Glossary

Actinic keratoses—thick, warty, rough, reddish growths on sun-exposed skin. They may be precancerous to squamous cell carcinoma.

Age spots—also called "liver spots." Flat, brown areas usually found on the face, hands, back and feet. They are associated with aging, but chronic sun exposure is a major cause. They are easily removed by a dermatologist.

Basal cell carcinoma—a skin cancer that develops in the basal layer of the skin—deeper than the surface layer. It is associated with aging and years of chronic sun exposure. Basal cell carcinoma seldom spreads to other parts of the body, but can be disfiguring if not treated early.

Blepharoplasty—a surgical procedure to correct the "droopy" look of eyelids due to excess fat pads and skin.

Chemical peeling—a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the skin to blister and peel off over a period of days. As the treated skin peels off, new and more pliant skin replaces it. Chemical peeling is a procedure for facial skin rejuvenation.

Dermabrasion—a procedure that uses a rapidly rotating brush to plane off the surface layer of skin, remove scars, and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.

Dermatitis – Inflammation of the skin.

Hyperthyroidism – Medical condition caused by the thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone. This leads to an overactive (hyper) thyroid. Signs (what is seen) and symptoms (what a person with the condition feels) include feeling hot even when others do not, weight loss due to increased metabolism, and difficulty sleeping. Sometimes a person with hyperthyroidism gains weight due to an increased appetite. People with this condition may be easily irritated and upset. In the elderly, these signs and symptoms may not occur, making the condition difficult to detect.

Laser resurfacing—lasers of various wavelengths and power are used to remove wrinkles, crease lines, age spots, and other effects of aging and photoaging. Lasers also can be used to treat spider veins, to remove unwanted hair, and to remove some skin cancers.

Lentigines—see age spots.

Lipoatrophy – Loss of fat from underneath the skin. Common causes are aging and disease.

Liposuction—a surgical procedure that vacuums fatty deposits from under the skin. Often effective for removal of fatty deposits that do not respond to dietary modification.

Melanoma—a skin cancer that arises in melanocytes, the dark pigment cells of the skin. Melanoma usually arises in a pre-existing mole or other pigmented lesion. It is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Phlebectomy—a treatment for varicose veins. The enlarged vein is removed through tiny incisions made along its length. The procedure is called ambulatory phlebectomy when it is performed in an outpatient facility and the patient goes home the same day.

Photoaging—the damage that accumulates in the skin from years of excessive and chronic sun exposure. Photoaging accounts for much of the facial "old look" associated with aging.

Psoriasis – A chronic skin condition that most commonly appears as patches of raised, red skin covered by scale. These patches, or plaques, are commonly found on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp. There are five different types of psoriasis, and the signs (what is seen) differ for each type. Some who develop psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis, a medical condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints. In rare cases, a person may develop psoriatic arthritis first. For more information, see PsoriasisNet.

Rhytidectomy—(face lift). A surgical procedure to trim excess skin on cheeks, shin, neck, and around the mouth.

Sclerotherapy—a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. A chemical solution injected into the enlarged vein causes it to collapse and form scar tissue.

Seborrheic keratoses—brown or black raised spots, or wart-like growths that appear to be stuck to the surface of the skin. They are harmless but unsightly. They are easily removed by a dermatologist.

Shingles – Medical condition that develops when the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chicken pox, is reactivated. The first sign is usually a rash that forms a band or patch of raised bumps. As shingles progresses, small blisters form. A person may experience mild to severe itching and pain. Other symptoms are fever, chills, headache, and upset stomach. Shingles only occurs in people who have had chicken pox.

Soft-tissue augmentation—a substance compatible with body tissues is injected under the skin to elevate irregularities such as wrinkles, pits and scars. Substances used for injection include collagen and self-donated body fat.

Spider veins—small, superficial veins that enlarge and appear as a "sunburst" pattern of reddish and purplish veins.

Squamous cell carcinoma—a skin cancer that develops in the outer layers of the skin. It is one of the forms of skin cancer closely associated with aging and years of sun exposure. Squamous cell carcinoma is capable of spreading to other organs and should be treated as soon as it is detected.

Varicose veins - Enlarged blood vessels that appear blue and bulge under the skin. These veins occur from the backward flow of blood caused by damaged or diseased valves in the veins. They can be unsightly and may be associated with symptoms such as swelling, cramping, aching, throbbing, and fatigue of the legs and feet.

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