Psoriasis in African-Americans: a caregivers' survey

J Drugs Dermatol. 2012 Apr;11(4):478-82.


Background: Psoriasis is a common skin disease in Caucasians but less common in African-Americans.

Aims: Our aim is to evaluate caregiver opinions regarding the clinical presentations and treatment of psoriasis in African-Americans compared to Caucasians.

Patients/methods: A survey was sent to 29 dermatologists who are opinion leaders in the field of psoriasis. The survey included a number of questions regarding the characteristics of the patients seen in their practice.

Results: A total of 29 surveys were completed and returned. All of the dermatologists use the extent of disease as a criterion to determine the severity of the disease. Other criteria include scale, thickness, erythema, associated general symptoms, and dyspigmentation. About 66% of the respondents reported the different manifestations of disease, such as more dyspigmentation, thicker plaques, and less erythema in African-Americans. The most common first-line treatments for mild to moderate disease were highpotency topical steroids (68%) followed by topical vitamin D analogues (41%). For moderate to severe disease, the most commonly used first-line treatments were high-potency topical steroids (54%) and phototherapy (46%).

Conclusions: The clinical manifestations of psoriasis in African-Americans are not exactly the same as in Caucasians. Physicians should be aware of the difference in clinical manifestations in African-Americans. Further research and large-scale studies are necessary to elucidate the differences in the clinical presentation, natural course of the disease, and the criteria used for the evaluation of severity among ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Caregivers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dermatology / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology*
  • Psoriasis / ethnology
  • Psoriasis / nursing
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*


  • Dermatologic Agents