You only need three things to adequately do the physical examination of the skin.
- A completely undressed patient, clothed only in an examining gown (The patient can keep their lower undergarments unless the skin is affected in that region.)
- Good lighting!
- You! To inspect and palpate the lesions.
During inspection note features such as location (where is it?), symmetry, arrangement, color, scaling, dryness, surface features, borders, size, shape and contour (what does it look like?) of lesions. Don't forget to also inspect the scalp, hair, mouth and nails.
During palpation features of note include mobility and turgor, moisture, temperature, surface features and depth.
Adjuncts to the skin exam include potassium hydroxide (KOH) examination, the Tzanck smear, and scabies preparation.