Analysis of the population of the United States reveals that there will be a dramatic shift in the country’s demographics in the 21st century. The United States is rapidly becoming a country in which the majority of citizens no longer have white skin, but rather have pigmented skin, which is also referred to as skin of color. People with skin of color are of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and include African Americans, Asians, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Indians and Pacific Islanders primarily, as well as individuals from these groups who have intermarried.
These changes in national and regional demographics, as well as international population shifts, underscore the need and importance of a thorough understanding of skin of color. The dermatology community may be faced with cutaneous diseases that occur more often in people with pigmented skin, present differently, inadequately understood, or are unique to this population. An increase in the body of dermatological literature concerning skin of color as well as the advancement of both basic science and clinical investigational research is necessary to meet the needs of the expanding skin of color population.
African American, Latino, Asian, Native Indian and Pacific Islander communities often have an inadequate understanding of the root causes of skin diseases that commonly affect them. Furthermore, they often face numerous challenges in their attempts to find information about these diseases. Many individuals of color adhere to misconceptions about the causes and potential cures for these diseases, and spend considerable financial resources on ineffectual non-prescription, folk, or home therapies.
The Skin of Color Society was established in 2004 by Susan C. Taylor, M.D. It’s purpose is to promote awareness of and excellence within the area of special interest of dermatology – skin of color. The Society is committed to the education of health care providers and the general public on dermatologic health issues related to skin of color. The Society supports research and other activities that impact individuals with skin of color. Partnerships with dermatologists from the national and international communities, professional medical organizations, and community, corporate and industry groups will ensure our success in serving all individuals with skin of color. We invite you to join us in this important endeavor.
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