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(A-Z listing includes diseases, conditions, tests and procedures)
 

Describing a Skin Condition

How to describe a skin condition

A health care provider may ask you to describe your dermatological condition and its location. Here are some of the more common terms that may help you provide a more accurate description:

Atrophic

Thin, wrinkled

Blister or vesicle

Fluid-filled bump under or within the epidermis

Crust or scab

Formation of dried blood, plasma, or other skin fluid over a break in the skin

Cyst

Deeply seated sac lesion that contains keratin and sebum

Excoriation

An erosion caused by scratching 

Hives or wheals

Pink or white localized swelling of the skin that is usually itchy

Lichenification

Skin that has become thickened, hardened, or leathery from chronic scratching

Macule

Flat, discolored spot

Nodule or papule

Solid, raised bumps. A nodule is greater than 1 cm and a papule is less than or equal to 1 cm. 

Raised bumps

Bumps that stick out above the skin surface

Patch

Flat, large discolored spot with smooth surface

Pustule (pimple)

Inflamed, elevated lesions that appear to contain pus

Scales

A buildup of dead skin cells that form flakes

Scar

Fibrous tissue that forms after a skin injury

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Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancer cases. Protecting your skin from the sun is vital. It’s also important to examine your skin on a regular basis. Become familiar with moles or other skin conditions in order to better identify changes. If you or your family has a history of skin cancer, visit a dermatologist regularly for routine skin checkups.

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