Glossary of Terms For Laser

While we specialize in long-lasting skin rejuvenation and hair removal, some of the conditions and terms below will help in understanding some of the information on this website.

Glossary of Terms

Acne occurs when follicles, also known as pores, get blocked, causing sebum (oil) to get blocked, which in turn causes bacteria to grow and create a microcomedone (pustule).  When the trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface, the acne is considered a whitehead and when the trapped sebum and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to melanin (skin pigment) it is considered a blackhead.

Acne Scars
Acne scars typically result from more severe acne such as nodules form of painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps that appear under the skin.  These are more likely to leave permanent scars than other types of acne.  Most serious scarring is caused by more severe acne.

Actinic Keratoses 
Actinic keratoses are thick, warty, rough, reddish growths on sun-exposed skin. They may be precancerous to squamous cell carcinoma.

Age Spots
Also known as sun spots, lentigines and liver spots, age spots are flat, brown patches of skin that occur in irregular shapes, can be up to an inch in diameter, and usually appear on the arms, face, and back of the hands.  Age spots are caused by an increased number of pigment-producing cells in the skin and are typically caused by sun damage and aging.

Allergic Shiners
See Dark Circles.

Anti-Aging Treatment 
An anti-aging treatment is any service performed with the purpose of combating or reversing the natural signs of aging.  From relaxing European facials to invasive plastic surgery, these days a plethora of anti-aging treatments are available.  When choosing which anti-aging treatment is best for you, it’s important to know and communicate your personal needs to your consulting skincare professional.

Atopic Dermatitis 
See Eczema.

Basal Cell Carcinoma 
Basal cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that develops in the basal layer of the skin, deeper than the surface layer.  It is associated with aging and years of chronic sun exposure.  Basal cell carcinoma seldom spreads to other parts of the body, but can be disfiguring if not treated early.

Blemish Control 
Blemish control involves any treatment designed to control and prevent skin imperfections related to current and reoccurring acne.

Brown Spots 
See Age Spots.

Commonly known as ‘cheesecake,’ and medically termed Dermatomyoliposclerosis (DMLS), cellulite are deposits of dimpled fat found on the thighs and buttocks of many women resulting from a combination of fat, water, and toxic wastes that the body has failed to eliminate.

Cherry Hemangioma 
The most common type of cutaneous vascular proliferation (skin abrasion), cherry hemangioma are often widespread and appear as tiny cherry red papules or macules.

Cholesterol Deposits 
Also known as Xanthomas, cholesterol deposits are yellow, soft, and slightly raised bumps that occur on the eye or throughout the body.

More popularly known as connective tissue, collagen acts as a scaffolding for our bodies, controlling and supporting the shape of our cells.  More than a third of the body’s protein and 75% of our skin contains collagen.  Collagen is responsible for skin elasticity, and as we age, it breaks down and causes wrinkles.

Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is skin inflammation caused by direct contact with a particular substance;  the rash is very itchy, is confined to a specific area, and often has clearly defined boundaries.

Crows Feet
Crows feet are indentations or lines that occur around the corners of the eyes and are most commonly associated with aging.

Dark Circles Under The Eyes
Most dark circles are caused by the veins beneath the thin skin under the eye. As we age and receive more sun damage to our facial skin, the thin skin under the eye can become thinner and wrinkled, which allows the veins in the fat pad under the eye to become more prominent.  These veins also become more congested in people with allergies, and people with a history of eczema, hay fever or asthma often develop dark circles referred to as allergic shiners.

See Eczema.

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra
See Moles.

Dry Skin
See Xerosis.

Eczema is a non-contagious skin condition that usually appears in early childhood and disappears around six years of age. I t is sometimes called atopic dermatitis.  The skin becomes dry, cracked and itchy, and may weep.

Excess Hair
Excess hair, medically termed as hirsutesis or hirsutism is a very common condition used to refer to women’s hair growth that is similar to a male pattern, such as growth in the moustache and chin, or thick hair growth on the limbs.

Facial Blushing
See Rosacea.

Facial Vessels
Medically termed telangiectasia, facial vessels are dilated capillaries that commonly appear on the surface of the eye and in areas around the nose, cheeks and above the neckline.  Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that are present throughout the body.  Prolonged sun exposure, aging, trauma and other factors can cause capillaries to become dilated and visible. There is also a hereditary factor in developing facial telangiectasia.

Fade Spots
See Pityriasis Alba.

Flesh Moles
See Moles.

See Rosacea.

Frown Lines
Most commonly associated with the signs of aging, frown lines are indentations or deep lines that occur around each side of mouth.

