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Scales

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Skin flaking

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.

Images

Lichen planus - close-up
Psoriasis, magnified x4
Athlete's foot, tinea pedis
Lichen planus on the arm
Lichen planus on the hands

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.

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.