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flaking vs. scaling

English translation: don't know about medically accurate terminology, but...

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22:02 Mar 5, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Medical - Medical (general) / Psoriasis questionnaire
English term or phrase: flaking vs. scaling
I am currently working on a questionnaire for patients with psoriasis. There is one question that asks for special symptoms and whether they have occured.

Can anybody explain the difference between flaking and scaling? Is flaking a mild form of scaling?
Sonja Tomaskovic
Germany
Local time: 11:58
English translation:don't know about medically accurate terminology, but...
Explanation:
My understanding of the difference, at least in layman's terms, would be that 'scaling' refers to the skin forming 'plates' or scales (think of what happens when mud dries ou on the bed of a pond, and cracks form), which may then peel off (like small, individual scabs), whereas 'flaking' suggests simply loss of dry skin cells that are maybe lighter, smaller, just like dandruff. Scales you can 'pick' off, whereas flakes you would probably 'rub' off.

In my limited contact with these conditions in a medical field, this has been my outside observer's interpretation of what I saw...
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 11:58
Grading comment
Thank you all for your kind help. Actually, all of your answers have been very helpful.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
2 +8don't know about medically accurate terminology, but...
Tony M
5 +3if it falls offcheungmo
5 +1loosing flakes instead of loosing large areas of skin.
Hacene
5 +1flakes have the edges of the "scale" free
Gerard Michael Burns
4 -1same meaningjebeen
2removal of plaque and calculus from the surface of a tooth by means of a scaler
Jonathan MacKerron


  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
if it falls off


Explanation:
If it falls off, it flakes, if it doesn't, it scales.

At least as far as I can see.

cheungmo

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  chica nueva: That's the way I read it too
1 hr

agree  Jörgen Slet
2 hrs

agree  Nancy Arrowsmith: the simple explanation is the best. Scaling is like alligator skin
16 hrs
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20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +8
don't know about medically accurate terminology, but...


Explanation:
My understanding of the difference, at least in layman's terms, would be that 'scaling' refers to the skin forming 'plates' or scales (think of what happens when mud dries ou on the bed of a pond, and cracks form), which may then peel off (like small, individual scabs), whereas 'flaking' suggests simply loss of dry skin cells that are maybe lighter, smaller, just like dandruff. Scales you can 'pick' off, whereas flakes you would probably 'rub' off.

In my limited contact with these conditions in a medical field, this has been my outside observer's interpretation of what I saw...

Tony M
France
Local time: 11:58
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 52
Grading comment
Thank you all for your kind help. Actually, all of your answers have been very helpful.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxElena Sgarbo: Good explanation. Flakes are tiny & ethereal, while scales are small (but quite visible) pieces of skin. Greetings from FL, USA :-)
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Elena! And greetings to you from Corrèze, France!

agree  Jörgen Slet
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Jörgen!

agree  karina koguta: your explanation is very clear.
13 hrs
  -> Thanks a lot, Karina!

agree  chopra_2002
15 hrs
  -> Thanks, L/c!

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
15 hrs
  -> Thanks, Vicky!

agree  Sarah Ponting
18 hrs
  -> Thanks, Sarah!

agree  Nina Engberg: Yep. This is cause by the skin cells regenerating 6 times as fast in those spots.
1 day7 hrs
  -> Thanks, Nina! Your explanation helps a lot...

agree  mportal: yes, flakes fall off, while scales (at least initially) don't. I don't see it as a matter of size.
4 days
  -> Thanks, MP! I think in the medical application, size MAY be involved, but I don't believe it's the key point...
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
flakes have the edges of the "scale" free


Explanation:
The difference is that with "flakes" the edges of the "scales" have lost their adherence, and have raised up off the skin. Generally they have also lost color, and may appear white. This gives them an appearance similar to flakes of paint or even snowflakes.
I can't find this clearly stated anywhere, but the description at the URL below (and many others)shows the progression progression:

"atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is an allergic skin disorder that usually appears in babies or very young children, and which may last until the child reaches adolescence. Eczema causes the skin to itch, scale and flake."



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Note added at 2004-03-06 01:30:51 (GMT)
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Obviously the \"flakes\" also sometimes come off- but so can the scales that don\'t flake.

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Note added at 2004-03-06 01:43:34 (GMT)
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Obviously the \"flakes\" also sometimes come off- but so can the scales that don\'t flake.


    Reference: http://www.ohsuhealth.com/allergy/atopic.asp?sub=1
Gerard Michael Burns
Paraguay
Local time: 05:58
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Yes, well put!
10 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
same meaning


Explanation:
*Psoriasis is a skin disease marked by red scaly patches.
*scaly: (adj) covered in or having many scales.
*scale: is a flake of skin, (among other things).
*flake:(verb) scale(off), exfoliate, peel.
*flake:(n) a thin broad piece of material peeled or split off.
*flaky: (adj) made of thin light layers
Hope these will help.

jebeen
Local time: 05:58

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Tony M: I believe that in this specific medical context, they are used to convey distinctly, though subtly, different meanings
10 hrs
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
removal of plaque and calculus from the surface of a tooth by means of a scaler


Explanation:
is how Dorland's Medical dictionary defines scaling, this would mean that scaling is conducted manually, while flaking is a natural occurrence, however, I have no other proof to back this theory....

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Note added at 10 hrs 47 mins (2004-03-06 08:50:02 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

it defines scale as \" 1. a thin, compacted, flaky fragment, such as a delicate plate of bone or enamel or a bit of dried horny epidermis. 2. a thin fragment of tartar or other concretion on the surface of a tooth. 3. to remove calcareous deposits from the teeth and from beneath the gingival margin with an instrument.\"
There are no entries for flake/flaking.

Jonathan MacKerron
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 42
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
loosing flakes instead of loosing large areas of skin.


Explanation:
scaling is like a snake, it could include large areas of the skin and can be done by pealing or removing the skin with no damage. Flaking is like dandruff. It is rather un loosening of small skin particles.

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Note added at 15 hrs 39 mins (2004-03-06 13:42:41 GMT)
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sorry: should read .... it is rather a loosening .....

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Note added at 19 hrs 37 mins (2004-03-06 17:40:33 GMT)
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should read: ... can be done by peeling or ...

Hacene
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:58
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 2

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  knipe: I agree with the descríption of the differences, and also agree with the falling off description below.
15 hrs
  -> cheers

neutral  Sarah Ponting: "pealing" skin?!!!
19 hrs
  -> well spotted, sorry for the typo
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