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How Can I Find a Dermatologist Who Knows How to Treat Psoriasis in Skin of Color? A Q&A with Dr. Truong

By Beth W. Orenstein
September 15, 2022

This article is part of a Q&A series in which a healthcare professional in our community answers your frequently asked questions.

We asked: “I’m a person of color. How can I find a dermatologist who knows how to treat my skin?”

Allison Truong, M.D.: If you are a person of color, you have several good reasons to want to find a dermatologist who knows how to treat your skin.

A study published in 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology suggests that a person’s skin color can affect not only how their psoriasis presents but also what impact it has on their quality of life. Another study published in 2022 in the Archives of Dermatological Research suggests that the best biologic treatments may vary for people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

You may feel more comfortable, too, if you know your dermatologist has treated other people who look like you.

A good place to start is the American Academy of Dermatology directory, which allows you to search dermatologists who have met the rigorous qualifications and training to be given board certifications in dermatology. Another reliable source of dermatologists specializing in psoriasis care is the National Psoriasis Foundation healthcare provider directory.

The Black Dermatologists Directory allows you to search for a Black dermatologist by location and specialty. Note that the directory doesn’t list psoriasis as a specialty, so you should search under general dermatology.

Finding a dermatologist who treats people of color can be trickier if you don’t live in a diverse area, like where I practice in Los Angeles. (At least 20% of my patients are Black, and I am very comfortable seeing patients with psoriasis who have darker skin.) You may want to consider traveling to a larger city to see a provider.

An alternative: When you call to make an appointment, ask the scheduler which dermatologist in the practice has the most experience treating people of color. Or ask the dermatologist directly if they have that kind of experience. You might need to call a few practices before you find the right one for you and your skin.

All board-certified dermatologists are trained to treat skin, hair, and nails in all people. However, if you ever feel that a doctor is not giving you what you need, please speak up and advocate for yourself. If you express what you need, we will try to help the best we can.

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