– A. Lallas –
Although traditionally used for evaluation of skin tumors, dermoscopy continuously gains appreciation in other fields of dermatology. The dermoscopic patterns of several inflammatory and infectious skin diseases have already been described, and the technique has been shown to improve clinical performance in terms of differential diagnosis in the daily practice. The increasing use of dermoscopy in general dermatology was significantly enhanced by the development of the new generation hand-held dermatoscopes, which can be easily placed in every dermatologist’s pocket and do not require use of immersion fluid.
Four main categories of dermoscopic criteria should be considered when applying the technique in inflammatory diseases:
1) vascular features, including purpuric structures (morphology distribution);
2) color variegations;
3) follicular abnormalities and 4) specific features.
Nowadays, the dermatoscope should not be regarded a second-level diagnostic equipment, but an irreplaceable diagnostic tool in every-day clinical setting, similarly to the stethoscope in general medicine. In this article, we provide an up-to-date summary of data on dermoscopy in general dermatology, attempting to assist clinicians to profitably utilize and apply the available knowledge in the everyday practice.