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Skin dictionary


A - C

Acne (ak-nee)
Another word for pimples, or bumps that you get mostly on your face.  Most acne happens when your skin makes too much oil. The oil mixes with dead skin cells and germs called bacteria to plug up the little holes in your skin called pores.

Allergic reaction (al-ur-jick ree-ak-shun)
When your body reacts to something that most people would not react to. Sneezing, itching or getting a rash are some ways your body can overreact.

Allergy (al-ur-jee)
Your body overreacts to something that doesn't cause a problem for most people. Sneezing, itching or developing a rash are some ways your body can overreact.

Aloe vera (al-oh veer-a)
A plant that is used to make a gel that treats burns, including sunburns.

Alopecia (al-o-peesh-a)
A disease that can cause your hair to fall out.

Angel kiss (ain-jel kis)
A type of birthmark that is pink or red and usually shows up on your face at birth. It's also called a salmon patch.

Antibiotic (an-ty-by-ah-tik)
A medicine that treats infections caused by germs called bacteria.

Asthma (az-muh)
A common disease that affects your lungs and makes it hard to breathe.  A lot of kids who have asthma also have eczema.

Atopic dermatitis (ay-tah-pik der-mah-ty-tis)
The most common kind of eczema, a disease that causes itchy, red, irritated skin.


Bacteria (bak-teer-ee-uh)
Tiny little germs that are all around us. Some normally live on or in your body and are good, but others can make you sick. That's why it's important to wash your hands before eating and after you blow your nose.

Barrier repair moisturizer (bar-ee-er re-pare moys-chur-eye-zer)
A cream that protects your skin and keeps it moist. It can help treat eczema.

Benzocaine (ben-zo-kane)
A medicine used in ointments to stop pain on the skin.

Benzoyl peroxide (benz-oyl pur-ox-ide)
Medicine used to treat pimples. It kills the bacteria and gets rid of some of the oil and dead skin cells that block pores.

Biotin (By-o-tin)
A B vitamin that gives your body energy and keeps your nails strong. You can get biotin from foods like some types of nuts and fish, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and eggs.

Birthmark (burth-mark)
A mark that shows up on your skin when or soon after you're born. There are many different kinds of birthmarks.

Blackhead (blak-hed)
A type of pimple that looks black because the top of the clogged pore is open, so you can see the gunk inside.

Blood vessels (blud-ves-uls) The tubes that carry your blood from your heart to the rest of your body and back again.

Broad-spectrum (brawd spek-trum)
Words used on sunscreens if they protect your skin against both types of the sun's damaging rays (UVA and UVB).


Cafe-au-lait spot (ka-fay oh-lay spot)
A type of birthmark that is light brown on light skin, and darker brown on dark skin. It is flat and usually is oval-shaped and can be big or small.

Calamine (kal-a-mine)
A type of lotion or cream that can help stop itching.

Cancer (kan-sur)
A type of disease that happens when the body starts making cells that aren't normal. These cells start growing too quickly.  Cancer can make people very sick and sometimes die.

Cells (sells)
All living things are made of cells, which are the building blocks of life.  Your body is made of billions and billions of cells.

Cleanser (klen-zur)
Something you use to clean your skin that's sort of like soap, but gentler.

Compress (kom-pres)
A cold or hot folded pad or cloth that you put on an injury. Cold compresses are most often used right after you get hurt to help stop swelling and bruising.

Contact dermatitis (kon-takt der-muh-ty-tis)
A type of eczema, a disease that causes itchy, red, irritated skin.  It happens when things you touch - or that touch you - annoy your skin. It can happen to anyone.

Contagious (kon-tay-jus)
Something that can spread from person to person, such as the flu or warts.

Cuticle (cute-ick-l)
The tiny sliver of skin where your nail grows out your finger. It protects the root or the matrix of the nail from germs.

Cyst (sist)
One of the most serious types of pimples.  When blocked pores get super irritated, they can form cysts, which are kind of soft and filled with whitish-yellowish liquid called pus.

D - F

Dandruff (dan-druf)
Little bits of dry skin that form on your scalp and flake off.

Dermatitis (der-muh-ty-tis)
A word for eczema, or itchy, red, irritated skin.

