Dermatology is a two-century old discipline that deals with problems of the skin, hairs, nails and mucous membranes.
Skin diseases and diseases of the mucous membranes, nails and hairs are very common and are often an important reason for long-term illnesses, especially in case of chronic skin diseases.
- Only a few skin diseases are life-threatening, but it is possible for example with reactions to certain drugs, because of bee and wasp stings, in case of serious auto-immune diseases or certain types of skin cancer like melanoma.
- Serious chronic diseases are more common and can have an extensive impact on people's quality of life, for instance in case of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and chronic wounds. Sexually transmitted diseases like HIV often first manifest themselves as a skin problem.
Some skin diseases may not seem very bad, but their psychological impact and impact on personal development can be quite severe, for example in case of serious acne, disfiguring birthmarks, hair loss and congenital skin defects.