Can the dermatologist in you tell the difference between these common skin problems?

HEALTH

Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

Which is a common diagnosis for an itchy, blistering red rash that can appear shortly after you dye your hair?

Contact dermatitis happens when you come into contact with an allergen (a substance that causes you to have an allergic reaction). Hair dye, as well as jewelry, cosmetics and perfumes, are all common triggers.

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Which skin condition causes redness and flushing, along with the appearance of visible blood vessels on your face?

Rosacea, specifically erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, comes and goes at first but begins with redness that's often mistaken for sunburn, on the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose. It also causes the small blood vessels in the face to become visible, as thin, red lines.

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Which mole might be melanoma and should be checked out?

Most moles are harmless, even the new ones. But any mole that has an asymmetrical shape, ragged edges, uneven colors or changes its size, should be looked at by your doctor.

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What is one big difference between a wart and a skin tag?

Warts and skin tags are both benign, which means they're noncancerous. But while warts are caused by human papillomavirus (and contagious), skin tags are not viral, or contagious.

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As many as half of all people living with diabetes develop a skin condition related to their diabetes. Which of these is a frequent occurrence?

Although this is not a complete list, these three skin conditions may occur in people living with diabetes, typically untreated diabetes. Also common with diabetes is yellowing skin on your palms and soles, which happens to as many as 50 percent of diabetics.

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Usually caused by staphylococcal (staph) bacteria, which skin infection frequently causes red sores around kids' mouths and noses?

A highly contagious skin infection, impetigo is one of the most common skin infections among kids ages 2 to 6 (but, yes, it can affect adults). It more frequently causes red sores around the mouth and nose and on the hands and feet.

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Why is pityriasis versicolor, which causes your skin to lose its pigment, often confused with another skin condition called vitiligo?

Pityriasis versicolor, sometimes called tinea versicolor, and vitiligo both cause skin depigmentation, causing areas of white patches on your skin. Whereas pityriasis versicolor is caused by a yeast infection -- caused by Malassezia, on the surface of the skin -- vitiligo is an acquired chronic depigmentation disorder.

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Which condition often causes a malar rash, which is a butterfly-shaped facial rash?

This rash, often called a butterfly rash because of its appearance on the face (malar rashes traditionally appear across your nose and cheeks), is often seen in people with lupus erythematosus.

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They're both known for the skin rash they cause. But how can you tell the difference between measles and chickenpox bumps?

Chickenpox, caused by the varicella zoster virus, starts with a red rash that blisters and then crusts over. Measles, which is a respiratory disease caused by the Paramyxovirus, causes a blotchy red rash that starts near the hairline before spreading small raised bumps and flat red spots down the entire body.

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Which of these speckled skin conditions is caused by a virus?

Chickenpox, measles and shingles are viral infections. In fact, chickenpox and shingles are actually caused by the same virus, called the varicella-zoster virus. Once the virus has caused chickenpox, it goes dormant in your body, and can, later on, emerge as shingles.

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Which of these fungal infections isn't caused by the same dermatophyte fungi?

The same fungi (specifically trichophyton, microsporum and epidermophyton, all types of dermatophytes) that cause ringworm also cause athlete's foot and jock itch. (Be careful where you scratch!)

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Sometimes people who have celiac disease also have a related skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). What is DH often mistaken with?

The small red, itchy, fluid-filled blisters of dermatitis herpetiformis usually appear on elbows, knees and buttocks. It affects up to about 25 percent of people living with celiac disease, but it's not commonly recognized. In fact, it's often confused with other skin problems, including eczema, herpes or psoriasis (among others).

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The condition known as seborrheic dermatitis in adults is commonly known as what when it occurs in babies?

The crusty, greasy patches on a baby's scalp are seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap.

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Of these, which is not a red, itchy, flaky rash caused by a fungal infection?

Athlete's foot, diaper rash and yeast infections are all fungal infections. Usually skin infections caused by fungus develop in armpits, on feet and in any other damp places on your body.

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The brown patches of skin that can appear on your cheeks, chin, forehead, nose and upper lip are nicknamed the "pregnancy mask." What's this pigmentation's actual name?

These brown patches of skin are called melasma and can happen during pregnancy, or in women who take hormones -- oral contraceptives or postmenopausal hormone therapy.

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What causes velvety dark patches to appear in places where your body folds or you have skin creases?

Dark patches with velvety texture, most often on the skin on your neck, groin underarms, and/or under the breasts, are the characteristic of acanthosis nigricans. This skin condition is pretty common, mostly among people who are overweight or who have diabetes.

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Did you know there's more than one type of rosacea? Which form causes redness, plus breakouts that look like (but aren't) acne?

There are four types of rosacea, but the form that causes acne-like breakouts along with redness and swelling is called papulopustular rosacea.

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Erythema chronicum migrans is the bullseye rash that often, but not always, appears in the early stage of Lyme disease. Which rash is it often confused with?

Hives often erupt in ring-shaped welts, and the autoimmune disorder granuloma annulare causes reddish bumps to erupt arranged in a ring. A fixed drug eruption, too, has a distinctive round shape. And because of this, all three are often confused with the bullseye rash of Lyme.

