Wood’s lamp examination is a tool healthcare providers use to examine your skin, scalp and hair. The lamp emits ultraviolet (UV) light, or blacklight, which makes certain types of cells glow or turn colors. This quick, painless test is often used to help diagnose fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections.

Wood’s lamp examination can help healthcare providers diagnose several disorders, including:

  • Abnormal pigmentation, such as melasma and vitiligo.
  • Bacterial infection, including Pseudomonas and Corynebacterium.
  • Scabies and head lice.
  • Skin fungus infection
  • Skin imperfections such as acne, aging skin and milia.

A UV light test is safe and doesn’t cause any skin damage. Very rarely, in people with extreme light sensitivity, the lamp can cause a temporary rash.

However, the lamp can cause damage to your eyes, particularly with repeat exposure. You may be asked to close your eyes during the exam.