Skin Glossary

Words, Terms and Definitions

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Skin Glossary

Postby patoco » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:57 am

Skin Glossary

Pat O'Connor

Lymphedema People

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Abdominoplasty: A surgical procedure done to flatten your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall. This procedure is commonly referred to as a tummy tuck.

Acne: A skin condition characterized by the excess production of oil from sebaceous glands in which the hair follicles become plugged.

Acne conglobata: A very severe type of acne in which nodules are connected beneath the skin surface to other nodules or acne lesions. Acne conglobata is a severe form of cystic acne characterized by deep, inflammatory nodules that track under the skin to other nodules. Acne conglobata can cause deep scarring and is difficult to treat. Many people with acne conglobata also have hidradenitis suppurativa.

Acne mechanica: Form of acne that develops in response to heat, covered skin, constant pressure, and/or repetitive friction against the skin.

Acne scar: Scars due to severe acne. They can range from deep pits to scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance.

Acne vulgaris: The medical term for common acne, which is characterized by the presence of one or more of the following: blackheads, whiteheads, papules and pustules.

Actinic keratosis: A sun-caused, scaly growth. The actinic keratosis is a precancer that may become a squamous-cell skin cancer (carcinoma). Scientific studies say that between 1% and 20% of actinic keratoses may turn into squamous-cell skin cancer. It is usually found on sun-exposed skin. It is usually composed of a dry white scale on a pink or brown mat of tissue, usually about half the size of a dime. The actinic keratosis is a growth or tumor and is, by definition, one that stays high up in the skin and has not had a chance to go into the body.

Age spots: Small flat pigmented spots that are most often seen on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun over a period of years. Age spots usually occur after the age of 40.

Albinism: An inherited disorder in which there is no pigmentation in skin, hair or eyes, due to the absence of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color.

Aloe Vera: An emollient resin with hydrating/softening properties.

Alopecia: The complete or partial loss of hair.

Aminolevulinic acid (ALA): A naturally occurring chemical in the human body that is converted to protoporphryn IX, especially in actively growing cells (usually a sign of disorder like precancer or cancer). Certain wavelengths of light cause protoporphryn to absorb light energy, killing cells in which protoporphryn is present in excess. This is the basis for photodynamic therapy, a treatment that will almost certainly be used successfully for precancers in the not-too-distant future.

Anagen: active growth phase of hair follicles. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly, adding to the hair shaft.

Androgenic: Referring to the hormones that stimulate the sebaceous glands to create sebum.

Androgens: Hormones that stimulate sebaceous glands in addition to other effects on the body. Present in both males and females, androgens are responsible for physical maturation in males and therefore occur in much higher levels in males. Males tend to have more severe acne than females.

Antimicrobial: Agent, such as a medication, that kills or eliminates microorganisms.

Appendages: When used in dermatology, usually refers to parts of the epidermis and include the hair, nails and sweat glands (eccrine cooling sweat glands, apocrine arm/groin sweat/smelly glands).

Atypical mole (AM): A term favored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), formerly known as a dysplastic nevus. The term atypical stands for unusual or strange, in this case. An atypical mole is an acquired, usually pigmented (colored) lesion (spot or bump) of the skin that is different from a common mole. (NIH, Consensus Statement, Jan 1992) Unfortunately, this is not a very helpful definition for the public. Such a definition of exclusion or elimination requires knowledge of what common moles would look like. So let us talk about what most classical (and that does not mean all) atypical moles would look like or do. Atypical moles (AM) may or may not occur in families. AM vary in size but are usually larger than common nevi (moles). AM may be completely flat spots you could not feel with your eyes closed or they may be papular, i.e., bumpy, able to be palpated or felt with the fingers. The borders or edges of AM are usually very irregular (notched or jagged) and ill-defined, i.e. the edges are not sharp. The colors of most AM range from pink to tan to dark brown on a pink background. Additionally, the colors in AM are usually variegated (mixed together without uniformity). Although AM may occur on almost any body location they favor the trunk. For a more thorough look at AM, see Moles or Nevi.

Atypical mole phenotype: Includes patients who have many AM's themselves but know of no one else in their families with any similar moles or with melanoma. Most atypical moles do not occur in families. Occurrence of a disease in several family members automatically makes one think of a genetic problem. Words that could be used to describe this individual patient, as the moles are non-familial, might include "sporadic" or "isolated," because this person's moles seem to occur on their own. This might lead one to think there is no genetic cause for the presence of the abnormal sporadic moles in such a person. Dr. Raymond Barnhill, a world-renowned melanoma expert, prefers to use the term "Atypical Mole Phenotype" which implies that there is some sort of expression of moles on the surface without implying that there is a genetic basis for sporadic AM's. The term atypical mole phenotype is probably a good compromise based upon current medical knowledge. However, the Web-site author believes that, in the future, science will likely find that atypical moles and all of their varying types and syndromes form a spectrum that is all based in genetics. Keep in mind that environment and other factors may influence the expression of an underlying genetic base.

Atypical mole syndrome: A collection of symptoms in one patient having sporadic atypical moles. At the far end of this syndrome's spectrum are patients who are victims of the FAM-M Syndrome. See Familial Atypical Mole Melanoma, and also Atypical Mole Phenotype.

Autologen: A material used in lip augmentation to produce a look of fuller lips. Autologen is derived from your own skin and then injected into the lips.

Azelaic acid: A naturally occurring substance found on normal skin that can be used in skin care products to treat mild acne.

Basal cells: type of cells that are found in the outer layer of skin. Basal cells are responsible for producing the squamous cells in the skin.

