A – Z of Skin

Information for Skin, Hair and Nail Conditions

WHAT IS THE A-Z OF SKIN?

The A to Z of Skin information has been developed to help you understand more about common skin conditions and problems, and how these may be treated.

Both common and medical names have been included to help your search, as well as the names of medications and treatments. There are also a number of cosmetic topics which explain the latest treatments for cosmetic concerns related to the skin. Many College dermatologists have contributed to the information on this site.

The process has been overseen by a committee of dermatologists to ensure that the final versions are both accurate and user friendly. Particular thanks go to Dr Pam Brown, Dr Peter Berger, Dr Davin Lim, Dr Michelle Rodrigues, Dr Yin Vun, Conjoint Associate Prof Orli Wargon and Dr Eleni Yiasemides (Chair). The A to Z information is currently under development. Please check back on a regular basis for updates and the addition of new topics.

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  • Abobotulinumtoxin A

    Neurotoxins are a group of substances that are used in dermatology to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). They are also used to reduce wrinkles, most commonly those around the eyes and on the forehead

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  • Acanthosis Nigricans

    Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition in which the skin in the armpits, around the neck, in the groin and under the breasts becomes thickened and has a dark velvety appearance.

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  • Acitretin

    Acitretin is an oral retinoid (derived from vitamin A) that has effects on growth of skin cells and is anti-inflammatory. Acitretin reduces excessive skin cell growth that is a feature of conditions such as psoriasis. It hence, reduces the scale and thickness of the psoriatic lesions.

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  • Acne

    Acne is a very common skin condition that usually begins in adolescence. The hair follicle and its associated oil (sebaceous) gland become blocked and inflamed.

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  • Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN)

    Also known as … Folliculitis keloidalis, folliculitis keloidalis nuchae, dermatitis papillaris capillitii, acne keloidalis, nuchal keloid acne, lichen keloidalis nuchae. What is Acne Keloidalis Nuchae? Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects hair follicles on the back of the neck. AKN is most commonly seen in men of African-Caribbean background but it is also seen in those of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean backgrounds. In rare cases, it may also be seen in Caucasians. Whilst this condition mostly affects men, women may be affected in some cases (the ratio of affected men to women is 20:1).

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  • Acne scars (acne scarring)

    Acne scars are permanent textural changes and indentations that occur on the skin as a result of severe acne. The term “scarring” is not used for the temporary red and brown marks left early after acne has occurred as these marks will almost always improve without treatment.

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  • Acne vulgaris

    Acne is a very common skin condition that usually begins in adolescence. The hair follicle and its associated oil (sebaceous) gland become blocked and inflamed.

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  • Acquired Ichthyosis

    Also known as … Late onset ichthyosis Acquired ichthyosis is a non-hereditary skin condition characterised by dry and rough skin with scaling. It is often described as “fish scale skin” and usually appears for the first time in early adult life. Acquired ichthyosis may be associated with internal diseases or with the use of certain medications. There is no known gender or racial predilection in developing this condition.

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  • Acquired Naevus of Ota-like Macules (ABNOM)

    Also known as ... Hori's Naevus and Naevus Fusco-caeruleus Zygomaticus. Horis naevus presents as benign (harmless) blue-grey to grey-brown patchy and spotty pigmentation on the prominence of the cheeks. The condition usually appears in adulthood. It is most common in middle-aged Asian women. 

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  • Acrochordons

    Skin tags are harmless growths that hang from the surface of your skin. They range in size from 1mm to 1cm and are made of collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin.

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  • Actinic Keratoses

    Also known as … Solar Keratoses or Sunspots. Actinic Keratoses are pre-cancerous lesions that develop on sun-exposed areas of skin. They most commonly appear as rough, dry and scaly patches on the skin.

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  • Acute Febrile Neutrophilic Dermatosis

    Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis also known as Sweet’s syndrome is an uncommon condition named after the English dermatologist, Dr Robert Sweet, who first described it in 1964. Sweet’s syndrome usually presents with fever, a rise in white blood cells, raised red skin rashes and neutrophils (pus cells) infiltrating the upper layer of the skin. Fever and a rise in white blood cells are not always present. Sweet’s syndrome is sometimes initially mistaken for an infection or medication allergy.

