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What is eczema?

Eczema is a type of rash that the body makes. It’s an immune response. Basically, what happens is the immune system breaks down in the skin and produces an itchy, sometimes scaly rash that can be very uncomfortable. Eczema impacts a wide variety of people.

How does this impact skin of color?

Babies and children’s skin of color, they have a higher rate of eczema. And it sometimes can go undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed because rashes look different in different skin types and how it can look different in skin of color, especially in African American skin, eczema can usually present as papular or like little bumps on the skin versus scaly, red, itchy patches which you can see in Caucasian skin or a fairer skin types. In Asian skin. Sometimes it presents more as what we describe as nummular or round shape patches on the skin. 

How does this impact babies with skin of color? 

One thing that I found is that sometimes, especially in little kids and babies, babies will present not with an eczema rash, but with whitish spots. It’s a specific type of eczema in younger children of color. And so just knowing the signs and knowing to address it early is important. Sometimes it can be a challenge, especially in parents of children of skin of color. If you don’t have a dermatologist who is familiar with the different patterns of eczema in different skin types.

It’s really important to remember that in African American skin, especially darker skin types like myself, it doesn’t necessarily present as red or pink. It tends to present as more of a purplish color or purplish hue.

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What are the common areas on the body where eczema appears?

Common areas of eczema include, especially in young people, like in front of the elbows behind the knees, sometimes on the neck and scalp in babies

In adulthood. Sometimes eczema localizes to certain areas like the hands in particular are a really common place for eczema to appear.