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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:


Blister or vesicle

Crust or scab



Hives or wheals



Nodule or papule

Raised bumps


Pustule (pimple)



Thin, dry, wrinkled skin

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

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

Enclosed sac in skin containing fluid or solid material

An erosion with loss of the epidermis, caused by scratching 

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

Skin that has become thickened, hardened, or leathery with skin markings 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, raised lesions that seem to contain pus

A buildup of dead skin cells that form flakes

Fibrous tissue that forms after a skin injury