Dermatologist (der-muh-toll-uh-jist)
A doctor who takes care of skin, hair, and nails.

Dermis (der-mis)
The second layer of your skin, which you can't see.  It's the layer from which your hair starts growing and it's where sweat is made.

Duct tape (dukt tape)
A sticky, wide, usually silver-colored tape used to repair things around the house. It is used by some people to treat warts.


Eating disorder (ee-ting dis-or-der)
A disease where people don't eat enough, or make themselves sick right after they eat because they are afraid of gaining weight or think they already weigh too much. It can cause you to lose hair.

Eczema (egg-zuh-muh)
A disease that makes skin irritated and itchy.  Eczema often causes a rash that is red, blistering, oozing, scaly, or brownish. There are lots of kinds of eczema, but the most common is atopic dermatitis.

Emery board (em-er-ee bord)
A cardboard nail file with a rough surface, like sandpaper, that you can use to smooth out your nails.

Epidermis (ep-eh-der-miss)
The top layer of your skin.


Follicles (foll-ik-els)
Tiny pockets in your skin from which hair grows.

Fungus (fun-giss)
A germ that can spread and cause an infection.  Sometimes you can get a fungus in your toenails.

G - K

Genes (jeenz)
Something you get from your parents that make you who you are and what you look like. Genes decide the color of your hair, skin and eyes, and how tall or short you are.

Germ (jurm)
A very tiny living thing you can't see but can make you sick or give you an infection.

Glands (glanz)
Tiny pockets in the body. In the skin, glands store oil that keeps skin and hair moist.


Hangnail (hang-nail)        
                                                       
A tear in the skin on the side of your nail - it's not actually part of your nail. Hangnails should be clipped and washed because they can tear more, get sore and lead to an infection.

Hemangioma (he-man-gee-oh-ma)
A type of birthmark. Some are bright red and look like strawberries and some are bluish-purple and make the skin swell and bulge.

Hives
Bumps that can pop up on your skin when you've been exposed to something that you are allergic to, or that bothers your body.  They can itch or sting.


Immune system (im-yoon)
                                         
Protects your body from germs and tries to stop you from getting sick. When you have allergies, asthma, or eczema, it means your immune system is overreacting to normal things.

Infection (in-fek-shun)
When germs cause an illness. Some infections can be treated with medicine, such as antibiotics (which treat germs called bacteria) or antifungals (which treat a type of germ called a fungus).

Ingrown toenail (in-grone toe-nail)
This can happen when the side of your toenail grows into your skin, and it can hurt a lot. The best way to prevent it is to cut your toenails straight across.

Irritated (ear-a-tay-ted)
Something that bothers or annoys you. Your skin can be irritated by diseases such as eczema.


Keloid (key-loyd)
A thick bumpy scar that can happen after a piercing or after stitches.

L - N

Lice (lise)
Tiny bugs that like to live in your hair. Lots of children get them. They spread when kids put their heads together or share things like hats, combs and brushes.

Lidocaine (ly-doh-kane)
A medicine used in creams and ointments to stop pain.

Light therapy (lite ther-a-pee)
A treatment with lights used by skin doctors (dermatologists) to help skin diseases such as eczema.

Lunula (loon-yoo-la)
The little white half-moon shape on your nail nearest your skin. You might only be able to see it on your thumbnails, or not at all.

Lyme disease (lime diz-eez)
A type of disease that you can get if you get bitten by a certain type of tick. It may cause a red, donut-shaped (or bull's-eye) rash. A tick is a tiny, round bug that can attach itself to you when you're walking through the woods. Wear long pants and bug spray to keep them away from your skin.


Manicure (man-ah-kyur)
A special treatment to clean, trim and shape your fingernails.

Matrix (may-trix)
A little pocket in your skin where your nail grows from.

Melanin (mel-uh-nin)
The stuff in your body that gives your skin and hair its color. The more melanin you have, the darker your hair or skin. Also called pigment.

Melanocytes (mel-ann-oh-sites)
Cells in your body that process melanin, which is what gives skin and hair its color.

Melanoma (mel-ah-no-mah)
The most deadly type of skin cancer.

Moisturizer (moyst-yur-i-zur)
A lotion, cream or gel that can help keep your skin soft and smooth.

