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    Describing a Skin Condition

    How to describe a skin condition

    A healthcare provider may ask you to describe your skin condition and its location. Here are some of the more common terms that may help you give a more accurate description:

    Atrophic

    Thin, dry, wrinkled skin

    Blister or vesicle

    Fluid-filled bump under or in the epidermis that is less than 1 cm in size

    Crust or scab

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

    Cyst

    Enclosed sac in skin containing fluid or solid material

    Excoriation

    An erosion with loss of the epidermis, 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 with skin markings 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. 

    Patch

    Flat, large discolored spot with smooth surface

    Plaque

    A raised or depressed area of skin that is rounded or flat topped and is greater than 1 cm in diameter

    Pustule (pimple)

    Inflamed, raised lesions that seem to contain pus

    Scales

    A buildup of dead skin cells that form flakes

    Scar

    Fibrous tissue that forms after a skin injury

    Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
    Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Lehrer MD
    Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
    Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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