Inflammation of the gum tissue,  a term used to describe non-destructive periodontal disease.

Persistent, chronic bad breath, or noticeably unpleasant odors exhaled in breathing.  The source is usually bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue.

A hemangioma is a non-cancerous (benign) growth of blood vessels. They are the most common benign blood vessel (vascular) growths in infants and children.  Most resolve with time and occasionally with medication.  Large or disfiguring hemangiomas may require surgical excision.

Hemoglobin (Haemoglobin)
The iron-containing metalloprotein in red blood cells, that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen for cell use.

Hirsutes, Hirsutism
See Excess Hair.

See Pigmentation.

See Pigmentation.

Hypertrophic Scar 
A hypertrophic scar that looks similar to a keloid, but they are more common.   They do not get a big as keloids, and they may fade with time.

See Pigmentation.

See Pigmentation.

Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs occur when hairs are cut below the level of the skin.  When the hair begins to grow, it grows within the surrounding tissue rather than growing out of the follicle.  The hair curls around and starts growing into the skin, and irritation, redness, and swelling can occur at the hair follicle.

Keloids are smooth, shiny, flesh-colored, raised growths of fibrous tissue that form over areas of injury or surgical wounds.

Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin disorder that results from a buildup of keratin, a protein, in the opening of the hair follicles in the skin, causing the skin to feel rough.  Keratosis pilaris usually occurs on the arms, thighs and cheeks, is common in children and may be associated with eczema (dermatitis).

See Age Spots.

Lipoatrophy is a loss of fat from underneath the skin.  Common causes are aging and disease.

Liver Spots 
See Age Spots.

A pigment that is ubiquitous in nature, being found in all organisms.  Melanin is the primary determinant of skin color. It is also found in hair, and the pigmented tissue underlying the iris of the eye.
The photochemical properties of melanin make it excellent to protect against sun damage. It absorbs harmful UV-radiation and transforms the energy into harmless heat through a process called “ultrafast internal conversion.” This property enables melanin to dissipate more than 99.9% of the absorbed UV radiation as heat. This prevents the indirect DNA damage, which is responsible for the formation of malignant melanoma and other skin cancers.
Production of melanin is stimulated by DNA damage induced by UVB-radiation, and it leads to a delayed development of a tan. This melanogenesis-based tan takes more time to develop, but it is long lasting.
Melanoma is a skin cancer that arises in melanocytes, the dark pigment cells of the skin.  Melanoma usually arises in a pre-existing mole or other pigmented lesion.  It is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

More commonly known as pregnancy mask, melasma is brown pigmentation around the eyes, on the cheeks and sometimes above the lip.  It is caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy, which make your skin more likely to develop dark pigment when exposed to sunlight.

Milia are hard, small and pearly bumps that typically appear across the upper cheeks, nose, and chin but do not easily extract from the skin.  They occur when dead, normally sloughed-off skin becomes trapped in small pockets at the surface of the skin or mouth and are common in newborns, infants as well as people of Mediterranean descent.

Moles commonly appear as a dark brown spot on the skin, although they have a wide range of appearance.

Oily Skin
Oily skin often has an oily sheen, sometimes within minutes of washing and is typically caused by either hormones called androgens or the climate.

Permanent Tattoo
Permanent tattoos are made with tattoo needles that are attached to needle bars that can puncture the skin at 50 to 3,000 times a minute.

Photoaging is the damage that accumulates in the skin from years of excessive and chronic sun exposure.  Photoaging accounts for much of the facial old look associated with aging.

The color of skin, or pigmentation, is mainly due to the amount of brown melanin pigment mixed with blue (from reduced haemoglobin), red (from oxyhaemoglobin) and yellow (from carotenoids in the diet).

The amount of melanin is determined by constitutional color (white, brown or black skin) and skin prototype, i.e. the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (tanning).  Increase in melanin (hyperpigmentation or hypermelanosis) can be due to an increased number of pigment cells (melanocytes) or from increased production of melanin.  Reduction in melanin results in pale patches (hypopigmentation or hypomelanosis) or white patches (leucoderma).

Pityriasis Alba
Pityriasis Alba, also known as fade spots are light patches of the skin covered with fine scale that can occur on any part of the body, but are most noticeable on the face and upper arms.  The patches are the result of mild eczema, and the loss of color is only temporary.

Port Wine Stain
A port-wine stain is a vascular birthmark consisting of superficial and deep dilated capillaries in the skin which produces a reddish to purplish discoloration of the skin.

Pregnancy Mask
See Melasma.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae
Pseudofolliculitis is a condition involving irritation, ingrown hairs, and secondary bacterial infection in shaven areas such as the chin and legs and is most commonly cased by close shaving with a twin bladed razor.

