Skin Problems

Skin problems, ranging from mild acne to skin cancer, affect people of all ages. Learn more about skin problems at HowStuffWorks.

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When you were a kid, you collected freckles like coins in a piggy bank -- happily. But as an adult, you'd rather not bank these brown spots. How can you make them disappear?

By Brian Boone

There's a fungus among us, and it's making us miserable. Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, is an infection caused by a tricky fungus. Can it invade your skin anywhere above your toes?

By Christine Venzon

Those blue, twisted varicose veins that pop up on your legs occur when the blood vessel valves weaken and blood pools in the vein. Can this cause blood clots, and if so, are they dangerous?

By Laurie L. Dove


It's true that exercising to boost circulation may help prevent varicose veins, those blue, twisted blood vessels that pop up in your legs. But can exercise help -- or hurt -- if you already have them?

By Thorin Klosowski

Often associated with extreme locales, frostbite can affect you even in everyday cold conditions. Why does this condition freeze parts of your body, and how can it help save your life?

By Laurie L. Dove

It cools. It stimulates. It reduces coughing. It disinfects. But can camphor, an oil obtained from trees or synthesized from turpentine, treat skin problems?

By Lawrence Schumacher

Everyone loves hugging and snuggling up to their pets, but did you know that your pet can bring home a host of diseases once it comes in from the yard? If you want to keep from catching a nasty rash from your furry friend, read on.

By Stephanie Watson


Getting infected with a skin fungus may be unsightly or embarrassing, but it's actually quite common. What are the most prevalent types of skin fungus, and how do you know if you have one?

By Jane McGrath

Recognizing a flare-up isn't as easy as it seems. Some people who contract herpes never experience any noticeable symptoms at all. So how do you keep from spreading the virus to your partner?

By Julia Layton

Do herbal remedies really work? The jury's still out on most, but a few have proven effective. Aloe vera is a proven example of a botanical treatment that works on most -- but not all -- skin problems.

By Josh Clark

If you notice flaky patches on your baby's scalp, don't be alarmed -- it's probably just cradle cap. What is this skin condition, and how should you handle it?

By Katie Lambert & Jane McGrath


We've learned a lot about sexually transmitted diseases, but we're still not sure how they're spread. Can you really get herpes from water fountains and toilet seats? Well ... it's complicated.

By Josh Clark

Feeling blue might be a temporary thing for most people, but for those with argyria -- a condition that turns your skin grayish-blue -- it's a way of life. How can drinking colloidal silver cause this?

By Jonathan Strickland

Once you have broken capillaries -- those tiny, damaged veins that create red, bruise-like spots on the face -- they're usually there for life. How can you keep from getting them in the first place?

By Jonathan Strickland

Though skin parasites such as lice, bedbugs and scabies affect numerous people every year, most try to keep their infestations private out of fear of appearing unhygienic. But does being clean really have anything to do with it?

By Shanna Freeman


Acne strikes us all once in a while -- even babies. Our instinctual response to pick at it and cancel our social engagements doesn't help in the least, but fortunately, there are some treatments available that can.

By Tom Scheve

These pictures showcase some common -- and not so common -- skin conditions. Learn how to tell the difference between different rashes and bumps.

High heels make your legs look slimmer and longer, which is why many women choose to wear them. But they don't look nearly as classy when the person wearing them is limping.

By Debra Ronca

When you pinch your skin and release, it doesn't stay pinched for very long -- and that's a good thing, or visits to grandma's house would be pretty hard on the cheeks. But what about when your skin stretches more than it's used to?

By Tom Scheve


Those extra pigmented parts of you may make you uncomfortable or they may be great conversation starters. But what should you do if you want yours removed? And are they likely to pose a threat to your health? It depends.

By Nathan Chandler

Bruises -- badge of honor or lasting evidence that you're a klutz? And either way, what's going on underneath the skin when it turns black and blue?

By Sarah Winkler

All kinds of things can irritate your skin. It could be a chemical, a surface or a substance to which you're allergic. What irritants should you avoid, and how do you treat these itchy problems?

By Stephanie Crawford

Sweat stains are already a pain to get out of shirts, but imagine how difficult it would be if your perspiration came in rainbow colors. What brings on a case of red (or blue or black) sweat?

By Josh Clark


Tretinoin is a drug derived from vitamin A that has beneficial effects and some serious side effects, too. What skin conditions can it treat and who should avoid taking tretinoin altogether?

By Ed Grabianowski

When you're desperate to get rid of a pimple, you're willing to try just about anything to make it go away. You might be surprised by some methods of blemish elimination -- especially since some of them haven't been proven to work at all.

By Tom Scheve