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Many women of color have personally experienced or seen images of chronic discoloration on the back of the neck. For many this was thought to be an sign of uncleaniness, however, for many this is an early marker of insulin resistence and impending diabetes.
The discoloration on your neck could be an indication of a serious health problem.
By Lisa Price Stevens, M.D.
If all that glitters is not gold, then surely all that is black is not dirt. This was hard to believe for a young lady, who for more than two decades, thought that the only hope for the blackness of her skin was a Brillo pad.
Recently a slightly obese dark skinned sister came to my office for her first adult physical exam. She recently became insured and was looking forward to addressing issues of obesity, facial hair growth and irregular menstrual cycles.
As I examined her, the velvety dark pigmentation on the back of her neck was quite pronounced. I advised her that because of this finding I wanted to test her for diabetes. I jokingly said, " Don’t worry it’s not dirt". At that point her eyes begin to water and with a sigh of relief she replied, "All my life I thought it was dirt." She recalled that her mother would bathe her with a Brillo pad in attempts to clean her neck.
My heart dropped. Few words had to be shared, for many black females can relate to this ritual. One which has roots far beyond our mothers or our grandmothers, but dates back
to the mental oppression of slavery that unfortunately still haunts many of us today. I hugged her with my arms and my words……
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