A-Z Skin Glossary

Home 9 A-Z Skin Glossary

Alopecia – An autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss in areas of the body such as the scalp, face, and body. There are many different types of alopecia:

  • Persistent Patchy Alopecia Areata – A continuous patchy scalp hair loss over a period of time that does not develop over the entire scalp or body
  • Alopecia Totalis – Hair loss across the entire scalp
  • Alopecia Universalis – A more advanced version than alopecia totalis where hair loss occurs over the entire body, including the scalp, face, eyebrows, eyelashes (including pubic hair)
  • Diffuse Alopecia Areata – A sudden and unexpected thinning of scalp hair
  • Ophiasis Alopecia – Hair loss in the sides and lower back of the scalp, in the shape of a band

AnalTag/Skin Tag – The growth of excess skin around the anus. They appear as harmless bumps on the anus that may feel itchy or uncomfortable. The condition is often caused by hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and irritation.

Anti-wrinkle injections – Used to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes.

Biologic Treatments – Treatments that target specific parts of your immune system to treat diseases like eczema. They can help ease inflammation and improve well-being.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – A type of skin cancer that often develops on skin areas that are exposed to the sun, for example, face. It is the least dangerous of all skin cancers.

Blister – A painful skin condition where fluids develop in the space between layers of skin. Often caused by tight clothes or shoes.

Bulla – A fluid-filled sac or lesion that appears when fluid is trapped under a thin layer of your skin. Bulla is a type of blister caused by friction and often happens on your hands and feet.

Café au lait Spot – A light to a dark brown pigmented birthmark that often occurs on a newborn’s skin. Spots can change in size over time and are generally harmless as it does not cause irritation.

Candidiasis – Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida. Conditions include thick, white, lacy patches and often occur on the skin and inside the body, for instance: mouth, throat, gut, and vaginas.

Carbuncle- A cluster of boils that form a connected area of infection under the skin. Boils often begin with reddish or purplish, tender bumps. The bumps are then fill with pus and can cause pain as they grow larger.

Cellulitis- A type of bacterial skin infection that is very common and can be very dangerous. Affected skin is swollen and inflamed and may be painful and warm to the touch.

Chemical Peels – A chemical procedure where a solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers to reveal smoother and younger skin. The procedure is often used to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new cells- for instance, reducing age spots and evening out skin tone.

Collagen – This is the main structure of protein underneath the skin and other connective tissues. Collagen is commonly used in purified form for cosmetic treatments, slows down the aging process, and improves skin hydration and elasticity for older people.

Contact Dermatitis – A type of eczema that causes an itchy rash, often occurring through direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction.

Cryosurgery – A treatment that uses extreme cold from liquid nitrogen or argon gas to destroy cancer cells and abnormal tissue. Cryosurgery can also be used to remove a wart and a small area of normal skin around the wart.

Cherry Angioma – Angiomas commonly occur after age 30 and in the form of small, red bumps on your skin. The cause of the condition is unknown, but they tend to be inherited and harmless.

Cystic Acne – The most severe type of acne that causes painful, pus-filled pimples to form deep under the skin. With cystic acne, bacteria will get into the pores, causing swelling or inflammation.

Dermabrasion- An exfoliating technique that uses a rotating instrument to remove the outer layers of the skin, often used for facial treatment.

Dermatofibroma – Commonly occurs on the skin’s dermis where a mixture of different cell types overgrows. The growth often develops after some type of reaction to the skin, such as a bug bite.

Discoid Lupus – Discoid lupus is a type of cutaneous lupus erythematosus that causes round lesions and thick scales on the skin and scalp.

Drug Rash – A rash that occurs due to side effects of taking a drug or an allergic reaction to it. The condition may include a breakout of hives and can last up to 6 weeks.

Ecchymosis – Ecchymosis is a medical term for a type of bruise.

Eczema- A condition where your skin is itchy, red, dry, scaly, or thickened. Eczema often occurs in early childhood and is usually a lifelong skin condition.

