L’Oréal puts $100k towards dermatology research for skins of colour

By Julia Wray | Published: 10-Mar-2023

L’Oréal USA’s research grant to the Skin of Color Society will assist five early-career scientists to bridge the knowledge gap when it comes to people of colour with dermatological conditions

L’Oréal’s US business has dedicated a US$100,000 research grant to the Skin of Color Society (SOCS), which promotes research on the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases in individuals with skin of colour.

The L’Oréal USA grant is intended to assist five early-career dermatologists and scientists in furthering their academic careers and promoting the development of innovative ideas in clinical and translational research.

“We at L’Oréal are committed to helping bridge the gap for people of colour and the dermatological conditions that affect them, as they are often underrepresented in research and healthcare,” said Sanford Browne, L’Oréal’s President of Research & Innovation, North America.

“Through the dedicated work of our Research & Innovation team, we have been able to advance science and solutions that benefit diverse populations for many years,” he added.

“We are proud to support the mission of the Skin of Color Society and dermatologists dedicated to improving the lives of those with skin of colour.

“We are optimistic about the impact of this funding on the field of dermatology and look forward to witnessing its results.”

The five grant recipients, getting $20,000 each, will be announced at the 19th Annual SOCS Symposium, held in New Orleans on 16 March, coinciding with the 2023 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

Priority will be given to applicants within eight years of post-graduate training who have not received previous funding.

"We are incredibly grateful for L’Oréal’s support in advancing skin of colour dermatology research – a vital part of the Skin of Color Society’s mission,” commented Valerie M Harvey, President of the Skin of Color Society.

“This funding will provide crucial resources for young dermatologists to further their academic careers and improve the lives of those with skin of colour through research and innovation.”

Bridging the skin colour research gap

According to L’Oréal, despite people with skin of colour projected to be the majority population in the US by 2044, when it comes to dermatology, significant gaps exist. 

This is especially the case when it comes to scientific and clinical knowledge of the underlying causes, manifestations and treatment of dermatological issues in skin of colour.

These knowledge gaps can lead to poor quality of care, delayed or incorrect diagnoses and negative outcomes that can impact patients’ quality of life.

The beauty giant’s announcement of its SOCS is the latest initiative by the beauty industry and medical field to help close this knowledge gap.

In May 2022, the British Association of Dermatologists’ Lexicon Group announced a new scale for describing the range of human skin colours, called the Eumelanin Human Skin Colour Scale.

The aim, researchers said, was to help combat underrepresentation in research and replace subjective approaches for describing skin colour.

“Being able to objectively describe this feature will help us talk more accurately about who diseases impact, will help us analyse and compare research more easily, and enable us to spot underrepresentation more clearly,” Dr Ophelia Dadzie, Chair of the British Association of Dermatologists’ Lexicon Group, said at the time.

In the same month, A.S. Watson-owned UK retailer Superdrug announced that it would be increasing own brand SPF testing on darker skin tones by up to 35%.

“We want all of our customers to feel seen and included, whether that’s visiting us on their local high street, browsing online or engaging with our social channels,” Sarah Jenkins, Head of Own Brand Quality at Superdrug, commented.

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