Videodermoscopy in the evaluation of hair and scalp disorders

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 Nov;55(5):799-806. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2006.04.058. Epub 2006 Jul 28.


Background: The standard methods used to diagnose scalp and hair disorders (eg, simple clinical inspection, pull test, biopsy) vary in sensitivity, reproducibility, and invasiveness. Studies on a few entities suggest that use of dermoscopy can improve clinical accuracy, but further investigation is needed.

Objectives: We sought to: (1) characterize features of several nontumoral scalp and hair conditions using videodermoscopy; and (2) assess the potential usefulness of videodermoscopy in the clinical evaluation of these conditions.

Methods: Images (x20-70 magnification) obtained with videodermoscopy from 220 patients with various scalp and hair disorders and 15 unaffected control subjects were reviewed for distinguishing features.

Results: Conditions evaluated included psoriasis (23), seborrheic dermatitis (26), alopecia areata (58), androgenetic alopecia (64), chronic telogen effluvium (7), trichotillomania (12), and primary cicatricial alopecia (30). Clinical features evident to the naked eye were seen in great detail when videodermoscopy was used. Novel features (eg, yellow dots in alopecia areata) were also identified.

Limitations: Findings require confirmation by blinded, prospective investigation.

Conclusions: Use of videodermoscopy in the clinical evaluation of scalp and hair disorders improves diagnostic capability beyond simple clinical inspection and reveals novel features of disease, which may extend clinical and pathogenetic understanding.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dermoscopy / standards*
  • Female
  • Hair Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Video / standards*
  • Scalp Dermatoses / pathology*
  • Skin Pigmentation