  • Atopic Eczema – A condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Common in young children and is long-lasting but can occur at any age. It can be irritating but not contagious.

Erythema Multiforme – A skin reaction that can be triggered by an infection or medicines. It usually starts as tiny red spots, which may become raised patches and can be slightly itchy or uncomfortable. It’s often a mild condition that goes away in a few weeks. A rare, severe form of erythema multiforme can affect the mouth, genitals and eyes and can be life-threatening, known as erythema multiforme major.

Fissure – Often caused by damage to the lining of the anus or anal canal, the last part of the large intestine. Commonly happen in people who have constipation occurs when a hard or large poo tears the lining of the anal canal.

Folliculitis – A common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. In most cases, the main symptom of folliculitis is red bumps that look like pimples on your skin. Folliculitis can feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Grover’s Disease- A rare and temporary skin condition where it causes redness, raised, blustery, and sometimes very itchy spots that form around the middle of the body.
Common seen in middle-aged men and often related to the fragility of old sun-damaged skin.

Herpes Simplex (cold sore) – Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex (HSV). Once you have the virus, it stays in your skin for the rest of your life. The condition includes small red bumps or tiny white blisters. You may experience pain and tenderness. Most people are exposed to the virus through close contacts, such as kissing or oral sex.

Herpes Zoster (shingles)- Shingle is a condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles itself is not contagious and can’t be spread from one to another. It typically looks like a single stripe of blisters that wraps around your torso’s left or right side.

Heat Rash – A skin condition often occurs in babies and can affect adults, especially in hot, humid conditions. Heat rash occurs when sweat is trapped in the skin. Symptoms include but are not limited to small blisters, inflamed lumps, and sometimes itchiness.

Hives – A skin reaction that causes itchy welts or red raised bumps on the skin. Hives often occur by factors such as pollen, medications, food, and insect bites. A minor hive can last for a few days, whereas a chronic hive can last for more than 6 weeks and will return over a period of time.

Hyperpigmentation – A common skin condition that causes some areas of the skin to be darker than others. Hyperpigmentation can appear as brown, black, grey, red, or pink spots or patches.

Hypopigmentation – The skin will lose its colour when the body cannot produce enough melanin. Hypopigmentation is caused by a low amount of melanin which results in patches of your skin being lighter in colour than your surrounding skin.

Ichthyosis – A condition that causes widespread and persistent thick, dry, fish-scale skin. Ichthyosis is commonly a result of a genetic mutation that’s inherited from one or both parents. The condition usually improves with age and does not affect overall health.

Immunotherapy (melanoma)- Immunotherapy is used to treat advanced (stage 4) melanoma. The process uses medicine to help the body’s immune system find and kill melanoma cells.

Impetigo – A common and highly contagious skin infection that often affects infants and young children. It usually appears as reddish sores on the face, especially around the nose, mouth, hands, and feet.

Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis – A condition caused by repetitive frictional movements as the foot moves up and down in a shoe. Symptoms include excessive sweating, followed by rapid drying, and leads to cracking and fissuring.

Keloid Scar – An enlarged, raised scar that can be pink, red, skin-coloured or darker than the surrounding skin. Often caused by minor skin damage, such as an acne spot or a piercing. In other situations, when the body produces excessive collagen can also cause keloid scars.

Keratosis Pilaris – A common skin condition that is also referred to as chicken skin. Conditions include patches of rough-feeling bumps appearing on the skin. Keratosis pilaris is caused by the build-up of keratin, a hard protein that protects skin from harmful substances and infection.

Laser Resurfacing – A facial rejuvenation procedure that utilises laser to improve the skin’s appearance or treat minor facial flaws.

Lentigo – A skin condition that is often known as liver spots. Symptoms include flat spots on the skin that are darker than the usual skin tone.

Lice – Lice are spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. Common signs and symptoms of lice include intense itching on the scalp, body or genital areas.

