Skin diseases are conditions that affect your skin. These diseases may cause rashes, inflammation, itchiness or other skin changes. Some skin conditions may be genetic, while lifestyle factors may cause others. Skin disease treatment may include medications, creams or ointments, or lifestyle changes.
Some skin diseases are minor. Others cause severe symptoms. Some of the most common skin diseases include:
- Acne, blocked skin follicles that lead to oil, bacteria and dead skin buildup in your pores.
- Alopecia areata, losing your hair in small patches.
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema), dry, itchy skin that leads to swelling, cracking or scaliness.
- Psoriasis, scaly skin that may swell or feel hot.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon, periodic reduced blood flow to your fingers, toes or other body parts, causing numbness or skin color change.
- Rosacea, flushed, thick skin and pimples, usually on the face.
- Skin cancer, uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells.
- Vitiligo, patches of skin that lose pigment.
Certain lifestyle factors can lead to the development of a skin disease. Underlying health conditions may affect your skin, too. Common causes of skin diseases include:
- Bacteria trapped in your pores or hair follicles.
- Conditions that affect your thyroid, kidneys or immune system.
- Contact with environmental triggers, such as allergens or another person’s skin.
- Fungus or parasites living on your skin.
- Medications, such as the ones that treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Skin disease symptoms vary significantly, depending on what condition you have. Skin changes are not always due to skin diseases. For example, you may get a blister from wearing ill-fitting shoes. However, when skin changes show up with no known cause, they may be linked to an underlying condition.
Generally, skin diseases may cause:
- Discolored skin patches (abnormal pigmentation).
- Dry skin.
- Open sores, lesions or ulcers.
- Peeling skin.
- Rashes, possibly with itchiness or pain.
- Red, white or pus-filled bumps.
- Scaly or rough skin.
Some health conditions can increase your chances of developing a skin disease. You may be more likely to experience skin changes or symptoms if you have:
- Diabetes: People with diabetes may have trouble with wound healing, particularly on their feet.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Some IBD medications can lead to skin problems such as vitiligo or eczema.
- Lupus: This chronic condition can lead to inflammation and skin problems, such as rashes, sores or scaly skin patches.
Skin changes can also be the result of pregnancy, stress or hormonal changes. For example, melasma is a common skin disease that mostly affects pregnant women. Conditions like alopecia areata, acne, Raynaud’s phenomenon or rosacea may get worse when you’re stressed.