One of the most pressing concerns for dermatologists is recognizing the manifestation of erythema, or skin redness caused by increased blood flow, in skin of color. In diagnosing early stages of Lyme disease, dermatologists look for erythema migrans—or a “bulls-eye” rash that expands from the tick bite over time. The rash is scarlet red and easy to spot in light-skinned individuals, but can often go unnoticed in people of color. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can lead to chronic joint inflammation and neurological problems such as facial palsy and impaired memory.
The fact that this critical stage of diagnosis can be easily missed in people of color signifies the need for more inclusive research and better understanding of darker skin.