Basal-cell carcinoma (BCC): A skin tumor or cancer that originally was thought to come from the basal cells, the lowermost cells of the epidermis that rest on the basement membrane. There are many different types of basal-cell carcinomas, as you will see in the basal-cell sub-section of this Web site. However, this tumor rarely spreads to distant locations in the body. This tumor is usually aggressive only locally, with the ability to destroy the structures immediately surrounding its visible location.

Basement membrane: The thin boundary layer between the epidermis and the dermis. It is made of a special collagen (Type IV) which may have some uncertain role in preventing tumor penetration into the dermis, which contains blood vessels. See Dermis and Epidermis in the Glossary.

Benign: Not malignant. See Malignant. However, just because a growth is "benign" and does not meet the definition of malignant does not mean that it cannot cause trouble. For example, the pressure of its blood supply may cause a benign hemangioma (blood-vessel tumor) to rupture in the brain or eye causing death or damage. "Benign" implies that the growth is not able to spread distantly by seeding or that it will not grow and invade the nearby tissues, replacing or destroying them to any threatening degree. This does not imply that benign growths will not cause cosmetic deformity; for example, dozens of benign sebaceous hyperplasia (oil-gland growths) may grow deep and wide on the face drastically affecting appearance, but they are not malignant.

Benzoyl peroxide: An antibacterial medication used to combat the bacteria that aggravates acne.

Beta hydroxy acid: An oil-soluble exfoliant derived from fruit and milk sugars that is commonly found in skin-care products. Beta hydroxy acid is used to treat wrinkles, blackheads and photoaging. Salicylic acid is an example of a beta-hydroxy acid.

Biopsy (skin): Any piece of skin or tumor tissue removed from the patient that is to be sent to a laboratory, where it will be stained and examined under the microscope by a certified pathologist (we hope). A biopsy may be small or large. An incisional biopsy is the removal of a piece of tissue smaller than the entire problem spot (area) on the skin in order to get an idea of what the process (problem) is. An excisional biopsy is the removal of the problem spot (area) of skin or lesion plus some extra normal tissue (margin) around what the "naked eye" sees as abnormal in the hope of removing all of the problem (targeted) process.

Biopsy, inverted pyramidal: See inverted pyramidal biopsy. A technique developed by the Web-site author to cause the least scarring while obtaining a quality biopsy specimen.

Blepharoplasty: A primarily cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and raises drooping upper eyelids. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin, muscle and underlying fatty tissue.

Board Certified: Having passed a test given by a "board" of "authoritative" individuals. Some board-certification exams test only a doctor’s memory on paper or by computer, some tests are oral (verbal questions and answers) and some tests are physical, in which examiners observe the doctor being tested, and involve treatment or examination of a patient. Board examinations also provide the ability to restrict the practice of a certain portion of medicine to doctors who "studied" to perform that particular branch of medicine and are "qualified" to do so. Unfortunately, these boards may be used as tools to restrain trade or limit other specialists. Some college students could pass the board-certification examination for various medical and surgical specialties if given the proper books. It is difficult for board examinations to completely test the competency of the individual plastic surgeon to practice that particular branch of surgery/medicine. It is difficult for a board certification test to check all of the abilities of the surgeon to cut or sew because so extensive a test would have examiner bias, and if enough doctors were to fail, they might complain or sue to pass. The same examiner simply cannot test all the applicants at one time under equal conditions to remove the bias of his/her individual prejudice. This explains the need for computer-graded, multiple-choice questions to determine who becomes your doctor. The same problems occur in the boards of dermatology and all other branches of medicine. Most importantly, how does one test for ethics.

Boil: a walled-off collection of pus. Boils often appear in areas of friction or minor trauma such as underneath the belt, the fronts of the thighs, buttocks, groin, and armpits.

Bowen's Disease: Also known as Bowen's. Many doctors and authorities regard it as a form of squamous-cell carcinoma; however, there are some doctors who regard it as a precancer. The author prefers to regard Bowen's disease as a squamous-cell carcinoma of the intraepithelial type. Intraepithelial type cancers have not penetrated the basement membrane into the dermis. The cells in Bowen's are extremely unusual or atypical under the microscope. As we will discuss in another section of this Web site, the degree of atypia (strangeness, unusualness) seen under the microscope tells how cells may behave if they invade another portion of the body. Indeed, if cells of Bowen's invade below the epidermis and the basement membrane (layer that separates the epidermis from the dermis), sometimes the consequences can be grave, even lethal. The authors Lever, Graham and Helwig have noted that metastatic (spreading internally to other parts of the body) Bowen's can be deadly. On the other side of the coin, metastatic Bowen's is uncommon, so the doctors who do not wish to consider the possibility of internal invasion will "throw these cases out" and consider Bowen's just a precancer. However, the author feels that the loss of one patient's life is too much and that the best medicine considers every reasonable possibility and anticipates potential problems. The author's concern is that Bowen's cells like to grow down hair pores. This tendency for "poral invasion" may give the extremely atypical/unusual cells of Bowen's (intraepithelial squamous-cell carcinoma) access to the bloodstream if they break through the basement membrane. The author believes that the possibility of invasion may be increased by time, trauma and previously failed treatments. However, a diagnosis of Bowen's should not cause panic. On the contrary, if the Bowen's has not spread, it is much better news to have than a diagnosis of a moderately differentiated squamous cell. See Squamous-cell Carcinoma. The diagnosis (identification of a disease) of Bowen's portends (predicts) a good prognosis (prediction of the result) if the Bowen's is treated properly with the consideration that Bowen's cells like to "hide" in pores.

