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Keywords:

  • laser therapy;
  • optical diagnostics;
  • phototherapy;
  • skin of color

Background/purpose: Patients with skin of color present unique challenges and opportunities for dermatologists in their disease states as well as their response to treatment. There are differences in dosing for patients with skin of color using standard phototherapeutic approaches as well as unique disease states that may respond to newer phototherapeutic options. Lastly, there are optical diagnostic options that allow investigators to differentiate erythema and pigmentation in a quantitative manner for clinical research purposes.

Methods: Review of the current literature with regard to vitiligo, hidradenitis suppurativa and optical diagnostic methods.

Conclusions: Practitioners need to be aware of the various phototherapy and laser therapy options for patients with skin of color. New discoveries for the use of visible light as a form of treatment are on the horizon, and optical diagnostic techniques such as diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and colorimetry may add value clinically and within the research realm as objective measures of pigmentation and erythema.