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July 2012

An International Celebration of Dermatology

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(7):846. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.629

Our skin comes in different colors and complexions. It is also called by many names. What follows is a sampling of the words used to denote skin among the different world languages. These foreign terms may sound strange to our ears. Yet, together, they form an international pageantry of sounds and syllables that collectively celebrate the beauty of our body's skin.

French, Spanish, and Italian:

In French, skin is called peau. The medical term peau d’orange (orange peel skin) describes the appearance of the skin of the breast in inflammatory breast cancer. In Spanish, skin is called piel and in Italian pelle, which are derived from the Latin word for skin, pellis. Other Latin synonyms for skin are cutis and dermis, the latter name being derived from the Greek word for skin, derma. The medical terms cutaneous (Latin) and dermatology (Greek) are derived from these respective etymologies.