Medical Definition of Exfoliate

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Exfoliate: 1) To peel off scaly skin spontaneously. The skin exfoliates from the palms and soles in Kawasaki's disease and Reiter's syndrome. 2) To deliberately wear away the top layer of skin, as may be done gently by a facial technologist who applies a topical skin treatment for cosmetic purposes, or more aggressively by a dermatologist treating acne.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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