Our skin is the largest organ of the human body. So we need to make sure that we take care of it. And that goes for all skin types and skin colors. Unfortunately, like most medical fields in America, there is a lack of diversity. This shortcoming makes proper medical and esthetic skincare difficult. If you go online and search, “black dermatologist near me,” you’ll be hard-pressed to find an extensive list. That’s because black dermatologists make up 3% of the workforce. Compare that to 13% of African Americans in the population. That means hundreds of thousands of Americans of color aren’t getting the care specific to their skin type and tone.
Studies even show there is also less access to general healthcare and lower satisfaction rates. That’s why finding an African American dermatologist near me is crucial. In some cases, it can even be life-saving. Here’s why taking the time to search and visit a black dermatologist near me can bring stellar results.
People of color suffer from similar skin conditions as Caucasians. Ethnic skin covers a wide range of individuals. It includes Hispanic, Asian, Native American and black people. They all need help with acne, skin discoloration, rashes and concerning moles on their skin. At Eternal Dermatology, we do not take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Our board-certified dermatologists are “ethnic skin experts.” They look closely at your concerns, and figure out the right treatment for the best results.
In a 2012 study, only 47% of dermatologists believe that they received sufficient training to deal with darker skin types. That’s due to a lack of information on dark skin in training and a lack of photographed conditions on varying skin colors over the decades. Recently, the dermatology field has done some work increasing diversity in practice and accepting more dermatologists. However, this will continue to be an issue. That’s because skin conditions appear differently on darker skin. Furthermore, some skin conditions are specific to darker skin. Here are some typical examples:
Keloids are one of the most common skin concerns for people of color. These growths occur when the skin over-repairs itself after a cut or scar. While this can happen on any skin type, it’s incredibly common and aggressive on darker skin. Keloids are varied and can present themselves in different ways. Your dermatologist should know precisely how to address the issue, using a range of treatments like steroid injections, topical treatments, oils, and even surgical removal.
We all are at risk for pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and everything in between. More than 50 million Americans have had acne or suffer from acne. However, darker skin tones need special treatment. The wrong procedure or medication can cause long-term skin damage or unwanted skin discoloration. Dermatologists of color understand this and will work with you, making sure to avoid treatments that, while useful, may be dangerous to darker skin.
Acne keloidalis Nuchae affects the skin around the nape of the neck. The hairs on the back of the neck grow into the skin, causing inflammation and scarring. Acne keloidalis Nuchae affects primarily African Americans, especially men. A black dermatologist near me can treat the condition with the right antibiotics and steroids. A dermatologist of color will know if this condition needs surgical intervention and can guide the patient accordingly.
Atopic dermatitis, known as eczema, is a common chronic condition that makes skin red, itchy and can present patches on the skin. The issue often presents in children but can show in adults as well. While anyone can get eczema, the condition can present differently on darker skin and can be misdiagnosed.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in America and will affect 1 in 5 Americans by age 70. It is also the most treatable of all cancers but can present differently on darker skin or look similar to other skin conditions. As a result, patients with darker skin take longer to be diagnosed due to a lack of information. The poor diagnosis makes skin cancer deadly for Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hawaiians, who have a higher death rate than whites.
Dermatologists also help with conditions affecting our hair and scakp. Traction Alopecia and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (or CCCA) commonly affect people of color, especially women. These are closely related to hairstyles and hair products, which can lead to permanent hair loss. It is important to find an African American Dermatologist near me – One who has a clear understanding of these issues. She will not only prescribe medications to help your hair loss and scalp discomfort. She will also help you figure out a plan for your long term hair care and styling options.
When it comes to skincare, the beauty industry did not cater to people of color until the last decade or so. While most help skin types – like oily or combination skin – expecting these to be the same across the board, few cater to different skin tones. Because some darker skin tones are more prone to skin conditions, popular products may only create or accelerate the issue.
In terms of long-term skincare and skin health, a dermatologist who truly understands every skin shade has an advantage. With this knowledge, your dermatologist can recommend the right products for your skin type and tone. They will also provide treatments like chemical peels or microneedling to keep you looking fresher for longer.
A dermatologist of color often uses products on their skin to manage acne, reduce wrinkles, and improve dull-looking skin. Some even have the skin conditions that their patients have and have been able to treat them successfully. So they come with not only knowledge but personal experience.
And when it comes to hair, there are specific hair products in the community that can cause long-term hair issues. Your dermatologist can recommend the best treatment for different hair types. Sometimes, it comes from the experience of growing up with similar hair and skin. Without this knowledge, there is a risk of prescribing medication or treatments that may not work on black hair.
A dermatologist of color can put themselves in the shoes of their patients. They understand how difficult it is to find someone who knows their skin and knows the lifestyle factors that affect their skin. Furthermore, patients can expect the same level of care and service. Studies show that patients will feel more comfortable with a diagnosis if the doctor looks like them or shares the same background.
Dermatology continues to work on a better understanding of different skin types. In the meanwhile, people of different ethnicities have different skin compositions and skin needs. These needs will only increase in the future. Many studies project that over 60% of the population under 18 will be people of color in 2043.
At Eternal Dermatology, we understand the importance of inclusion in skin health and taking our time with skin of color. Why? Because our team has dermatologists and staff of color who can provide superior treatment and high quality of care:
Dr. Ife Rodney is the founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics in Fulton, MD. A board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist in the Baltimore – Washington Metropolitan area since 2007. Dr. Rodney has extensive experience in cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology for all skin types. As a woman of color, she understands the nuances that come with darker skin tones. And with a focus on the diagnosis and management of skin cancer, Eternal Dermatology’s care could be life-saving.
Dr. Lauren Payne is originally from Columbus, Ohio. She went to Hampton University in Virginia, followed by Georgia State University, where she obtained a Master’s degree in Neurobiology and Behavior. She earned her Medical Doctorate from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her Dermatology Residency Training at Howard University Hospital. Dr. Payne also understands the needs of men and women of all types.
For a knowledgeable consultation on your skincare options in Howard County MD call us at (301) 679-5772 or book an appointment online. She is an expert in skincare, anti-aging, and skin rejuvenation for all skin types. Eternal Dermatology is conveniently located in Fulton, MD, and serves Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Bowie, Silver Spring, and Howard County, Maryland. To learn more about us, chick here.