Skin of Color

Atopic Dermatitis in Adolescents With Skin of Color

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Preliminary evidence indicates that supplements containing fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid, sea buckthorn oil, and hemp seed oil may decrease the severity of AD.28 In a 20-week, randomized, single-blind, crossover study published in 2005, dietary hemp seed oil showed an improvement of clinical symptoms, including dry skin and itchiness, in patients with AD.30

In light of recent legalization in several states, patients may turn to use of cannabinoid products to manage AD. In a systematic review, cannabinoid use was reportedly a therapeutic option in the treatment of AD and AV; however, the data are based on preclinical work, and there are no randomized, placebo-controlled studies to support the use of cannabinoids.31 Furthermore, there is great concern that use of these products in adolescents is an even larger unknown.

Final Thoughts

Eighty percent of children diagnosed with AD experience symptom improvement before their early teens32; for those with AD during their preteen and teenage years, there can be psychological ramifications, as teenagers with AD report having fewer friends, are less socially involved, participate in fewer sports, and are absent from classes more often than their peers.5 In black patients with AD, school absences are even more common.6 Given the social and emotional impact of AD on patients with skin of color, it is imperative to treat the condition appropriately.33 There are areas of opportunity for further research on alternate dosing of existing treatments for AV in patients with AD, further recommendations for adolescent athletes with AD, and which cosmetic and alternative medicine products may be beneficial for this population to improve their QOL.

Providers should discuss medical management in a broader context considering patients’ extracurricular activities, treatment vehicle preferences, expectations, and personal care habits. It also is important to address the many possible factors that may influence treatment adherence early on, particularly in adolescents, as these could be barriers to treatment. This article highlights considerations for treating AD and comorbid conditions that may further complicate treatment in adolescent patients with skin of color. The information provided should serve as a guide in initial counseling and management of AD in adolescents with skin of color.


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