Atopic dermatitis in diverse racial and ethnic groups-Variations in epidemiology, genetics, clinical presentation and treatment

Exp Dermatol. 2018 Apr;27(4):340-357. doi: 10.1111/exd.13514.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects diverse ethnic groups with varying prevalence. Despite a predominance of studies in individuals of European ancestry, AD has been found to occur more frequently in Asian and Black individuals than Whites. Therefore, an understanding of the unique clinical features of AD in diverse ethnic groups, as well as the differences in genetic polymorphisms that influence susceptibility to AD and response to current therapies, is paramount for management of an increasingly diverse patient population. In this article, we review key nuances in the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation and treatment of AD in non-White ethnic groups, which are largely underappreciated in the literature. We highlight the need for studies evaluating the tissue molecular and cellular phenotypes of AD in non-White patients, as well as greater inclusion of minority groups in clinical trials, to develop targeted treatments for a multi-ethnic population.

Keywords: African Continental Ancestry Group; Asian Continental Ancestry Group; eczema; minority groups; skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / genetics
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Black People / genetics*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / ethnology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / genetics*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / genetics