• black skin;
  • dermoscopy;
  • early diagnosis;
  • epiluminescence microscopy;
  • pigmented lesion


Background  Little is known about the use of dermoscopy in nonwhite-skinned populations and whether it can influence diagnostic performance.

Objectives  To evaluate for the first time the utility and efficacy of dermoscopy in a black population for the diagnosis of pigmented cutaneous lesions.

Methods  In total, 100 consecutive clinically doubtful or equivocal pigmented skin lesions in black patients were submitted to dermoscopic examination. The lesions were observed using dermoscopy by two groups of dermatologists, one in Brazil (in vivo) and the other in Italy (on slide images). Besides diagnosis, each group recorded on the same type of form the dermoscopic features present.

Results  Of 100 clinically suspicious cases, 79 were Clark naevi, 15 seborrhoeic keratoses, four blue naevi, one dermatofibroma and one melanoma. The two groups of observers succeeded in identifying and classifying all the lesions to such a margin of diagnostic accuracy that only a few cases (three Clark naevi) were subjected to surgical excision to confirm diagnosis.

Conclusions  Darker pigmentation of the skin does not impede the identification of single dermoscopic features. As in lighter-skinned populations, dermoscopy in black people can also lead to early and accurate diagnosis of melanoma, thereby significantly reducing the number of unnecessary excisions.