Skin Health

Skin Diseases

Skin diseases are some of the world’s most common diseases, with almost 900 million people living with some form of skin condition at one time. They can vary in symptoms and severity; some can be minor, but some can be more severe and need swift medical intervention. It is important if you are concerned about any skin abnormality to talk to your GP.

Common Skin Conditions

As mentioned, some skin conditions will not pose any immediate risk to your health but the symptoms of them could have the potential to disrupt your quality of life. Some common, non-life-threatening skin conditions are:

  • Eczema (sometimes known as dermatitis)
  • Psoriasis 
  • Acne
  • Rosacea

For more information on these skin conditions and what to look out for, please see the following:

Skin Cancer

Some skin conditions have the potential to pose a more serious risk to your health, which is why seeking medical advice on any skin abnormality is very important. 

The most common skin condition that can pose a serious risk is skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with nearly 13,000 diagnosed in Ireland every year. Skin cancer is described as the abnormal growth of skin cells. 

The risk factors for developing skin cancer are:

  • Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), mostly from sunlight or artificial sources such as sunbeds.
  • Fair skin that burns or freckles easily. 
  • Sunburn, including from childhood. 
  • Family history of skin cancer.
  • Personal history of skin cancer.
  • A large amount of moles or unusual moles.

For more information on these skin conditions and what to look out for, please see the following:


Moles are generally normal non-cancerous groups of pigment producing cells.
The vast majority of moles are not dangerous, but you must be alert to any changes in existing moles or a new and changing mole. Some things to look out for with moles include:

  • Change in shape 
  • Change in size 
  • Bleeding 
  • Change in colour 
  • Itching 
  • Pain

If any of your moles are showing these warning signs, seek medical advice quickly, as abnormal moles could be a sign of something more serious.

For more information on skin cancer, its types and early warning signs, please see the following: 

Preventing Skin Damage

There are a number of ways to prevent skin damage in order to stop the development of skin diseases such as skin cancer. Some of these ways include:

  • Seeking shade when the sun is strongest between 10am and 3pm.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Avoid tanning beds as they can cause skin cancer but also premature skin aging.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher in the sun.
  • Regularly reapply sunscreen when you plan to spend a day outdoors in sunshine.
  • If you are fair skinned, you should apply sunscreen even on cloudy days if you will be outdoors for a prolonged period of time.
  • Check your skin regularly for any abnormalities, and, seek medical advice if you are concerned about anything.

For more information of prevention of skin damage, please see the HSE’s campaign ‘SunSmart