A Wood's lamp emits ultraviolet light and can be a diagnostic aid in determining if someone has a fungal or bacterial infection on the skin or scalp. If there is an infection on the area where the Wood's lamp is illuminating, the area will fluoresce. Normally the skin does not fluoresce, or shine, under ultraviolet light.
Review Date 10/31/2016
Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.