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Which type of underarm irritation isn't caused by inflammation/infection of hair follicles?

Armpit folliculitis is inflammation of the hair follicles in your armpits, and it's usually caused by a bacterial infection (although it could be a fungal infection). When it's a single hair follicle that grows red and painful, it's called a furuncle (a boil) -- which is also a bacterial infection. Carbuncles, too, are hair follicle infections -- these are clusters of boils.

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Which type of skin reaction -- other than hives -- can be caused by a drug sensitivity?

Although erythema multiforme can be caused by an infection, it can also be caused by drug sensitivities, such as to antibiotics or sulfa medications. Erythema multiforme is classified as two types, basedon severity. Erythema multiforme minor, the milder version with a bullseye-shaped rash, usually clears up within two weeks and a month. The more severe form, erythema multiforme major, can cause skin loss and is potentially life-threatening.

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What are red, painful, fluid-filled sores on your lips or near your mouth called?

Whether you call them cold sores, fever blisters or just oral herpes (herpes simplex labialis), these blisters on your lips and near your mouth are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Tingling or itching on or near your lips or mouth is often a warning sign of an oncoming flare-up.

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When are chapped lips serious?

Chapped lips are dry lips. But actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition that looks and feels as though you have chronically chapped lips, and it's caused by a lifetime supply of sun exposure on your pucker.

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Which of these spots tend to be inherited, like red hair or green eyes?

If you don't like the way age spots look, be sure to be vigilant with your sun protection. While age spots are caused by sun exposure, only some freckles are -- some people are born with them.

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Which is the most common rash that affects adults?

Seborrheic dermatitis is the most common rash that affects American adults, causing red, itchy eruptions on your scalp, brows, cheeks, forehead and the outside of your ears.

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Which of these mole-like bumps is red, no bigger than a pencil eraser and non-cancerous?

Cherry hemangiomas are red bumps that usually appear more frequently as we age. They're non-cancerous, so don't worry, and they're small, too.

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Which is a common symptom of seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis, which could appear anywhere on your body, is prone to come and go. It's characterized by red, swollen patches of skin that may appear greasy or crusty, and a white or yellowish crust often forms on the skin's surface.

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Inflamed, cracked itchy, red and rough patches of skin that appear in the creases of your elbows or knees or nape of the neck are signs of what condition in adults?

Eczema, which is likely caused by a combination of factors from genetic to environmental, usually appears as patches of thickened, red, itchy skin in the body's creases, such as elbows, knees and the nape of the neck in adulthood.

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Not all acne is the same. For instance, a pustule is your average pimple with white-ish pus at its center. The red bump of an ingrown hair is a papule. What's a nodule?

Nodules are lumps of tissue. They can develop under the skin, like nodular acne. They can also develop internally, like on your thyroid or lungs.

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You've tried everything to get rid of your acne, but nothing seems to work. Which skin condition can look like acne, but actually isn't?

If your acne is really acne, it will clear up if it's properly treated with acne treatments. When it doesn't get better, though, it could be red swollen bumps of rosacea, perioral dermatitis if the bumps are around your mouth or possibly the fungal infection pityrosporum folliculitis if the "acne" is on your chest and back.

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Which flat, brown lesion is harmless, but often mistaken as melanoma?

While melanomas aren't as common as other types of skin cancers, they can be much more deadly. Often they resemble moles or the harmless black or brown (or sometimes yellow) raised bumpy patches of skin called seborrheic keratoses.

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Which type of skin problem begins with a large pink patch called a "herald" or "mother" patch?

Pityriasis rosea, which may be caused by a virus from the herpes family, begins with a large pink herald patch, which is then joined by a rash of similar but smaller pink-to-red patches. Although it's not particularly bothersome, it does tend to stick around for between six to 12 weeks.

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Which is often confused with the red, sore and intensely itchy rash caused by candidiasis (a fungus)?

Several other skin conditions resemble the rash caused by candidiasis (yeast), including herpes, psoriasis and ringworm, as well as contact dermatitis, hives and seborrheic dermatitis.

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Which type of dermatitis is a common condition for people who also have asthma and hay fever?

People who have asthma or hay fever, or who have immediate family members with asthma or hay fever, are more likely to have symptoms of atopic dermatitis -- also known as eczema.

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What does the rash caused by the skin condition erythema gyratum repens look like?

Erythema gyratum repens is a rare skin disease that's associated with lung cancer. It can be really itchy, but its hallmark isn't pruritis. It's that the rash it forms on your skin is in a wood-grain (or whorled) pattern.

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Plaque psoriasis causes thick, red patches of skin called -- surprise -- plaques. Erythodermic psoriasis, on the other hand, causes large patches of skin that appears as though it's been what?

Of the main types of psoriasis (plaque, pustular, erythodermic, inverse and guttate), it's erythodermic psoriasis that looks like -- but isn't -- severely burned skin.

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About This Quiz

Of all the conditions that can affect our skin, just temporarily or long-term, a lot of them have some symptoms in common -- or that at least look pretty similar. Can you tell one red bump from another?

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