Moles
Small spots on your skin that can be brown, pink, black or other colors. They are usually normal and may be there when you're born, or can show up later in life.

Molluscum contagiosum (mull-us-kum kun-tage-ee-oh-sum)
A skin disease with a bunch of bumps (usually red) that kind of look like warts, but aren't. They are not serious but can spread easily.

Mongolian spot (mon-go-lee-un)
A type of birthmark that is grayish-bluish and can show up on darker-skinned babies when they're born.


Nerve endings (nerv en-dings)
Often found in the skin, nerve endings help you feel things. When you touch something, the nerve endings send a signal to your brain so you know what it feels like.

Nerves (nervs)
Fibers in your body that send signals to your brain when you touch something.

Nickel (ni-kel)
A type of metal in some jewelry. It's a common cause of contact dermatitis, which is an itchy skin condition - so you should try to avoid jewelry that has nickel in it.

Niobium (ny-o-bee-um)
A metal that is used in some earrings. It's good because it usually doesn't cause an allergic reaction.

Nits (nits)
Lice eggs that attach to hair near the scalp or on other parts of the body or to clothing. Lice are tiny bugs that like to live in hair.

Nodules (na-juls)
One of the most serious kinds of pimples. When blocked pores get super irritated, they can form nodules, which feel hard.

Nonacnegenic (non-ak-nee-jen-ik)
This means a skin product doesn't have oil and won't plug your pores, so it usually won't cause pimples.

Noncomedogenic (non-kum-eed-oh-jen-ik)
Like nonacnegenic, this means a skin product doesn't have oil and won't plug your pores, so it usually won't cause pimples.

O - R

Oil glands (oyl glanz)
Little pockets in the skin where oil is made. The oil keeps your skin and hair from drying out.

Ointment (oynt-mint)
Put it on your skin like a lotion or cream, ointment uses oil to help take care of your skin. Sometimes it has medicine in it.

Organ (or-gen)
Parts of the body, like your heart, lungs and skin, that each have a special purpose. Your skin is your largest organ.


Papules (pap-yools)
A hard pimple. A papule is a firm type of pimple that happens when blocked pores get so irritated their walls break.

Pedicure (ped-ah-kyur)
A special treatment to clean, trim and shape your toenails.

Petroleum (pe-tro-lee-um)
A substance that is used to make a thick jelly-like product that can be used to keep skin soft and smooth.

Piercings (peer-sings)
Punching a hole through the skin and inserting jewelry through it.

Pigment (pig-mint)
The material in your body that gives your skin and hair its color. The more pigment you have, the darker your hair or skin. Also called melanin.

Pimples (pim-pulls)
Bumps that you get on your face and sometimes your neck, back, and chest. Also called acne. It happens when your skin makes too much oil. The oil mixes with dead skin cells and germs called bacteria to plug the little holes in your skin called pores.

Plantar wart (plan-tar wort)
A bump that you can get on the bottom of your foot.

Poison ivy (poy-zen i-vee)
A type of plant found in the woods that can give you a very itchy rash called contact dermatitis.

Poison oak (poy-zen ohk)
Like poison ivy, poison oak is a type of plant found in the woods that can give you a very itchy rash called contact dermatitis.

Poison sumac (poy-zen sue-mak)
Like poison ivy and poison oak, poison sumac is a type of plant found in the woods that can give you a very itchy rash called contact dermatitis.

Pores (poy-zen sue-mak)
Tiny holes in your skin, from which hairs grow. Oil comes out of your pores to help keep your skin soft and smooth.

Port-wine stain (port wyne stayn)
A type of birthmark that is purple, red or pink. It can get bigger as kids grow.

Protein (pro-teen)
Something found in certain foods that helps keep your body healthy and your nails and hair strong. Meat, fish, chicken, beans, cheese, and nuts all have protein in them.

Puberty (pyu-bur-tee)
When your body starts changing and you go from being a kid to being an adult.

Pumice stone (pum-iss)
A rock from a volcano that is used to smooth rough skin.

Pus (pus)
A yellowish liquid that can come out of an infected sore or pimple.

Pustule (pust-yool)
A pimple that's full of yellowish liquid called pus. A pustule is a more serious type of pimple that happens when blocked pores get so irritated their walls break.


