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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  • Sand-worm eruption

    Sand-worm eruption also known as cutaneous larva migrans, is an itchy localised skin infestation caused by the penetration and migration of animal hookworm larvae through the skin.

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  • Sarcoidosis

    Sarcoidosis most commonly affects the lungs but can also affect the skin and other organs. It is characterised by the formation of “granulomas” in affected areas. These are organised collections of histiocytes (a special type of inflammatory cell).

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  • Scabby mouth

    Scabby mouth also known as Orf is an infection caused by the parapox virus which primarily infects sheep and goats. The condition is most commonly seen in animal handlers, butchers and farm workers. Anyone can become infected by touching the affected animals or by contact with infected pastures. Orf occurs worldwide.

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  • Scabies

    Scabies is a condition that occurs as a result of infestation with a tiny mite (parasite) called Sarcoptes scabei var hominis.

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  • Scar treatments

    Scars can result from injury to the skin through disease and trauma. Common examples include burn scars, acne scars and surgical scars. Individual scars can be further classified as raised (hypertrophic or keloid), depressed or atrophic. Inflammation to the skin can also result in skin colour changes including red scars and scars that are darker than the surrounding skin known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

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  • School sores

    School sores also known as impetigo, is an infection of the skin that can be passed from person to person. It can affect skin that is intact (known as primary impetigo) or skin that is already compromised with cuts, abrasions, insect bites or other skin conditions such as eczema (known as secondary impetigo or impetiginisation)

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  • Sebaceous cyst

    A sebaceous cyst also known as an epidermoid cyst, is a benign walled-off cavity filled with keratin which originates from the hair follicle unit.

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  • Sebaceous hyperplasia

    Sebaceous hyperplasia is a benign growth of the sebaceous (oil) glands. It most commonly occurs in middle-aged or older people. It presents as single or multiple yellowish white bumps on the forehead, cheeks and nose. These bumps can occasionally occur on other areas such as the areola (near the nipples), chest, scrotum and penis.

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  • Seborrhoeic Dermatitis and Cradle Cap

    Seborrhoeic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that usually occurs on areas of the body such as the head and trunk where there are a greater number of oil glands.

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  • Seborrhoeic Keratoses

    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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  • Senile warts

    Senile warts also known 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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  • Shave bumps

    Shave bumps also known as Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a chronic inflammation of hair-bearing areas of the skin caused by ingrown hairs that develop after shaving or plucking.

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  • Sheep pox

    Sheep pox also known as Orf is an infection caused by the parapox virus which primarily infects sheep and goats. The condition is most commonly seen in animal handlers, butchers and farm workers. Anyone can become infected by touching the affected animals or by contact with infected pastures. Orf occurs worldwide.

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  • Shingles

    Shingles is a localised, blistering, red and painful rash. It can involve the chest, neck, abdomen, face or ear canal and central nervous system.

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  • Skin Cancer – An Overview

    Australia reports the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia each year.

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  • Skin irritation

    Dermatitis is a very common, itchy red skin rash with a variety of types and causes (some types are also called eczema).

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  • Skin structure and function

    The skin is an organ that provides the outer protective wrapping for all the body parts. It is the largest organ in the body. It is a waterproof, airtight and flexible barrier between the environment and internal organs. It keeps the internal environment of our body stable. The skin is divided into 3 layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous layer.

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  • Skin tags

    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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  • Slapped cheek disease

    Slapped cheek disease also known as erythema infectiosum, is usually a harmless childhood viral infection characterised by a classic slapped-cheek appearance or a lacy patterned rash. The infection can be associated with fevers.

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  • Solar keratoses

    Solar keratoses also known as 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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  • Speckled lentiginous naevus

    Speckled lentiginous naevus also known as naevus spilus, is a type of birthmark that consists of a flat brown background patch containing darker brown spots or tiny bumps.

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  • Spider angioma

    Spider angioma also known as spider naevi are prominent blood vessels affecting up to 10% of the population. They usually occur as single or multiple blood vessels on the face, chest and neck areas.

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  • Spider Naevi

    Spider naevi are prominent blood vessels affecting up to 10% of the population. They usually occur as single or multiple blood vessels on the face, chest and neck areas.

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  • Spider Naevus

    Spider Naevus also known as spider naevi are prominent blood vessels affecting up to 10% of the population. They usually occur as single or multiple blood vessels on the face, chest and neck areas.

