Skin eruption terminology

Anaesthesia – numbness

Apthae – occurs in the mouth, on the tongue and inside the cheeks. They start as red vesicles and then ulcerate until it looks like a burn. Very painful especially with acid or salty foods. Bor, Merc, Kali-b, Hydr, Sul-a, Nit-a. See ulcers.

Boils – (furuncle) An acute round inflammation of the internal skin layers, or hair. When deep, the blood clots in the vessel and forms a core which can be very painful. The core is expelled or absorbed eventually. Caused by bacteria. Can progress to meningitis or septicemia if large and on the face.

Bran-like - like the outer coating or husk of a cereal grain, flaky

Bullae – (plural of bulla) large blisters or skin vesicles filled with fluid. A bleb.

Carbuncle – Latin for small glowing ember. A round inflammation of the skin and internal skin layers which will eventually get pushed out and is accompanied with pus. Caused by bacteria. Starts with a tight reddish skin over the eruption which gets thin and erupts with pus in several openings. Found most commonly on the back of the neck, upper back or buttocks.

Cicatrices – scar from a wound. Also called keloid tissue.

Circinate – circular

Collosity (callosity) - the quality or state of being callous as a marked or abnormal hardness and thickness of the skin

Comedones – blackheads

Condylomata – Warty growth, usually around the genitals. It’s either a pointy type or a broad flat form which is common is syphilitics. Greek for wart.

Confluent – eruptions merge together

Decubitus - bedsores

Desquamation – shedding of the skin. Exfoliation.

Dropsical – obsolete term for generalized accumulation of tissue fluid (edema).

Ecchymoses – A form of macula (discolored spots or patches) appearing in large irregularly formed hemorrhagic areas of the skin. Color can be blue-black changing to greenish-brown or yellow. Not a bruise resulting from an injury.

Ecthyma – Skin infection usually caused by neglect of impetigo. Has shallow lesions with crusts or scabs, followed by discoloration and scarring.

Eczema – A general description of skin eruptions and not a disease. Could be an allergic reaction, vesicles, thickened skin, itchy, or pustular. Also called tetters. A clear psoric eruption and always a chronic symptom.

Erysipelas – acute disease with fever, localized inflammation, redness of skin, and skin lesions.

Excoriated – abrasion of the outer skin layers.

Excrescences – outgrowths from the surface of a part.

Fistulous – abnormal tubelike passage from a normal cavity or tube to a free surface or another cavity. Abcesses, injuries or inflammation can cause this.

Formication - like insects crawling on the skin. A common side-effect of cocaine withdrawal.

Ganglia – cystic tumors developing on a tendon or aponeurosis (flat fibrous sheet of connective tissue found next to the tongue, sole of foot, etc.). The back of the wrist is common. The other definition has to do with nerves.

Goose-flesh - a skin reaction caused by erection of skin papillae from cold or shock. Temporary roughness.

Herpes – groups of deep vesicles on red and inflamed bases. Includes cold sores and fever blisters.

Hidebound - referring to disease, when the skin hardens and thickens with loss of elasticity.

Humid - moist, damp

Ichorous – resembling watery pus.

Icthyosis – dry and scaly skin, resembling fish skin. Common on older patients in winter on the legs.

Impetigo – Inflammation with isolated pustules which become crusty and rupture. Usually around mouth and nostrils. Caused by bacteria.

Indolent – Not active or painless.

Indurations – hardening of tissue

Intertrigo – a superficial dermatitis (itching, redness, and lesions) in the folds of the skin.

Lardaceous – resembling lard, waxy, fatty.

Lousiness – infested with lice.

Lupus – any chronic, progressive, usually ulcerating, skin disease. Usually referred to tuberculous lupus characterized by reddish-brown tubercules in groups of nodules or patches. Systemic lupus erythematosus is the one that is known by the reddish “butterfly” rash across the nose which can be quite serious.

Lying-in women – pregnant and in bed.

Moles – A discolored spot from birth, elevated above the surface of the skin. Tying a string around a mole to remove it is not recommended.

Mycosis – any disease from a fungus. Most doctors treat with an anti-fungal agent (Mycostat, etc). Psor, Sep, Ars-I, Graph, Hel. See herpes.

Naevi – birthmarks

Nettlerash – see urticaria

Nodular – having small masses of solid tissue

Papular – like having pimples. Seen in measles, smallpox, prurigo, syphilis, eczema, and after usage of coal tar preparations, iodides, or bromides.

Pedunculated - having a stalk or a stem. Usually referred to warts.

Pemphigus – acute or chronic disease characterized by successive crops of bullae suddenly appearing and disappearing, leaving pigmented spots. Usually fatal if untreated.

Petechiae – small purplish hemorrhagic spots appearing in some severe fevers indicating great prostration. As in typhus. Also, like red spots from the bite of a flea.

Phagedenic – like a sloughing ulcer that spreads rapidly. Hospital gangrene or bedsores.

Psoriasis diffusa, inveterata, syphilitic - dermatitis with discrete pink or dull-red lesions surmounted with characteristic silvery scaling.

Purpura haemorrhagica, miliaris, senilis - hemorrhages in skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, and other tissues. First shows red then darkening into purple, then brownish-yellow and finally disappearing in two to three weeks.

Rhagades – linear fissures in the skin, especially at the corners of the mouth or anus, causing pain. In syphilis they form a radiating scar when healed.

Rheumatism – general term for acute and chronic conditions characterized by inflammation, soreness and stiffness of muscles, and pain in joints. It includes arthritis due to rheumatic fever or trauma, degenerative joint disease, bursitis, and many other conditions.

Rhus poisoning – caused by poison ivy

Rupia – an eruption, usually from tertiary syphilis, with large elevations of skin filled with fluid. The bulla bursts and scabs.

Scabies – a highly communicable skin disease caused by the itch mite. Symptoms are papules, vesicles, pustules, burrows, and intense itching resulting in eczema.

Scarlatina – scarlet fever, an acute contagious disease characterized by sore throat, strawberry tongue, fever, pinpoint scarlet rash, and rapid pulse.

Scorbutic – scurvy, caused by a lack of vitamin C. Under the skin you would notice hemorrhages.

Scurfy – a branny desquamation of the skin, especially on the scalp where it would be known as dandruff.

Serpiginous – creeping from one part to another.

Sudamina – Eruption of sweat glands characterized by whitish vesicles without inflammation. Appears after profuse sweat or in some fevers.

Suppurating – forming pus

Tetters – eczema

Urticaria – hives or nettle rash. A vascular reaction of the skin characterized by eruption of pale wheals (white center with red ring with itching) not lasting a long time.

Varicose - pertaining to varices; distended, swollen, knotted veins.

Vesicular – having small blisterlike elevations on the skin with fluid in them. Seen in herpes, poison ivy or poison oak, chickenpox, smallpox, and scabies.

Wens – cysts resulting from the retention of oil in the skin.

Whitlow or felon – Inflammed or abcessed end of finger or toe with pus formation. Either deep or shallow affecting bone and/or nail.

Zoster, zona – a form of herpes also known as shingles. Inflammation of the nerves around some of the spinal cord. Painful vesicles erupt along the nerves on both sides. Sometimes affects the face. Caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox.

Philosophy History First aid The case Repertory Materia medica Case management Non-classical topics Reference News