Wood's lamp examination in skin diagnostics
Wood's Lamp is a device for the preliminary diagnosis of skin and various skin lesions. Its operation is based on the phenomenon of fluorescence, which causes different types of skin defects under the influence of ultraviolet light emitted emits a different color. The examination is painless, safe, and carries no risk of complications.
Skin diagnostics is based on the determination of various skin parameters, which allow us to assess its condition and identify any possible problems. What do we mean by skin parameters? These are, for example, the secretory activity of the skin, the structure of the skin, the appearance of blemishes, the vascularisation and pigmentation of the skin, the degree of aging, and photo-aging.
The Wood's Lamp was invented by Professor of Experimental Physics Robert Williams Wood in 1903 at Hopkins University in Baltimore.
It was first used in medical diagnostics in 1925 for the detection of fungal infection of the hairy scalp.
It is a quartz lamp with a special filter that emits ultraviolet UV radiation with a bandwidth of 320 to 400 nm.
The device is still used today in dermatology and cosmetology.
In dermatological diagnostics, we can diagnose
Mycoses (of the skin and hair, of the axillae, and the area between the toes)
Bacterial infections (e.g. Pseudomonas, which causes folliculitis, is invisible in visible light, but causes green fluorescence under Wood's Lamp)
Dandruff (both hairy skin and dandruff Vulgaris)
Propionibacterium acne infections and other conditions
The analysis of the fluorescence difference is used to diagnose several skin problems. In the course of skin diagnostics with Wood’s Lamp we can more precisely determine various dermatological characteristics of the epidermis, e.g:
Discoloration (or vitiligo)
Hyperpigmentation (shallow, epidermal or mixed)
A very interesting phenomenon that can be observed when we illuminate the skin using a Wood's lamp, is the control of the correct application of creams on the skin, also creams that contain sunscreens. Light is very useful in assessing the condition of the skin before and after chemical peels.
The UV rays emitted by Wood's lamp produce the phenomenon of fluorescence (the emission of light by an atom or molecule). This is because different complexions and types of diseases produce a glow of different colours. This allows us to identify the types of changes, e.g:
- green - in this colour glow pteridines (a type of chemical compound), which are secreted by fungi that cause diseases
- pale green (celadon) - indicates the presence of infection with pseudomonas aeruginosa (pale pus)
- Bordeaux-coloured - dry, dehydrated skin
- blue-white colour - hypopigmented and depigmented lesions
How does Wood's lamp test work?
For the examination to be 100% successful and to give a clear, legible view of the skin, it is necessary to follow certain requirements. The examination must be performed in a dark room. During the examination, you should not wear clothes that reflect the light of the Wood's lamp, i.e. both the client and the diagnostician should wear black.
It is also very important to prepare the skin before diagnosis. The skin must be washed very well a few hours before the procedure (including a very thorough washing off makeup, even lipstick and eye makeup). No cosmetics should be applied, no topical salicylic acid products or masks should be used, the skin should not be washed with soap or any product containing glycerin before the treatment, and no coffee or juice should be drunk just before the treatment because the fluids around the mouth are deposited and will be visible under Wood's lamp as a discolouration (like a moustache).
Skin diagnostics consists of two visits. At the first visit, a detailed history is taken, a form is filled out, photos are taken, skin parameters are determined, the skin is palpated and visually examined, and a Wood's lamp is used. The second visit consists of a description of the diagnostic results, including a discussion of the images, an analysis of past skincare, a proposed program of home and office care, education on skincare habits.
Conclusions that will be drawn from the diagnosis will coincide with the objectives of care, focusing on improving the condition of the skin, understanding how the skin works, what physiological reactions occur in it, and what are the factors that burden the skin internally and externally. You will learn what you should avoid, both at home and in the office.
Wood's Lamp examination is completely safe. The radiation emitted does not cause harm. You may feel a gentle warmth emitted from the lamp. The only contraindication for the use of this type of device is the presence of open injuries or wounds in the analyzed area.
What is the purpose of skin diagnosis with the Wood's Lamp?
The purpose of skin diagnosis is to keep the skin healthy, to maintain its homeostasis. You will understand where your skin problems come from, you will work on yourself to improve the habits you repeat at home (we all do them :) ). You will understand what each cosmetic is used for and learn the correct order of application, the best type of cosmetics for your skin, and the aging process. You will learn that not every treatment that is offered by beauty salons is suitable for your skin.
The skin diagnostics offers a thorough examination culminating in a detailed report and a tailored skincare plan.