Our skin is much more important to our health than many people realize. It protects us from bacteria and viruses, regulates our body temperature, helps us make sense of our environment and separates the inside of our body from the outside world.
Conditions that clog, irritate or inflame your skin can cause uncomfortable and unsightly symptoms such as redness, burning, itching and swelling. Severe sunburns, as well as numerous other risk factors, are of much greater concern because they can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
Facts about the 10 Most Common Skin Problems
Acne is the most common skin condition of all. An estimated 80 percent of people have acne (pimples) at some point during their teen years and into adulthood. A pimple grows when a skin gland becomes clogged. For mild cases, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter medications. For more serious cases, prescription drugs may be recommended.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a long-term skin disease. The most common symptoms are dry and itchy skin, rashes on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees and on the hands and feet.
Hives are red and sometimes itchy bumps on your skin and are very common. An allergic reaction is usually the cause. Other causes include infections and stress. Hives usually go away on their own, but if you have a serious case, you may need medical help.
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria that enters a break in the skin, such as a cut, scratch or insect bite. Symptoms are a red patch of skin containing red pimple-like sores. The sores eventually fill with pus, then break open after a few days, forming a thick crust. Impetigo may be treated with antibiotics.
Moles are growths that occur when cells in the skin, called melanocytes, grow in a cluster. Most people have between 10 and 40 moles. Your doctor should check your moles annually to determine whether any look unusual or have grown, changed in color or outline or changed in any other way.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. These patches can itch or feel sore. Treatment depends on how serious the disease is, the size of the psoriasis patches and the type of psoriasis.
Rashes (basic dermatitis) are areas dry, itchy skin. Your doctor can help you learn to avoid things that lead to flare-ups and treat your symptoms when they occur.
Rosacea symptoms can vary from person to person, but may include frequent redness (flushing) of the face, small red lines under the skin, inflamed eyes/eyelids, a swollen nose or patches of thick skin. There is no cure for rosacea but it can be treated and controlled.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It usually develops in areas that receive heavy sun exposure, such as the head, face, neck, hands or arms. The most common type of skin cancer is called non-melanoma. The other type, melanoma, is far more dangerous but much less common. Read more about skin cancer and melanoma
Wrinkles form as our skin ages. Sunlight is the main cause of wrinkles, but cigarette smoking also contributes significantly. Many products claim to revitalize aging skin and reduce wrinkles, but the Food and Drug Administration has approved only a few. Various treatments can soothe dry skin and reduce the appearance of age spots.