There are hundreds of skin conditions that affect humans. The most common skin conditions can have some symptoms that are similar, so it is important to understand the differences between them.

People should work closely with a dermatologist to diagnose and treat any skin condition to ensure that their lifestyle is not affected. Below are the most common skin diseases separated by type.

A number of skin conditions last a long time. Some may start in childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, the condition will not always be present but will flare up at certain times.

Seborrheic dermatitis

In babies, this is commonly known as cradle cap. Greasy and scaly patches of skin form on the baby’s skin, most commonly on the scalp. It is harmless and usually goes away on its own.

In adults, seborrheic dermatitis may appear anywhere, and is prone to flare up and disappear for the rest of a person’s life. The affected skin may be reddish, swollen, and appear greasy. A white-to-yellow crust may appear on the surface of the skin as well. Many treatments help to bring relief from symptoms.


Common growths on the skin that appear when the skin cells bunch up with tissue surrounding them.

Most people have moles and may develop new ones from time to time.

Moles have no symptoms, but should be regularly checked if they grow larger, appear abnormal, or change in color.


Abnormal moles may lead to melanoma, a serious and life-threatening skin cancer.

If moles have asymmetrical shapes, ragged edges, uneven colors, or change in size, they should be checked.

Patients with melanoma may have surgery, or undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments.


The skin condition rosacea is most commonly associated with redness. However, there are four subtypes that cause other symptoms as well:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea causes the typical redness, visible blood vessels, and flushing.
  • Ocular rosacea can cause red and irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, and symptoms that look like a stye.
  • Papulopustular rosacea causes redness, swelling, and is accompanied by breakouts that look like acne.
  • Phymatous rosacea causes the skin to thicken and have a bumpy texture.

There is no known cure for rosacea, but symptoms can and should be treated to keep the condition in check.


Lupus is a complex disorder that varies from person to person. The disease attacks the immune system, causing inflammation and pain.

While lupus can affect any part of the body, symptoms on the skin include red patches or ring shapes on the skin, sunburn-like rashes on the nose and cheeks, or circular rashes that don’t itch or hurt. These may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, fever, fatigue, and swollen, stiff, or painful joints.

Treatment includes various strength medications designed to help minimize the damage caused by lupus.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. Symptoms typically include patches of abnormal skin. The affected skin is typically red, scaly, and very itchy. The affected areas vary in size and severity. There are five main types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis causes thick red patches of skin.
  • Pustular psoriasis causes pustules surrounded by red skin.
  • Erythodermic psoriasis causes patches of skin that look like severe burns covering large portions of the body.
  • Inverse psoriasis causes a shiny red rash in the folds of the skin.
  • Guttate psoriasis causes small red spots on the scalp, face, torso, and limbs.


The condition is commonly found in infants and young children, though it continues into adulthood as well. Symptoms include rashes on the face, scalp, behind the elbows, or on the neck, wrists, ankles, or legs.

The rashes are very itchy and may become bumpy, change color, or thicken. In adults, the rashes may cover more of the body, causing very dry skin that is permanently itchy.

There are a few different types of eczema, each causing their own symptoms. There is no known cure for eczema. It either clears up on its own or the symptoms are treated with medications and creams.


Vitiligo is the loss of pigmentation in the skin. White patches of skin are the main symptom of vitiligo, and more commonly appear in areas where the skin is exposed to sunlight. People with vitiligo often lose their hair color early as well.

For some people, the symptoms are in one area, while others find that it spreads slowly over many years. There is no known cure for vitiligo. There are some medical and surgical treatment options, though they are not right for everyone.

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Acne is a widespread temporary skin condition that may be treated with creams or medication.


One of the most widespread skin conditions, acne comes in many forms.

  • Pustules are the common red pimples that have pus at their tips.
  • Papules are the raised red bumps caused by infected hair follicles.
  • Nodules are the painful lumps that lie underneath the surface of the skin.
  • Cysts are the typically larger painful, pus-filled infections that lie beneath the skin.

All types of acne are commonly treated with creams, and sometimes medication is necessary.


Hives are itchy welts that are raised up from the normal layer of the skin. They may be caused by an allergic reaction in the body or outside factors, such as stress, illnesses, or even tight clothes. Hives are treated with antihistamines and preventive practices.


The common raised bumps on the skin known as warts are actually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are contagious, and can appear on any part of the body.

Common warts typically grow on the hands, feet, and joints, though they can appear anywhere. They often go away on their own, though unsightly warts can be treated with liquid nitrogen or medicated creams.

