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Monday, August 7, 2017

New Dermatology App Helps Minorities With Skin Problems and Bridges the Racial Health Disparity Gap

First Derm is an app that addresses the issue that only 47% of dermatologists have adequate training to help darker skinned people with skin conditions like razor bumps, skin cancer or keloids. —

People of different skin color

San Francisco, CA — The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, half of the American population will have skin of color. However, the health disparity still clearly exists across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

In a 2011 U.S. survey, 47% of dermatologists and dermatology residents reported that their medical training (medical school and/or residency) was inadequate in training them on skin conditions in blacks.1 It is also well known that racial and ethnic minorities have been historically underrepresented in medical research.2

Most dermatologists are not expertly trained in addressing issues with darker skin types. Simply put, more consideration has to be put in when treating darker skin,” says Dr. Jones, a leading expert in the field of dermatology for skin of color. “’I’ve been blessed in my training to be exposed to all skin types, and the majority of my patients are darker skin types.”

On the First Derm blog, he also shared the 10 most common skin diseases in skin of color, including keloid, melasma, and pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps). First Derm services are available in 7 languages and over 160 countries with over 200,000 users worldwide. Out of our 3,000 monthly users from all over the globe, 15% are people of color.

Seeing that people of different ethnicities have different skin concerns, First Derm took the initiative focus on queries specific to skin of color. You can reach First Derm dermatologists who
are experts in skin of color on this page.

In January, First Derm saved the life of a Hispanic entrepreneur, Ricardo Ibarra by identifying a melanoma on his arm. Research has shown that even though non-white Hispanic people have lower risk in getting skin cancer, the survival rate is often lower because of late detection due to lack of dermatologists trained to identify skin cancer in darker skin. For the same reason, the 5-year melanoma survival is 74.1% for blacks compared to 92.9% for whites.3

“We have seen from data over time and also requests from users that they would like an expert that really understands their skin genetics. Skin of color is an area that has not been given a lot of attention. We are a global company and we are here to help all people with any skin concern,” says Dr. Alexander Börve, CEO of First Derm.


About First Derm:
First Derm leads the mobile health revolution by empowering users to submit skin concerns anonymously to board-certified dermatologists with photos and a description from anywhere in the world. First Derm provides triage service, yielding an information-based response and suggested course of action. Since the app can be accessed any time, users receive a reliable review of their condition directly from a board-certified dermatologist even on holidays and weekends. For more information, please visit www.FirstDerm.com.


1. Buster KJ, Yang L, Elmets CA. Are dermatologists confident in treating skin disease in African-Americans?; J Invest Dermatol Meeting Abstracts; 2011; abstract 235.

2. Buster KJ, Erica IS, and Elmets CA. 2012. “Dermatologic Health Disparities”. Dermatologic Clinics 30 (1): 53-59. doi:10.1016/j.det.2011.08.002.

3. Altekruse SFKC, Krapcho M, Neyman N, Aminou R, Waldron W, Ruhl J, Howlader N, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Eisner MP, Lewis DR, Cronin K, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Stinchcomb DG, Edwards BK, (U.S.). NCI, editors. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007. Bethesda, MD: 2010.


Anastasia Yip