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Couleur de peau et eczéma.

Eczema and skin colour: how are different complexions affected?

Eczema is an inflammatory skin disease that can affect all skin colours. However, the manifestations of this condition vary slightly depending on skin tones. Discover how different skin colours are affected by eczema.

Published February 8, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Eczema: What you need to know.

Theeczema is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that primarily affects infants, children and adolescents, but can also appear in adults. It manifests as red, rough and extremely itchy skin lesions, which can affect different parts of the body. Eczema is a common dermatosis and is the second most widespread skin disease, after acne.

Individuals suffering fromatopic eczema secrete large amounts ofimmunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to environmental allergens. Eczema is also caused by a dysfunction of the skin barrier, due to a lack of sebum, lipids, and cell adhesion molecule production. As a result, it can no longer perform its protective role and allows allergens to pass through more easily. Theeczema can also be acquired and independent of genetics. This is referred to ascontact eczema, triggered by a specific allergen.

Does eczema affect different skin tones in the same way?

The manifestations of eczema are generally the same regardless of skin tone. Whether the skin is very pale, very dark, or golden, theeczema causes the appearance of more or less extensive and swollen lesions accompanied by intense itching. These can appear all over the body. Blisters filled with clear fluid then appear at the site of the lesions before breaking, naturally or due to scratching. The scabs they subsequently leave heal to varying degrees. However, there are some slight differences in the symptoms of eczema depending on skin tones, particularly in terms of the colour of the lesions.

Eczema and skin colour: different treatments?

Eczema treatments are the same for all skin tones. They involve the application of cortisone creams, which are recognised anti-inflammatories. These are applied only during eczema flare-ups and on the lesions, once a day. One of the feared side effects of these creams is the hypopigmentation they sometimes cause. However, it should be noted that this risk is very limited if the corticosteroids are used according to the recommendations of dermatologists. The regular application of an emollient is also advised.

Sometimes, dermatologists also suggest resorting to phototherapy to alleviate eczema. The intensity of the UV rays and the duration of exposure depend on the patient's skin type. Indeed, the lighter the skin, the more cautiously phototherapy should be used to avoid damaging the skin. UVB rays are generally favoured, although some phototherapy sessions involve a combination of UVA and UVB, or a mix of UVA and an oral psoralen, a photosensitising medication.


  • GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine (2011).

  • SAURAT J. H., LACHAPELLE J. M., LIPSKER D., THOMAS L. et BORRADORI L. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).


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