“Our patient population is very diverse. And a lot of research, especially in dermatology, has not been done on people with ethnic skin backgrounds. Some conditions are more unique to that population,” Dr. Chien says.
Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN), which presents as hard nodules on the back of the scalp in African-American patients, is a prime example. Nodules can feel very sore, says Dr. Chien, and extend into large keloid-like scars on the back of the scalp or neck.
Experts believe nodules may result from an over-exuberant healing reaction to minor in ammation around hair follicles. E ective treatments are lacking, she says, and steroid injections are painful. However, researchers led by Crystal Aguh, M.D., director of the Ethnic Skin Program, have shown that applying UVB with handheld devices signi cantly softened AKN nodules while reducing their size and associated symptoms.3
In addition to research and clinical care, community engagement is another key component of this program, which educates local professionals and community members on disorders common in the ethnic skin population.
MARKERS OF SUCCESS
As part of Johns Hopkins’ educational mission, all second- and third-year dermatology residents have protected weekly time allotted for research.
Dr. Chien reports no relevant fi nancial interests. The CTReP has received grants from Galderma, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Kyocera, Lutronic, Mela Sciences, Pfizer, SkinMedica, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
1. Rainer B, Qi J, Martin J, et al. Visible light-induced hyperpigmentation in human skin in vivo occurs in dark, but not in light skin, and is associated with differential induction of CCL18 and tyrosinase genes. Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting. May 6-9, 2015. Atlanta.
2. Sheu M. Biomarkers activated with fractionated laser. Photomedicine Society Annual Meeting. February 28, 2019. Washington, D.C.
3. OkoyeGA,Rainer BM,Leung SG, et al. Improvingacnekeloidalis nuchae with targeted ultraviolet B treatment: a prospective, randomized, split-scalp comparison study. Br J Dermatol.2014;171(5):1156-63.