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Dermatologists Turn Focus to Ethnic Skin Conditions

Posted: November 27, 2006

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The nation's changing demographics drive the movement, said Dr. Rebat Halder, chairman of the Dermatology Department at Howard University Hospital.

"By midcentury, half the U.S. population will be of pigmented skins," Dr. Halder said. He edited the first comprehensive textbook on the dermatology of ethnic skin, which was published this year. Dermatology conferences are adding more ethnic skin sessions to their agendas, he said.

A growing number of blacks, Hispanics and Asians are entering dermatology, which also fuels the trend, said Dr. Victoria Holloway Barbosa, director of the six-year-old L'Oreal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research in Chicago.

"It's long overdue," Dr. Barbosa said of the attention.

L'Oreal, the cosmetic company, sponsors an ethnic-skin research symposium with Howard University every other year, and funds its own research.