Letters to the Editor
Skin Disorders in Patients with Skin of Color
Am Fam Physician. 2020 Jul 15;102(2):74.
Original Article: Erythema Multiforme: Recognition and Management
Issue Date: July 15, 2019
See additional reader comments at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2019/0715/p82.html
To the Editor: The article by Drs. Trayes, Love, and Studdiford was informative and well written. However, it was unclear from the article if erythema multiforme presents differently in patients with skin of color. Are the lesions erythematous, hyper-, or hypopigmented? I needed to search my Atlas of African Dermatology to find that one presentation of erythema multiforme was target lesions composed of different shades of brown.1 This information gap highlights a broader issue in medical education. A 2006 analysis found limited and inconsistent coverage of skin conditions in skin of color in textbooks and at national dermatology meetings.2 This disparity applies to most dermatologic conditions, including skin cancer. A recent article about the disparities in outcomes of patients with melanoma suggested that the “disproportionately high melanoma mortality rates in patients with skin of color may be driven by a lack of representation and data in awareness campaigns, in clinical research, and in the field of dermatology itself.”3 By 2060, more than one-half of the population is projected to belong to a minority group.4 Family physicians must learn how dermatologic conditions present in skin of color to serve our increasingly diverse patient population better and to avoid incorrect or delayed diagnoses. Any article about dermatologic disorders in American Family Physician (AFP) must include how the skin disorder presents in skin of color. If there is no available information about the presentation, then that should be noted.
Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations
Referencesshow all references
1. Leppard B. An Atlas of African Dermatology. Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd.; 2002....
2. Edebe T, Papier A. Disparities in dermatology educational resources. J Am Acad Dermatology. 2006;55(4):687–690.
3. Nelson B. How dermatology is failing melanoma patients with skin of color. Cancer Cytopathol. 2020;128(1):7–8.
4. United States Census Bureau. New census bureau report analyzes U.S. population projections. March 3, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-tps16.html
In Reply: We thank Drs. Irwin and Crawford-Faucher for pointing out that the lesions of erythema multiforme present differently in skin of color. We agree that, whenever possible, review articles about skin conditions should include examples of the condition in skin of color. Unfortunately, suitable, noncopyrighted photos of sufficient resolution for publication are not always available. For further information, readers may wish to consult AFP's previous two-part article on dermatologic conditions in skin of color.1,2
1. Kundu RV, Patterson S. Dermatologic conditions in skin of color: Part I. Special considerations for common skin disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2013;87(12):850–856. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0615/p850.html
2. Kundu RV, Patterson S. Dermatologic conditions in skin of color: Part II. Disorders occurring predominantly in skin of color. Am Fam Physician. 2013;87(12):859–865. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0615/p859.html
Send letters to email@example.com, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.
Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.
This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions