Colors used in pattern analysis

From dermoscopedia
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 Author(s): Harald Kittler
Description This chapter covers the colors as used in pattern analysis
Author(s) Harald Kittler
Responsible author Harald Kittler→ send e-mail
Status unknown
Status update July 13, 2019
Status by Ralph P. Braun


  • Depending on the layer of skin in which melanin is located, it may appear:
  1. Black: when located in the stratum corneum
  2. Brown: when located in the basal layers of the epidermis
  3. Gray: when located in the papillary dermis
  4. Blue: when located in the reticular dermis
  • The observed color depends on the density of melanin and the thickness of the epidermis:
  1. Dark-brown or nearly black: dense accumulation in the basal layer of the epidermis
  2. Light-brown: less dense accumulation
  3. Blue: the epidermis is thickened due to acanthosis (e.g. some seborrheic keratoses)


Pigment ranges from bright red to blue, depending on the level of oxygen saturation in vessels

  • Dark red: coagulated blue, due to massive extravasation of red blood cells (i.e. hemorrhage)
  • Black: blood in the stratum corneum (corneal bleeding)
  • Red to blue: fresh blood in the dermis.
  • Green to brown: due to degradation of hemoglobin

Other colors

  • Orange: in cases of eroded lesions, that serum flows out of the surface, dries, and forms a crust.
  • Orange to yellow: mixture of the white or yellow of keratin with the brown of melanin (e.g. pigmented seborrheic keratoses)
  • White: fibrosis or sclerosis of the dermis
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