Acne

What is acne? It is caused when blocked skin follicles from a plug caused by oil from glands, bacteria, and dead cells clump together and swell.

Alopecia Areata

What is alopecia areata? It is a condition that attacks your hair follicles (they make hair). In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches.

Atopic Dermatitis

What is atopic dermatitis? It is a skin disease causing much itchiness. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking, weeping clear fluid, crusting, and scaling.

Cicatricial Alopecia

What is cicatricial alopecia? It is a group of conditions that destroy hair follicles. Hair follicles are the part of the skin where the hair grows.

Epidermolysis Bullosa

What is epidermolysis bullosa? It is a group of diseases causing painful blisters to form on the skin. These blisters can cause problems if they become infected.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (also known as acne inversa) is a chronic, noncontagious, inflammatory condition characterized by pimple-like bumps or boils and tunnels or tracts on and under the skin.

Ichthyosis

What is ichthyosis? It is a disorder that causes dry, thickened skin that may look similar to fish scales.

Lichen Sclerosus

What is lichen sclerosus? It causes white spots or patches on skin of the genital and anal areas, but can appear elsewhere. Itchiness, pain, and bleeding are common.

Pachyonychia Congenita

What is pachyonychia congenita? It is a rare disorder causing thick nails and painful calluses on the bottoms of the feet and other symptoms.

Pemphigus

What is pemphigus? It is a disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the top layer of skin, resulting in blisters.

Psoriasis

What is psoriasis? It is a skin disease that causes red, scaly skin that may feel painful, swollen, or hot. Individuals may be susceptible to other conditions.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? It is a disease that affects blood vessels. It causes your body to not send enough blood to the hands and feet for a period of time.

Rosacea

What is rosacea? It is a long-term disease that causes reddened skin and pimples, usually on the face. It can also make the skin thicker and cause eye problems.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disorder that causes patches of skin to become white. It happens because cells that make color in your skin are destroyed.

Selected Research Areas

portrait of Edward W. Cowen M.D. M.H.Sc.

Dermatology Branch

Led by Dr. Edward Cowen, M.D., the branch conducts both clinical and basic research studying the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory and malignant diseases involving the skin and the host's response to these diseases.
Maria I. Morasso, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Skin Biology

Led by Dr. Maria Morasso, the lab studies processes that lead to epidermal differentiation and barrier formation, and their role in skin disorders.

Skin Disease News

Spotlight on Research | July 23, 2016

Ion Channel Found to Play Role in Itch Sensation

Two independent teams of investigators funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeleta

Spotlight on Research | April 21, 2016

Two Drugs That Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and Blood Cancers Shown to Promote Hair Growth

Two drugs—one used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and another for different types of blood cancers—have shown promise in reversing hair loss characteristic of alopecia areata and related disorders, according to a study in mice funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The study was published in Science Advances.
Spotlight on Research | April 5, 2015

Stem Cell-Based Strategies Offer Personalized Approaches For Treating Inherited Skin Disease

Two new studies funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Spotlight on Research | January 5, 2015

New Insights Into How Psoriasis Arises and How It Heals

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy red patches and silvery scales, usually on the elbows, k

Research Brief | December 15, 2014

Serotonin Drives Vicious Cycle of Itching and Scratching

Scratching an itch brings short-lived relief but often makes the itching worse in the long-term.

Spotlight on Research | November 15, 2014

Chronic UV Exposure Induces Opioid Response That is Associated with Tanning Addiction

Prolonged ultraviolet (UV) light exposure results in an increase of a substance known as β-endorphin, a chemical produced by the body that reduces sensitivity to pain and is associated with addiction, according to a study conducted in mice and funded in part by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
Last Reviewed: 04/20/2017