Feature Article

Skin lesions in darker skin phototypes

Feature Article

Skin lesions in darker skin phototypes

JOSHUA FARRELL, Stephen Shumack

Figures

© alessandro grandini/ stock.adobe.com model used for illustrative purposes only
© alessandro grandini/ stock.adobe.com model used for illustrative purposes only

Abstract

Pigmented skin is protected against UV damage and the development of certain skin cancers. However, some skin conditions are more prevalent in darker skinned communities, particularly Indigenous Australian communities. GPs should be aware that such patients are still at risk of developing skin cancer and early diagnosis and considered management are key to improving patient outcomes.

Key Points

  • Increased skin pigmentation is protective against UV radiation and development of skin cancers. There is, however, increased significance for trauma and chronic inflammation in the development of skin cancers.
  • Although less common, skin cancers such as melanoma do occur in Indigenous populations but are diagnosed at a later stage. This results in significant hospitalisation and reduced survival.
  • The risk of hyperpigmentation should be considered in the presentation and treatment of common skin conditions in pigmented skin.
  • There is a higher prevalence of certain skin conditions including infectious diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus and discoid lupus erythematosus in Indigenous Australians.
  • Awareness by GPs and patients of the risks of these skin lesions and conditions is important to improving outcomes for Indigenous patients.