We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Polarized Light Examination and Photography of the Skin

R. Rox Anderson, MD
Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(7):1000-1005. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680060074007.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


• Light reflected from skin has two components: regular reflectance, or "glare" arising from the surface, and light backscattered from within the tissue. The regular reflectance contains the visual cues related to surface texture, whereas the backscattered component contains the cues related to pigmentation, erythema, infiltrates, vessels, and other intracutaneous structures. Unlike the backscattered component, regular reflectance preserves the plane of polarization of polarized incident light. Thus, viewing skin through a linear polarizer, under linearly polarized illumination, separates the two components of tissue reflectance. Thirty patients were examined and photographed in this manner. When the planes of polarization are parallel, images with enhanced surface detail are obtained. When the planes are orthogonal, wrinkles and surface detail disappear, and an enhanced view of vasculature and pigmented lesions is obtained. Simple, clinically useful techniques are presented.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:1000-1005)


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.