Is Eczema Different for Hispanic People?
Eczema can make your skin itchy and dry. It’s a common skin condition, affecting around
Some people may be affected by the disease. Hispanic people may have more severe or persistent symptoms of eczema.
We will discuss how it affects Hispanic people. Continue reading to learn more.
Eczema is a group of seven skin conditions in which areas of skin become itchy, dry, and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema.
People with the skin disease may have blisters, oozing, or swelling. It may be worse if you scratch or rub it.
Most of the time, a person develops the skin condition by the age of 5. People can develop the skin condition at older ages.
It’s still unknown what exactly causes eczema. Various genetic, environmental, and immune factors likely play a role.
What is known is that people with eczema have changes in the skin barrier that reduce the amount of moisture that can be retained, leading to very dry skin. This makes the skin more susceptible to react to various triggers, such as:
- The air is dry.
- cold temperatures
- hormonal changes, such as during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy
- Food allergies include peanuts, eggs, or seafood.
- exposure to known allergens, such as pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, chemicals, and fragrances
- Some types of skin care products.
- There are scented soaps or detergents.
- Synthetic fabrics and wool are some of the clothing materials.
How eczema affects Hispanic people
There are very few studies on eczema or atopic dermatitis in the Hispanic population.
But according to the National Eczema Association, Hispanic children and Black children often experience more severe eczema than white children.
Many of the same risk factors that influence rates, severity, or persistence of atopic dermatitis, such as environment, socioeconomic status, and healthcare factors, are consistent with other populations.
Hispanic people can be affected by czema in other ways. Several studies show this.
studywith 1,437 mother-child pairs found that Hispanic people and Black people with early childhood eczema were more likely to experience eczema that persists beyond early childhood.
- A study with 7,522 children found that Hispanic children and Black children were overall three times more likely to get medical care for eczema. They had a higher likelihood of seeking primary or emergency care for eczema as well.
studywith 8,015 children found that Hispanic children and Black children were more likely to have unmanaged eczema and increased school absences due to their eczema.
Eczema can appear differently on darker skin tones than on lighter skin tones. Not all doctors are well trained in these differences due to systemic racism in healthcare, so they may miss eczema in these skin types. This can lead to misdiagnoses or late diagnoses.
Eczema is characterized by patches of skin that are dry and itchy. When scratched or rubbed, the affected area will appear scaly, look inflamed, and feel warm to the touch.
Some areas of the body are more common than others.
- Feet or hands.
- There are insides of the elbow.
- The knees are back.
- Or the wrists.
- The eyes.
- The buttocks and legs have a crease.
- The cheeks or the scalp are in infants.
Skin inflammation can appear different depending on skin tone. Eczema can appear pink or red in lighter skin tones. It may look like it in darker skin tones.
- Ashen gray.
- It was purple.
- Dark brown.
- The areas are lighter and dry.
It’s also possible for people with eczema to experience flare-ups. This is a period of time in which eczema symptoms become more severe. In some people, flare-ups can occur as often as two or three times per month.
“A person’s quality of life can be impacted by czema symptoms. It can disrupt your sleep or activities. People with asthma and allergies may have other conditions as well.”
Additionally, scratching or picking at the same area can lead to more serious problems.
- There are skin infections.
- The skin is different.
- skin thickening (lichenification)
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation
Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema can also cause conditions called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hypopigmentation:
- Hyperpigmentation happens when an area of skin that was inflamed becomes darker than the surrounding skin. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is more pronounced in darker skin tones but more common in lighter skin tones.
- Hypopigmentation happens when an area of skin that was inflamed becomes lighter than the surrounding skin. In darker skin tones, it’s more common than hyperpigmentation.
These conditions can resolve over time, although this may take weeks or months, and even years in some cases. Sometimes, they may be permanent. Common treatment options include sun protection and topical medications.
A dermatologist typically diagnoses eczema. This type of doctor specializes in diagnosing and treating health conditions that affect the skin.
Your doctor will start by examining your skin. They will ask about things during this time.
- How often do your symptoms occur?
- If you have clear skin during your visit, you may have symptoms on your body.
- The rash feels like it hurts or itches.
- Whether certain things make your symptoms worse or better.
- If you have a family history of asthma, allergies, or eczema.
- You may have other health conditions.
- What are the types of supplements you are taking?
Many times, your dermatologist can diagnose eczema using your medical history and doing a skin exam. In some cases, they will want to collect a skin biopsy as a part of the diagnostic process.
