Skin of Color Resource Center

Psoriasis can make routine daily activities a struggle – both physically and mentally. But, with today's treatment options, you can overcome the hurdles of psoriasis. NPF is here to help with resources, advice, and stories specifically for you to help live the healthy and happy life that you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can people of different skin types get psoriasis?

People of all races and ethnicities can develop psoriasis. In research to date, psoriasis has been found more frequently among Caucasians (3.6%) than in Asians (2.5%), Latinx (1.9%) and African Americans (1.5%). [1] This difference may be because psoriasis has been more easily identified in people with lighter skin and misidentified in people with darker skin types. [2] But there may be more people with skin of color living with psoriasis than is reported.

What does psoriasis look on skin of color?

Psoriasis may look different on different skin types. On lighter skin, psoriasis often looks red with a silvery scale on top. [2] On darker skin types, psoriasis may look salmon, dark brown, purple, or violet with grayish scale. [2,3]

Here are more ways that psoriasis may look different on darker skin types [2]:

• Plaques may be thicker and have more scaling.

• Patients may have more skin affected by psoriasis than patients with lighter skin.

• Active psoriasis flares may be misdiagnosed as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark patches on the skin).

How can I get a correct diagnosis?

Since psoriasis can look like other skin conditions, on any color of skin, it is important to make sure you are getting a correct diagnosis.

To get a correct diagnosis, it is best to see a dermatologist. Also, it may help to see a dermatologist who has experience diagnosing psoriasis in people who have the same skin color as you. If you feel that you are not getting a correct diagnosis, you can get a second opinion from another provider.

Visit the Health Care Provider Directory to find providers who are experienced treating psoriasis and patients with all skin colors.

Patient Stories

Two women with psoriasis sit outside and smile.

Treating Skin of Color

For some psoriasis patients, getting the right diagnosis isn’t always so black and white. And once minorities receive the proper diagnosis, they often face unique risks, challenges and stigmas.

Read more

No, It’s Not Contagious

A Dominican-American man with psoriasis fends off the usual annoying questions, battles his anger, searches for the right treatment and helps raise awareness.

Read more
Alisha lives with psoriatic disease

Fashion Forward

As a fashion lover with psoriasis, Alisha Bridges knows that looking great and feeling comfortable in the latest styles is completely possible.

Read more

Resources for Providers

Tips for Diagnosing and Treating Psoriasis in Skin of Color

Join Dr. Seemal Desai in this Psound Bytes™ CME podcast as he addresses the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis in skin of color.

Listen now
A doctor with light skin talking to a young male patient with skin of color.

Dermatology - Rheumatology Collaborative with a Focus on Skin of Color

Learn from experts and your peers, in partnership with PPACMAN, in this 2-hour symposium with a focus on skin of color.

Watch now
A health care professional reviews information on a clipboard with a patient in the waiting room of a medical office.

Diversity in Clinical Trials

Join board-certified physician scientist Dr. Niti Goel as she discusses how to expand diversity in clinical trials.

Watch now

References

[1] Armstrong AW, Mehta MD, Schupp CW, Gondo GC, Bell SJ, Griffiths CEM. Psoriasis Prevalence in Adults in the United States [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jun 30]. JAMA Dermatol. 2021;e212007. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.2007

[2] Kaufman BP, Alexis AF. Psoriasis in Skin of Color: Insights into the Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, Genetics, Quality-of-Life Impact, and Treatment of Psoriasis in Non-White Racial/Ethnic Groups [published correction appears in Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018 Feb 16;:]. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018;19(3):405-423. doi:10.1007/s40257-017-0332-7

[3] Can You Get Psoriasis if You Have Skin of Color? AAD.org. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/treatment/could-have/skin-color. Accessed April 26, 2021

Additional Research

Rachakonda TD, Schupp CW, Armstrong AW. Psoriasis prevalence among adults in the United States. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(3):512-516. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2013.11.013

Takeshita J, Eriksen WT, Raziano VT, et al. Racial Differences in Perceptions of Psoriasis Therapies: Implications for Racial Disparities in Psoriasis Treatment. J Invest Dermatol. 2019;139(8):1672-1679.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2018.12.032

Takeshita J, Gelfand JM, Li P, et al. Psoriasis in the US Medicare Population: Prevalence, Treatment, and Factors Associated with Biologic Use. J Invest Dermatol. 2015;135(12):2955-2963. doi:10.1038/jid.2015.296

Holmes A, Williams C, Wang S, Barg FK, Takeshita J. Content analysis of psoriasis and eczema direct-to-consumer advertisements. Cutis. 2020;106(3):147-150. doi:10.12788/cutis.0070

Fischer AH, Shin DB, Gelfand JM, Takeshita J. Health care utilization for psoriasis in the United States differs by race: An analysis of the 2001-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;78(1):200-203. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.07.052

Sevagamoorthy A, Bazen A, Shin D, Barg FK, Takeshita J; Patient race affects dermatologists’ assessments and treatment of psoriasis. J Invest Dermatol. 2020;140(7S):S97.)

Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. Psoriasis in skin of color: epidemiology, genetics, clinical presentation, and treatment nuances. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(11):16-24.

Eriksen WT, Raziano VT, Bazen A, Gelfand JM, Barg F, Takeshita J. Concerns About Psoriasis Differ by Race: Implications for Patient-Centered Goal-Setting and Counseling. J Invest Dermatol. 2019; 139(5S, Supplement 1):S37.

Shah SK, Arthur A, Yang YC, Stevens S, Alexis AF. A retrospective study to investigate racial and ethnic variations in the treatment of psoriasis with etanercept. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(8):866-872.

Takeshita J, Augustin M, de Jong E, Lafferty K, Langholff W, Langley R, Leonardi C, Menter A, Alexis A. Psoriasis-Related Quality-of-Life Differs by Race/Ethnicity. J Invest Dermatol. 2019; 139(5S, Supplement 1):S148.

Gelfand JM, Stern RS. “The prevalence of psoriasis in African Americans: results from a population-based study.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Jan;52(1):23-6.

Stay in the Know.

Expert tips, can’t-miss events and the latest news, straight to your inbox.

National Health Council Standards of ExcellenceCharity NavigatorCommunity Health Charities logoTwill Care logo

Copyright © 1996-2022 National Psoriasis Foundation/USA


Duplication, rebroadcast, republication or other use of content appearing on this website is prohibited without written permission of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).


NPF does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content of external websites.


NPF does not endorse any specific treatments or medications for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

We use cookies to offer you a better experience and analyze our site traffic. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.