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Skin Conditions

What are skin conditions?

Skin conditions or skin disorders are any problems affecting the health or appearance of the skin – be it irritation, inflammation, itching, redness or swelling. There is tremendous variation in the symptoms and severity of skin conditions between people – they can be temporary or permanent, painless or painful, for instance.

Skin conditions can result from allergens, viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites, or even genetics. Allergic skin conditions are triggered by allergens - common examples being certain foods, soaps, materials or animal furs. Other conditions, such as psoriasis or atopic eczema, may be made worse by certain items, but we do not yet know why they develop in the first place.

What are the common signs?

Any change in the colour, texture of appearance of the skin is, more often than not, a sign of a skin condition. Common examples include:

  • Itching
  • Flaking
  • Blistering
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Growths

If any of these symptoms appear, without explanation, and persist for more than a few days, speak to a doctor.

Which are contagious?

All of the following conditions are contagious, the only difference between them is that some happen to be more common in adults than children, and vice versa:

  • Shingles
  • Herpes
  • Yeast infection
  • Thrush
  • Scabies
  • Ringworm
  • Impetigo

How common are skin conditions?

According to the British Skin Foundation, 60% of British people currently suffer, or have suffered, from skin conditions at some point in their lifetime. They add that 70% of British people have visible skin conditions or scars that affect their confidence.

The Primary Care Dermatology Society go further still, citing one study revealing skin conditions to be the second most common ailment in adults, and another suggesting that 54% of people reported a skin problem in the 12 months preceding the study.

One final study referenced by the Primary Care Dermatology Society predicts that although over half of the population may have a skin condition, only 22.5% of those conditions would be considered worthy of medical care.

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