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6 Common Adult Skin Issues & How To Deal With Them Effectively

 Dr. Ammar Mahmoud

Often times, we think we are going outgrow skin problems as we get older. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are more than 3,000 skin diseases that can develop in adults. While some are minor, others can be more serious. Skin problems as an adult can really lower a person’s self-confidence. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid and treat these diseases. This article highlights 6 common adult skin problems and how to treat them effectively. 

  1. Shingles

Herpes zoster, more commonly known as shingles, is a painful skin rash that develops due to an infection by the same virus that causes chickenpox (the varicella-zoster virus). If you had chickenpox as a child, then the virus infected your nerve cells and remained inactive there. After many years, something can cause the virus to reactivate, leading to shingles. It starts off as a pain sensation that can be easily mistaken for some other disease, even a heart attack. After one or two days of this painful sensation, you will develop a red, blistering rash on one side of your body.

Who is most at risk for developing shingles?

It tends to most commonly occur in the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

How can shingles be treated?

Prevention is always better than treatment, and shingles are no exception. The incidence of shingles can be prevented, or at least made less severe, by vaccination. If you do get shingles, treatment will usually include antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the disease presenting, which will help limit the pain.

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-term), inflammatory skin disease that causes people to develop red, itchy and scaly patches. These most frequently tend to occur around the elbows, scalp or knees. Patients with psoriasis find that their condition goes through cycles in which they experience flare-ups that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. After a flare-up, their symptoms go away for a while, only to start again at a later point. 

Who is most at risk for developing psoriasis?

People with a family history of psoriasis have a higher risk of developing the disease. Additionally, people that are under high stress and smoke are also more likely to develop psoriasis.

How can psoriasis be treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis. The only thing that doctors can do is prescribe treatments that can help manage your symptoms. These treatments include topical creams, exposing the skin to ultraviolet light, oral drugs and injections. The type of treatment your doctor will prescribe you is dependent on the severity and extent of your psoriasis. Another thing you can do to help yourself is to adopt some healthy lifestyle habits, which can help it make it easier for you to live with psoriasis.

  1. Eczema 

Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, is a disease that makes your skin itchy and red. Eczema can be found on the arm region located opposite of your elbow, as well on the leg region opposite of your knee. While it is more common in children, it can develop in adults as well. Similar to psoriasis, eczema tends to flare up in cycles. Often times, the development of eczema is also associated with allergies, leading to asthma or even hay fever.

Who is most at risk for developing eczema?

Patients that have a personal or family history of eczema or allergies are most at risk for developing the disease.

What is the treatment for eczema?

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Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for this disease. However, there are certain treatments that can help prevent itching and newer outbreaks. Treatments include the application of medicated cream or ointments (such as steroids, which are anti-inflammatory medication). There are also lifestyle changes you can make on your end to treat the outbreak. For example, you should avoid using harsh soaps on your skin and moisture your skin regularly.

  1. Rosacea

Rosacea often resembles acne in teenagers, but it occurs in adults. It is an inflammatory, long-term disease in which the face develops redness, visible blood vessels, and small pus-filled bumps. In some cases, people affected by rosacea can go onto develop an enlarged nose. Similar to several of the other skin conditions, it flares up periodically, and then goes away for a period of time.

Who is most at risk for developing rosacea?

Rosacea is most frequently seen in middle-aged women with light skin. A family history of rosacea and smoking are also risk factors.

What is the treatment for rosacea?

While there is no cure for rosacea, treatment of the disease involves the use of topical and oral drugs. For patients with mild to moderate rosacea, the doctor will prescribe a cream or gel that reduces redness on the skin. Doctors may also prescribe oral antibiotics to treat more severe cases of rosacea. Finally, some doctors may also prescribe oral acne drugs to clear up the acne. 

  1. Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect people of any age. It is a non-infectious eruption of pus-filled blisters on the face but can also occur on the chest and back. Acne is common in all teenagers during puberty. There are some misconceptions about how acne develops. Many people think it occurs due to dirty skin, but, in fact, it occurs because of the hormones in your body, increased oil production on the skin and the presence of skin bacteria. It usually resolves when patients reach the age of 20-30.

Who is most at risk for developing acne?

As mentioned, teenagers are most at risk for developing acne. However, family history, stress and hormonal changes can also play a role in acne development. The use of certain medications can also lead to acne.

What is the treatment for acne?

There are many different types of treatment for acne including retinoids, antibiotics to kill the skin bacteria, salicylic acid (an antibacterial drug), dapsone (an anti-inflammatory drug), oral contraceptive (to control hormone levels), and anti-androgen agents (to control hormones). For women that get acne either right before, or during their periods, there are certain skincare ingredients you can apply on your skin to stop acne from forming. Additionally, for those that suffer from acne scars, there are several acne scar removal treatments available. For example, advanced acne scar laser technology, such as the Nodlys Ellipse Frax Laser, can remove several types of acne scars including ice-pick acne scars, rolling scars and boxcar acne scars. Another treatment for acne scars includes injecting fillers, such as Juvaderm, into the soft tissue in order to fill the scar. Other treatments include skin peels, topical retinoids and vitamin A-derived medications. 

  1. Liver Spots

Another common adult skin disease is known as liver spots, also called age spots. These are flat brown spots that usually affect the face and forearms of older people. While there are no risks or symptoms associated with liver spots, people don’t like seeing them on their bodies. Liver spots develop due to being overactive.

Who is most at risk for developing liver spots?

It generally occurs in people that are over the age of 50, has light skin and have a history of frequently being exposed to the sun or intense sun exposure.

What is the treatment for liver spots?

Treatment for liver spots is not medically needed, as they don’t cause any symptoms. However, many people want to get rid of their liver spots as they can look unseemly. Treatments for liver spots include certain medications such as bleaching cream, retinoids and a mild steroid. Patients can also undergo laser and intense pulsed light therapy, which destroys the cells that produce melatonin. Finally, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and chemical peels can help shed the older skin and cause new skin to grow in its place.


If you are an adult with a skin condition, then you are not alone. Fortunately, with the ever-growing field of skincare research, scientists and doctors are finding an increasing number of treatments for a range of skincare conditions. If you suffer from a skin condition, then talk to a dermatologist, who can help guide you towards the right treatments. 

About the author
Dr. Ammar Mahmoud is an expert in the field of minimally invasive, non-surgical cosmetic skincare and acne scar treatment. He is also the founder of Alinea Medical Spa Acne Scar & Laser Skin Care in NYC.

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Dr. Ammar Mahmoud, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates. 

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