can easily pass through touching from one person to another. The virus develops into shingles for people who have had chicken pox and develops into chicken pox for those who have not had it. Shingles appear most frequently among older adults (age 60+) and in people with compromised immune systems.

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Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness and inflammatory disease that spreads through tick bites. Deer ticks house the spirochete bacterium (Borellia burgdorferi) in their stomachs. When one of these ticks bites the human skin, it may pass the bacteria into the body. These ticks tend to be attracted to creases in the body, so Lyme disease most often appears in armpits, the nape of the neck or the back of knees. It can cause abnormalities in the skin, heart, joints and nervous system.
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Folliculitis
Folliculitis is an inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It appears as a rash or white-headed pimples or pustules near a hair follicle. It can occur anywhere on the body, but typically affects hairy areas, such as the neck or groin. Follicles can be damaged from repeated friction (such as rubbing of too tight clothes) or a blockage of the hair follicle (for instance, from shaving). In most cases, follicles become infected with Staphylococcus bacteria.
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Scabies

Scabies is a harmless but very itchy and highly contagious skin condition caused by mites that burrow into the skin and lay eggs. Symptoms include a severe itch, often worse at nighttime, and thin burrow tracks made of tiny bumps or blisters on the skin. Humans are allergic to the mites, which is what causes the itching.

Typically, scabies appear in the folds of the skin, such as the armpits, around the waist, inside the wrists, between the fingers, on the soles of feet, on the back of knees or on inner elbows. In children, they more commonly appear on the face, scalp, neck, palms and soles. Scabies is spread through direct contact with an infected person or by sharing clothing and linens. It is so contagious that frequently when one person in a family is diagnosed with scabies, all family members are treated.

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Intertrigo
A skin inflammation that occurs in warm, moist folds of the body where two skin surfaces chafe against each other. It most commonly appears on the inner thighs, armpits, groin, the crease on the back of the neck, the bottom of breasts in women and below the belly in obese people. It can be caused by a bacterial, yeast or fungal infection. Symptoms include a reddish-brown rash that looks raw and may ooze or itch. In severe cases, the skin may crack or bleed.
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Granuloma
Granuloma is a generic term that refers to a small nodule. It can be any type of nodule, from benign to malignant. Granulomas occur throughout the body. Two types of granuloma apply expressly to the skin: Pyogenic Granuloma and Granuloma Annulare. denly.
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