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  • Spider veins

    Spider veins 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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  • Spironolactone

    Spironolactone is an anti-male hormone (anti-androgen) medication. It blocks the male hormone receptor and reduces the level of the male hormones, testosterone and DHEAS. Spironolactone has a diuretic (“fluid tablet”) effect and increases urine production. This medication lowers blood pressure and reduces fluid retention seen in conditions such as heart failure and chronic liver disease. Spironolactone can be used to treat low potassium levels (hypokalaemia).

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  • Spots

    Spots also known as 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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  • Squamous cell carcinoma

    Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common forms of skin cancer, with only basal cell carcinoma (BCC) occurring more frequently. SCC occurs mainly in Caucasians. It starts from cells in the outermost layer of the skin which start to overgrow and potentially spread. SCC can also start from cells on the lips, tongue, lining of the mouth and genitals.

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  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Situ

    Squamous cell carcinoma in situ also known as Bowen’s disease is a common superficial cancer of the skin. It appears most commonly as a slow-growing, persistent red scaly patch on areas of skin exposed to the sun.

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  • Steroid induced rosacea

    Steroid induced rosacea also known as perioral dermatitis is a common inflammatory rash that occurs around the mouth area. Other affected areas include around the nose, chin and eyes.

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  • Steroids

    Steroids are drugs modelled on the natural steroid hormone cortisol that is produced in our bodies. Steroids are sometimes called “cortisone” and their medical name is “glucocorticosteroids”.

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  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)

    Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are extremely rare, sudden onset, often life-threatening reactions to medications occurring in the skin and the linings of the mouth, the gastrointestinal tract, genitalia and eyes. The affected person has a fever and there may be enlargement of the lymph nodes and inflammation in the liver and other organ systems.

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  • Strawberry birthmarks

    Strawberry birthmarks also known as Infantile haemangiomas are the most common benign growths of infancy and childhood, affecting 2.6­ to 4% of babies by 6 weeks of age.

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  • Stretch Marks

    Stretch marks are extremely common, affecting over 70% of the population. There are two types of stretch marks – striae rubra (red or new stretch marks) and striae alba (white or old stretch marks). New stretch marks are more responsive to treatment than old stretch marks.

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  • Striae

    Stretch marks are extremely common, affecting over 70% of the population. There are two types of stretch marks - striae rubra (red or new stretch marks) and striae alba (white or old stretch marks).

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  • Sun Protection & Sunscreens

    Sun protection is aimed at reducing excessive exposure to sunlight.  Effective sun protection allows for healthy growth and development as well as enjoyment of outdoor activities but, at the same time, aims to reduce risk of skin diseases which are related to overexposure to sunlight.

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  • Sun spots

    Sun spots also known as 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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  • Superficial gyrate erythema

    Superficial gyrate erythema also known as erythema annulare centrifugum (EAC), refers to an annular (ring-shaped) erythematous (red) skin eruption that tends to spread outwards whilst clearing centrally.

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  • Sutton’s ulcer

    Sutton’s ulcer also known as Aphthous ulcers, are a common problem with a higher prevalence in high socio-economic areas.

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  • Sweat rash

    Sweat rash also known as miliaria, is a group of skin conditions that arise from blockage of sweat ducts.

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  • Sweaty feet

    Sweaty feet also known as plantar hyperhidrosis, is a common condition affecting 1-3% of the population. The condition usually starts in childhood or adolescence.  It can cause significant physical limitations and predispose to bacterial and fungal infections and friction blisters.

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  • Sweaty hands

    Sweaty hands also known as palmar hyperhidrosis, or excessive hand sweating, is a common condition affecting 1-3% of the population. It usually starts in childhood or adolescence. Sweaty hands can significantly affect a person socially and emotionally.

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  • Sweaty sock dermatitis

    Sweaty sock dermatitis 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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  • Sweaty underarms

    Sweaty underarms also known as 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.

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  • Sweet’s Syndrome

    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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  • Syringoma

    Syringomas are benign skin tumours most commonly seen around the eyelid area. Uncommonly they can occur around the genital area. Eruptive forms of syringomas may occur on the chest, neck and abdominal areas. Syringomas are relatively easy to treat but they often recur after treatment.

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  • Systemic steroids

    Systemic steroids have strong anti-inflammatory effects so they can be used in many injuries or conditions that cause inflammation.

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