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May 1963

Clinical Signs in Tinea Versicolor

Arch Dermatol. 1963;87(5):641-642. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590170099017

The one significant sign associated with the diagnosis of tinea versicolor is that of the coup d' ongle of Besnier (1831-1909),1 later called by Balzer (1849-1929)2le signe du copeau (shaving, as of wood) or in German Hobelspanphänomen. The description is as follows:

"Sometimes the spots are smooth, sometimes powdery and manifestly branny, but this distinguishing mark is not evident in all of the stages of evolution of the parasite, and its diagnostic value is secondary; what is constant is the alteration in the consistency of the superficial horny layer of the epidermis, which, infiltrated with the microsporon (Malassezia) is easily crumpled and detached either by the stroke of the curette, or more practically by the scrape of the fingernail. A scratch of the nail made a little vigorously, even without reaching the summit of the papillae and without causing the least degree of bleeding, easily produces the

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