– When it comes to diagnosing tinea capitis, you really can’t rely on a Wood’s lamp, according to pediatric dermatologist Robert Silverman, MD.

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The Wood’s lamp generally misses the most common cause of tinea capitis in urban and suburban environments today, Trichophyton tonsurans, said Dr. Silverman, a pediatric dermatologist and clinical associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Georgetown University, Washington.

The dermatoscope, which “will allow you to see what is called the black dots of tinea capitis very, very closely,” is far better, he said in an interview at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar provided by the Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

He explained the limitations of the Wood’s lamp in this setting, and what to look for with a dermatoscope. He had other tips to share, too, from years of experience treating the condition, including how to differentiate tinea capitis on exam from its most common mimics, why it’s best to include a counter stain when using potassium hydroxide, and how to motivate parents to wash their child’s hair more frequently to reduce spores on the hair and scalp.

Dr. Silverman disclosed relationships with Pierre Fabre, Pfizer, and Regeneron.

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