Know the difference between an abscess and a cyst? If not, it’s time to brush up on your dermatology terminology.

Just like all fields of medicine, dermatology comes with its own set of terms and jargon to describe various skin ailments. Some of them you will probably be familiar with, such as acne or fillers. Others, such as cysts and polyps, might be more of a mystery.

So if you have ever found yourself scratching your head when visiting the derm, prepare to be enlightened. Here are eight common dermatology terms and their meaning, so that you can understand what is happening, or what could happen, to your skin.


A skincare concern that many people have to deal with at some time or another is an abscess. This is a closed pocket that contains pus. While some of them are easy to see because they come to a head, others can be deeper and appear tumor-like.



Botox is a neurotoxin that prevents or minimizes movement when injected into certain muscles by blocking nerve signals. Without the movement of these selected muscles, which are usually on the face, certain wrinkles can be softened, reduced, or even removed.



Comedone is a fancy way of referring to a blocked oil gland. They come in two varieties, namely open comedones (blackheads) or closed comedones (whiteheads), and can often be a precursor to inflammatory acne.



If you are a fan of Dr. Pimple Popper, Then you probably already know what a cyst is. But just in case you don’t, it refers to an enclosed sac in the skin which can contain either fluid or a build-up of solid material, such as dead skin cells.


This dermatology term has a handful of meanings but essentially refers to whatever is ‘wrong’ with the patient. A lesion could be any skin issue, from an area of inflammation to a tumor to a cut or open wound.



Not something you want to experience first-hand, necrosis refers to the death of tissue as a result of lack of blood flow to the area and is usually caused by an injury, radiation or contact with chemicals. Also, once it sets in, it can’t be reversed.



Ever had a skin tag before? The medical term for this is a polyp. They usually have a structure consisting of a rounded head that is attached to the skin surface in an almost mushroom-like way. They are also, typically, benign.



As the first part of this word might suggest, pustules are raised areas on the skin that contain pus. In dermatology, this refers to small-but-painful raised bumps, and they can be treated and prevented by using topical creams or oral medication.



Something that everyone has at least one of, scars are a dense formation of collagen fibers, and they form as a result of an injury, either via surgery or trauma. While most start out as pink, they then fade or hyper-pigment over time.


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