Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are experienced by over 20% of US adults over age 21. More common in women than men, this condition is often nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance. Deep "heel fissures" however, can develop and be quite painful. In rare cases, heel fissures may lead to infection.
Spider veins are those small weblike networks of red, purple and blue vessels that are easily visible through the skin and found most commonly on the legs and ankles. Women are more susceptible than men to develop them and those with blood relatives with spider veins are more predisposed to developing these roadmap veins. Heredity seems to play an important role in the development of spider veins. There is little scientific evidence that crossing the legs causes spider veins.
Hangnails are not nails at all, but little triangular pieces of skin at the edge of a fingernail that occassionally bleed and, are often, quite irritating. They are more common in the winter due to dry skin from the cold winter air but harsh chemicals, nail biting, and excessive hand washing can also cause the development of hangnails. If not properly cared for, hangnails can be the site at which bacteria enters the skin and causes an infection around the nail cuticle.
Stretch marks (striae distensae) are pink, red or purple indented streaks that most commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, and thighs. They are not a significant medical problem but can cause emotional distress in those affected. Although they eventually fade to a white or gray color, it is rare that they completely dissappear.