Korean J Med Mycol.  2017 Jun;22(2):53-61. 10.17966/KJMM.2017.22.2.53.

Dermoscopy of Superficial Dermatomycosis

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea. airmd@jbnu.ac.kr
  • 2Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Chonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute of Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Korea.


While mycological examinations, potassium hydroxide preparation, and fungus culture remain the gold standard for the diagnosis of superficial dermatomycoses, mycological procedures have limitations because they are rather complex, time-consuming, and require skilled personnel and additional mycological tools. Dermoscopy is a simple, non-invasive diagnostic technique that allows better visualization of morphologic structures of the skin than the naked eye. It is easily performed with a hand-held dermoscope and allows immediate diagnosis. It has been primarily used to evaluate pigmented skin lesions, but recent advances indicate that it can also be a useful and convenient tool for diagnosing superficial dermatomycoses. The determination of specific dermoscopic patterns of fungal infection, especially in selected cases involving terminal hairs or nails, could lead to a straightforward diagnosis and facilitate their differentiation from non-fungal skin diseases. In addition, dermoscopy permits better inspection of subtle clinical features caused by fungi that are less evident to the naked eye; thus, in most cases, it can enhance clinician's diagnostic accuracy and confidence level, and allow determination of the best site for adequate mycological sampling as well as therapeutic monitoring. However, it should be a part of the evaluation in combination with other mycological tests because it does not substitute confirmatory examination for superficial dermatomycoses.


Dermatomycoses; Dermoscopy; Fungal infection; Onychomycosis; Skin; Tinea capitis
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