People of African ancestry have sensitive skin and may suffer from a wide variety of skin disorders. Hair disorders are also common and differ from those suffered by Caucasians. This issue of the Dermatologic Clinics focuses on the most common skin and hair disorders seen in black skin, with articles focusing on acne scarring, alopecia, keloids, and skin pigmentation. There are also articles addressing moisturizers for the skin and the effect of hair treatments on the hair and scalp. Also discussed is the sociohistoric issues that can cloud the scientific understanding of clinical entities. Emphasis is often put on race and yet a very clear distinction should be made between race and quantifiable entities such as pigment and hair curl as determinants for skin/hair disease predilection; this is quite distinct from race as a surrogate for social class and a disease determinant for most medical conditions and malignancies.
By Nonhlanhla P Khumalo, MBChB, FCDerm, PhD, Groote Schuur Hospital
University of Cape Town