Fungal nail infection

A condition in which fungus lives near, under, and around the nails, usually in the feet. The fungal buildup causes the nail’s edges to crumble away, producing white-yellowish scaling and flaking on the surface of the nails.

Treatment is usually an anti-fungal cream or other fungal treatment.

Cold sore

A cold sore is a red, fluid-filled blister usually found near the mouth. The sore itself is painful or delicate. Other symptoms include itching or burning sensations on the site before the sore is visible.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and there is no known cure for the virus. The sores may return and last for up to 2 weeks. Medical treatment includes creams and medications.


The overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus on the body is called Candidiasis. This causes irritated patches of skin, usually found in the armpits, groin, or under folds of skin such, as the knee.

Candidiasis can usually be prevented with home remedies, proper hygiene, and avoiding the overuse of antibiotics.

Athlete’s foot

A rash caused by a fungus that rapidly multiplies in warm, damp conditions, such as athletic shoes. Symptoms include dry, itchy, red skin. The skin between the toes or under the foot may be soggy, white, cracked, or scaly. It often itches and causes soreness.

The problem usually arises quickly. Athlete’s foot is treated with medicated ointments and good foot hygiene


When Staphylococcus aureus bacteria make their way into the hair follicles and cause an infection, a carbuncle is produced. This is a red, irritated lump underneath the skin.

Carbuncles can be nearly any size, and the lump quickly fills with pus and becomes swollen. Other symptoms include tiredness, itching on the site of the lump, and fever.

Carbuncles are treated with antibiotics, drainage, and antibacterial washes. Carbuncles usually respond well to medical treatment.


A bacterial infection in the deeper layers of the skin, which develops quickly and can spread rapidly throughout the body.

An area of the skin may become red and swollen, and feel hot, painful, and tender to the touch. It is most common in the legs, but can occur everywhere.

Severe infections may be life-threatening. Most cases are treated with antibiotics.

There is a wide range of skin diseases and they can affect people of all ages.

In children

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Measles mostly affects children and pregnant women, and symptoms may be a brown or red rash.


Hemangiomas are most common on the neck, head, or face of infants. They begin as small red scratches or bumps which eventually begin to bulge out and turn into large growths.

Although hemangiomas are easily discovered on the skin, they can actually be found on various organs of the body, and are commonly discovered on the liver. They usually disappear on their own by the age of 10, though some may need removal.


A highly infectious airborne viral illness. Children and pregnant women are most vulnerable to the illness, but it can happen to anyone.

One symptom of measles is a red or brown rash that spreads down the body. Other symptoms include fever, runny eyes and nose, cough, and small reddish spots inside the mouth. Measles tend to go away after 7-10 days, but symptoms may still be treated.


A common and contagious infection of the skin. It is one of the most common skin infections in young children and usually causes itchy sores and blisters to appear around the mouth and face.

These sores then burst and leave a crust. This crust then dries out and leaves a red mark that fades without scarring.

The whole process usually takes 3 weeks without treatment. With treatment, the process is reduced to 1 week.


Dermatomyositis is a rare inflammatory skin disease most common in children ages 5 to 15 and adults between 40 and 60.

Common symptoms include a red-to-purple rash on the chest, face, nails, or elbows, as well as muscle weakness and swelling. There is no cure for dermatomyositis, but treatments aim to manage symptoms.

In adults

Shingles (herpes zoster)

Shingles is caused by the return of the infection that causes chickenpox. It most commonly occurs in the elderly, but can affect anyone.

It starts with a painful sensation in the body and is followed within 2 days by a reddish, blistering rash that is widespread on the surrounding skin.

Antiviral treatment within the first 48 hours after the eruption can help limit the pain. Vaccines are said to help prevent shingles.

Seborrheic keratoses

These are harmless bumps that commonly show up on people as they age. They may appear as black, dark brown, or sometimes yellow bumpy patches of skin that can look like they are stuck to the skin.

Seborrheic keratoses are sometimes confused with skin cancers, though they themselves have no medical significance. Any spots that doctors are uncertain about should be tested.

Age spots

Age spots or liver spots are flat spots on the skin with more pigment than the surrounding area. This may be caused by prolonged exposure to the sun over the years.

These spots cause no symptoms themselves, but most patients do not like their appearance. They can be treated in a variety of ways, but medical treatment is not necessary.

When facing any skin disorder, it is important for people not to do so alone. Teaming up with a doctor or dermatologist to diagnose any skin disease is the only way to be sure it is correctly diagnosed and dealt with.