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SpaceHome > Articles > Fluorescence Photography > Applications of the ultraviolet technique - Dermatology


Authors: Prof. Robin Williams and Gigi Williams

Applications of the ultraviolet technique:

Application Notes Reference
Skin tissue First ultraviolet fluorescent photograph of hand. Wood 1919
Skin tissue First medical publication observing a variety of fluorescence effects on the skin. Margot & Deveze 1925
Skin tissue Noted that normal skin often fluoresced but that inflammatory conditions did not. Goodman 1928
Hair follicles First ultraviolet fluorescence and visible control photographs of hair follicles in the early stage of infection. Davidson et al. 1935
Fungal conditions Attempted to make colour records of fluorescence of fungal infections, eg., microsporosis of the scalp and hair but with no success. Probably due to absence of a barrier filter. Successful black-and-white results were however presented. Benedek 1942
Ringworm Endothrix trichophyton showed faint grey white in culture in Sabouraud's medium. Costello & Luttenberger 1944
Pediculosis Capitas and Pubis
Pityriasis Versicolour
Industrial dermatoses
Lice could be seen more clearly - faint grey-blue Microsporon furfur showed as a dull golden yellow; outline readily discernible. Varied results, sometimes discernible, to assist in diagnosis and extent. Frequent detection of invisible fluorescent contaminants Costello & Luttenberger 1944
Tinea versicolor Light golden brown fluorescence may be used in the differential diagnosis from leucomelanoderma. Ronchese et al. 1954
Industrial oil on skin Colour fluorescence photography showing various applications of the fluorescence technique including how industrial oil on the back of a hand fluoresced. Tredinnick 1955
Tinea capitas
Showed any remaining fungi fluoresced bright yellowish green. Matlin 1959
Tinea capitas First colour photograph of the fluorescence of ringworm of the scalp taken with a flash. Also showed cut sections of teeth using various film stock. Gibson 1959
Tinea capitas Showed an example of colour photography of the fluorescence of tinea capitas in a 6 year old child taken with flash. Tredinnick 1961
Tinea capitas In a paper on the photography of diseases of the skin, showed an example of tinea capitas fluorescing under ultraviolet radiation. Lunnon 1961
Tinea capitas In a further paper on clinical ultraviolet photography, showed an example of the fluorescence technique for recording tinea capitas. Lunnon 1968
Sweat ducts in fingertips Used an ultraviolet fluorescence method for studies of the sweat duct openings. Callender 1975
Erythrasma Showed the ultraviolet fluorescence of erythrasma in a paper on photography in dermatology. Phillips 1976
Rate of skin turnover Described the use of ultraviolet fluorescence photometry to study the time it took for the stratum corneum to renew itself in the Dansyl chloride test by recording density of fluorescence of a marker compound. Concluded that this method was better than visual comparison. Marshall 1982


  • Benedek, T., 1942, "Luminography," J. Biol. Photogr. Assoc. 10 (4): 184-195.
  • Callender, R., 1975, "Fluorescence macrophotography," Brit. J. Photogr. 122:0ct:964.
  • Costello, M. and Luttenberger, L., 1944, "Fluorescence with the Wood's filter as an aid in dermatological diagnosis," N. Y. S. J. Med. 42 (Aug): 1778-1784.
  • Davidson, A., Boyd, S. and Haltalin, C., 1935, "An improved source of ultraviolet light for the diagnosis of ringworm of the scalp," Can. Med. Ass. J. 33:534-536.
  • Gibson, D., 1959, "Recording fluorescence phenomena under ultraviolet radiation," J. Biol. Photogr. Ass. 27 (4):151-155.
  • Lunnon, R., 1961, "Some observations on the photography of diseased skin, ' Med. Biol.lllustr. 11:98-103.
  • Lunnon, R., 1968, "Clinical ultraviolet photography," J. BioI. Photogr. Ass. 36 (2):72-78.
  • Margot, J and Deveze, P., 1925 "Aspect de Qurlques dermatoes en Lumiere Ultra-paraviolet" Bull. Soc Sci Med et Biol de Montpellier 6: 375-378.
  • Marshall, R., 1982, "Photographic photometry of ultraviolet fluorescence, " Brit. J. Photogr. 129:958-960.
  • Matlin, E., 1959, "Ultraviolet radiation in general practice," G.P. May:99-101.
  • Phillips, R., 1976, "Photography as an aid to dermatology" Med. Biol Illustr. 26:161- 166.
  • Ronchese, F., Walker, B. and Young, R., 1954, "The reddish-orange fluorescence of necrotic cancerous surfaces under the Wood light," Arch. Derm. Syph. 69:31- 42.
  • Tredinnick, D., 1955, "Fluorescence photography in colour," Med. Biol. Illustr. 5:217-223.
  • Tredinnick, D., 1961, "Further advances in fluorescence colour photography," Med. Biol. Illustr. 11:16-21.
  • Wood, R., 1919, "Communications secretes au moyen de rayons lumineux," J. Phys. Theor. Appl. 9:77-90.

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Last modified: 3 May 2002