Here’s what kids’ rashes look like on darker skin (finally!)

Most photos of kids’ rashes are on white skin—so what’s a parent with a child of colour to do when their kid’s chicken pox doesn’t look like chicken pox?

By Kevin John Siazon September 4, 2019

Photo: @brownskinmatters via Instagram

When your kid is sick, all you want to do is find a way to make them feel better. So when you notice a rash on their body, what’s the first thing you’re likely to do? Search up reference photos on the internet to see what it might be and if it warrants a trip to the doctor, of course.

Internet photos can be helpful (if not a bit fear-inducing) when it comes to identifying skin conditions—that is, except if you’re the parent of child with a dark skin tone. That’s because the vast majority of reference photos you’ll find on the internet only show conditions such as chicken pox or hand, foot and mouth disease on the bodies of white children. And since symptoms like redness and blotchy-ness may not appear in the same way, identifying these conditions on darker skin becomes much more difficult.

Luckily, this Instagram account called Brown Skin Matters seeks to address this lack. Check it out:

According to Lifehacker, the account was started by Ellen Buchanan Weiss, a mom who was frustrated when she couldn’t find images that showed what chicken pox should look like on her mixed-race child. “Even adding the qualifier ‘chicken pox on black child’ [to the search] yields mostly Caucasian examples,” she told Lifehacker.

A mom spreading moisturizing cream on her baby

An age-by-age guide to skin rashes and conditions Taking matters into her own hands, Weiss began to share user-submitted images on her feed. In the caption of each image, she names the diagnosis as well as the ethnic background of the child whose skin is pictured. While each photo is reviewed by a physician, she clearly states in the captions that the photos are for reference only and aren’t to be used to verify a diagnosis.

We love the idea behind this project, and we’ll be the first to admit that even our own gallery of reference photos could use a lot more diversity (as can the stock-photo libraries we lean on for photo galleries like this). Here’s hoping this project really takes off and becomes a huge resource families all over the world. Keep up the great work, Ellen!


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