Textbook of Ethnic Dermatology

Dr. F.F.V. Hamerlinck, Prof. dr. J.R.M.G. Lambert en Prof. dr. H.A.M. Neumann.

Nowadays, patients with skin of color are encountered worldwide. This large-scale dispersal or distribution of people throughout the world is called “diaspora”. One of the best examples of diaspora is described in the introduction by R. Dors (sociologist, affiliated with the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy) and Prof. Dr. H. Lamur (Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam).

Since I started my practice in 1991 in Amsterdam Southeast, where more than 170 nationalities live together, I realized that diagnosing skin diseases in pigmented skin requires extensive experience in recognizing efflorescences on skin of color. Using the book “Precis de dermatologie” by J. Darier (Masson & Cie Editeurs, Paris, 1928) as an example, I subdivided this book into two parts. The first part involves the morphology of the skin and describes the efflorescences of pigmented skin together with a clinical histological examination. As Darier writes, “qu’en dehors de la grain il faut considerer le terrain”, in the second part of this book, nosology, different skin diseases are described but some etiological factors are described as well.

There has been much debate about the meaning and origin of the term ‘ethnicity’. After consulting various sources and dictionaries, an acceptable definition might be: belonging to a group that shares the same characteristics, such as country of origin, language, religion, ancestry and culture. Ethnicity is considered a matter of biological and historical fact that is not changed by the culture in which a person grows up.

Hopefully, this “Textbook of Ethnic Dermatology” will provide dermatologists working in a multi-ethnic society with a better understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of skin conditions related to people with skin of color.