The dermatologist will numb the skin to make it easier to collect the biopsy. They will use a small tool to remove a small sample of skin that will be examined under a microscope. A dermatopathologist is a person who specializes in skin pathology.
There’s no current cure for eczema, but it can be managed. Several eczema treatment options can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment recommendations are similar across racial and ethnic groups.
Treatment options for eczema can be broken down into lifestyle changes and medications.
There are many things you can do at home to help.
- Frequently apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to your skin, especially after bathing. Ointments or creams may be better if you have atopic dermatitis.
- The bathing time should be reduced to 5 to 10 minutes. Only use a gentle cleanser once a day.
- Rub skin to dry it, but pat it to dry.
- Avoid your known eczema triggers whenever possible, such as certain foods, soaps, or fabrics.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing that can irritate skin.
- “Pick or scratch at the skin that is inflammation, as this may lead to changes in the skin’s appearance.”
- Use an over-the-counter (OTC) corticosteroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, to reduce itching and swelling.
- Try taking OTC antihistamines, which may help alleviate itching.
- Take a bleach bath under the direction of your dermatologist.
- Herbal products may cause an eczema flare-up.
“If OTC products aren’t effective at easing your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a medication. Some examples are included.”
- a prescription corticosteroid cream
- pimecrolimus cream or tacrolimus ointment is a calcineurin inhibitor.
- The crisaborole is a cream.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe oral steroids. The potential side effects of oral corticosteroids make them only be taken for a short time. During a severe flare-up of the skin condition, they may be used.
Some people with the skin condition may need a systemic medication that suppresses the immune system.
- Like abrocitinib, a jak inhibitors.
- The cyclosporine is a drug.
- Cellcept is a mycophenolate.
- Azathioprine is a drug.
- There are drugs called biologics.
Skin infections can be common in people with eczema, typically from scratching or picking at the affected area. If you develop a skin infection, your dermatologist can prescribe antibiotics to treat it.
While not a medication, phototherapy may also be used for eczema. In phototherapy, your skin is exposed to a controlled amount of ultraviolet light (UV) light two to three times per week. Phototherapy can help reduce itching and inflammation.
A family history of eczema and environmental exposure are two big risk factors for the condition.
Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, is associated with a hyperactive immune system. It’s often accompanied by asthma and allergies.
People with a personal history of other atopic conditions are more likely to develop czema. If you have a close relative with a condition such as a parent or sibling, you may also have an increased risk.
Environmental exposure may play a role in the risk of eczema. If you have a history of contact with one or more eczema triggers, you could be at risk of developing the condition.
Environmental exposures that may cause eczema include:
- tobacco smoke
- Many skin care products have a scent.
- wool clothing
Although further studies are needed, some research has found that the factors influencing eczema risk may vary based on race or ethnicity. A
- Hispanic children have less of it than white children.
- the impact of parental history of atopic conditions or eczema was greater in Hispanic children than in white children
- certain environmental exposures affected these two groups differently, suggesting differences in the mechanism behind eczema development. Specifically, exposure to mold or mildew increased the risk of eczema in:
- white children with a parental history of atopic conditions
- Hispanic children without a parental history of atopic conditions
Tips for finding a doctor who understands
If you are Hispanic and think you have a skin condition, you may want to find a medical professional who understands your needs.
Asking your primary care doctor for a referral is a good starting point. Ask your friends and neighbors if they could recommend a local dermatologist who they had a good experience with.
You can try some of the resources.
- National Alliance for Hispanic Health: The National Alliance for Hispanic Health promotes health and well-being in the Hispanic community. They have a helpline for confidential health information and provider referrals in both English and Spanish.
- American Academy of Dermatology: The American Academy of Dermatology has a search tool to help you find a dermatologist close to you. You can use the search filters to find a dermatologist who focuses on treating eczema in skin of color.
- Skin of Color Society: The Skin of Color Society aims to promote awareness of dermatological conditions in skin of color. They also have a database you can use to find a doctor who specializes in treating skin of color.
It’s possible that eczema may improve over time in some children. However, it’s also possible for the condition to persist into adolescence and adulthood.
Studies describing the effectiveness of eczema treatments in various racial and ethnic groups are also still limited. A
Hispanic people were 2% of the population for the trials.
Additionally, few trials (
Although there is no cure for the disease, seeking treatment can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. If you suspect you have eczema, you need to find a dermatologist.
It can be more severe in Hispanic people, and it can be more persistent.
Hispanic children are more likely to miss school due to eczema, according to some research.
The same treatment is given to all groups. It involves lifestyle changes and medication.
If you think you have eczema, you should talk to a dermatologist about treatment.