Botox: A substance derived from botulinum toxin that works by preventing nerve impulses from reaching the muscle, causing the muscle to relax.

Breast augmentation: A surgical procedure done to increase breast size.

Breslow level: A grading system for melanoma developed to indicate the chance of survival for patients with melanoma.

Brow lift: A surgical procedure in which the skin of the forehead and eyebrows is tightened to eliminate sagging eyebrows or correct frown lines in the forehead.

Bulla: A raised lesion greater than .5 cm in diameter that contains water and no pus. The plural is bullae. Also Known As: Pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid

Callus: An excessive build up of the hard tough layers of skin. Can be removed at-home or by an esthetician.

Cancer: See Malignant. Malignancy is an equivalent term.

Candidiasis (Also called yeast infection.): a skin infection caused by yeast that can occur in the skin folds, the navel, vagina, penis, mouth, and nail beds.

Carbuncles: clusters of boils on the skin.

Cavernous hemangioma: a raised, red or purple mark in the skin, made up of enlarged blood vessels.

Chemexfoliation: See chemical peel

Chemical peel: A process in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells. This process is also called a chemexfoliation.

Cholasma: See melasma.

Cancer: See Malignant. Malignancy is an equivalent term.

Clark's level: A grading system for melanoma developed by the world-famous dermatopathologist Wallace Clark, who was a professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania while Dr. Weber was in training there.

Clinical examination: A clinical examination is the examination that a doctor (preferably a dermatologist when it concerns the skin) can do with no more than his/her eyes, a magnifying glass and fingers. It does not include the examination of tissue under the microscope or with special cameras or computers. A clinical examination may be thought of as the kind of information found when a physician examined the patient in the late eighteenth century. By no means should a clinical examination be taken lightly, for it is the clinical examination that leads to more specific tests that may detect life-threatening cancers. A meticulous, correct, thorough and competent clinical exam is super-important.

Closure: See Repair; the terms are equivalent.

Cold sore: small blisters around and in the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Collagen: The material that makes up the "leathery layer" of the skin or dermis. Collagen itself is not alive; it is secreted by the fibroblast cells (fiber cells). Fibroblasts create and live in the dermis (leathery layer) of the skin. Collagen is also the base or basis for scar tissue, the tissue by which the body heals or "glues itself together" when damaged. Collagen: The major structural proteins in the skin that give the skin its strength and resilience.

Common nevus: To dermatologists, implies a usually very benign type of mole that is regular in color and shape and borders. Common nevi (plural) usually arise in youth as a black or brown spot and raise slightly in early adulthood. Common nevi sometimes become baglike and protruding later in adult life.

Contagious: Able to be spread from person to person or living object to nonliving object to living object (such as person to doorknob to person). Cancer itself is NOT contagious. Many infections can be contagious. Warts are one of the most common contagious growths on the human skin. Some viruses can initiate/cause skin and other cancers and may be contagious.

Connective Tissue: Tissue which contains a lot of noncellular material between its cells. It connects or binds other tissues, organs, or structures.

Contracture scar: A type of scar in which a permanent tightening of skin occurs, often in response to a burn. This type of scar may affect the underlying muscles and tendons, limiting mobility and possibly damaging the nerves.

Copper peptide: A common ingredient found in skin care products, copper peptide is used to promote and produce collagen and elastin in the skin.

Creeping eruption: a skin infection caused by hookworms that is characterized by severe itching.

Crows feet: The fine lines found around the eyes. They are often caused by sun exposure, however, smoking also contributes to their formation.

Crust (Also called scab.): a formation of dried blood, pus, or other skin fluid over a break in the skin.

Cure rate: Cure rate is usually expressed in terms of the percent of patients that will be improved or alive over a given time period. In other words, a cure rate is a measure of the percentage of patients who are improved from a disease or are completely free or cured of cancer with respect to a certain interval of time. The cure rate is usually 100% minus the failure rate over that particular period of time. A cure rate does not always imply cure for cancer, but may be freedom from another type of disease. An example of a particular cure rate might be that patients have an 85% to 95% chance of being cured or completely free from signs of returning melanoma of the most superficial level after five years. This is called the five-year cure rate. For example, scraping and burning basal-cell carcinomas of "high risk" areas as a treatment may give only an 85% five-year cure rate. That means a 100% - 85% = 15% failure rate, or about one in six people have the tumor return to damage or harm them. Even worse, such a tumor may return to be more aggressive than before it was treated. See Failure rate in the Glossary.

Curettage & (Electro)Desiccation: The "scraping and burning" of a skin tumor, either benign or malignant, using a circular knife (sharp scoop) called a curette and often with an additional electric surgical device called a cautery. This treatment has varying degrees of cure and failure rates. See Cure rate and Failure rate in the Glossary.

Cutaneous: when referring to skin, usually means the dermis (see "dermis" in the glossary) or leather layer of the skin. Some doctors also use cutaneous to mean epidermis and dermis together.

Cyst of the skin: An "inpocketing" of living pore tissue that usually retains the dead debris normally shed from the surface of our skin. A cyst may be as small as a whitehead or as big as a golf ball with a tiny pore hole, which is responsible for the inpocketing, located somewhere around/near the cyst. Cysts are almost always benign, although they can develop bulbous roots. Rarely, squamous-cell cancers have been found growing in cysts, which is a reason to send a cyst for pathology (microscopic tissue exam) following the cyst's surgical removal. Cysts may become painful or infected by virtue of pressure or rupture of the keratin (debris) that they retain.

Debriding: The process of removing dead or devitalized tissue prior to reconstructive or cosmetic surgery.

Defect: A hole or gap in the skin, fat, muscle or bone created when a skin tumor, cancer or growth has been removed surgically (specifically a surgical defect).

Demodex folliculorum: a mite that infests hair follicles. It is believed that this mite contributes to a skin condition called rosacea by provoking a small allergic reaction in the follicle, blocking the follicle, or allowing other microorganisms to infect the skin.

Depilation: The removal of hair.

Dermabrasion: A surgical procedure in which a patient’s skin, scarred from acne, pox, or other causes, is frozen and then removed using a high-powered rotating brush.

Dermalogen: A product derived from human donor tissue that is used in lip augmentation to produce a look of fuller lips.

Dermatitis: An inflammation of the skin caused by an allergic reaction or contact with an irritant. Typical symptoms of dermatitis include redness and itching.

Dermatofibroma: Skin and scar fiber tumor. A dermatofibroma is a benign lesion or tumor of the skin that usually occurs on the legs of adults. There is a malignant variety/form called dermatofibrosarcoma, but it is very rare. When pinched at the edges, most dermatofibromas dimple or depress in the center forming a dell.

Dermatologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of skin and skin-related problems.

Dermatologic Surgeon: A dermatologist who may or may not have extra training in dermatologic surgery. Unfortunately some dermatology training programs do not offer extensive training in surgery, and some dermatologists have to seek training above and beyond that which is offered in the dermatology residency program. Alternatively some dermatology residency programs offer a tremendous amount of high quality surgical training and the doctor may even continue studying in an advanced fellowship such as a Mohs fellowship, dermatology fellowship, or cosmetic surgery fellowship, thereby further enhancing already superior skills. The quality of doctors found practicing dermatologic surgery runs the gambit from minor surgery to very advanced procedures and from doctors of limited talent to those of incredible talent.

Dermatologic surgery: Deals with the diagnosis and treatment of medically necessary and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair, nails, veins, mucous membranes and adjacent tissues by various surgical, reconstructive, cosmetic and non-surgical methods. This includes laser surgery, cryosurgery, chemical surgery, aspirational surgery and excisional surgery. The purpose of dermatologic surgery is to repair and/or improve the function and cosmetic appearance of skin tissue.
Dermatopathology: Literally the study of skin tissue and abnormality under a microscope. Board Certified Dermatopathologists are more highly trained than dermatologists and pathologists in the reading of histology (stained microscopic) slides for skin lesions. The extra training involves study under other prominent dermatopathologists for years and the sitting of a board examination in this special study. Certified Mohs Surgeons of the American Academy of Mohs Surgery have been shown to have a 99.9% agreement with Board Certified Dermatopathologists in analyzing skin cancers removed by Mohs surgery during numerous comparative studies.

Dermis: The middle layer of the skin, the dermis is a complex combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find collagen and elastin. The dermis is also where wrinkles occur. The layer of the skin that lies just below the epidermis on most of the body. It is largely made up of collagen (fibrous or connective) tissue. The dermis, as a layer, makes up the bulk of the skin and is usually thickest on the back and the back of the neck. The dermis may best be thought of as the "leather layer" of the skin. The dermis protects the body from mechanical injury, binds water, stores water, maintains temperature and carries nerves to detect sensation and feeling. Blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, sweat glands, oil glands, hair follicles, hair erecting muscles, and other structures reside in or course through the dermis.

Dermoid Cyst: A benign tumor made up of hairs, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands.

Dermoscope: A tool used by doctors to view a mole or suspicious spot on living skin. It is an instrument that is somewhat like a modified otoscope (ear-exam scope) with magnification of 10 power or more. The skin is coated with special oil and the dermascope light is shone at a special angle to the surface of the skin. Tissue is not stained or thinly placed. The dermoscope cannot take a biopsy or see deep into the centers of live tissue. Individual cells and parts of cells, i.e., the nucleus, cannot be seen. At this time, it is not a completely adequate substitute for a biopsy of many suspicious lesions.

Dermoscopy: Skin scoping or observing the skin directly using a special scope. Dermoscopy is usually performed on a mole or suspicious spot on living skin with an instrument that is somewhat like a modified otoscope (ear-exam scope) with magnification of 10 power or more. The skin is coated with special oil and the dermascope light is shone at a special angle to the surface of the skin. It is not a completely adequate substitute for a biopsy of many suspicious lesions at this time.

Deviated septum: A condition in which the septum (the wall inside the nose that divides it into two sides) is not located in the middle of the nose where it should be. The condition is commonly treatable with surgery.

Eczema: A skin condition characterized by itchy, irritated, inflamed skin. Eczema comes in many forms and can be triggered by a variety of factors, including allergies, environmental factors, or family history. The raised, inflamed skin can appear anywhere on your body, including your face, legs, arms or neck.

Eczema vaccinatum: a serious complication that occurs when people with eczema or atopic dermatitis get vaccinated. The lesion spreads to skin that is currently affected or has recently been affected by eczema. This complication can occur even if the eczema or atopic dermatitis is not active at the time, and requires immediate medical attention. Prior to 1960, eczema vaccinatum occurred in 10 to 39 people per 1 million people vaccinated. Vaccine Immune Globulin (VIG) is felt to be a useful treatment for eczema vaccinatum.

Elastin: A protein found with collagen in the dermis that is responsible for giving structure to your skin and organs. Protein similar in structure to collagen and is chief constituent of elastic fibers embedded in extracellular matrix. The fibrous components form an elastic network to uniformly maintain the resilience and elastic properties to local tissue requirements.

Electrolysis: A hair removal procedure in which chemicals or heat is used to destroy the hair follicle.

Ephelides: See freckles

Epidermis: The outer layer of the skin. The epidermis is also the thinnest layer, responsible for protecting you from the harsh environment. The epidermis is made up of five layers of its own: stratum germinativum, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum and stratum corneum.

Erysipelas: a skin infection that usually affects the arms, legs, or face, characterized by shiny, red areas, small blisters, and swollen lymph nodes.

Erythema multiforme: a skin condition characterized by symmetrically positioned, red, raised skin areas all over the body.

Erythema nodosum: a skin condition, characterized by red bumps that usually appear on the shins.

Erythrasma: a skin infection of the top layer of skin characterized by irregular pink patches that turn to brown scales.

Excoriation: a hollowed-out or linear area of the skin covered by a crust.

Exfoliate: To remove the top layer of skin. Chemical peels and dermabrasion are examples of methods in which the skin is exfoliated.
Extensor surfaces: anatomy term used to describe certain areas of the body. A body part flexes when it bends and extends when it straightens. The parts of the skin that touch when a joint bends are called the flexor surfaces. The parts of the skin on the opposite side of the joint are called the extensor surfaces.

Eye lift: See blepharoplasty

Face lift: See rhytidectomy

Fascia: A type of connective tissue used in lip augmentation to produce fuller lips. This product is made from human donor tissue.

Filler Injection: Most commonly collagen — a gel like substance derived from purified animal tissue, and fat — which is harvested from the patients thigh or abdomen and then injected to plump up facial areas or “fill” wrinkled areas (see also Botox).

Fissure: A linear loss of the top two layers of skin, the dermis and epidermis, with sharply defined, nearly verticle walls. Also Known As: Chapped hands and lips, eczema, intertrigo, perleche.

Flexor surface: an anatomy term used to describe certain areas of the body. A body part flexes when it bends and extends when it straightens. The parts of the skin that touch when a joint bends are called the flexor surfaces. The parts of the skin on the opposite side of the joint are called the extensor surfaces.

Follicle: The tiny shaft in the skin through which a hair grows, and sebum is excreted from sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin.

Folliculitis: an inflammation of the hair follicles due to an infection.
Freckle: A light or moderately brown spot that appears on the skin as a result of exposure to sunlight. Freckles are most common in people with fair complexions.

Generalized pustular psoriasis: This is a rare form of psoriasis is also known as von Zumbusch psoriasis. It can be life-threatening especially in the elderly. It is characterized by the development of pustules in the flexural areas - the backs of the knees, the insides of the elbows, the armpits and the groin. These pustules continue to spread and soon they join to form lakes of pus. The pustules rupture easily and can become infected. This condition can be fatal if the patient gets dehydrated, or the infection spreads to the bloodstream.

Gentian Violet: purple dye that is used to treat vaginal yeast infections and thrush. The dye is "painted" on the infection and kills the fungus. It can stain clothing.

Glycolic Peel: Used to help peel or exfoliate the skin.

Granuloma annulare: a chronic skin condition characterized by small, raised bumps that form a ring with a normal or sunken center.

Grafting: A procedure in which healthy skin and/or muscle is removed from one area of the body to another area damaged by disease or injury.

Hemangioma: A type of birthmark characterized by concentrations of small blood vessels. They commonly referred to as strawberry marks and often disappear after a few months or years.

Herpes zoster (Also called shingles.): a common viral infection of the nerves, characterized by a painful skin rash of small blisters anywhere on the body.

Hives (Also called wheals.): a pink swelling of the skin.

Hormones: Chemical substances produced by the body that, depending on the hormone, govern many body processes. Certain hormones cause physical maturation during puberty. These are the ones implicated in acne.

Hyaluronic Acid: An acid that occurs naturally in the skin, helps retain the skin's natural moisture.

Hypodermis: The fatty layer of skin, home of sweat glands and fat and collagen cells. The hypodermis is responsible for conserving your body’s heat and protecting your vital inner organs.

Hyperpigmentation: A skin condition in which there is excessive pigmentation, often seen as dark spots on the skin such as café-au-lait spots.

Hypertrophic scar: A raised and red scar, similar to a keloid scar, but different in that it stays within the boundaries of the injury site.

Hypopigmentation: A skin condition in which there is a lack of pigmentation.

Impetigo: a skin infection characterized by pus-filled blisters.

Inflammatory: A word that means "causing inflammation." In acne, "inflammatory" is usually used to describe lesions that are inflamed by chemical reactions or bacteria in clogged follicles.

Incision and drainage: Incision and drainage, or I&D, is a common treatment for skin infections and abscesses. An infection with pus, or abscess, does not heal well on its own or even with antibiotics. The pus must be drained to promote healing. An I&D is performed by first numbing the area with local anesthetic. Unfortunately local anesthetic is not as effective in an abscess as it is in normal skin. Sometimes an I&D is performed without local anesthetic to reduce the number of sticks. A scalpel is inserted into the skin overlying the pus and the pus is drained. Many abscesses have pockets of pus that must be broken up to release all of the pus. Sometimes a wick, usually a piece of gauze or gauze tape, is placed in the drained abscess to keep the skin from closing. This allows the wound to continue to drain as it heals from the inside out.

