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September 2004

Visualization Method Based on Digital Image Analysis Reveals Photodamage of the Skin

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(9):1173-1174. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.9.1173

Absorption of UV light by melanin can be used to visualize damage in the skin pigmentation, especially in the white population with skin types I through III.1-4 Therefore, UV photography is excellent for visualizing even distinct skin pigmentation as well as for educating patients. New systems using visible and UV light are currently available. A recently developed image analysis software approach requires only photographs taken with a standard digital camera (Figure 1). The software, which is based on local contrast enhancement methods using the shorter wavelengths of visible light, can generate a monochrome image within a few seconds (Figure 2). The resulting printout or screen image can be discussed immediately with the patient: "One picture is worth a thousand words."5 Ultraviolet photography can also be used in evaluating the progress of patients during treatment as well as in educating individuals about how to prevent overexposure to UV light.

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