Nikolsky's sign is a skin finding in which the top layers of the skin slip away from the lower layers when slightly rubbed.
Nikolsky's sign is either positive or negative. A positive result may be present in several different medical conditions. People with a positive sign have loose skin that slips free from the underlying layers when rubbed. The area beneath is pink and moist and usually very tender.
Typically, your health care provider will test for this sign simply by twisting a pencil eraser against your skin. If positive, a blister will form in the area, usually within minutes.
Pasternack MS, Swartz MN. Cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and subcutaneous tissue infections. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 90.
Schumann-Gable N. Dermatology. In: Custer JW, Rau RE, eds. Johns Hopkins: The Harriet Lane Handbook. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 8.
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