A papule is a circumscribed, solid elevation of skin with no visible fluid, varying in area from a pinhead to 1 cm.[2][nb 1] It can be brown, purple, pink or red in color, and can cluster into a papular rash. Papules may open when scratched and become infected and crusty.[3] Larger non-blisterform elevated lesions may be termed nodules.

Fibrous papule of the nose
  • /ˈpæpjuːl/[1]
Papule and plaque

Papules may have differes and are sometimes associated with other features such as crusts or scales.

Causal diseases

There are many skin diseases which develop papules, such as lichen planus, a skin disease which classically forms polygonal, purple papules.[4]

See also


  1. With regard to the quote "...varying in size from a pinhead to 1cm," depending on which text is referenced, some authors state the cutoff between a papule and a plaque as 0.5cm, not 1cm, while others state an entirely different measurement. Therefore, for this article, the 1cm cutoff is used which is discussed in Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (see references), a work considered by some dermatologists as an authority on this subject matter. See Lack of Standardization for complete discussion.


  1. "Papule definition and meaning - Collins English Dictionary".
  2. James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005) Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (10th ed.). Saunders. Page 15. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  3. "papule" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. "Information on Pimple". 1 August 2016.
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