Dermatologic manifestations in spaceflight: a review

Dermatol Online J. 2018 Nov 15;24(11):13030/qt9dw087tt.


With manned missions to Mars on the horizon, understanding and preparing for the medical conditions these astronauts might face becomes vital. According to the literature, the most commonly reported medical events in space are dermatological in nature. Dermatologic conditions rarely threaten an astronaut's life or the mission. However, manifestations and management of dermatologic events become an important consideration in anticipation of spaceflights to Mars and beyond. Given the limited number of articles written about dermatological conditions in this specific population, this review summarizes current knowledge related to dermatology in space. Overall, common dermatologic conditions found during spaceflight include viral reactivations, contact dermatitis or eczematous patches, and skin infections. Diagnosis and treatment can be difficult given the lack of resources in space as well as the hazards and side effects of certain treatments. In this review article we aim to summarize common skin changes induced by spaceflight, describe previously reported skin conditions including current treatment options, explore the risk of skin cancer in this unique population, and address the challenge of remote diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Collagen
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Dermatitis, Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Contact / therapy
  • Dermis
  • Eczema / diagnosis
  • Eczema / therapy
  • Epidermis
  • Humans
  • Microbiota
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Space Flight*
  • Telemedicine
  • Urticaria / diagnosis
  • Urticaria / therapy
  • Virus Activation


  • Collagen