Skin Care and Cosmetic Surgery Glossary
Abdominoplasty: A surgical procedure done to flatten your abdomen by
removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall. This
procedure is commonly referred to as a tummy tuck.
Acne: A skin condition characterized by the excess production of oil from
sebaceous glands in which the pores become blocked with dead skin cells
Acne scar: Scars due to severe acne. They can range from deep pits to
scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance.
Age spots: Small flat pigmented spots that are most often seen on areas
of the body that have been exposed to the sun over a period of years. Age spots
usually occur after the age of 40 and are common on the face, hands, and arms.
Albinism: An inherited disorder in which there is no pigmentation in
skin, hair or eyes, due to the absence of melanin, the substance that gives skin
Alopecia: The complete or partial loss of hair
Autologen: A material used in lip augmentation to produce a look of
fuller lips. Autologen is derived from your own skin and then injected into the
Azelaic acid: A naturally occurring substance found on normal skin that
can be used in skin care products to treat mild acne
Benzoyl peroxide: An antibacterial medication used to combat the
bacteria that aggravates acne
Beta hydroxy acid: An oil-soluble exfoliant derived from fruit and milk
sugars that is commonly found in skin-care products. Beta hydroxy acid is used
to treat wrinkles, blackheads, and photoaging. Salicylic acid is an example of a
beta hydroxy acid.
Blepharoplasty: A primarily cosmetic surgical procedure of the upper or
lower eyelids. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin, and sometimes
muscle or underlying fatty tissue.
Breast augmentation: A surgical procedure done to increase breast size
Botox: A substance derived from botulinum toxin that works by preventing
nerve impulses from reaching the muscle, causing the muscle to relax
Brow lift: A surgical procedure in which the skin of the forehead and
eyebrows is tightened to eliminate sagging eyebrows or correct frown lines
between the eyebrows
Chemexfoliation: See chemical peel.
Chemical peel: A process in which a chemical solution is applied to the
skin to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells.
This process is also called a chemexfoliation.
Cholasma: See melasma.
Collagen: The major structural proteins in the skin that give the skin
its strength and resilience
Copper peptide: A common ingredient found in skin care products, copper
peptide is used to promote and produce collagen and elastin in the skin.
Contracture scar: A type of scar in which a permanent tightening of skin
occurs, often in response to a burn. This type of scar may affect the underlying
muscles and tendons, limiting mobility and possibly damaging the nerves.
Crows feet: The fine lines found around the eyes, caused by muscles that
attach to the skin. They can be made worse by sun exposure; however, smoking
also contributes to their formation.
Debriding: The process of removing dead or devitalized tissue prior to
reconstructive or cosmetic surgery
Depilation: The removal of hair
Dermabrasion: A surgical procedure in which a patient’s skin, scarred
from acne, pox, or other causes, is sanded down to remove the top layers. The
skin then heals with a smoother surface.
Dermalogen: A product derived from human donor tissue that is used in lip
augmentation to produce a look of fuller lips
Dermatitis: An inflammation of the skin caused by an allergic reaction or
contact with an irritant. Typical symptoms of dermatitis include redness and
Dermatologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of
skin and skin-related problems
Dermis: The middle layer of the skin, the dermis is a complex combination
of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find
collagen and elastin. The dermis is also where wrinkles occur.
Deviated septum: A condition in which the septum (the wall inside the
nose that divides it into two sides) is crooked or off-center. The condition is
commonly treatable with surgery.
Eczema: A skin condition characterized by itchy, irritated, inflamed
skin. Eczema comes in many forms and can be triggered by a variety of factors,
including allergies, environmental factors, or family history. The raised,
inflamed skin can appear anywhere on your body, including your face, legs, arms,
Elastin: A protein found with collagen in the dermis that is
responsible for giving structure to your skin and organs
Electrolysis: A hair removal procedure in which a small electric current
is used to destroy the hair follicle
Ephelides: See freckles.
Epidermis: The outer layer of the skin. The epidermis is also the
thinnest layer, responsible for protecting you from the harsh environment. The
epidermis is made up of five layers of its own: stratum germinativum, stratum
spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and stratum corneum.
Exfoliate: To remove the top layer of skin. Chemical peels and
dermabrasion are examples of methods in which the skin is exfoliated.
Eye lift: See blepharoplasty.
Face lift: See rhytidectomy.
Fascia: A sheet or band of connective tissue that surrounds muscle,
bones, and organs. This tissue can be harvested from the patient or a human
donor to be used in surgery.
Freckle: A light or moderately brown spot that appears on the skin as a
result of exposure to sunlight. Freckles are most common in people with fair
Grafting: A procedure in which healthy skin and/or muscle is removed from
one area of the body to another area damaged by disease or injury
Hemangioma: A type of birthmark characterized by concentrations of small
blood vessels. They are commonly referred to as strawberry marks and often
decrease in size or disappear after a few months or years.
