Eczema and Your Skin Tone: What to Know


Learn here how eczema looks on different skin tones.

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is common skin condition in the USA. It is characterized by its itchy, dry, red and darker skin patches. Since it is not curable, the medication aims to manage the symptoms.

However, the appearance of eczema determines by your skin tone. Simply put, how eczema looks depends on your skin tone.


While “red and dry skin patches” are eczema’s trademark symptoms, eczema occurs as darker brown, purple or ashen grey in people with black or brown skin. Those red and dry patches usually appear in light skin.

So identifying the symptoms of eczema can be difficult for the people with black and brown skin. It is noteworthy that eczema is the second most frequent skin condition in African Americans.They are likely to have bumps on the arms, legs and torso—a condition known as papular eczema. The bumps sometimes occur around hair follicles and look like goose-bumpsknown as follicular accentuation.

Besides, they are vulnerable to have extensive skin dryness and dark circles around the eyes. Excessive rubbing and scratching of the itchy areas may lead to skin thickening and raised bumps on the skin which are known as prurigo nodules. Then, they experience changes in skin pigmentation. This is because the healed skin may look darker or lighter than the surrounding skin. Luckily, the skin color restores to normal once the eczema is healed or treated, though it may take several months.


Physicians often confirm eczema on the basis of skin swelling, warmth, dryness/scaling and itching. However, the treatment remains same for people of all races. The patient is prescribed moisturizers and other medications. The prescribed treatment includes non-steroid creams and ointments like pimecroliums, tacrolimus and crisaborole. Such medications are efficient and remain safe for all skin types.

Besides prescribed and OTC treatment, patients can use herbal and traditional remedies like aloe-vera, cold compress, coconut oil and shea butter. However, make sure to consult your physician to know if these remedies can interact with your medication.



  • Avoid hot water baths. If it is necessary, make sure to tale short bath as possible.
  • Apply liberal amount of moisturizer within 3 minutes of drying up after bathing. Keep the moisturizer in the freeze to feel immediate soothing as your apply it cold. (Learn here how to choose the right moisturizer for eczema)
  • Don’t scratch or eczema spots.
  • Avoid taking inflammation triggering foods like dairy products (milk and cheese), wheat and nuts. Instead, take eczema soothing foods like fatty fish, beets and bone broth.
  • Use unscented soaps and bath products as perfumed products contain certain irritants that can aggravate eczema flares.
  • Stay away from the eczema triggers like pet dander, pollen, molds, dust and mites. Avoid your triggers as possible. It will delay your next outbreak.
  • Choose your laundry care products safely. This is because detergents and fabric softeners can worsen eczema. Choose the laundry products that are free from hypoallergenic, dyes and perfumes and made for the sensitive skin. Give your clothes extra rinse as sometime buildup doesn’t go away with one wash.


  • Eczema is more common in African Americans, though it appears in people of all ethnicities and races.
  • It looks brown, purple or grey in color in darker skin types.
  • Treatment of eczema is similar in people of all races and ethnicities.
  • Eczema patients should use medications and moisturizers to see improvements.
  • They should follow the precautions to manage the symptoms.



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