Types of Skin Diseases

Skin diseases include a wide range of disorders that affect the outer layer of your skin (epidermis) and the underlying tissues. These conditions vary in onset and appearance.


Symptoms may be caused by a number of factors, including illness, infection, pregnancy and stress. Some of these problems can be treated or cured, while others are not.


Rashes can be caused by many things, including viruses, bacteria, skin diseases or allergens. They may appear as red, itchy or scaly bumps or blotches and often require medical attention.

Everyone gets rashes at some point in their lives. They can be from a simple case of the common “slapped cheek” appearance or a more serious condition like psoriasis.

Most rashes clear up on their own, and a few need treatment to relieve symptoms. If you have a rash that lasts more than a few days or if it’s accompanied by fever, you need to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

If you’re unsure of the cause, your doctor can refer you to a dermatologist (skin specialist). This person will examine your rash and identify the causes.

Urticaria – also called hives, weals, welts or nettle rash – is a raised itchy rash that can affect one part of the body or spread over large areas. Most urticaria rashes will clear up within a few days. Antihistamines can help ease the itching, but you may need steroid tablets if symptoms persist.

Vaccines can trigger hives, and some people have an allergic reaction to medications or food. These reactions can be very uncomfortable, so they should be avoided.

Some rashes are caused by long-term diseases that affect the immune system. These include lupus, psoriasis and certain types of cancer.

There are also a few conditions that are rare and don’t have specific causes, but they can still cause rashes. These include pityriasis rosea, an itchy rash that is very common in children and young adults.

Hot tub rash is another skin disease that can develop in children when they’re exposed to hot water. It is more likely to occur in younger kids because they spend more time in the water.

If your child is exposed to hot tubs, talk with your pediatrician about ways to keep them safe. You can help prevent the rash by keeping shoes on when your child goes in the water, and don’t allow them to bathe in the spa or hot tub without wearing protective goggles.

Viral infections

Skin disease can be caused by a number of different viruses. These infections can range from mild to severe, and they often cause a variety of symptoms. Some of these infections are contagious, which means that they can be passed from one person to another.

Viral skin infections can be treated with antiviral medication or other remedies. These medications may help reduce pain and itching. They can also make your condition go away faster.

A viral infection can be caused by a number of different types of viruses, such as the common cold virus and herpes simplex type 1. These types of infections usually start out as rashes, but they can get worse and become more serious if not treated.

Depending on the virus that causes the infection, your doctor will determine the best treatment for you. These treatments may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, vitamin supplements and other therapies.

Most viral skin infections improve on their own within a few days to weeks, although some take much longer. If your skin is very infected, you might need to be treated in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics.

Some viral skin infections, such as chickenpox and herpes zoster, can be life-threatening. These infections need to be treated quickly or they can cause complications, like fever or swelling of the limbs.

Your doctor may need to examine your skin, blood, or a tissue sample for signs of infection. Your doctor might also do a test that will measure the amount of virus in your body.

The lab test may involve viral culture (growing microorganisms in the laboratory from samples of blood, body fluid, or other material taken from an infected area) and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These tests can detect the presence of ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is the genetic code for the virus.

A PCR test can also detect antigens, which are proteins on or in the virus that trigger the body’s immune response. These can help your doctor diagnose your condition more accurately.

During the course of a viral infection, your body’s immune system works to fight off the virus and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body. If your immune system is weakened by conditions like HIV/AIDS or cancer, or you are taking immunosuppressive drugs, this can increase your risk for getting certain types of viral skin infections.

Bacterial infections

A bacterial infection is an illness that is caused by bacteria, which are normally found on the skin of many people. But when they enter your body through cuts or breaks in your skin, they can cause infection. These infections can be mild or serious.

Bacterial infections are usually treatable with over-the-counter medications and home remedies, but some may require medical treatment. A bacterial skin infection can be contagious, so you should see your healthcare provider if you have symptoms such as redness or swelling of the skin or a fever.

Most bacterial skin infections are caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. However, some bacterial infections are resistant to antibiotics, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Symptoms of bacterial skin infections may include redness, swelling, itching, and pain. In addition, they may cause pus to form or a crust to form around the infection.

Some bacterial skin infections can be life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment. For example, MRSA infections can become septic and spread to the bloodstream and other parts of your body. If you have a bacterial skin infection, your doctor will give you antibiotics to stop the infection.

Other bacterial skin infections can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription oral and topical antibiotics. If the infection is more severe, your doctor may prescribe intravenous antibiotics — a needle in your arm or hand that puts medicine into your vein.

In addition, if you have a fungal skin infection, your doctor may prescribe antifungal creams or sprays. The doctor can also treat your condition with other medications that reduce discomfort.

The types of bacterial and viral infections that affect the skin vary, but most of them have similar symptoms. Your immune system fights off the bacteria or viruses that cause an infection, but you can get sick when your immunity is low or weak.

Your body’s immune system is controlled by a group of cells called lymphocytes. Your immune system makes antibodies to fight off the germs. When your immune system is working well, it keeps your body healthy and strong.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is a disease that occurs when skin cells grow uncontrollably. It can develop in any area of your body, but it most often develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun, such as your face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands.

There are three major types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma – each of which starts in a different type of skin cell. These cells are called squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes, respectively.

The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). It begins in the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis.

It can also develop in the deep layers of your skin, known as your dermis. It’s the most serious of all skin cancers and if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of your body.

Despite this, BCC is usually not fatal and can be treated with surgery. It can cause disfigurement or pain if allowed to spread too far, so early detection is important.

Another type of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). It starts in the deep layers of the skin, called the squamous cells. SCC is more dangerous than BCC but it is also usually not fatal if it is caught early and treated.

SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer. It usually develops in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your nose, face, ears, upper lip, arms and legs, but it can also form on palms or soles of your feet.

In the United States, around 20% of people will have skin cancer at some time in their lives. It can be caused by many factors, including overexposure to the sun, smoking, exposure to toxins such as arsenic or coal, and infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes genital warts.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to keep your skin healthy and to protect it from the sun. This can be done by applying high-factor sunscreens, limiting sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, dressing sensibly and using sunbeds or tanning beds as rarely as possible. It can also be prevented by regularly checking your skin for suspicious changes, such as new spots or freckles that change in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.