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The largest human organ, skin is a defensive structure that keeps viruses and bacteria out and moisture in. It also regulates body temperature, produces vitamin D from sunlight, and alerts us to pain, heat, and cold.1

Skin conditions occur when something disrupts, injures, or irritates the skin. Skin conditions are also referred to as dermatologic disorders or cutaneous disorders.1


What are skin conditions?

Skin conditions include various disorders that can result in itching, redness, burning, or swelling.1
Skin conditions may arise when something in the environment inflames, clogs, or irritates the skin, resulting in rashes, hives, or bumps.1 Skin conditions can also be a product of age,2 acquired or inherited genetic mutations,3 stress,4 issues with the immune system attacking healthy cells or tissue,5 and unknown or unclear causes.6,7,8

At any point, as many as one in every three people in the U.S. may have a skin condition.9


How do skin conditions affect the body?

Visible disruptions of the skin can point to a skin condition. This is the case with acne, which is common in adolescents and affects some adults. Some skin conditions, such as changes in skin color, can accompany other health problems, like liver or kidney disease.10

With so many different skin conditions, symptoms may vary. Some common symptoms include:

  • Itching, redness, swelling, or burning1
  • Rashes or hives, which are bumps whose color can be red or fleshy and may appear and then disappear soon after1,11
  • Nodules, whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples12
  • Dry or red skin that emerges in patches and may produce clear fluid6
  • Dry or itchy skin on the hands, feet, inside the elbows, on the backs of the knees, or on the face7
  • Moles that change in texture, shape, size, or color13
  • Raised areas of skin that can appear thick or scaly14
  • Redness in the face that may also have a burning or tingling sensation15
  • Pale patches of skin that typically appear on the face, arms, hands, or feet16

Because skin conditions can alter a person’s appearance, some may also result in negative social and psychological effects.17

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