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Guide to Skin Conditions

If you suffer from a skin condition, the chances are you a very conscious of it, particularly if it is in an area that people can easily see. There’s no need to suffer for long, as most can be dealt with easily, which means you don’t have to be embarrassed about your appearance or endlessly trying to cover up.

In order to treat your skin condition, the first thing you need to do is establish what you have. Although your GP will be able to do this, it may help to have an understanding of the different common afflictions yourself.

  • Impetigo
  • For parents, impetigo is an important skin condition to be aware of, as it is common in babies and young children, although it can affect anyone. It is an infection that arises in the hands and face or around the nappy area on a baby, having the appearance of small blisters, which burst to leave yellow itchy patches with red and inflamed skin underneath.

    Impetigo arises when bacteria gets into the skin after it has been cut, scratched or damaged thanks to an existing condition, such as eczema. It is also quite contagious and can easily be spread if the person affected has direct contact with someone or shares the same bed or towels.

  • Psoriasis
  • Psoriasis is a relatively common skin condition, affecting around one in fifty people in the UK and typically manifesting between the ages of 11 and 45. What’s more, it runs in the family, so if your close relatives suffer from it, then you may be susceptible. Unlike impetigo, however, it is not contagious and you, therefore, do not have to avoid people if you have it.

    It appears as flat, red patches of skin that sometimes look shiny. They can feel itchy or give a burning sensation. Although psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, it can usually be found around the knees, elbows and lower back. The genetic condition occurs when antibodies mistakenly attack skin cells, causing them to reproduce and build-up.

  • Ringworm
  • Another skin condition common among young children, ringworm is not quite as bad as it sounds. You won’t find your little one’s skin harbouring worms, but rather a number of fungal infections that grow in a patch or circle up to a few centimetres across. The condition typically appears on the head, body, groin, feet, nails or beard. It can appear red or silvery and may blister and ooze.

    Ringworm occurs when fungal spores get into the skin due to a break in its surface, and it can be passed on through direct contact or sharing of objects. However, it can additionally be transmitted from pets and even from the floors of showers or swimming pools.

    Read about ringworm in details here.

  • Vitiligo
  • Vitiligo is relatively common, affecting around one per cent of the British population, typically arising in adults over the age of 20, but it can occur at any age. It looks like pale, white patches on the skin. Although it is more noticeable on places that are exposed to sunlight and, therefore, tan, such as the face and hands, it can appear anywhere.

    It is caused when the body lacks melanocyte cells, which give the skin colour. You may get a deficiency in these because the immune system is malfunctioning and attacking the cells or if the skin is severely sunburned or comes into contact with particular chemicals.