The term skin of color (SOC) refers to individuals with more pigmented skin than Caucasians and can include individuals with African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and multiracial backgrounds. There are a myriad of issues that contribute to the disparity in care for SOC dermatologic patients. A lack of SOC representation in medical education and literature, a deficit in providers with SOC themselves, and misconceptions about how SOC is affected by certain skin conditions and treatments all create barriers to delivering quality dermatologic care to patients with SOC.
SOC Patient Resources
In order to ensure patients with SOC receive the best care, the Skin of Color Society was established to promote awareness and excellence in dermatology.
Dermatologist closes gaps for patients with skin of color, published by Dermatology Times, highlights Andrew Alexis, M.D., who works to close gaps in the treatment, research and education for SOC in dermatology.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is one of the most influential dermatologic organizations in the U.S. The AAD advocates for inclusion in clinical practice and supports efforts to increase provider education regarding dermatologic issues for SOC:
Written by a dermatology resident student, Dermatology Resident Education for Skin of Color addresses the current education gaps for dermatologists-in-training regarding SOC.
Skin of Color Update is a resource with exclusive content addressing dermatologic conditions specific to SOC.
The American Cancer Society’s article How dermatology is failing melanoma patients with skin of color addresses some of the misconceptions about skin cancer and SOC.
Practical Dermatology publishes articles, videos and news related to SOC issues.
National Eczema Association explains how eczema (atopic dermatitis) looks, feels and affects people with SOC differently than Caucasians.
The New York Times illustrates why many skin conditions are harder to diagnose on SOC patients and how traditional dermatology training plays a role in the problem.
The same issues that affect adults may also affect pediatric dermatologic SOC patients, but with the added challenge that children are less able to verbalize their symptoms, needs and anxieties. Atopic dermatitis, acne, vitiligo and traction alopecia are all skin conditions that may uniquely affect children with SOC.
SOC Pediatric Patient Resources
The article, Common Pediatric Disorders in Skin of Color, examines how acne and atopic dermatitis present differently in children with SOC than they do in lighter-skinned kids.
Published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Common Skin Disorders in Pediatric Skin of Color defines SOC for clinical use and describes how certain dermatologic conditions operate differently on children with darker skin.
Pediatric Benign Skin Growths and Pigmentation Disorders explains how pigment (melanin) works in the skin, and how children’s skin color is related to birth marks, skin conditions and even melanoma.