Most common skin diseases
Most common skin disorders include seborrheic skin conditions, infections, chronic inflammatory skin diseases and skin carcinoma. Some of these conditions are entirely benign, with symptoms which cause minimal discomfort, whereas others require long and persistent treatment and are potentially life-threatening.
Seborrheic dermatitis – Nearlyeveryperson has developed seborrheic dermatitis at some period of their life. This condition is characterized by oily, red and flaky skin with frequent itching. In babies, this condition most often presents as cradle cap, whereas in adults it presents as dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis often appears on the face or chest, it is a chronic condition and is the most frequent reason for patients to visit dermatologists.
Seborrheic keratosis – Seborrheic keratosis refers to benign skin growths, ranging in color from light brown to black. Their number increases with age and longer sun exposure. They are an esthetic problem only and are completely benign, but can sometimes resemble skin cancer or a mole.
Impetigo – Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection and it is a common reason for seeing a dermatovenerologist. It is characterized by red ulcers, sores and scab formation. It is a highly contagious infection which spreads quickly and requires antibiotic treatment. More about impetigo read here.
Herpes simplex – Herpes simplex is a viral infection present in more than 70% of the population. It appears in bouts, when groups of blisters form, most often surrounding the mouth area. Once contracted, the virus is reactivated in situations of stress and weakened immunity and recurrences are common.
Warts – Skin warts caused by the human papilloma virus are most common on the hands and feet, but can also appear on other parts of the skin. Infections are common in children’s communal areas, at pools, saunas and other public places. Warts can be transmitted by direct and indirect contact, and you can read more about them here.
Fungal skin infections – They are a very common infectious skin and nail disease. Fungal infections are more common among persons in contact with animals. They appear as red, circular, flaking spots. Fungal skin diseases are most often treated by antimycotic medication. They include athlete’s foot, as the most common disease contracted by athletes and persons spending most of their time in sneakers.
Acne – More than 90% of the population has some sort of acne during puberty. In 20% of the population, acne persists in adult age as well, and requires some sort of dermatological treatment. Acne can be completely cured, but one year of persistent treatment is needed. You can read more about acne here.
Eczema – Skin eczema is a group of disorders characterized by red, inflamed, flaky and often itching skin. The use of aggressive baths and soaps, and other chemical products in daily life contributes to an increasing number of contact eczema cases. Atopic dermatitis is a common form of eczema with a prominent allergic component. It starts in early childhood, but the condition most often improves with age.
Rosacea – Rosacea usually first appears in middle-aged adults and it is characterized by redness on the cheeks and the forehead. It is a chronic disease and it requires continuous sun protection and adequate dermatological treatment. You can read more about rosacea and possible treatments in this article.
Skin cancer and actinic keratosis – There are around 5 million new cases of skin cancer reported in the US every year. The situation is similar in Europe. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type, and it is also the least severe type of skin cancer which requires treatment. Squamous cell carcinoma is less common, but grows more quickly and requires urgent surgical removal. The least common type of carcinoma is melanoma, but it is life-threatening if not discovered and treated at an early stage. Actinic keratosis refers to reddish and brownish changes on the skin often damaged by chronic sun exposure. This is a pre-cancerous condition, but only a small percentage is likely to develop into squamous cell carcinoma if it is not treated.
Many different skin conditions can look alike. It is necessary to visit a dermatologist in case of noticeable changes on moles (changes in shape, edges or color) or in case of any other skin growth which is changing and growing, bleeding or itching.
Spec. Dr. Sladjana Cvejic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade, Serbia