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The dermatological exam is a simple and quick exam that aims to identify changes that may be present in the skin, and the exam should be performed by the dermatologist in his office.
However, the dermatological exam can also be done at home and for this, the person can stand in front of the mirror and carefully observe their body, looking for new signs, stains, scars, peeling or itching, including the back of the neck, behind the ears and between the toes. If new signs are observed, it is important to go to the dermatologist so that the exam can be carried out in more detail and the diagnosis can be made.
How the dermatological exam is done
The dermatological examination is simple, quick and does not require any type of preparation, because it consists of observing lesions, stains or signs present on the skin. This exam is normally requested for users of public swimming pools, private clubs and in some gyms.
The exam is performed in the dermatologist's office and takes place in two stages:
- Anamnesis, in which the doctor will ask questions about the lesion, such as when it started, when the first symptom appeared, what the symptom is like (if it itches, hurts or burns), whether the lesion has spread to another part of the body and whether the lesion has progressed.
- Physical examination, in which the doctor will observe the person and the lesion, paying attention to the characteristics of the lesion, such as color, consistency, type of lesion (plaque, nodule, spots, scar), shape (targeted, linear, rounded), arrangement (clustered, scattered, isolated) and lesion distribution (localized or disseminated).
Through a simple dermatological examination you can discover several diseases such as chilblains, foot bug, ringworm, herpes, psoriasis and other more serious ones such as melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer that can spread easily to other bodies. Learn how to identify melanoma.
Auxiliary diagnostic tests
Some diagnostic tests can be used to complement the dermatological examination, when the physical examination is not enough to determine the cause of the lesion, they are:
- Biopsy, in which part of the injured region or sign is removed so that the characteristics are evaluated and the diagnosis can be made. Biopsy is widely used to diagnose skin cancer, for example. See what are the first signs of skin cancer;
- Scrapes, in which the doctor scrapes the lesion to be taken to the laboratory for analysis. This test is usually done for the diagnosis of fungal infections;
- Wood's light, which is widely used to evaluate the spots present on the skin and make the differential diagnosis with other diseases through the fluorescence pattern, such as erythrasma, in which the lesion fluoresces bright orange-red, and vitiligo, which turns bright blue;
- Tzanck's Cytodiagnosis, which is done to diagnose lesions caused by viruses, such as herpes, which usually manifests itself through blisters. Therefore, the material used to perform this diagnostic test is blisters.
These exams help the dermatologist to define the cause of the lesion and establish the appropriate treatment for the patient.