7 Common Skin Conditions and Treatments

Common Skin Conditions And Treatments

Skin conditions can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even painful, but the good news is that many common skin issues can be effectively managed with the right treatment. Millions of people in the UK deal with these issues every day, so remember—you’re not alone in your skin struggles.

Whether you’re dealing with a persistent itch, an unsightly rash, or a frustrating breakout, understanding your condition is the first step towards healthier skin.

Causes of Skin Problems

Skin conditions can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Environmental triggers: Allergens, irritants, and climate conditions can affect your skin’s health.
  • Genetics: Skin issues, like eczema and psoriasis, have a hereditary component.
  • Microorganisms: Bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses can cause skin problems.
  • Immune system issues: Both overactive and weakened immune systems can lead to skin conditions.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormone fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can impact your skin.
  • Stress: While not a direct cause, it can worsen existing skin problems.

Diagnosing skin conditions involves examining the physical characteristics of skin irregularities and considering the patient’s medical history. Understanding these causes can help manage skin health, so it’s important to consult a GP or pharmacist for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

1. Eczema and Dermatitis 

Eczema and dermatitis are terms often used interchangeably to describe a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the skin. Atopic Eczema is the primary cause of skin-related disability and carries the greatest disease burden among skin conditions.

Some symptoms can include: 

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Intense itchy skin
  • Dry, scaly patches
  • Blisters that may ooze or crust over


Managing or attempting to get rid of eczema and dermatitis involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments:

  • Moisturisers: Regularly applying emollients or daily moisturisers like E45 cream or Epaderm can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce flare-ups.
  • Topical corticosteroids: Betamethasone and Hydrocortisone can reduce redness, inflammation and itching during flare-ups.
  • Antihistamines: These can help control itching, especially at night. Take non-drowsy tablets like cetirizine if you need relief during the day. 
  • Avoiding triggers: Identifying and avoiding irritants and allergens like materials, soaps and detergents or foods that trigger your symptoms is important.

2. Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, with over a third of UK adults having suffered from it at some point. While it’s more common in adolescence, acne can persist well into adulthood, causing both physical discomfort and emotional distress.

Acne occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells, but there are many different types of acne pimples: 

  • Whiteheads: Closed plugged pores
  • Blackheads: Open plugged pores
  • Papules: Small red, tender bumps
  • Pustules: Papules with pus at their tips
  • Nodules: Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
  • Cystic lesions: Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface


Acne treatment aims to reduce oil production, speed up skin cell turnover, fight bacterial infection, and reduce inflammation. Options can include:

  • Over-the-counter treatments: Products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid gels, or skin care ranges like CeraVe can be effective for mild acne
  • Topical prescription medications: Creams for fungal acne like Daktacort and gels like Differin target the breakouts externally. 
  • Oral medications: Antibiotics like Lymecycline and Doxycycline work internally to fight the bacteria contributing to acne, and combined oral contraceptives (for women) to control hormones. 
  • Light therapy: Can help destroy acne-causing bacteria
  • Lifestyle changes: Regular cleansing, avoiding touching your face, and using non-comedogenic products

3. Psoriasis 

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin, causing rapid cell turnover and buildup. This results in patches of red, inflamed skin covered with silvery scales. The condition can be itchy and painful and significantly impacts quality of life.

Symptoms include:

  • Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails


While there’s no cure for psoriasis, various treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life:

  • Topical treatments: Corticosteroids like Betnovate reduce skin inflammation and manage uncomfortable side effects. 
  • Moisturisers: Keeping your skin moisturised will reduce dryness and scaling,
  • Lifestyle changes: Stress management and maintaining a healthy diet are key for psoriasis sufferers. 

4. Coldsores 

Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters that typically appear on or around the lips. This skin disorder is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), most commonly HSV-1. Once infected, the virus remains in your body for life, occasionally reactivating to cause outbreaks.

Symptoms include:

  • Tingling, itching, or burning sensation before the blister appears
  • Small, fluid-filled blisters on or around the lips
  • Oozing and crusting of the blisters
  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area

Cold sores are highly contagious and can spread through close contact, such as kissing or sharing utensils. A weakened immune system, often due to illness or fever, can make individuals more susceptible to cold sore flare-ups.


