Atopic dermatitis can have a profound impact on the quality of life of adolescents and even more so for adolescents with skin of color as severe atopic dermatitis is believed to be six times more common in black children than white children.1
On top of that, diagnosing atopic dermatitis in skin of color patients can be a challenge because erythema can be harder to identify in skin with darker tones meaning that atopic dermatitis may be missed or undertreated in deeply pigmented adolescents.1
Atopic dermatitis can have psychological ramifications for teenagers, write the authors of a recent review of the impact and management of atopic dermatitis in adolescents with skin of color published in Cutis.2 “…teenagers with AD report having fewer friends, are less socially involved, participate in fewer sports, and are absent from classes more often than their peers. In black patients with atopic dermatitis, school absences are even more common.”
One US study of 8015 children aged 2–17 years with atopic dermatitis found that black children had a 1.5-fold higher chance of being absent for six days over a six-month school period compared to white children, which led the researchers to suggest that this greater number of school absences was due to atopic dermatitis having a greater impact on quality of life in children with skin of color.3
“Given the social and emotional impact of atopic dermatitis on patients with skin of color, it is imperative to treat the condition appropriately,” the authors write.
1. Ben-gashir MA, Hay RJ. Reliance on erythema scores may mask severe atopic dermatitis in black children compared with their white counterparts. Br J Dermatol. 2002;147(5):920-5.
2. Poladian K, De Souza B, McMichael AJ. Atopic dermatitis in adolescents with skin of color. Cutis. 2019; 104(03):164-168.
3. Wan J, Margolis DJ, Mitra N, et al. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Atopic Dermatitis-Related School Absences Among US Children. JAMA Dermatol. 2019;
4. Paller AS, Mcalister RO, Doyle JJ et al. Perceptions of physicians and pediatric patients about atopic dermatitis, its impact, and its treatment. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2002;41(5):323-32.
5. Davis EC, Callender VD. A review of acne in ethnic skin: pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and management strategies. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3:24-38.
6. Lynde CW, Andriessen A, Barankin B, et al. Moisturizers and ceramide- containing moisturizers may offer concomitant therapy with benefits. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7:18-26.
7. Taylor SC, Cook-bolden FE, Mcmichael A, et al. Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Topical Dapsone Gel, 7.5% for Treatment of Acne Vulgaris by Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(2):160-167.
8. Draelos ZD. The multifunctionality of 10% sodium sulfacetamide, 5% sulfur emollient foam in the treatment of inflammatory facial dermatoses. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010;9(3):234-6.