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  • Acute Generalised Exanthematous Pustulosis

    Also known as … Pustular Eruption, Toxic Pustuloderma.   Acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) is a rare skin condition triggered predominantly by medications (incidence 3 to 5:1,000,000 per year), mainly in adults. AGEP is rarely fatal.

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  • Adenoma Sebaceum

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  • Adult Acne

    Also known as ... Hormonal Acne, Female Acne, Post-adolescent Acne, Late Onset Acne Adult acne is acne that continues past the ages of 18 to 20 or starts in the early 20s in individuals who may not have had a previous problem with acne. It can occur in men but is more frequently seen in women.

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  • Age warts

    Age warts also known as Seborrhoeic keratoses are benign “wart-like” growths on the skin. Seborrhoeic keratoses affect all racial groups and most commonly appear after the age of 40 years although some people may develop them earlier.

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  • Ageing Skin

    Ageing of the skin is a gradual process that is associated with changes to the appearance, characteristics and function of the skin. A combination of genetic, lifestyle, dietary and environmental factors contribute to skin ageing.

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  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD)

    Also known as ... Contact Dermatitis or Contact Allergy Dermatitis is a very common itchy red skin rash with a variety of types and causes (some types are also called eczema). It is common for a person with dermatitis to have more than one type, either at the same time, or at different times in their lives. Contact dermatitis arises from a chemical in contact with the skin which may cause either irritant or allergic dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis refers to dermatitis caused by a specific immune reaction to a chemical in contact with the skin.

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  • Allergy Patch Testing

    Patch testing is a process to detect allergic contact dermatitis to something a person has contacted at home, leisure or at work. It involves applying patches with test substances in small chambers or discs to a person’s back. The patches are secured with hypoallergenic tapes. No needle pricking is involved. Patch testing does not test for urticarial (hives) or food allergy.

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  • Alopecia Areata

    Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease characterised by non-scarring hair loss in single or multiple areas of the scalp, face or body. It is quite a common condition and about one person in 50 will experience an episode of Alopecia Areata.

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  • Alopecia mucinosa

    Alopecia mucinosa also known as follicular mucinosis, is a rare disorder affecting hair-bearing skin, most commonly on the scalp, head and neck. The name of the condition comes from the accumulation of mucin (jelly-like, semi-liquid material) in the walls of hair follicles.

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  • Alpha-galactosidase A deficiency

    Alpha-galactosidase A deficiency also known as Fabry disease, is a rare genetic condition, belonging to a group of diseases called lysosomal storage diseases.

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  • Amyloidosis

    Also known as ... Cutaneous Amyloidosis Amyloidosis is a group of conditions characterised by the deposition of amyloid protein in organ systems. About 18 different types of amyloid protein have been identified.

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  • Anderson-Fabry disease

    Anderson-Fabry disease also known as Fabry disease, is a rare genetic condition, belonging to a group of diseases called lysosomal storage diseases.

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  • Androgenetic Alopecia (in men)

    Also known as ... Male Pattern Baldness, Male Pattern Hair Loss Androgenetic Alopecia is the term used to describe a common form of baldness in men that is usually inherited.  The condition is slowly progressive and can affect men of any age group after puberty.

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  • Androgenetic alopecia (in women)

    Androgenetic alopecia also known as female pattern hair loss (FPHL), is the term used to describe genetic hair thinning in females. This condition can affect women of any age but is more common after menopause. Around 40% of women show signs of FPHL by age 50.

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  • Anetoderma

    Anetoderma is a localised laxity or looseness in the skin, appearing as an outpouching or herniation of skin that is softer than the normal skin that surrounds it. It occurs due to loss of the elastic tissue in the skin. This condition occurs more often in females than in males, and most commonly affects those between the ages of 15 to 30.

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  • Angioectasias

    Angioectasias also known as telangiectases are superficial blood vessels, which are visible with the naked eye. The majority can be improved with laser treatment or sclerotherapy.

