Types of Skin Problems

Dr Tan Hiok Hee
Senior Consultant Dermatologist

Skin disorders can cause uncomfortable symptoms like redness, swelling, burning, and itching. Many skin problems, such as acne, affect your appearance. This article can help you get a big picture of what may be affecting your skin, and how you can get help.

A wide range of skin problems exist, with variations in severity and symptoms. Skin diseases and disorders can be:

  • Temporary or permanent
  • Treatable or incurable
  • Acute or chronic
  • Hormonal or genetic
  • painless or causing discomfort
  • benign or malignant

Most skin disorders can be treatable with oral, topical, subcutaneous or laser treatments and require the attention of a dermatologist. It is advisable to treat or manage your skin before the condition worsens. These are the three most common Singapore skin disorders.

1. Eczema

Eczema is also referred to as atopic dermatitis and is the most common skin disorder that can affect anyone of all ages. Signs and symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy and scaly red spots. In cases which are severe, the symptoms can become painful and result in blistering and thickening of the skin. Eczema is often a re- occurring condition which can result in scarring.

Environmental factors are known to bring out the symptoms of eczema. These include:

  • Irritants: soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, juices from fresh fruits, meats or vegetables
  • Allergens: dust mites, pets, pollens, mold, dandruff
  • Microbes: bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, certain fungi
  • Hot and cold temperatures: hot weather, high and low humidity, perspiration from exercise
  • Foods: dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, wheat
  • Stress: it is not a cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse
  • Hormones: women can experience worsening of eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in their menstrual cycle.


There are three main focus areas to treat eczema.

  • A good medical moisturizer (emollients) that keeps the skin moisturised is the key to preventing flare ups and keeping the condition under control.
  • Removing triggers such as detergents, certain soaps or clothing material which can possibly aggravate the condition
  • The application of tropical steroids to reduce inflammation.

2. Hives (Urticana)

Hives or Urticaria is a type of skin rash which often results from an allergy. The symptoms are presented as itchy raised bumps with clear edges that turns white (blanch) when pressure is applied.  Affecting up to 20 percent of the people worldwide, the condition can be triggered by various factors such as certain food, insect bites, medications, viral infections etc. and usually begins with an itchy patch on the skin. The symptoms can last from minutes to years. In more severe cases, swelling of the throat and airway can occur. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment for hives can be extremely effective. It is best to speak to a dermatologist as finding the cause of the condition is sometimes hard and requires specialised dermatology training.

3. Acne

This is a skin condition that affects the skin’s oil glands. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the skin. These glands make a substance called sebum. The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, a pimple grows. Acne is very common; early treatment is the best way to prevent acne scars.

Tips to choose a skin clinic in Singapore

If you are suffering from skin disorders, and want to find relief from uncomfortable symptoms, seek the advice of a Singapore skincare professional. This is what to look for:

1. Have excellent accreditation – The skin clinic that has the most experienced dermatologist accredited with the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Accreditation board

2. Provide evidence-based skin care services – They have evidence based skin care services and a cost effective medical services

3. Affiliation and trust – Trustworthy healthcare service provider and have a strong affiliation with a leading healthcare organisation


Find Singapore dermatologists and skincare experts at the Thomson Specialist Skin Centre. Our trained, experienced and licensed team can help you find relief and treatment for skin disorders.