Hypodermis: The fatty layer of skin, home of sweat glands and fat and
collagen cells. The hypodermis is responsible for conserving your body’s heat
and protecting your vital inner organs.
Hyperpigmentation: A skin condition in which there is excessive
pigmentation, often seen as dark spots on the skin such as café-au-lait spots
Hypertrophic scar: A raised and red scar, similar to a keloid scar, but
different in that it stays within the boundaries of the injury site
Hypopigmentation: A skin condition in which there is a lack of
Keloid scar: A type of scar that continues to grow beyond what is needed
at the site of an injury. This type of scar is caused by too much collagen
forming while the skin is being repaired. The tendency to develop keloid scars
Keratin: The fibrous structural protein in your skin, hair, and nails
Kojic acid: A skin treatment product derived from a fungus. Studies have
shown that it is effective as a lightening agent and in inhibiting the
production of melanin.
L-ascorbic acid: L-ascorbic acid is the only form of Vitamin C that the
body or skin can use as far as topical treatments are concerned. Vitamin C is
the only antioxidant that has been proven to stimulate the synthesis of
Lentigines: See age spots.
Lip augmentation: A procedure done to improve deflated, drooping, or
sagging lips, correct their symmetry, or reduce fine lines and wrinkles around
them. This is often done through injections or implants.
Lipoplasty: See liposuction.
Liposuction: A cosmetic procedure in which a special instrument called a
canula is used to break up and suck out fat from the body. This procedure is
also known as lipoplasty.
Macrodactyly: A condition that affects children in which the fingers or
toes grow abnormally large
Macular stain: A small birthmark that is often nothing more than a small,
mild, red blemish on the skin. Many of these will disappear by age two.
Mammoplasty: Any reconstructive or cosmetic surgical procedure that
alters the size or shape of the breast
Mastectomy: The surgical removal of part or all of the breast
Mastopexy: Also called a breast lift, this procedure removes excess skin
in order to lift up sagging or drooping breasts.
Melanocytes: A pigment-producing cell found in the skin, hair, and eyes
that gives them their color
Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread
rapidly and can be fatal if not treated or detected.
Melasma: A condition in which pigmentation of the cheeks of the face
darkens into tan or brown patches. This condition occurs in half of all women
Micropigmentation: A form of tattooing commonly used to apply permanent
makeup by injecting iron oxide pigment into the middle layer of your skin
Neoplasm: A tumor
Nevus flammeus: See port-wine stain.
Otoplasty: A surgical procedure done to correct misshaped or protruding
Photoaging: The changes that occur to the skin due to exposure to the
sun. This includes wrinkles and age spots.
Port-wine stain: A type of hemangioma characterized by a mark on the skin
that resembles the rich red color of port wine. Port-wine stains are caused by
an abnormal concentration of capillaries. This type of birthmark is also
referred to as nevus flammeus.
Ptosis: The drooping of a body part, especially the eyelids or the
Retinol: A derivative of Vitamin A commonly found in many skin care
Rhinoplasty: A cosmetic procedure used to enhance or change the
appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty is commonly referred to as a nose job.
Rhytidectomy: Commonly called a facelift, this surgical procedure is done
to eliminate the sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck.
Rosacea: A skin disease of unknown causes that causes an array of
symptoms, including redness and puffiness on several areas of the face,
including cheeks and nose. Rosacea cannot be cured, but treatment should be
sought since the condition can worsen over time if not treated correctly or
Salicylic acid: See beta hydroxy acid.
Sallowness: A term used to describe a yellowish color of the skin
Sebaceous glands: The glands of the skin that emit oil into the hair
Septoplasty: A surgical procedure done to improve the flow of air to your
nose by repairing malformed cartilage and/or the bony portion. The procedure is
often performed along with a rhinoplasty.
Sclerotherapy: A medical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and
"spider veins." During the procedure, an injection of a solution (generally
sodium chloride) in placed directly into the vein.
Spider vein: A widened vein that can be seen through the surface of the
skin. These are generally smaller and closer to the skin than varicose veins.
Stratum corneum: The outermost layer of the epidermis
Subcutaneous: A term referring to below the skin
Sun protection factor: Commonly seen on suntan ingredients as SPF, the
sun protection factor is the amount of the protection a suntan product provides.
The higher the SPF, the greater the protection.
Suture: The stitches used to hold tissue together or to close a wound
Tretinoin: A prescription drug related to vitamin A, used to treat acne
and other skin disorders
Varicose vein: Enlarged veins found near the surface of the skin. They
often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging.
Vitiligo: A condition in which smooth white patches appear on the skin
due to a loss of pigment-producing cells
Winter itch: A condition in which the skin becomes irritated due to a
loss of moisture. Winter itch is common in the winter when the air is drier,
thus its name.
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