ZocdocAnswersHow do you do a skin assessment for people with dark skin?

Question

How do you do a skin assessment for people with dark skin?

How can someone with dark skin do a skin assessment and keep tabs on their skin health? Every resource I've seen describes how people should watch for spots, moles and other marks changing color and shape, etc. This is all fine for people with lighter skin, but isn't it different for others?

Answer

Physicians that can take care of skin issues include primary care physicians (such as family doctors) and dermatologists. Your point is well taken. The way most rashes are described in most textbooks are seen best in patients with light skin because they can be seen better. The flip-side of that is that most conditions that involved de-pigmentation are easiest to see in people of color. For most skin conditions such as rashes, the symptoms of itching and irritation are the same for both patients with light and dark skin. In addition, they way skin conditions feel to the touch are the same allowing for physicians to accurately diagnoses skin conditions in anyone. Worrisome conditions such as changing moles and melanoma may be more difficult to see, but will almost always be noticeable by the patient and will always be visible to the physician examining the patient. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician who can perform an initial skin assessment and give you some tips on what to watch out for with regards to your skin. This way you will be able to be more equipped to watch for worrisome changes. Good luck.

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