Broadly speaking, general skin infections fall into three categories – viral, fungal and bacterial. We talk about them in detail here so what you’ll read on this page is more of a summary.
Viral infections include Herpes Simplex and HPV. Herpes Simplex is categorised as HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 manifests itself as blisters near your mouth and can be spread by kissing or sharing a toothbrush. HSV2 is similar, but usually occurs in the genital region and is spread by sexual intercourse. HPV is the virus which causes most cases of genital and anal warts, but can also occur around the mouth. HPV is sexually transmitted.
Fungal infections usually affect toenails and fingernails – often starting off as a purely cosmetic concern before becoming painful and uncomfortable. Ringworm (nothing at all to do with a worm) is a fungal infection of the scalp and is often mistaken for dandruff or psoriasis. It is highly contagious.
Bacterial infections include folliculitis and impetigo. Folliculitis infects your hair follicles and can cause bald patches, while impetigo – particularly common in children and young adults – is highly contagious and causes sores, rashes and blisters, usually (but not exclusively) on the face, hands and neck.