As skin conditions continue to make the lists of COVID-19 symptoms, the dermatology community is confronting the glaring lack of medical literature on Black skin.
Black patients make up to 30 percent of COVID-19 patients, but only 13.4 percent of the US population. A letter recently written by researchers from Stanford University and the University of San Francisco and published in the British Journal of Dermatology describes a review of clinical literature describing skin conditions associated with COVID-19. They found that 92 percent of images were of skin types I, II, and III, only 6 percent showed images of type IV skin, and 2 percent couldn’t be identified because they were of peeling skin. Out of the patient data that mentioned race and ethnicity, 91 percent were white and 9 percent were Latino.
“Dermatologists should prioritize identification of cutaneous manifestations of COVID‐19 in patients with darker skin by photographing and disseminating these findings,” the letter authors write. “Journals should prioritize publication of manuscripts depicting the cutaneous manifestations of COVID‐19 in darker skin because exclusion of these patients from the literature may further exacerbate existing health disparities.”