Rash (rash)
A reaction to something that makes your skin red and often itchy.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
A disease that may cause a red or black spotty rash. You can get it when you're bitten by a certain type of tick, a tiny, round bug that can attach itself to you when you're walking through the woods. Wear long pants and bug spray to keep them away from your skin.

Root (roo-t)
Where each hair on your body starts growing. The root is at the bottom of a follicle, a tiny pocket in your skin.

S - T

Salicylic acid (sala-sill-ik a-sid)
A type of pimple medicine that helps unplug blocked pores.

Salmon patch (sa-men pach)
A type of birthmark that is pink or red and usually shows up on your face, neck or back at birth.

Scalp (skalp)
The skin on your head from which your hair grows.

Skin cancer (skin kan-sur)
A disease that can happen when some cells in the skin get damaged and start growing too fast. The sun is a major cause of skin cancer.

Sterile (stare-ul)
Very clean, without any germs on it.

Stitches (stich-ez)
Used by doctors to treat a deep cut by sewing the skin back together with needle and thread. When the skin is healed, the doctors take the stitches out.

Stork bite (storek byte)
A type of birthmark that is pink or red and usually shows up on your neck at birth. It's also called a salmon patch.

Subcutaneous fat (sub-cyoo-tane-ee-us)
The bottom layer of the skin. It attaches the rest of your skin to your muscle and bones, and controls your body temperature.

Sun Protection Factor/SPF (sun pro-tek-shun fak-ter)
A number that tells you how your sunscreen will protect you from the sun's UVB rays. The higher the number, the greater the sun protection. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it about every two hours.

Sunscreen (sun-skreen)
A product that protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays, which can damage it. Sunscreen can come in different forms, like cream, gel, lotion, ointment, or stick.

Surgical steel (ser-ji-kel steel)
A metal used in some earrings. It's good because it doesn't usually cause an infection.

Sweat glands (swet glanz)
Little pockets in the second layer of your skin - the dermis - where sweat is made. Sweat helps keep you cool when you're active.


Tar (tar)
A thick dark, brown liquid used on roofs. It can also be used to treat eczema.

Tattoo (ta-too)
A mark on the skin. Usually it's caused by making tiny holes in the skin with a needle and putting ink into them.

Texture (tekst-cher)
How something looks and feels. For example, your hair texture can be curly or straight, coarse (each hair is fat) or fine (each hair is skinny), thick (a lot of hair) or thin (not as much hair).

Titanium (ty-tane-ee-um)
A metal used in some earrings. It's good because it doesn't usually cause an allergic reaction.

Trigger (trig-er)
Something that makes your immune system overreact. This happens for diseases such as allergies, eczema and asthma.

Tumor (too-mer)
An abnormal growth or bump.

U - Z

Ultraviolet rays/UV rays (ul-tra-vi-e-let rays)
Light rays that the sun gives off. Tanning beds also can give off UV rays. The rays can damage the skin and cause skin cancer and wrinkling.

Urushiol (yoo-roo-shee-all)
The oil in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction. When it touches the skin, most people get an itchy rash.

UVA (U V A)
Also known as ultraviolet A, it is a type of light that the sun gives off, and that can damage your skin.

UVB (U V B)
Also known as ultraviolet B, it is a type of light that the sun gives off, and that can damage your skin.


Vascular (vas-kyu-lar)
Your heart and blood vessels are the little highways that move blood through your body. Together they are called your vascular system.

Venom (ven-im)
A poisonous liquid that some bugs inject when they bite or sting you. It can make you itch or even make you sick.

Virus (vy-rus)
A type of germ that can cause an infection, such as a wart.

Vitamin (vy-ta-min)
Vitamins are found in food, and you need them to keep your body healthy. There are many kinds of vitamins. For instance, you need vitamin A for your eyes, and you can get it in carrots and egg yolks. Vitamins also can be put in pills, and some people take them to be sure they get everything they need.


Warts (worts)
Bumps that can show up on your body - often your hands, face or feet - and are caused by a germ called a virus.

West Nile Virus (west nyl vy-rus)
A type of disease that you can get when you're bitten by certain mosquitoes. It's a good idea to use bug spray to keep them away.

Whiteheads (wite-heds)
A type of pimple that looks white because the clogged pore is closed and looks whitish on top.

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