Brown Skin Matters

It may seem obvious that resources for learning about and diagnosing skin conditions should be inclusive of the variety of skin tones on which those conditions can appear, often with great variation depending on the skin tone. Yet many resources still predominantly use images of conditions on white skin.

A recent story on NPR  discussed the shortcomings in education and treatment surrounding dermatology and people of color. It highlights the lack of images of conditions on skin of color, how few students are taught by experts in skin of color, and the corresponding contribution to health disparities. And it’s not just perception – one study reviewed photos from two common textbooks and found that “the proportion of images depicting skin of colour was estimated to be 22-32%.” ¹

We reviewed our collection of dermatology resources and identified some that specifically address this disparity, which are listed below, along with full-text links to the articles mentioned in the NPR story, for further reading.

Inclusive dermatology books found at Becker:

  1. Taylor and Kelly’s Dermatology for skin of Color. Taylor, Susan C. McGraw-Hill 2016
  2. Skin of Color: a practical guide to dermatologic diagnosis and treatment. Alexis, Andrew F. Springer Science  2012
  3. Pediatric Skin of Color. Silverberg, Nanette B. Springer 2015
  4. Dermatology Atlas for Skin of Color. Jackson-Richards, D. Springer 2015 (Listed in WashU M2s dermatology course materials)

Resources mentioned in the NPR story:

  1. Under‐representation of skin of colour in dermatology images: not just an educational issue. Lester JC, Taylor SCChren MM. Brit J Derm 2019; 180(6): 1521-1522.
  2. Disparities in dermatology educational resources. Ebede TPapier A. J Am Acad Derm 2006; 55(4): 687-690.
  3. Instagram: @brownskinmatters