Why Do African American Kids Have Higher Rates Of Eczema
Although African American adults are slightly less likely to have eczema compared to people of other races, 20% of Black children have eczema, which is almost double the rate found in white, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic children.
Experts are still determining the exact factors that contribute to these numbers, and theyre learning more all the time. Recent studies have shown exposure to irritants, both indoor and outdoor, can lead to higher cases of eczema. African Americans tend to live in heavily urban settings with irritants and allergens such as pollution, humidity, ultraviolet radiation, harsh water, dust, mold, and more. These triggers can leave one with a compromised immune system and make people susceptible to eczemaand often, more severe cases of it.
Additionally, new research analyzing genetic factors of eczema is finding certain mutations affecting the skin barrier cells and skin immune cells can be passed down through families, and these mutations are more common in some ethnic groups, like people of African descent, compared to others.
An Ambitious New Collaboration May Help The Cause
One larger-scale effort is Project Impact, launched in February 2021 by a company called VisualDx in collaboration with the Skin of Color Society and the New England Journal of Medicine Group. The goal of Project Impact is to raise awareness about misdiagnosis and share resources and strategies that help physicians more accurately diagnose disease in Black and brown skin.
Were focused on all kinds of bias racial and gender bias and the reasons doctors make mistakes, says Art Papier, MD, a dermatologist at the University of Rochester in New York and the founder of VisualDx. The company makes desktop and mobile apps for physicians that help them recognize skin-symptom patterns in patients across a range of skin colors with an assist from AI .
The apps rely on VisualDxs extensive library of images. A University of Connecticut study published in June 2020 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology surveyed more than 15,000 images of skin conditions across six printed textbooks and two online resources, and found that VisualDxs image library had the highest percentage of dark skin images compared with six printed textbooks and two web sources .
The key to good AI is good data, says Dr. Papier. Weve been very purposeful since the inception of our company to collect imagery from people of all skin tones.
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Black Americans And Diabetes
Black Americans — and Mexican-Americans — have twice the risk of diabetes as white Americans. In addition, blacks with diabetes have more serious complications — such as loss of vision, loss of limbs, and kidney failure — than whites, notes Maudene Nelson, RD, certified diabetes educator at Naomi Barry Diabetes Center at Columbia University.
“The theory is that maybe it is access to health care, or maybe a cultural fatalism — thinking, ‘It is God’s will,’ or, ‘My family had it so I have it’ — not a sense of something I can have an impact on so it won’t hurt me,” Nelson tells WebMD. “But more and more there is thinking it is something that makes blacks genetically more susceptible. It is hard to tell how much of it is what.”
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How People Of Color Can Reduce Their Skin Cancer Risk
Dermatologists in the United States tell their patients with skin of color to reduce their risk of getting skin cancer by doing the following:
Seek shade whenever possible. The sun causes many skin cancers.
Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat can shade your face and neck. You also want to wear shoes that cover the entire foot. African Americans often develop skin cancer on their feet.
Wear sunscreen. Yes, people of color should wear sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend that people of color use sunscreen that has:
Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. You want to apply sunscreen to skin that will be bare. Be sure to apply sunscreen every day even on cloudy days.
When outdoors, reapply sunscreen. You want to reapply:
Never use tanning beds or sunlamps. These emit harmful UV rays, which can cause skin cancer.
Skin of color: How to prevent and detect skin cancer
Although people of color have a lower risk of developing skin cancer than Caucasians, when skin cancer develops in people of color, it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage making it more difficult to treat.
Follow these tips from dermatologists to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Psoriasis With Darker Skin
You can get psoriasis with all different skin colors, but it tends to look different on darker skin.
In African Americans, psoriasis is typically purplish in color with scaling that looks gray. In very dark skin, the psoriasis may also be dark brown and so harder to see.
Slightly lighter Hispanic skin tends to produce a dark pinkish-colored psoriasis and with a scale that looks silvery-white.
In addition, after psoriasis clears on these skin types, patches that are lighter or darker than the surrounding skin may remain for some time .
These are not scars, and they will clear after some time, though it can take from a few months to a year or longer. Your skin doctor may be able to treat them so they clear more quickly. Ask about this if the appearance of the patches bothers you.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons consultant for Amgen and Genentech.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
American Academy of Dermatology.
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Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
Are You Being Adequately Served
Much of traditional dermatology in the United States is aimed at Caucasian skin, and there are a number of cosmetic treatments, like certain laser and IPL treatments, that only work safely for those with lighter skin. Even many skincare products are designed only with lighter skin colors in mind and can cause hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation in African Americans.
Surveys show that many people of color feel their skin conditions arent being accurately diagnosed or treated. Thats why its crucial that in your hunt for an African American dermatologist near me, you find someone who truly understands what your skin needs.
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What Does Psoriasis Look Like On Black Skin
Around 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis. A 2014 study involving more than 6,000 people found that the prevalence of psoriasis was about 1.9 percent in Black participants and 3.6 percent in white participants. But psoriasis rates among Black folks may be even higher IRL.
Psoriasis can be easy to spot on white skin. It shows up as pink or red lesions with silvery scales. But on Black skin, lesions tend to be purple or violet with gray scales. This might make the condition harder to diagnose.
PSA: According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with darker skin receive incorrect diagnoses or go undiagnosed with psoriasis more often than light-skinned people.
Anyone can have psoriasis. It isnt exclusive to one ethnic group or age group. But symptoms can vary based on your skin type and tone.
Heres how the most common forms of psoriasis appear on Black skin.
Dermasolve Psoriasis Medicated Body Wash
DermaSolve provides a body wash specially curated for psoriasis sufferers made with unique, patented technology. This body wash doubles as a shampoo to help relieve psoriasis on the scalp. This makes it a great multi-use product to have in the shower at all times if you suffer from the condition.
This body wash gives immediate relief to the itching and irritation of rashes and plaques of thick skin. It also helps to prevent the recurrence of severe flare-ups.
It contains 3% salicylic acid to exfoliate any scales and flakes left by flare-ups. The acid lifts off these dry skin remnants to allow new, healthy, more vibrant skin to peek through.
DermaSolve products use a patented technology called Ovasome Technology on all their products. Long story short, this technology incorporates egg protein into skincare products. Egg can be nourishing, and its protein can help strengthen the skin barrier. This technology throws this more obscure body wash right into the big leagues-it soothes flare-ups while improving the skin too.
This body wash is exciting to use because of its pleasant and fresh peppermint scent. I also love that you get excellent value for money when buying this set. Thats because you get two 240ml bottles in a single purchase. Its great if you want to stock up on a good body wash for psoriasis.
- Doesnt leave the skin as soft as other body washes
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Skin Areas Affected By Psoriasis Are Not Typically Red
The way psoriasis appears in darker-skinned patients is often different than what is seen in their lighter-skinned counterparts. While most Caucasians will present with reddened patches of skin, African Americans may have psoriasis that is dark brown or violet in color. The scales of psoriasis are often thicker as well.
Once the psoriasis plaques clear up, patients of color are also more likely to find the affected skin is noticeably darker or lighter than it was previously. This change in appearance can last for up to a year, and for some patients can be quite distressing.
Common Skin Conditions In African Americans
African Americans have sensitive skin and may suffer from a wide variety of skin disorders. For some, applying skin care products or shaving can cause skin conditions to develop. Some African Americans who suffer from skin conditions need the help of a dermatologist to help heal the problem and minimize the risk of long term difficulties from the condition.
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Stop Scratching Try These Natural Remedies For Itchy Scalp
While fewer Blacks are diagnosed with psoriasis than other ethnicities, the condition still causes some concern. Thats because the conditions characteristic lesions and rashes can present differently on Black skin. These differences can make it difficult to diagnose in Black people, which in turn leads to many people dealing with psoriasis on their own. To make matters worse, psoriasis doesnt only affect the areas you can get to easily. Many people with this skin disorder have to contend with an itchy scalp while trying to keep their hair healthy. If that sounds familiar, here are a few ways you can effectively deal with that issue at home.
Sphagnum Botanicals Psoriasis Shower Cream
Peat is an exotic, unique skincare ingredient that hasnt exactly been the most popular in the mainstream. Its a type of soil common in Scandinavian spas to deeply nourish and strengthen the skin. But now, Sphagnum Botanicals offers a shower cream made with this exotic clay to help manage eczema and psoriasis.
Nordic peat is rich in minerals, amino acids, and oxygen. When this shower cream is massaged into the skin, peat helps build up the skin barrier and make it healthy.
Peat also contains three specific acids that can help strengthen the skin-humic, fulvic, and hymatomelanic acids. Humic acid helps promote collagen production and detoxifies the skin. Fulvic acid balances the skins pH level and stimulates proper blood circulation. Lastly, hymatomelanic acid heals micro-wounds to make the skin smoother and more clear.
The formula is also infused with olive oil to moisturize the skin deeply. That makes it great for extra dry and scaly skin. It also helps to calm psoriasis flare-ups in a matter of minutes or hours.
To truly cater to those with sensitive skin, the formula contains no harsh ingredients. You wont be seeing any SLS and parabens on the ingredients list of this shower cream.
- Thin and runny, making it hard to distribute across the body
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Sheamoisture Soothing Body Wash
While SheaMoisture is a brand more popular for its nourishing hair products, they also carry body washes that are great for sensitive skin. People with psoriasis can find this African black soap body wash in particular helpful for their condition.
