One in 10 Americans have eczema, but it’s actually more common and more severe in children of color, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
When people with darker complexions have eczema, it’s often misdiagnosed. This is partially because it’s estimated that only a small percentage of medical textbooks show conditions on dark skin. These inequities can make it especially difficult to then recognize skin concerns like eczema on your own skin and then advocate for yourself to get an accurate diagnosis. That means it takes longer to receive the right treatment, but you still have all the symptoms.
What is eczema?
Eczema is defined as an itchy rash, red rash that comes on gradually and can last a long time. It can be triggered by a variety of things, like changes in temperature, allergies, dry skin, irritation from skincare products or cosmetic ingredients, and even stress.
However, this condition does not always show up as red patches on darker skin. It may look like dark, or even purple, patches on the skin, and you may even see small bumps on the affected areas. Sometimes these bumps develop around your hair follicles and can look a little like goosebumps, but no matter how it looks, it will definitely be itchy and uncomfortable. Just try not to scratch too much; this can cause the skin to thicken in those spots.
How can you treat it?
Hydrate your skin with specially formulated moisturizers created to combat eczema. When looking for the right lotion, do your research to find products that are recommended by professional/national organizations for people with eczema and sensitive skin.
When looking for symptom relief, try to choose products that include oat on the ingredient label. Oatmeal is an emollient, which means that it holds moisture against the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities and helps reduce itching. Adults may want to try Aveeno® Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream with Colloidal Oat & Ceramide. This product is clinically shown to help reduce the itching and irritation of eczema. Enriched with Colloidal Oatmeal, this nourishing formula works to restore skin’s own protective function. You may also want to soak in this Aveeno® Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment for Itchy, Dry Skin to relieve irritated skin naturally. Made with 100% natural colloidal oatmeal, this dermatologist-recommended skin treatment creates a milky bath that relieves itch and irritation due to poison ivy, insect bites, sunburn, eczema, and more.
If your child has an eczema breakout, which is very common in babies and young children, you can use the same type of product, but be sure to choose a treatment designed for your little one. Made with colloidal oatmeal and ceramides, Aveeno® Baby Eczema Nighttime Balm is a paraben-free formula that intensely moisturizes to relieve and help prevent recurrence of dry, itchy skin for effective baby eczema relief. You can try a tub treatment too. Aveeno® Baby Eczema Therapy Soothing Bath Treatment is an ultra-fine powder that forms a milky, soothing bath that naturally cleanses without soap, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Now that you know more about eczema on Black skin, click here to check out more great skincare articles from Aveeno®.