Social factors icon of a graph

Social and Economic Factors

How do social and economic factors impact eczema?

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), social determinants of health (SDoH) are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.”

How do these social and economic factors affect the experience of people with eczema? Because eczema that is not diagnosed, treated and controlled properly can become extremely uncomfortable, itchy and painful, it’s important to ask this question.

In addition, lack of diversity in medical training and clinical research indicates a need to include how eczema impacts people of color.

Black mother and biracial son
Infographic of Social and economic factors that  can lead to eczema disparities

Here are some examples of how social and economic factors impact eczema care:

Where a person lives can have a large impact on their access to health care, their ability to get to healthcare appointments, and the quality of that care. This can be true for urban as well as rural settings.
A person’s home or neighborhood can expose them to many allergy triggers that make eczema worse — like pollution, dust, mold, or cockroaches.
For people whose eczema is made worse by food allergies, living in a place without easy access to the allergy-safe foods they need is a problem.

The community in which a person lives can also affect whether the health care they receive is culturally in tune with their own experience. For example, eczema in Black or brown skin can look very different than in white skin, but in some places, there are few health care providers who have experience diagnosing and treating eczema in skin of color.

Many people with eczema can’t easily find a doctor or nurse who speaks the same language they do, which makes it hard to communicate about their condition. This can result in doctors prescribing the same treatments to all patients, but one size does not fit all when it comes to eczema in people of color.
A person’s financial means can have a huge impact on their ability to have their eczema recognized, treated and managed over the long term. For someone without health insurance, it may be difficult to find a place where their eczema can be diagnosed and managed. For many people, even the special creams that are commonly recommended to keep eczema under control are far too expensive.
Providing information and education to healthcare providers at the community level, as well as to patients of varying literacy levels, is important so that patients and providers can communicate effectively about eczema symptoms.
Telehealth offers hope for increasing access to diagnosis for patients who can’t easily travel to get medical care.

These factors are separate from the genetic and biologic determinants of eczema in people of various races and ethnicities.

Happy African American Family In Front of Beautiful House.
Grandparent With Grandchildren Putting On In Line Skates In Park
Teacher helping elementary school kids using tablet computer
An adorable toddler boy sits in his mother's lap in his unrecognizable pediatrician's office. He smiles and looks away. His pediatrician holds a clipboard.