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Skin Scrape Test (Fungal Scrape Test)

Fungal scrape and bacterial culture tests allow physician to confirm or debunk fungal/bacterial diagnosis of skin condition
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Table of Contents

How does a skin scrape test work?

Your doctor will use a blunt sterile metal knife to scrape the scaly rash surface to obtain skin tissue sample


  • Fungal scrape and bacterial culture tests allow physician to confirm or debunk fungal/bacterial diagnosis of skin condition
  • This will aid with the treatment of skin rash- especially rashes that do not improve after trying multiple topical medications

Who is suitable for a skin scrape test?

A skin scrape or fungal scrape test is suitable for:

  • Scaly or weepy conditions especially over the finger or toe web spaces,
  • Open wound that does not get better,
  • Groin/genital rash
  • Skin rash
  • Abnormal nail condition
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What results can I expect?

The tests will confirm or rule out causes due to fungus or bacteria. If fungus cause is confirmed, antifungal in the form of cream or oral medication can be prescribed to treat the skin condition correctly.

If bacterial cause is confirmed, the culture test will also advise on various antibiotics that will be suitable for treatment; this allows skin condition be treated accurately and prevents unnecessary antibiotics exposure.

How many sessions needed?

1 session should suffice. As fungal scrape and bacterial cultures take time to be processed in the laboratory, turnover of results can take 3-7 working days.


How does the doctor collect skin scrape from the skin for fungal or bacterial testing?

Your doctor will use a sterile blunt scalpel or blade to scrape the scaly part of the skin lesions into a collection pack/bottle. The sample will subsequently be sent off to the laboratory for further evaluation.

Is skin scraping painful?
As the skin scraping procedure uses a blunt blade to collect the sample, most patients do not experience pain. One may feel slight ‘pressure’ or discomfort when the skin is being ‘scrapped’. There can be slight bleeding or ooziness noted after procedure. Otherwise it is a well-tolerated procedure with no downtime.
How long does the skin scrape result take?
Skin scraping results turnover can take up to 5-7 days. Occasionally, your doctor may advise for culturing the skin sample for a longer period of time to see whether the sample grows fungus or bacteria over a period of time- in that circumstances, the results turnover can take weeks (longer). For fungal culture, to incubate the slow growing fungus, the culture results can take up to 4-6 weeks.
What are the benefits of skin scraping test?
Skin scraping is a simple quick procedure which is nearly painless. It can be done in clinic or outpatient setting. Skin scraping allows collection of the superficial skin cells and further evaluation of the cells under microscope or cultured environment in the laboratory. It is immensely useful in skin infections such as fungus, bacteria, or even scabies mite infections. This will help the clinician to nail down the diagnosis and ensure the patient receive the right treatment for their skin condition.
Does skin scraping test causes spreading of the infection or skin rash?

Skin scraping test does not cause infection or causing spreading of rash. As the skin scrap is performed with a sterile blade, and over the affected region, it does not transfer the possible infection to other areas. It is hence, very safe.

Is there any side effects or downtime after skin scraping procedure?
You can resume your normal daily routine after skin scraping procedure. If the scrapped area is slightly oozy, your doctor may advise the skin area to be covered with a light dressing. You can shower or bath as per normal day.
Will I have a wound or bleeding after skin scraping?
You may experience a slight ‘raw’ or oozy area following scrapping of the skin by your doctor. It generally does not cause bleeding and is well tolerated amongst patients.
Do I need to shave before a skin scraping test?
You do not need to shave in advance for skin scraping test. In fact, if the rash is in vicinity of the hair region, your doctor can still obtain the scrapped skin sample.
Is it safe to do a skin scraping test on my face? Can I get a scar?
As skin scraping test uses a blunt blade, it is safe to be done over the face lesions. It does not usually cause a scar and there is no downtime after the procedure.
Do I need local anaesthesia for skin scraping test?
You do not require local anaesthesia for skin scraping test. You may notice slight discomfort, or pressured feeling during the procedure, but most patients are able to tolerate the procedure without any analgesia.
Do I still need to seek treatment for my skin rash if my doctor scrape away the skin lesion?
Depending on your individual skin condition, if there are reasons for concerns of skin infection, or remnants of abnormal skin on the wound, your doctor may still advise and prescribe you medication for treatment.
Is skin scrape test better than skin biopsy?
Skin scrape test allows visualize of the superficial layer of the skin- the abnormal cells, any infections or even parasites or mites findings. Skin biopsy on the other hand enables the evaluation of the skin at a deeper level- covering the epidermis, dermis or even the fat layer of the skin. Depending on your skin condition, and suspicion of certain diagnosis, your doctor will guide and recommend the test that is suitable for you.

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