Remember when parents worried their kids had “COVID toes” in the pandemic’s early months? The concerning trend rapidly picked up online, thanks to images of kids with inflamed feet covered in pink lesions.
While these photos likely helped many parents identify whether or not their children needed medical attention, they weren’t useful for all families: As the New York Times notes, many of these images were of youth with fair skin. Photos of children with darker skin tones who had the skin condition were “hard to find.”
Dermatologists have criticized their own medical circles for this oversight., as Only having white or fair-toned examples of a skin problem fails to capture how it may look on people of colour. Having few or no examples of rashes on darker skin can lead to health inequities, misdiagnoses, or failure to detect a medical condition altogether.
To help fellow parents raising children of colour, a North Carolina mom started “Brown Skin Matters,” an Instagram page that documents what different skin conditions look like on a range of Black and brown skin tones. The project welcomes user submissions, and all entries are reviewed by a trained medical professional.
Many of the photos show how common skin ailments, like chicken pox and hives, will appear less pink on darker skin; hyperpigmentation and inflammation can look mild, to an untrained eye, on a Black or brown child’s skin when in reality they’re in the moderate or severe stages.
And some conditions like eczema may appear on dark skin without any red or pink tones.
Although Brown Skin Matters is geared toward parents, it has earned high praise from professionals who works with children.
“There are virtually no other resources to identify rashes on diverse populations,” one commenter, who identified as a school nurse, wrote.
It’s an unfortunate reality that parents of Black and brown kids may need to advocate for better health care from their providers, but thankfully resources like this can help bolster their efforts to give their children the medical attention they deserve.
Also on HuffPost: