Variations in Genetics, Biology, and Phenotype of Cutaneous Disorders in Skin of Color. Part I: Genetic, Biological, and Structural Differences in Skin of Color

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology




AD; BCC; CTCL; HS; POC; SOC; TEWL; atopic dermatitis; basal cell carcinoma; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; cutaneous melanoma; ethnic skin; genetic differences; hidradenitis suppurativa; people of color; psoriasis; racial differences; skin of color; structural differences


Skin of color (SOC) populations include those who identify as Black/African, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Indigenous Australian, Middle Eastern, biracial/multiracial, or non-White; this list is far from exhaustive and may vary between and within cultures. Recent genetic and immunological studies have suggested that cutaneous inflammatory disorders (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and hidradenitis suppurativa) and malignancies (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma) may have variations in their immunophenotype among SOC. Additionally, there is growing recognition of the substantial role social determinants of health play in driving health inequalities in SOC communities. It is critically important to understand that social determinants of health often play a larger role than biological or genetic factors attributed to "race" in healthcare outcomes. Herein, we describe the structural, genetic, and immunological variations and the potential implications of these variations in populations with SOC. This article underscores the importance of increasing the number of large, robust genetic studies of cutaneous disorders in SOC to create more targeted, effective therapies for this often underserved and understudied population. Part II of this CME will highlight the clinical differences in the phenotypic presentation of and the health disparities associated with the aforementioned cutaneous disorders in SOC.


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