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What is a Wood's light exam?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Wood's light exam is a test that a doctor may use to detect skin infections and certain other disorders of the skin. To perform Wood's light exam, a doctor darkens the room and looks over the skin using a special light or lamp. (This test is also called Wood's lamp examination.) This test is painless and no preparation is necessary.
In a Wood's light exam, the doctor uses an ultraviolet light to check your skin for infections or other disorders. Vitiligo can be diagnosed by its appearance, and a Wood's light exam can help the doctor distinguish between differences in areas of the skin. It can also help detect pigment disorders like vitiligo in fair-skinned people because the ultraviolet light makes differences in pigment (melanin) easier to see.

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