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Scales

Skin flaking

 

Scales are a visible peeling or flaking of outer skin layers. These layers are called the stratum corneum.

Causes

 

Scales may be caused by dry skin, certain inflammatory skin conditions, or infections. Eczema, ringworm, and psoriasis are examples of skin disorders with scales.

 

 

References

High WA, Tomasini CF, Argenziano G, Zalaudek I. Basic principles of dermatology. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 1.

 
  • Lichen planus - close-up

    Lichen planus - close-up - illustration

    Lichen planus is an intensely itchy (pruritic) inflammatory lesion of the skin. The lesions are generally violaceous (red-purple), slightly raised bumps (papules) with fine scales. The papules may run together (coalesce) to form a larger raised surface (plaque). This is a condition usually seen in adults, although it can occur in children.

    Lichen planus - close-up

    illustration

  • Psoriasis, magnified x4

    Psoriasis, magnified x4 - illustration

    This picture shows a 400% magnification of psoriasis. The whitish scales give the silvery appearance to the typical psoriasis lesion.

    Psoriasis, magnified x4

    illustration

  • Athlete's foot, tinea pedis

    Athlete's foot, tinea pedis - illustration

    This is a picture of Athlete's foot (tinea pedis). "Tinea" infection is caused by a fungus that grows on the skin, and is also referred to as ringworm. Cutaneous (skin) tinea infections are often named by their location such as pedis, meaning foot.

    Athlete's foot, tinea pedis

    illustration

  • Lichen planus on the arm

    Lichen planus on the arm - illustration

    The cause of lichen planus is unknown. It appears as raised, many-sided purple bumps (violaceous polygonal papules) with overlying white lines (Wickham's striae). It commonly involves the wrists (flexor surface), lower back (lumbar region), shins, and ankles. The lesions often itch. Females are more frequently affected than males and the age range is approximately 30 to 60 years of age.

    Lichen planus on the arm

    illustration

  • Lichen planus on the hands

    Lichen planus on the hands - illustration

    The cause of lichen planus is unknown. It appears as raised, many-sided purple bumps (violaceous polygonal papules) with overlying white lines (Wickham's striae). It commonly involves the wrists (flexor surface), lower back (lumbar region), shins, and ankles. The lesions often itch. Females are more frequently affected than males and the age range is approximately 30 to 60 years of age. This is a less common variant, shown here with scales.

    Lichen planus on the hands

    illustration

    • Lichen planus - close-up

      Lichen planus - close-up - illustration

      Lichen planus is an intensely itchy (pruritic) inflammatory lesion of the skin. The lesions are generally violaceous (red-purple), slightly raised bumps (papules) with fine scales. The papules may run together (coalesce) to form a larger raised surface (plaque). This is a condition usually seen in adults, although it can occur in children.

      Lichen planus - close-up

      illustration

    • Psoriasis, magnified x4

      Psoriasis, magnified x4 - illustration

      This picture shows a 400% magnification of psoriasis. The whitish scales give the silvery appearance to the typical psoriasis lesion.

      Psoriasis, magnified x4

      illustration

    • Athlete's foot, tinea pedis

      Athlete's foot, tinea pedis - illustration

      This is a picture of Athlete's foot (tinea pedis). "Tinea" infection is caused by a fungus that grows on the skin, and is also referred to as ringworm. Cutaneous (skin) tinea infections are often named by their location such as pedis, meaning foot.

      Athlete's foot, tinea pedis

      illustration

    • Lichen planus on the arm

      Lichen planus on the arm - illustration

      The cause of lichen planus is unknown. It appears as raised, many-sided purple bumps (violaceous polygonal papules) with overlying white lines (Wickham's striae). It commonly involves the wrists (flexor surface), lower back (lumbar region), shins, and ankles. The lesions often itch. Females are more frequently affected than males and the age range is approximately 30 to 60 years of age.

      Lichen planus on the arm

      illustration

    • Lichen planus on the hands

      Lichen planus on the hands - illustration

      The cause of lichen planus is unknown. It appears as raised, many-sided purple bumps (violaceous polygonal papules) with overlying white lines (Wickham's striae). It commonly involves the wrists (flexor surface), lower back (lumbar region), shins, and ankles. The lesions often itch. Females are more frequently affected than males and the age range is approximately 30 to 60 years of age. This is a less common variant, shown here with scales.

      Lichen planus on the hands

      illustration


     

    Review Date: 4/14/2015

    Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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