Skin disease in perspective
Dermatology is the study of the skin and its associated structures, including the hair and nails, and of their diseases. It is an immense subject, embracing some 2000 conditions, yet, paradoxically, some 70% of the dermatology work in the UK is caused by only nine types of skin disorder (Table 1.1). Similarly, in the USA, nearly half of all visits to dermatologists are for one of three diagnoses: acne, warts and skin tumours. Things are very different in developing countries where over-crowding and poor sanitation play a major part. There, skin disorders are even more common, particularly in the young, but are dominated by infections and infestationsathe so-called ‘dermatoses of poverty’a amplified by the presence of HIV infection.
A sense of perspective is important, and this chap-ter presents an overview of the causes, prevalence and impact of skin disease.
Table 1.1 The most common categoriesof skin disorder in the UK.
Other infective skin disorders
Benign tumours and vascular lesions
Contact dermatitis and other eczemas