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:


Blister or vesicle

Crust or scab



Hives or wheals



Nodule or papule

Raised bumps


Pustule (pimple)



Thin, wrinkled

Fluid-filled bump under or within the epidermis

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

Deeply seated sac lesion that contains keratin and sebum

An erosion caused by scratching 

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

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

Flat, discolored spot

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

Bumps that stick out above the skin surface

Flat, large discolored spot with smooth surface

Inflamed, elevated lesions that appear to contain pus

A buildup of dead skin cells that form flakes

Fibrous tissue that forms after a skin injury