Skin Problems & Treatments Health Home

Picture of the Skin

Human Anatomy


Skin Tests

  • Skin biopsy: A piece of skin is removed and examined under a microscope to identify a skin condition.
  • Skin testing (allergy testing): Extracts of common substances (such as pollen) are applied to the skin, and any allergic reactions are observed.
  • Tuberculosis skin test (purified protein derivative or PPD): Proteins from the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria are injected under the skin. In someone who’s had TB, the skin becomes firm.

Skin Treatments

  • Corticosteroids (steroids): Medicines that reduce immune system activity may improve dermatitis. Topical steroids are most often used.
  • Antibiotics: Medicines that can kill the bacteria causing cellulitis and other skin infections.
  • Antiviral drugs: Medicines can suppress the activity of the herpes virus, reducing symptoms.
  • Antifungal drugs: Topical creams can cure most fungal skin infections. Occasionally, oral medicines may be needed.
  • Antihistamines: Oral or topical medicines can block histamine, a substance that causes itching.
  • Skin surgery: Most skin cancers must be removed by surgery.
  • Immune modulators: Various drugs can modify the activity of the immune system, improving psoriasis or other forms of dermatitis.
  • Skin moisturizers (emollients): Dry skin is more likely to become irritated and itchy. Moisturizers can reduce symptoms of many skin conditions.
WebMD Image Collection Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on November 16, 2014



WebMD Feature: "Exercise Your Body -- and Your Skin." "Skin Anatomy," "Skin Diseases."

MedicineNet: "Boils (Skin Abscesses)."

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Actinic Keratosis."

EMedicine: "Skin Cancer: Sqamous Cell Carcinoma." Seborrheic Dermatitis: What It Is and How to Treat It."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Skin Testing for Allergies."

MedicineNet: "Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD Skin Test)."

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