Psoriasis is a chronic, genetic, noncontagious skin disorder that appears in many different forms and can affect any part of the body, including the nails and scalp.  It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.  It commonly causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, although some patients have no dermatological symptoms. The scaly patches commonly caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites which gives it a silvery-white appearance.

See Skin Rash.

Rosacea is a common but little-known disorder of the facial skin that causes red-faced, acne-like effects on personal appearance, often causing significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated.

Sebaceous Hyperplasia
Sebaceous Hyperplasia is a skin condition that occurs as the result of an overgrowth of sebaceous glands and appears as small, yellowish growths, usually on the face.

Seborrheic Keratoses
Common benign epidermal growth in the middle-aged and elderly, that develops gradually.  Widely ranging in size, they are variably pigmented, waxy, round/oval found most commonly on the trunk, neck, arms and scalp.

Selective photothermolysis
Heating tissues using light, to selectively damage or destroy a target molecule or structure without damaging surrounding tissue.

Skin Allergy
A skin allergy is the body’s over-reaction to environmental allergens such as plants, animals, clothing, food and heat.

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the world’s most common malignancy.  The incidence and mortality of skin cancer have increased exponentially during the past several decades and is a prevalent skin care concern.

Skin Color
See Pigmentation.

Skin Discoloration
See Pigmentation.

Skin Infection
A skin infection is a general term used to refer to any skin condition caused by bacteria, such as boils, carbuncles, furuncles, cellulitis, abscesses, impetigo, and erysipelas.

Skin Lesions
A skin lesion is the term used when there is change in the appearance of a small spot of skin or the entire body.

Skin Moles
See Moles.

Skin Rash
A rash is an area of the skin that has broken out or changed in appearance and is often associated with itching, swelling, warmth, blisters, bumps, color changes, and pain.

Skin Resurfacing
Treatment to remove the top layer of the skin to allow new skin to grow.

Skin Tags
Skin tags are soft, small, flesh-colored or slightly darker skin growths that develop mostly on the neck, in the armpits, or in the genital area. Skin tags commonly crop up in post-pregnancy women.

Skin Texture
Skin texture refers to the look and smoothness of the skin’s surface, hydration of the skin, and the collagen, elastic and glycosaminoglycan content of the skin.

Spider Veins
Spider veins are small, superficial veins that enlarge and appear as a sunburst pattern of reddish and purplish veins.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that develops in the outer layers of the skin.  It is one of the forms of skin cancer closely associated with aging and years of sun exposure.  Squamous cell carcinoma is capable of spreading to other organs and should be treated as soon as it is detected.

Stretch Marks
A stretch mark is a patch or patches of skin that are much thinner and lighter in color than its adjacent skin.  Stretch marks are often seen in post-partum women and are associated with rapid weight gain and/or loss.

Sun Burn
A sun burn is an often painful condition of the skin, caused by excess exposure to the sun.  This type of skin exposure to the sun breaks down the skin’s DNA and has been long proven to be the culprit of skin cancer.

Sun Spots
See Age Spots.

Sun Tan
Getting a suntan breaks down the DNA in skin cells and has been long proven to be the cause of skin cancer.

A tattoo is a design or marking on the skin that can be either permanent or non-permanent, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment for decorative or other reasons.

Ultraviolet Radiation
Considered the sunburn and suntan wavelengths of solar radiation, ultraviolet radiation is the skin-damaging spectrum of sunlight.

Unwanted Hair
Although hair removal is possible virtually anywhere, common body areas for unwanted hair include the back, the face, underarms, the bikini line, the upper lip and chin, neck and the legs.

Venous Malformations
Venous malformations (cavernous hemangiomas) are the most common symptomatic vascular malformations (birthmark).  These common birthmarks usually become symptomatic in older children or young adults, with bluish skin discoloration, local swelling, and pain.

Vitiligo is a chronic disorder that causes depigmentation of patches of skin and irregular white patches on the skin appear.  It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause of this condition is currently unknown.

Wrinkles are caused by a loss of collagen and elastin, the tissues in the skin that make it firm and elastic as we age.  The degree of wrinkling depends on your genetics, and smoking, dry skin and sun exposure speed up its occurrence.  Recent studies reveal that 80 to 90 percent of wrinkling is caused by sun exposure.

See Cholesterol Deposits.

More commonly known as dry skin, Xerosis is caused by a lack of moisture and is highly prevalent in our climate, especially during the summer, when skin is either exposed to air conditioning or intense heat.