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  • Angiofibroma

    Also known as ... Fibrous Papule of the face, Fibrous Papule of the nose, Adenoma Sebaceum Angiofibromas are benign small skin coloured lesions (usually less than 5mm in size). Under the microscope, they are made up of dilated blood vessels, fibroblasts and collagen (cells and supporting material of the skin). They usually occur alone on the face and are called solitary angiofibroma or fibrous papule of the face.

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  • Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum

    Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum also known as Fabry disease, is a rare genetic condition, belonging to a group of diseases called lysosomal storage diseases.

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  • Angular Cheilitis

    Also known as ... Perlèche or Angular Stomatitis Angular Cheilitis is an inflammation of the corners of the mouth, often bilateral (it often affects both corners of the mouth). The condition presents with redness and irritation.

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  • Anti-wrinkle injections or treatments

    Neurotoxins are a group of substances that are used in dermatology to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). They are also used to reduce wrinkles, most commonly those around the eyes and on the forehead

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  • Aphthous Ulcers

    Also known as ... Apthae, Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS), Recurrent Oral Aphthae, Mikulicz Ulcers, Sutton’s Ulcer, Periadenitis Mucosa Necrotica Recurrens (PMNR), Canker Sores, simple or complex Aphthosis, Non-sexually Acquired Genital Ulceration (NSGU) Aphthous Ulcers are a common problem with a higher prevalence in high socio-economic areas. They occur most commonly in people aged in the twenties and are more common in men. The ulcers occur mainly in the inside of the mouth but can also occur in genital areas.

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  • Asteatosis

    Asteatosis also known as Xerosis is a common condition which occurs when the outer layer of the skin becomes dehydrated. The skin loses its suppleness and small splits and/or cracks appear, followed by flaking or scales.

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  • Athlete’s Foot

    Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that involves the skin on the feet, usually between the toes. The same fungus can also spread to the hands and toenails. The name comes from the fact that the infection is commonly seen in athletes, such as runners, who shower often and have damp shoes and socks.

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  • Atopic dermatitis

    Atopic dermatitis is a common condition that often begins in infancy or early childhood but can also begin in young adults or even later in life. The skin becomes red, swollen and very itchy.

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  • Atopic eczema

    Atopic eczema also known as atopic dermatitis is a common condition that often begins in infancy or early childhood but can also begin in young adults or even later in life. The skin becomes red, swollen and very itchy.

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  • Atopic Eruption of Pregnancy

    Also known as ... Eczema in Pregnancy, Prurigo of Pregnancy, Pruritic Folliculitis of Pregnancy, Papular Dermatoses of Pregnancy The term “Atopic Eruption of Pregnancy” (AEP) groups together a number of conditions with similar features. AEP is the most common of the pregnancy dermatoses (incidence 1:300-3000).  Affected women may experience dry skin, with rough red patches or itchy bumps affecting any part of the body.  They may or may not have experienced eczema before pregnancy. This condition does not harm the baby and often improves after the baby is born.

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  • Atopic winter feet

    Atopic winter feet also known as juvenile plantar dermatosis, is a skin condition where there is cracking and peeling of the weight-bearing areas of the soles.

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  • Atypical Mycobacterial Infection (ATM)

    The most common skin infections seen in Australia are caused by members of a subgroup of mycobacteria called Atypical Mycobacteria, commonly found in soil, water and other animals.

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  • Axillary Hyperhidrosis

    Also known as … sweaty underarms Axillary Hyperhidrosis, or excessive underarm sweating, is a common condition affecting up to 3% of the population. Axillary hyperhidrosis usually starts in childhood or adolescence but some people first experience it as adults. The impact of this condition is often underestimated – it can affect work and social situations and may cause significant psychological distress. Fortunately, effective treatments are readily available.

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  • Azathioprine

    Azathioprine is an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medication. It can be used to treat inflammatory conditions such as severe eczema. Azathioprine is a “steroid-sparing agent” which means it is used instead of corticosteroid tablets to avoid their long-term side effects.

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