While there’s no cure for the herpes virus that causes cold sores, several treatments can help manage outbreaks and provide relief:

  • Antiviral medications: Oral antiviral drugs like Aciclovir tablets can speed up healing and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Aclovir is also available in a cream, which treats cold sores externally.
  • Over-the-counter treatments: Cold sore patches are discreet ways to treat and heal cold sores whilst on the go, as they create an optimal healing environment.
  • Pain relief: Apply ice or a cold, wet towel or take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce the pain from swelling.
  • Lifestyle measures: Apply a lip balm with sun protection to prevent sun-triggered outbreaks and maintain good hygiene to prevent the virus from spreading.

5. Ringworm

Contrary to its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but by a fungal skin infection. It’s a common condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. Ringworm gets its name from the characteristic ring-shaped rash it often produces. Warm, moist environments promote the growth of the fungus, which is why ringworm often affects areas like the groin, feet, and skin folds.

Symptoms include:

  • A red, scaly, circular patch on the skin that may be itchy
  • A ring-like appearance with a raised, scaly border and clearer skin in the centre
  • In some cases, several overlapping rings
  • Hair loss if the infection occurs on the scalp

Ringworm is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. It’s highly contagious and can spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal, contaminated items like clothing and towels, and walking barefoot through contaminated areas like public showers. 


Ringworm is typically treatable with antifungal medications. The choice of treatment depends on the location and severity of the infection:

  • Over-the-counter antifungal creams: Products containing clotrimazole, miconazole, or terbinafine can be effective for mild cases on the body and should be applied for around 2-4 weeks.
  • Prescription medications: Oral antifungal medications like Fluconazole may be prescribed for more severe cases or scalp infections.
  • Hygiene measures: Keep the affected area clean and dry, and wash your hands thoroughly after touching the infected area.
  • Environmental control: Wash your bedding and clothing in hot water to kill the fungus. 

6. Scabies

Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin where they live and lay their eggs, causing an intense itching sensation and a pimple skin rash.

Symptoms include:

  • Intense itching, especially at night
  • A pimple-like rash, often in a line or track
  • Tiny blisters or scales
  • Sores caused by scratching
  • Common sites include between fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, waist, buttocks, and genitals

Scabies are caused by direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has the skin condition. It can spread quickly through close physical contact in a family, childcare group, or nursing home. The mites can live on a person for as long as 1-2 months, and symptoms may take 4-6 weeks to appear after initial infestation.


Scabies won’t go away on their own and require medical treatment. Treatments can include:

  • Prescription medications: Permethrin cream 5% is usually the first choice of treatment, as it kills parasites like mites and lice well. 
  • Thorough cleaning: Wash all clothing, bedding, and towels used in the past 3 days in hot water and dry them on high heat. Items that can’t be washed should be sealed in plastic bags for at least 72 hours.
  • Treating all household members: Everyone in the household should be treated at the same time to prevent reinfestation. 

7. Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. Despite its name, it can affect anyone, not just athletes. 

 The condition is caused by various types of fungi that thrive in warm, moist environments.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching, stinging, and burning between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • Cracking and peeling skin, especially between the toes and on the soles
  • Dry, scaly skin on the sides or bottom of the feet
  • In some cases, blisters may form
  • Discoloured, thick, and crumbly toenails if the infection spreads to the nails

Athlete’s foot is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The risk of infection increases when walking barefoot in public areas such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers and sharing personal items like towels, shoes, or socks with someone who has it.

Factors that create a favourable environment for the fungus include wearing tight, closed-toe shoes that cause feet to sweat or having minor skin or nail injuries on the foot. These conditions provide a warm, moist environment where the fungus thrives, making infection more likely.


Athlete’s foot can often be treated effectively with over-the-counter antifungal medications. However, persistent or severe cases may require prescription treatments.

  • Over-the-counter antifungal treatments: Creams containing miconazole, like Daktarin Activ, kill the fungi responsible for the infection and help alleviate symptoms like itching, burning, and scaling of the skin.
  • Foot hygiene: Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between the toes and change your socks regularly, particularly if your feet tend to get sweaty.
  • Preventive measures: Wear sandals or water shoes in public showers, locker rooms, and pool areas and alternate your shoes daily to allow them to completely dry. 

Treat Common Skin Conditions with Click2Pharmacy

At Click2Pharmacy, we understand that skin conditions can be more than just a physical inconvenience – they can affect your confidence and level of well-being. That’s why we’re committed to providing you with the best possible care and support for all your skincare needs.

Our team of experienced pharmacists and our dedicated online clinics can help you understand your symptoms and find the most effective treatments for eczema, acne, cold sores, athlete’s foot, or any other skin condition.