Skin related medical terms explained

Skin Clinic

Acne and Spots
Developing spots may occur from 10-40 years of age. Treatments are available and will be tailored to your individual skin type.

Advice on sun awareness
The UV rays from the sun are potentially cancerous but the sun is also an important source for vitamin D. Care needs to be taken between 11-3pm and sunscreens applied with a SPF of at least 15 with a UVA protection. Avoid burning your skin and don’t aim to tan but the sun should not be avoided altogether.

Cells that have undergone changes and are not entirely normal.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
A type of skin cancer, also known as rodent ulcer, usually caused by too much exposure to UV light. This is the most common type of skin cancer in the UK. Most basal cell carcinomas are painless and usually present as a scab that bleeds occasionally and does not heal completely. They may look like a scaly red flat mark or a white pearly rim surrounding a central crater. Other basal cell carcinomas are quite lumpy, with one or more shiny nodules crossed by small but easily seen blood vessels.

A lesion which is not cancerous.

The use of liquid nitrogen to treat skin problems such as warts, small skin tags etc.

Cutaneous versus graft host disease
After organ transplants graft versus host disease may occur. Dr Scarisbrick is a specialist in this area and has published her work widely. Please make an appointment if you wish to discuss skin Graft V Host Disease.

See Epidermal Cyst and Sebaceous Cyst definitions.

Cleaning a wound through the removal of dead, damaged or diseased tissue.

Material used to cover the wound to ensure it stays clean and dry.

Means ‘abnormal growth’. It relates to cells that are not quite normal, but not so abnormal to be classed as cancer cells.

Epidermal cyst
An epidermal cyst is a cyst where the cyst sac forms from cells that normally occur on the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). They can appear anywhere on the skin but develop most commonly on the face, neck, chest, and upper back.

Small dark marks on the skin caused by cells in the skin that produce pigment (colour). They are usually brownish, although some may be darker or skin-coloured. Moles can be flat or raised, smooth or rough, and some have hair growing from them. Moles are usually circular or oval in shape with a smooth edge.

Mole check
Mole checks are designed to identify any suspicious or dangerous looking moles. You will be taught how to self -check your moles which will also protect you in the future.

Another term for mole.

A benign epithelial tumour growing that projects outwoods in finger-like fronds.

Sebaceous Cyst
A small round lump, usually benign, that can be felt beneath the skin most common on the scalp and back but can be found anywhere on the body. They are caused by blocked glands under the skin.

Skin cancer/melanoma/rodent ulcer
There are 3 main types of skin cancer

  1. Malignant melanoma or mole cancer is the most serious and any changing moles should be referred to a dermatologist.
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer which can spread internally. Any non-healing lesions or rapidly growing lesions should be referred to a dermatologist.
  3. Basal cell carcinoma are slow growing cancers which grow locally. They should be referred to a dermatologist for treatment to prevent local damage to skin and nerves.

Skin lymphoma
B and T cell lymphoma both occur in the skin. Mycosis fungoides is the most frequent T-cell lymphoma. Dr Scarisbrick is a specialist in this area and has published her work widely. Please make an appointment if you wish to discuss your skin lymphoma.

Skin tag
A common, benign condition which consists of a bit of skin that projects from the surrounding skin and may appear attached to the skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma
The second most common type of skin cancer in the UK and is also caused by too much exposure to UV light. A squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a scaly or crusty area of skin, with a red, inflamed base.

Stitches used to close a surgical wound.

Urticaria or hives are itchy red wheals which may occur for no reasons or as a result of carrying heavy bags, tight clothing, heat, water, exercise or cold. Treatment can be given to prevent urticaria and relieve the swelling and itch. If urticaria is associated with any swelling of the tongue or difficulty breathing seek urgent treatment from accident and emergency or call an ambulance.

A type of wart usually found on the feet.

Developing white patches of skin is frightening. This may represent vitiligo which can be treated. There are several other causes of white patches and your dermatologist will be able identify these.

Generally a small, rough tumour, typically on hands and feet that can resemble a cauliflower or a solid blister. Warts are common, and are caused by a viral infection. They are highly contagious.

Skin Clinic
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