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Marketing can increase disparities for those with skin of color

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Diverse People



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Disclosures:
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.


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Targeted marking can increase health care disparities for individuals with skin of color, according to a study.

“Targeted marketing and media may serve as potential sources of health information for consumers, influencing knowledge, practices, perception and utilization of health care services,” Amaris Geisler, MD, of the department of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. “These sources have the potential to define societal beauty standards, thus affecting the dermatologic health of patients.”



Diverse People

Targeted marking can increase health care disparities for individuals with skin of color.

A survey regarding skin care practices, concerns and habits was distributed to 331 potential participants at SUNY Downstate between January 2020 and August 2020. The survey was completed by 164 individuals, with 121 (74%) identifying as nonwhite, and 31 (19%) identifying as non-Hispanic white.

For respondents with skin of color (SOC), the main concerns were acne and blemishes (40%), dry skin (32%) and pigmentation or dark spots (26%). For non-Hispanic white respondents, only 10% listed pigmentation or dark spots as a concern. Fine lines and wrinkles (42%), acne and blemishes (39%) and dry skin (26%) were the main concerns in this population.

The internet and social media were the most common sources of information for SOC respondents at 42% and 29%, respectively. For non-Hispanic white respondents, 26% and 13% had the same responses.

Of those with SOC, 11% reported difficulty finding products for their skin type, compared with 0% of non-Hispanic white respondents. Price and a lack of knowledge regarding products were similarly listed as barriers to skin care in both groups.

Sunscreen use was significantly less in the participants with SOC, with 38% reporting no use of sunscreens compared with 16% of non-Hispanic white respondents.

Previous studies have highlighted the emphasis on antiaging and wrinkles in advertising and media directed at a general population, compared with a focus on skin tone and pigmentation in media directed at women of color, the authors added.

“Health care disparities can be heightened by targeted marketing and the media, which have a major impact on patient health literacy and consumer choices,” the authors wrote. “Dermatologists should be aware of this impact in order to address the knowledge gaps, minimize bias and increase inclusivity for all skin types.



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