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is a circumscribed, solid elevation of skin with no visible fluid, varying in size from a pinhead to 1 cm.
[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.]
They can be either brown, purple, pink or red in colour. The papules may open when scratched and become infected and crusty.
Papules may have different shapes and are sometimes associated with other features such as crusts or scales.
Diseases of the skin that develop papules
There are many skin diseases which develop papules such as Lichen planus
Lichen planus is a chronic mucocutaneous disease that affects the skin, tongue, and oral mucosa. The disease presents itself in the form of papules, lesions, or rashes. Lichen planus does not involve lichens, the fungus/algae symbionts that often grow on tree trunks; the name refers to the dry and...
, a skin disease which classically forms polygonal, purple papules.