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Skin Care and Diseases

Skin Assessments For Dark-Skinned Individuals

06/02/2009

Question:

I am taking a class that asked the question, "Why is it important to perform a skin assessment under indirect sunlight of persons with dark skin?" Can you help me with this question? Thank you.

Answer:

I am not entirely sure about the condition being specified here which is referred to as "under indirect sunlight" but in general, dark skin has different optical properties compared to light skin. Visualization of skin lesions or features of the skin is sometimes more challenging because of the amount of melanin present, hence, some special strategy, for example, in terms of lighting techniques, may be warranted.

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Response by:

Elma D Baron, MD Elma D Baron, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Skin Study Center
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University