Dermatology’s Shifting Landscape for Patients of Color


Seemal Desai, MD, gives an overview of the most promising research and therapies for patient of color populations.

New therapies on the horizon or coming down the pipeline mean not only a changing landscape for dermatology as a whole but (especially) for patients of color. Many in this population continue to face gaps in care and treatment.

“Autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases in patients of color are a particularly unmet need,” said Seemal Desai, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermato logy, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who led an American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Virtual Meeting Experience session titled, “What’s New in Skin of Color?”

He highlighted the current therapeutic needs for vitiligo, as well as for melasma and hyperpigmentation. Desai drew special attention to the promise of investigative Janise kinase (JAK) inhibitors—such as ruxolitinib and tofacitinib—for vitiligo, thus expressing enthusiasm for the progress that has been made in clinical trials. 

He also noted the effects that atopic dermatitis and psoriasis can have on these patients and mentioned the work that is being done with JAK inhibitors for these conditions.

In broader strokes, he discussed the most exciting new and ongoing research, all of which point to the potential growth of the treatment toolbox for melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation disorders.

“I think there’s a lot more to come in pigmentary diseases in general and how that affects our skin of color population,” Desai said.

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