Common Types of Skin Problems

Since skin is the largest organ of the human body, a problem with the skin can affect the whole body. There are a number of potential problems that the skin can develop, all varying in severity, but here are some of the most common:


Acne is one of the most common skin problems, but fortunately it is also one of the least serious. Most people suffer from acne to some degree at one point or another in their lives, usually during the teen years when hormones may be going haywire. It most commonly appears on the face, neck or back, but may also occur anywhere on the body. Both heredity and hormones play a role in developing acne, and research shows that 80% of all people experience it during their lifetimes, with 60% of those people dealing with acne well into adulthood. Acne is usually harmless, but may cause irritation, inflammation, or even scarring in some people.


Eczema is often used as a catch-all term for a variety of different skin ailments, but true eczema comes in one of three types. The first type, atopic dermatitis, is the most common and is often seen in children. 10 to 20 percent of children develop this condition while only 3 percent of adults do. It is a long-term genetic disease which causes itchy rashes to form in the crux of elbows and the back of knees and other joints. Allergic contact dermatitis is the second type, which typically occurs during adulthood as your skin’s natural response to irritating agents such as cosmetics, fragrances, metals, or other things the skin may be sensitive to. It usually clears once the irritant has been removed. The third type is nummular dermatitis, which exhibits in red, dry, and flaky patches of skin that are very itchy.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This condition is distinct from other types of dermatitis and causes waxy or oily patches to develop, most commonly on the scalp. In infants, it is referred to as cradle cap. This condition affects roughly 5 percent of all people.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and the most life-threatening of common skin problems. Annually, one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer worldwide, and as many as 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with it at some point during their lives. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer, but 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, which is the third most common form.


Psoriasis is a chronic genetic disease that has the potential to become disfiguring. It is characterized by a buildup of excess skin tissue that may look thick or red and be covered with scales that are silvery in appearance. It typically appears first on the elbows and knees, but it may also spread to other areas of the body.