Skin Conditions

We have detailed some information on common skin conditions and problems that are regularly seen and treated at Sydney Skin. Please contact us on 9557 8144 to make an appointment to discuss your condition further with one of our dermatologists.


The information collated below has been overseen by a committee of dermatologists to ensure accuracy.



This is a very common skin condition that affects teenagers and adults alike. It is caused by an overproduction of skin sebum (oil) from sebaceous glands, that then blocks pores, resulting in the development of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and nodulocystic lesions.

Mild acne can be treated with over the counter products and topical agents. More severe acne will need treatment with oral medications such as anti-inflammatory antibiotics, the oral contraceptive pill and roaccutane.


Actinic Keratosis

This is a pre-cancerous growth that may occur because of repeated sun damage.



This is a hypersensitive reaction by the immune system to a substance, food, object or chemical, which causes a skin rash and other symptoms. Skin prick testing may be useful in determining what allergies you might have.



A skin disease that results in a loss of hair.


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common type of skin cancer in Australia. Depending on the subtype of BCC, treatment may involve the use of a cream or surgery


Benign means mild, harmless, having good prognosis and not malignant.


Bowen’s disease

This is an early form of skin cancer that appears as a persistent, slow-growing, red and scaly skin patch.



A bulla is a large fluid-filled blister greater than 1 cm in diameter. It may be a single compartment or multiloculated. The adjective is ‘bullous’.



Also known as melisma, this is a mask-like tan or dark skin discoloration, usually affecting pregnant women or those on the oral contraceptive pill.


Cradle cap

A skin condition sometimes seen in babies caused by excessive production of sebum, characterized by areas of yellowish or brownish scale on the top of the head.



Desquamation is the term given to skin coming off in scales or peeling.


Dry skin

This develops when the skin becomes stripped of its natural oils, leading to a tight and uncomfortable sensation, with the development of cracks and flaking of the skin.



This is a very common skin condition, which is caused by a variety of reasons, resulting in dry, red, itchy skin, which may crack and bleed.


Epermoid cyst

An epidermoid cyst is a benign cyst usually found on the skin.



A widespread rash that is usually accompanied by systemic symptoms such as fever and headache. It is often caused by infection or drug.



Refers to peeling skin.



A thin crack within epidermis or epithelium, and is due to excessive dryness.


Grovers disease

Is a condition that appears suddenly as itchy red spots on the trunk, most often in older men. It is generally seen in sun damaged skin.


Haemangioma of Infancy

A benign and usually self-involuting benign tumour (swelling or growth) of the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. It is characterised by increased number of normal or abnormal vessels filled with blood. It usually appears in the first four weeks of life and grows most rapidly over the first six to nine months.


Heat rash

Occurs when the skin’s sweat glands are blocked and the sweat produced cannot get to the surface of the skin to evaporate. This causes inflammation that results in a rash.



Hives, otherwise called urticaria, is an outbreak of swollen, itchy pale red bumps or plaques on the skin that appear suddenly and usually self resolves within a few hours to days. The lesions migrate around the body.



A condition characterized by abnormally increased sweating, in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature.



A highly contagious skin condition. It usually occurs on the face, neck, and hands of young children and infants. Impetigo is most commonly caused by two bacteria — streptococcus pyogenes and staphylococcus aureus.



This is a physical reaction by the body’s immune system which causes redness, heat, pain and swelling in a particular area of the body, e.g. the skin.


Juvenile xanthogranuloma

This is a benign red-yellowish lesion seen on the face, scalp and upper torso. They are found in babies and toddlers  and will self resolve.



This is a structural protein found within the nails, hair and skin.


Lentigo maligna

Also known as “Hutchinson’s melanotic freckle” is a slow growing melanoma in situ, that is commonly seen in the elderly, on the face.



A lesion is any single area of altered skin. It may be solitary or multiple.


Lichen planus

An inflammatory condition of unknown cause, that commonly presents as itchy purple flat- topped papules. The mouth and genitalia may also be involved.



Maceration describes moist peeling skin.



The full name is malignant melanoma: a potentially fatal form of skin cancer caused by cancerous melanocytic cells, which can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.



Also called “sweat rash”, “heat rash” or “prickly heat” is a skin disease marked by a small and itchy rash. Miliaria is a common ailment in hot and humid conditions, such as in the tropics and during the summer season.



A small flat or raised round spot on the skin which may vary in colour from pink through to dark brown. Some people have more moles than others. They are for the large part harmless although a small percentage of these can become cancerous.


Molloscum contagiosum

A skin infection caused by a virus (a pox virus) that, is spread through warm water, such as having baths and swimming lessons in a warm heated pool. Small pearly like umbilicated lesions are seen.


Nodular melanoma 

A less common but more serious form of melanoma. If a red or black nodule is growing rapidly it needs to be looked at by your doctor or dermatologist immediately.


Oral lichen planus

Lichen planus affecting the mouth presents as white lacy like areas usually on the tongue and the inside of the cheeks. It can be painful and uncomfortable, making it difficult to eat spicy and sour foods.





This is a chronic and genetic condition that causes large red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. These patches have a silvery covering and develop on the elbows, knees, scalp and chest of the sufferer. The nails and joints can also be involved.




This is a medical term used to describe a change in the colour, texture or appearance of the skin. A rash can sometimes be accompanied by itching and other symptoms, e.g. fever and chills.



Ringworm is otherwise called tinea, and is a contagious skin condition occurring in usually annular or ring like patches. It is, caused by a fungal (dermatophyte infection).



A long term skin condition characterized by facial redness, small and superficial dilated blood vessels on facial skin, papules, pustules, and swelling. There can also be an associated grittiness of the eyes.



Scabies a skin infestation caused by mites leading to red, itching bumps or blisters on the skin.


Sebaceous cyst

A swelling in the skin arising from a sebaceous gland, typically filled with yellowish sebum.


Skin cancer

Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

There are three main types of skin cancer:


Skin Tags

Skin tags are small flesh-coloured or brown growths that hang off the skin. They’re very common and harmless. They can vary in size from a few millimetres up to 5cm wide.


Solar keratosis

These lesions are otherwise called actinic keratosis. They are small scaly skin growths which are pre-cancerous and caused by prolonged sun exposure.




This is also known as hives: a type of skin condition characterised by small itchy red bumps on the skin that are migratory and self resolve after hours to a few days.



Vitiligo is a chronic auto-immune skin condition characterized by portions of the skin losing pigmentation.



These are small hard, scaly lesions, caused by a viral infection. They are benign growths, which will eventually self resolve.



Dry skin commonly seen in those with atopic eczema or the elderly.



Cholesterol deposits around the eyelids, reflecting elevated blood lipids in half of cases.


Yeast infection

The most commonly seen yeast infection of the skin is called pityriasis versicolour. This causes a red brown or whitish scaly rash on the trunk and back. Usually, healthy young adults are affected. Topical anti-fungal agents will help control this condition.