Dermatoscopy in life-threatening and severe acute rashes

Clin Dermatol. 2020 Jan-Feb;38(1):113-121. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2019.10.013. Epub 2019 Nov 11.


A prompt recognition of life-threatening and severe acute rashes is of utmost importance to start an appropriate therapy as soon as possible. Consequently, clinicians often must rely only on clinical data to make a diagnosis because some diagnostic procedures may take a relatively long time to be performed (eg, histologic examination, microbiologic tests). In this scenario, dermatoscopy may be useful as an auxiliary tool to support the diagnosis by highlighting subclinical features. We have provided an up-to-date overview on the use of dermatoscopic assessment in life-threatening and severe acute dermatoses, including erythroderma (due to psoriasis, eczema, pityriasis rubra pilaris, mycosis fungoides, and drugs), pustular eruptions (pustular psoriasis and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis), bullous eruptions (staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and pemphigus vulgaris), hemorrhagic eruptions (necrotizing vasculitis and calciphylaxis), and erythematous eruptions (erythema multiforme major, Sweet syndrome, and DRESS syndrome).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Dermoscopy*
  • Exanthema / diagnosis*
  • Exanthema / etiology
  • Exanthema / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index