XIV Glossary

ABCDE: A mnemonic for assessing for melanoma developing in moles: Asymmetrical, Borders are irregular in shape, Color is various shades of brown or black, Diameter is larger than 6 mm., and the shape of the mole is Evolving.

Acne: A skin disturbance that typically occurs on areas of the skin that are rich in sebaceous glands, such as the face and back.

Apocrine sweat gland: Sweat glands associated with hair follicles in densely hairy areas that release organic compounds subject to bacterial decomposition causing odor.

Blanching: To make white or pale by applying pressure.

Cyanosis: A bluish discoloration caused by lack of oxygenation of the tissue.

Dermis: The inner layer of skin with connective tissue, blood vessels, sweat glands, nerves, hair follicles, and other structures.

Diaphoretic: Excessive, abnormal sweating.

Ecchymosis:  Bruising.

Eccrine sweat gland: Sweat gland that produces hypotonic sweat for thermoregulation.

Epidermis: The thin, uppermost layer of skin.

Erythema: A red color of the skin.

First-degree burn: A superficial burn that affects only the epidermis.

Fourth-degree burn: Severe burn damaging the dermis and the underlying muscle and bone.

Hypodermis: The layer of skin beneath the dermis composed of connective tissue and used for fat storage.

Jaundice: A yellowing of the skin or sclera caused by underlying medical conditions.

Keloid: A raised scar caused by overproduction of scar tissue.

Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue.

Lymphedema: A type of swelling that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the body’s soft tissues due to damage to the lymph system.

Melanin: Skin pigment produced by melanocytes scattered throughout the epidermis.

Melanoma: Skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes that commonly develops from a mole. Melanoma is the most fatal of all skin cancers because it is highly metastatic. Melanomas usually appear as asymmetrical brown and black patches with uneven borders and a raised surface.

Pallor: A reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin the skin or mucous membranes. Skin and mucous membranes present with a pale skin color.

Petechiae: Tiny red dots caused by bleeding under the skin.

Pressure injury: Skin breakdown caused when a patient’s skin and soft tissue press against a hard surface for a prolonged period of time, causing reduced blood supply and resulting in damaged tissue.

Rule of Nines: A tool used in the emergency department to assess the total body surface area burned to quickly estimate intravenous fluid requirements.

Second-degree burn: Burn affecting both the epidermis and a portion of the dermis, resulting in swelling and a painful blistering of the skin.

Skin turgor: The skin’s elasticity and its ability to change shape and return to normal when gently grasped between two fingers.

Third-degree burn: Severe burn that fully extends into the epidermis and dermis, destroying the tissue and affecting the nerve endings and sensory function.


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Nursing Skills - 2e Copyright © 2023 by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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