Intertrigo: A Candida albicans infection of skin folds. In areas of the body that have skin touching skin such as the armpits, groin, and under heavy breasts or fat folds, the environment is warm and moist. This is the perfect environment for Candida albicans, a yeast that is normally found on the skin, to overgrow and cause symptoms. Intertrigo is characterized by an intensely red, moist rash with scaling on the edges. Satellite lesions, small areas of the same rash that are close to the main rash, are characteristic of intertrigo and other Candida skin infections. Intertrigo is treated with antifungal creams such as clotrimazole and miconazole. Equally important in the treatment of intertrigo is keeping the skin folds as dry as possible. A drying solution such as Burow's compresses can be applied to the skin folds for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day to promote drying.

Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin, whites of the eyes (sclerae), and other tissues because of excessive bilirubin in the blood.

Keloid: Smooth, pink, raised, firm, fibrous growths on the skin that form secondary to injury."

Keloid scar: A type of scar that continues to grow beyond what is needed at the site of an injury. This type of scar is caused by too much collagen forming while the skin is being repaired. The tendency to develop keloid scars is genetic.

Keratin: This dominant protein is your skin’s main material, as well as in hair and nails. Keratin is what forms the rigidity of your skin.

Keratinocytes: The primary cell types found in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin.

Keratoacanthomas: round, flesh-colored growths with craters that contain a pasty material.

Keratosis pilaris: a common skin condition characterized by small, pointed pimples.

Kojic acid: A skin treatment product derived from a fungus that studies have shown is effective as a lightening agent and in inhibiting the production of melanin.

Lanolin: An emollient with moisturizing properties and an emulsifier with high water absorbing capabilities.

Laser Resurfacing: Uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars."
L-ascorbic acid: L-ascorbic acid is the only form of Vitamin C that the body or skin can use as far as topical treatments are concerned. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that has been proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen.

Lentigines: See age spots.

Lice: tiny insects that can infest the skin; characterized by intense itching.

Lichenification: Thickening of the skin with hyperkeratosis caused by chronic inflammation, usually resulting from prolonged scratching or irritation.

Lip augmentation: A procedure done to improve deflated, drooping or sagging lips, correct their symmetry or to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around them. This is often done through injections or implants.

Lipids: Oily substances that include things like fats, oils and waxes.
Sebum is made up of lipids. A particular kind of lipid, free fatty acids, are irritating to the skin.

Lipomas: round or oval lumps under the skin caused by fatty deposits.

Lipoplasty: See liposuction

Liposuction: A cosmetic procedure in which a special instrument called a canula is used to break up and suck out fat from the body. This procedure is also known as lipoplasty.

Longitudinal melanonychia: the presence of a pigmented stripe, usually brown or black, along the length of the nail bed in darker-skinned individuals. Longitudinal melanonychia results from deposition of melanin in the nail plate from a variety of causes. A small number of people with longitudinal melanonychia have subungual melanoma.

Lymphangioma: a raised, yellow-tan or red mark in the skin, made up of enlarged lymphatic vessels.

Macrodactyly: A condition that affects children in which the fingers or toes grow abnormally large.

Macular stain: A small birthmark that is often nothing more than a small, mild, red blemish on the skin. (Also called angel's kisses or stork bites.) faint, red marks that appear in the skin at birth. Angel's kisses are marks on the forehead and eyelids. Stork bites are marks on the back of the neck.

Macule: The smaller version of a patch - a flat discolored spot.

Maculopapular: describes a rash that contains both macules and papules. A macule is a flat discolored area of the skin, and a papule is a small raised bump. A maculopapular rash is usually a large area that is red, and has small, confluent bumps. The sandpapery rash of scarlet fever, or scarletina, is the classic example of a maculopapular rash.

Malignant Melanoma: A rare, but sometimes deadly, skin cancer that begins as a mole that turns cancerous. The most serious type of skin cancer, in which a mole changes shape, darkens, becomes painful, and/or bleeds easily

Mallow: An anti-inflammatory substance that helps prevent age lines and reduce eye swelling.

Mammoplasty: Any reconstructive or cosmetic surgical procedure that alters the size or shape of the breast.

Mastectomy: The surgical removal of part or all of the breast.

Mastocytosis: a disease that causes facial flushing. Mast cells are cells of the immune system that are found around blood vessels in the skin, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and genitourinary tract. They contain granules of several substances, the most common of which is histamine. These granules are released in response to contact with certain foreign substances.

Mastopexy: Also called a breast lift, this procedure removes excess skin in order to lift up sagging or drooping breasts.

Melanocytes: A pigment producing cell found in the skin, hair and eyes that gives them their color. cells located in the epidermisthat are responsible for producing melanin, a brown pigment that helps screen against the harmful effects of UVlight.

Melanin: A substance that gives the skin its color (also called pigment.

Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread rapidly and be fatal if not treated or detected.

Melasma: A condition in which pigmentation of the cheeks of the face darkens into tan or brown patches. This condition occurs in half of all women during pregnancy. Melasma is a brown hyperpigmentation that occurs on the face and neck of some women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy or while taking oral contraceptives. The areas most commonly affected are the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin. Different types of melasma occur depending on the location of the excess melanin, in the epidermis or the dermis. Melasma is thought to be caused by elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a hormone that causes melanin cells to make more melanin).

Mesoderm: Middle of the three primary germ layers of the embryonic development and the eventual source of bodily tissues, organs and structure.

Micropigmentation: A form of tattooing commonly used to apply permanent makeup by injecting iron oxide pigment into the middle layer of your skin (dermis).

Milia: A small lesion filled with keratin and no visible opening.

Moles: Areas of pigmentation, darker than the surrounding skin, and often raised. Harmless moles are usually less than about 5 millimetres across and have well-defined edges. A change to a mole or the appearance of a new one could indicate cancer. The number of moles on a person seems to be an indication of their exposure to the sun.

Mongolian spots: Bluish-black marks on the lower back and buttocks; affects mainly African-American or Asian children.

Mycosis fungoides: cutaneous T-cell lymphoma skin tumors.

Neoplasm: A tumor.

Nevus flammeus: See port-wine stain.

Nodule (Also called papule.): a solid, raised bump.

Nits: Nits are the eggs of lice. Humans can be infested with three kinds of lice: Pediculus capitis (head lice), Pediculus corporis (body lice), and Phthirus pubis (pubic, or crab, lice). Lice feed on human blood and deposit their eggs (nits) on the hair shafts (head lice and pubic lice) and along the seams of clothing (body lice). The nits are attached to the hair shaft or clothing with a strong cement.

Onycholysis: the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed. This can occur for various reasons, but the most common cause is a fungal nail infection, or onychomycosis.

Otoplasty: A surgical procedure done to correct misshaped or protruding ears.

PABA: Para-aminobenzoic acid. Found in the vitamin B complex. Used as an ingredient in some sunscreen products. Photoaging: The changes that occur to the skin due to exposure to the sun. This includes wrinkles and age spots.

Papules: Small rounded elevations of the skin.

Paranychia: a skin infection around a finger or toenail.

Patch: a flat, discolored spot.

Pediculicides: medications used to treat lice and scabies infestations. Various pediculicides have different mechanisms of action. Some applications need to be repeated in 7-10 days because pediculicides do not always kill all nits.

Pediculosis: an infestation of lice. Humans can be infested with three kinds of lice: Pediculus capitis (head lice), Pediculus corporis (body lice), and Phthirus pubis (pubic, or crab, lice). Lice feed on human blood and deposit their eggs (nits) on the hair shafts (head lice and pubic lice) and along the seams of clothing (body lice).

Punch grafts: small skin grafts to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar, which is then replaced with unscarred skin (often from the back of the earlobe). Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars.

Photosensitivity: A condition in which the application or ingestion of certain chemicals or foods can cause skin problems, such as rash, hyperpigmentation and swelling, when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

Pityriasis rosea: a common skin condition characterized by scaly, pink, and inflamed skin.

Plaque: An elevated, solid, superficial lesion more than .5cm in diameter. A plaque differs from a nodule in it's height. A plaque tends to be flattened and a nodule is a "bump". Also Known As: Eczema, discoid lupus erythematosis, lichen planus, paget's disease, pityriasis, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, tinea corporis, tinea versicolor.

Port-wine stain: A type of hemangioma characterized by a mark on the skin that resembles the rich red color of port wine. Port-wine stains are caused by an abnormal concentration of capillaries. This type of birthmark is also referred to as nevus flammeus.

Prickly heat: a rash caused by trapped sweat under the skin.

Psoriasis: a chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed, red, raised areas that develop silvery scales.

Ptosis: The drooping of a body part, especially the eyelids or the breasts.

Punch grafts: small skin grafts to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar, which is then replaced with unscarred skin (often from the back of the earlobe). Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars.

Pustule (Also called pimple.):inflamed lesions that look like pink bumps.

Pyogenic granuloma: red, brown, or bluish-black raised marks caused by excessive growth of capillaries.

Raised bumps: bumps that stick out above the skin surface.

Resorcinol: In mild solutions, used as an antiseptic and as a soothing preparation for itchy skin.

Retinol: A derivative of Vitamin A commonly found in many skin care creams.

Rhinoplasty: A cosmetic procedure used to enhance or change the appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty is commonly referred to as a nose job.

Rhus dermatitis: an allergic contact dermatitis caused by the Rhus (Toxicodendron) genus of plants. Members of this genus are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. The Rhus genus belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. Other plants in this family are the cashew nut tree, mango tree, Japanese lacquer tree, and marking nut tree. All members of the Anacardiaceae family produce chemical substances called pentadecylcatechols (PDC's). Plants in the Rhus genus produce a specific PDC called urushiol in the stems, roots, canals, and skin of the fruits. When urushiol comes in contact with the skin, it causes an allergic reaction and the rash we know as poison ivy. Also Known As: poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac

Rhytidectomy: Commonly called a facelift, this surgical procedure is done to eliminate the sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck.

Ringworm: a fungal skin infection characterized by ring-shaped, red, scaly, or blistery patches.

Rosacea: A skin disease of unknown causes that causes an array of symptoms, including redness and puffiness on several areas of the face, including cheeks and nose. Rosacea cannot be cured, but treatment should be sought since the condition can worsen over time if not treated correctly or promptly.

Salicylic acid: See beta hydroxy acid. Keratolytic drug (a drug that removes the outer layer of skin) used to treat various skin conditions.

Sallowness: A term used to describe a yellowish color of the skin.

Sarcoidosis: an inflammation of the lymph nodes and other organs.

Scabies: an infestation of mites in the skin characterized by small pimples that itch.

Scales: dead skin cells that look like flakes or dry skin.

Scar: fibrous tissue that has formed after a skin injury.

Sebaceous cyst: also known as an epidermal cyst. It is a collection of keratin-like material - usually white, cheesy, or firm - contained in a cyst wall. The sebaceous cyst normally has a small opening that communicates with the skin and may not be very well seen. Sebaceous cysts can occur on any skin surface, but are most common on the face, back or base of the ears, chest, and back. Sebaceous cysts do not have to be removed unless they are cosmetically unacceptable or if they get infected. An infected sebaceous cyst is red, swollen, and painful. It should be treated with antibiotics and then excised when it is not inflamed. The key to removing a sebaceous cyst is removing all of the cyst wall, otherwise the likelihood of the cyst coming back is high.Also Known As: Epidermal Cyst.

Sebaceous glands: The glands of the skin that emit oil into the hair follicles.

Seborrheic keratosis: flesh-colored, brown, or black wart-like spots.

Septoplasty: A surgical procedure done to improve the flow of air to your nose by repairing malformed cartilage and/or the bony portion. The procedure is often performed along with a rhinoplasty.

Sclerotherapy: A medical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and "spider veins." During the procedure, an injection of a solution (generally sodium chloride) in placed directly into the vein.

Shea Butter: An emollient for use in creams, lotions. Alleviates dry skin.

Skin tags: soft, small, flesh-colored skin flaps on the neck, armpits, or groin.

Spider angioma: a bright red mark with a distinct dark spot in the skin.

Spider vein: A widened vein that can be seen through the surface of the skin.

Stratum corneum: The outer most layer of the epidermis.
squamous cells: see keratinocytes.

Squamous cell carcinoma: a form of skin cancer that affects about 20 percent of patients with skin cancer. This highly treatable cancer is characterized by red, scaly skin that becomes an open sore.

Strawberry mark (Also called capillary hemangioma.): a raised, strawberry red mark in the skin.

Subcutaneous: A term referring to below the skin. The subcutaneous tissue is the third of the three layers of skin. The subcutaneous layer contains fat and connective tissue that houses larger blood vessels and nerves. This layer is important is the regulation of temperature of the skin itself and the body. The size of this layer varies throughout the body and from person to person.

Subcutis: the deepest layer of skin; also known as the subcutaneous layer.

Sun protection factor: Commonly seen on suntan ingredients as SPF, the sun protection factor is the amount of the protection a suntan product provides. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection.

Suture: The stitches used to hold tissue together or to close a wound.

Tinea versicolor: a common fungal skin infection characterized by white or light brown patches on the skin.

Toxic epidermal necrolysis: a life-threatening skin disorder characterized by blistering and peeling of the top layer of skin.

Tretinoin: A prescription drug related to vitamin A used to treat acne and other skin disorders.

Tumor: A growth that may be malignant or nonmalignant, good or bad, fast- or slow-growing. The term indicates the unusual presence of a type of tissue (group of cells) in an area in which it is not commonly found in most individuals. The word tumor is another term the author considers a "wastebasket" term. For example, melanoma, a tumor, may kill a person. As well, a benign mole on the tip of the nose or the on the front of the knee can be considered a tumor, although it will not harm anyone. It is important to know that the word tumor does not necessarily mean something is deadly or even harmful to life.

Urushiol: resin in poison ivy plants that causes a skin reaction.

Varicose vein: Enlarged, twisted veins found near the surface of the skin.

Verruca: The technical term for wart. Verrucous refers mainly to the visibly roughened ridge-like surface of a wart or other skin growth. See Wart.

Vertical sections: Usually made by the "breadloafing" method of testing a specimen to see if a tumor or another process still involves the edges of the sample taken from the body. If a process involves the edges of the tested specimen, then it is highly likely that the process (benign or malignant) involves the edges of the tissue that remain behind in the body from where the specimen was taken. Unfortunately, vertical sections test only a small segment (portion) of the edge of a specimen and, therefore, have an inherent failure or uncertainty rate. Most surgeons do not know this important fact, as you will see if they are questioned. Vertical sections were the cause of the plastic surgeons' failing to cure the basal-cell skin cancer on President Reagan's nose the first time. Horizontal section testing does not have this inherent failure rate.

Vitiligo: A condition in which smooth white patches appear on the skin due to a loss of pigment producing cells.

Von Zumbusch Psoriasis: This is a rare form of psoriasis is also known as generalized pustular psoriasis. It can be life-threatening especially in the elderly. It is characterized by the development of pustules in the flexural areas - the backs of the knees, the insides of the elbows, the armpits and the groin. These pustules continue to spread and soon they join to form lakes of pus. The pustules rupture easily and can become infected. This condition can be fatal if the patient gets dehydrated, or the infection spreads to the bloodstream.
Von Zumbusch psoriasis is often triggered by stopping topical or oral steroids. Oral steroids in psoriasis patients are actually dangerous. They do clear up the psoriasis while the patient is taking them, but after the patient stops, the psoriasis often comes back even worse. Any person with psoriasis who is prescribed oral corticosteroids for another condition should discuss their use with a dermatologist before taking them. Also Known As: generalized pustular psoriasis

Wart: Otherwise known as a verruca. A wart is almost always a benign growth found on humans caused by the human papilloma (wart) virus (HPV). Warts are contagious (spreadable) but many people just have a weak immunity to wart and fungus infection to which they are, therefore, more susceptible than other people. Some wart virus infections have been shown to develop into cancer, although this is fairly rare event.

Winter itch: A condition in which the skin becomes irritated due to a loss of moisture. Winter itch is common in the winter when the air is drier, thus its name.

Zinc Oxide: Used to protect, soothe and heal the skin. Also provides good sun protection.

Original Post October 26, 2006 - 930 views

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Re: Skin Glossary

Postby patoco » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:44 am

Reviewed October 8, 2009
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Re: Skin Glossary

Postby patoco » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:57 am

Hey Lamp :)

Like any medicine, we can become immune or insensitive to it when used for a very long time, especially if it is an agent for bacteria, fungi or virus. These adapt overtime, just as infective agents inside the body change.

Sounds very much like it's time to try another medicine.

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