The use of dermoscopy continues to expand in dermatologic practice. Visualization of a lesion's surface microscopic structures dramatically enhances dermatologic diagnostic capabilities. Most dermoscopes provide high-quality images through the contact of a flat glass plate with the skin surface. Oil is generally sandwiched between the skin surface and the glass plate to minimize surface reflection.
A number of properties make oil a less desirable choice for this purpose. Numerous oils have been used, including immersion oils, cedarwood oil, and countless others1,2; however, there are health concerns about some of these agents. Immersion oil is not approved for use on human skin due to ingredients that may have teratogenic, fetotoxic, and carcinogenic properties.3 Some oils, such as cedarwood oil and particular immersion oils, have also been reported to cause contact dermatitis.4,5 Furthermore, oils drip easily and air bubbles are relatively frequent.
Bellet JS, Grichnik JM. Surgilube as a Replacement for Oil During Dermoscopic Examination. Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(3):389. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.3.389-a