What do you think of when you hear the word eczema? For many people, the word conjures up an image of red, inflamed skin. While this image is true for people who have light skin, eczema in dark skin is a different story.
Want to find a way to get back to sexy skin and say goodbye to eczema once and for all? Here are three things that you need to know about eczema in dark skin.
Eczema Is More Common in People of Color
Just because the dominant image of eczema usually features light or fair skin doesn’t mean that it is representative of most cases of this skin condition. In fact, people of color—especially those of African descent—are more likely to develop it during childhood than their white neighbors. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 16.1 percent of white children develop eczema while black children develop the condition at about 19.3 percent.
Why does this happen? The answer to that question is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. On the genetics side, some mutations of the skin barrier cells and immune cells are passed on from previous generations. Environmental factors, such as mold and dust, occur more frequently in urban areas, where those of African descent are more likely to reside.
Eczema in Dark Skin Looks Different
The mental image of the dry, red skin that I mentioned above is not universal. For people of color, eczema presents in a different way, depending on the tone of the skin. In dark skin, redness can be difficult to see, so other shades—ashy gray, purple, and dark brown—stand out more.
Even when eczema treatment is successful, people of color are more likely to experience changes in pigmentation around the affected areas, which can appear lighter or darker than surrounding skin.
How to Treat It
Luckily, treating eczema is similar in all types of skin. Usually, some sort of skin moisturizing regimen is effective enough to manage eczema in dark skin. Lotions are not always effective, so stick to your favorite beauty cream or serum. After a warm shower (not hot: hot water can aggravate eczema symptoms) apply a cream or serum to the affected skin. Creams that contain shea butter extract are best. Using this form of treatment will cut down on dry, itchy skin, which is essential to healing because scratching skin that has eczema can make it worse and even lead to infection.