Lichen Sclerosus – A very uncommon condition that creates patchy, white skin that appears thinner than normal. These patches can be itchy and painful and cause the affected skin to become delicate; thus, they may cause bleeding.

Lipomas – A fatty tumour located between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. Lipomas are not cancer and are usually harmless.

Macular Stains – A type of birthmark that can appear anywhere on the body as light red, flat mark. Macular stains happen when tiny blood vessel dilate or swell and usually goes down over time.

Melanoma – A type of cancer that develops in the skin cells called melanocytes . The third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, and the most deadly skin cancer. 

Molluscum Contagiosum- A viral skin infection that is sexually transmitted. Symptoms include raised, round, skin-coloured bumps with a dent or dot at the top.

Melasma – A skin condition characterized by brown or blue-grey patches or freckle-like spots. The condition often occurs during pregnancy when the cells that make the colour of your skin overproduce.

Mole Mapping – A procedure used to detect new moles and any changes to your existing moles. Mole mapping can help assess for signs of skin cancer.

Neoadjuvant therapy – A treatment that is given as a first step to shrink a tumour before surgery. An example includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.

Nappy Rash – A skin condition that develops when the baby’s skin is wet or dirty and the nappy causes friction.

Nevi Flammeus – A congenital skin condition that causes a pink or red patch on a newborn’s skin.

Nodule – The growth of abnormal tissue where it causes nodules just below the skin. Nodules is a general term to describe any lump that develops in deeper skin tissues or internal organs.

Onychomycosis – A fungal infection of the fingernails or toenails that result in discolouration, thickening, and separation from the nail bed. Onychomycosis cannot go away on its own, and if left untreated, will cause the fungus to spread, leading to destroyed nails.

Open Comedo – Commonly known as blackheads. An open comedo creates a wide opening on the skin that causes a blackened mass of skin debris.

Paronychia- Occur when the skin around the nail gets irritated or injured. The condition is generally harmless and will go away on its own in a few days.

Papule – Small, Perioral Dermatitis – A condition where a red rash circles your mouth. Your skin can be scaly, dry and flaky with swollen, inflamed bumps called papules. Perioral dermatitis often goes away on its own in a few weeks, but medical treatment may still be necessary.

Pimple – A common skin condition caused by clogged or inflamed oil glands or an increased presence of pimple-causing bacteria on your skin. Pimple is a symptom of acne such as blackheads, whiteheads, and others.

Pityriasis Rosea – A common skin condition that causes a temporary rash of raised red scaly patches on the body. Often occur in children and young adults aged from 10 to 35.

Plaque – A condition where raised red patches are covered with a whitish buildup of dead skin cells called scale. These plaques may be itchy and painful, and sometimes can crack and bleed. Plaques often occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.

Psoriasis – A skin disease that causes a rash with itchy, scaly patches. Commonly occur on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. Psoriasis is a long-term condition and can be painful.

Pus – A think fluid that contains dead tissue, cells, and bacteria. The body often produces it when it’s fighting off an infection, especially infections caused by bacteria.

Pustule – A small raised spot or rounded swelling that is often caused by acne. Mild pustule generally goes away within days along with proper treatment.

Pyogenic Granuloma – A small, raised, and red bumps on the skin that develop after an injury. The bump has a smooth surface and bleeds easily due to a high number of blood vessels at the site.

Rash – A condition that occurs from skin inflammation and causes abnormal changes in skin color or texture.

Ringworm – A common skin infection caused by a fungus. Symptom includes a circular rash (like a ring) that is usually red and itchy.

Rosacea – A skin condition that causes blushing or flushing and visible blood vessels in your face.

Salicylic Acid – Helps the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and helps decrease redness and swelling (inflammation). It is often used to treat skin disorders such as acne, dandruff, and common warts.

Sarcoidosis – A rare condition that causes small patches of red and swollen tissue in the organs of the body. It usually affects the lungs and skin. Sarcoidosis is a chronic condition and may result in the deterioration of the affected organs. Rarely sarcoidosis can be fatal.

Sebacious Glands- Located in the mid-dermis and develops alongside a hair follicle. The function of sebaceous glands is to produce and secrete sebum. Sebum lubricates the skin to protect against friction and create moisture.

Seborrheic Dermatitis – A common skin condition that usually affects the scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis sometimes clears up by itself, but most of the time, it’s a lifelong condition that clears and flares.

Seborrheic Keratosis – A common non-cancerous skin growth that likely happens to people as they get older. Seborrheic keratosis is usually brown, black or light tan. The condition generally doesn’t go away on its own, but treatment isn’t needed.

Scleroderma – An uncommon condition that results in hard, thickened areas of skin and sometimes problems with internal organs and blood vessels. Scleroderma occurs when the body produces excess protein collagen. With localized scleroderma, symptoms may get better over time. However, damage to the skin and other organs may be permanent.

Shingles – A viral infection that causes a painful rash. Symptoms include a burning, tingling, or painful sensation along one side of the torso or head. Most shingles last from 3 to 5 weeks.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma – The second most common form of skin cancer that is often caused by ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. However, it can be cured when found and treated early.

Skin Cancer – Skin cancer develops as a result of areas of the skin is exposed to the sun. The condition appears as a, flesh-coloured or bluish-red nodule growing on your skin. If left untreated, skin cancer can become life-threatening.

Skin Resurfacing – A procedure that removes skin layer by layer with precision. The new skin cells that form during healing will give the skin a tighter appearance. Often used to treat wrinkles and scars.

Targeted Therapy (Melanoma)- A medication method that interferes with the function of abnormal molecules within cancer tumour cells and regulates their growth.

Telangiectasia – Commonly known as “spider veins”. The condition could be caused by chronic exposure to the sun or extreme temperatures. They often appear as fine pink or red lines.

Tinea – A contagious fungal skin condition where infected areas are often feet, groin, scalp and beneath the breasts. The symptom includes red patches and can be spread by direct skin contact or indirectly through towels, and clothes.

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) – A life-threatening skin disorder caused by drug reactio characterized by a blistering and peeling of the skin. Wounds that are caused by TEN are similar to second-degree burns, and severe cases may involve large areas of skin loss.

Urticaria – Also known as hives, weals, welts or nettle rash. Urticaria is a raised, itchy rash that appears on the skin and can be spread across the body. The condition may last for more than 6 weeks and often return over a period of time.

Vitiligo – A long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment. Vitiligo is caused by the lack of melanin in the skin, which causes the patches to develop on your skin or hair. The condition commonly happens on the face, neck and hands.

Venous Ulcer – Often occurs after a minor injury where persistently high pressure in the veins of the legs has damaged the skin. A venous ulcer may take anywhere from a few weeks to years to heal and sometimes can lead to severe problems if left untreated.

Varicella (Chicken Pox) – An extremely contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The condition includes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.

Volume Restoration- A procedure that helps correct the cheekbone area. The treatment is popular in combatting the aging process or adding more structure to the chin or jawline.

Warts- A type of skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The infection will cause rough, skin-coloured bumps on the skin.

Whitehead Wrinkle- A type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped within your pores.

Xanthelasma – A harmless yellow bump on or near your eyelid skin. Xanthelasma does not go away on its own and can be treated with various procedures.

Xerosis – A medical term for dry skin. Xerosis refers to abnormal dry skin or membranes, such as those found in the mouth or the conjunctive of the eye.

Yeast Infection – A fungal infection that can cause irritation, discharge and intense itchiness in the infected area. Anti-fungal medication can be used to treat the condition.

Zit – A type of pimple on the skin. They are often harmless and can be treated effectively using medication or suitable skin care products.

Zinc Deficiency – A condition that can cause skin changes where there may be cracks and a glazed appearance on the skin.