African black soap is a generations-old beauty formula. A blend of African herbs and organic butter helps to detoxify and clarify the skin, and even brighten troubled skin with dark spots. Ace and rashes are no match for it. This body wash is pretty much a liquid version of that classic, cult-favorite soap.
This contains aloe vera, which helps hydrate the skin and make it supple and bouncy. It is also infused with oat and tea tree oil. Both of these soothe the skin, which is very useful for those who frequently get psoriasis flare-ups.
This body wash is also helpful for those who have trouble getting scaly skin off once flare-ups dissipate. It contains tamarind extract, which is a natural astringent that exfoliates dead skin cells. This may help lift dry, flaky scales from the skin to reveal a smoother, healthier complexion.
- Clarifies troubled skin and keeps acne at bay
- Aloe vera helps hydrate the skin to make it bouncier
- Oat and tea tree oil soothe troubled, scaly skin from psoriasis flare-ups
- Gently exfoliates dead skin cells using tamarind extract
- Has a unique musky and masculine scent that might be too strong for some
Home Health Psoriasis Body Wash
If youre interested in a multi-benefit body wash that can double as a shampoo, this is a terrific option. Home Health carries a body wash medicated especially for psoriasis patients. Whats awesome about it is that it provides treatments to scalp psoriasis as well!
The main ingredients of this formulation are carrot and jojoba oils. These two oils are great at moisturizing the skin to leave it soft and supple. It is also infused with allantoin and aloe vera. These are both known to soothe the skin and make it calm, especially when there is inflammation.
It also contains 2% salicylic acid, a great exfoliator that can help lift scales off the skin. With this magic ingredient, you can kiss those rough and dry patches of skin goodbye.
This product claims to be great at making itchiness from psoriasis flare-ups subside right after a shower. It can also even alleviate pain, for more severe hives.
This body wash is perfect for sensitive skin because of its ultra-gentle formula. It contains no potentially harmful ingredients, like parabens and artificial preservatives. This ensures that your already irritated skin wont react negatively to the soap.
- Contains carrot and jojoba oils, allantoin, and aloe vera to soothe and moisturize the skin
- Has 2% salicylic acid to help exfoliate rough, dry patches of skin
- Relieves the itching and pain caused by psoriasis
- Gentle formula with no parabens and artificial preservatives
- Multi-use product that can be used as shampoo and soap
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Progress Needed In Treating Patients With Skin Of Color And Psoriasis
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Welcome to this special edition of Healio Psoriatic Disease, which focusses on the management of psoriasis in patients with skin of color, coinciding with Black History Month.
In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated, Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. The Institute of Medicine has defined a health care disparity as a difference in treatment or access not justified by the differences in health status or preferences of the groups. We hope this issue calls attention to aspects of psoriatic disease that disproportionately affect patients with skin of color so that we may achieve better outcomes for all our patients.
The best approach we have to treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is to prevent it in the first place by adequately treating psoriasis. Analyzing Medicare data, Dr. Junko Takeshita found that African Americans were 70% less likely to receive a biologic for psoriasis compared with Caucasians . Dr. Takeshitas follow-up work suggests some of the difference in use of biologics in African Americans with psoriasis may be multifactorial, stemming from clinicians having less confidence in diagnosing psoriasis in pigmented skin to patients of color being underrepresented in direct-to-consumer advertising.
How To Get A Diagnosis For Psoriasis On Black Skin
The only way to know for sure that you have psoriasis is to go to a dermatologist.
Theyll perform a physical exam, looking for signature signs of psoriasis like lesions, scaling, or flaking skin.
Your doc may also do a skin biopsy, removing a small amount of your skin to test it for psoriasis. This is a good option if a physical exam isnt 100 percent accurate.
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Special Considerations When Treating Skin Of Color
Compared to white patients, African American patients may experience a higher degree of dyspigmentation but a lower amount of erythema, as well as more extensive disease involvement. Dr. Takeshita thinks that addressing the post-inflammatory dyspigmentation that is more likely to occur among individuals with darker skin types is one of the biggest challenges in treating psoriasis in skin of color. âOne approach should be prevention by ensuring appropriate and timely treatment of active psoriasis. It is important to also educate patients with darker skin types about the possibility of post-inflammatory dyspigmentation so they know that it is not active psoriasis and that it is not usually permanent,â says Dr. Takeshita. âThe dyspigmentation, or âscarringâ as it is referred to by many patients, is something that is of particular concern among Black patients with psoriasis as we learned from our interview studies.â
Scalp psoriasis is another area of special concern in patients with skin of color. Dr. Takeshita suggests providers ask about each patientâs hair care practices so that they can recommend a treatment plan that is compatible with the patientâs hairstyle, type of hair , and care regimen.