So, what are some of the most common concerns among patients with darker skin tones? Hypopigmentation – in which skin patches become lighter than surrounding tissues, and hyperpigmentation – when skin patches become darker than surrounding tissues. Research shows that although pigmentation concerns are not harmful, they can cause patients to become distressed by their appearance.
Patients with darker skin tones can in fact grapple with a number of skin conditions throughout their lives. To further complicate matters, these concerns can change with time. At a young age, for instance, patients may experience severe cases of acne accompanied by dark spots and scars.
This secondary condition is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and occurs after damage or irritation to the skin. Over 65% of African Americans experience symptoms of PIH that include skin turning purple, brown, or tan. PIH is the result of your body producing more melanin in response to acne, as mentioned a moment ago, as well as other conditions like:
- Insect bites
- Allergic reactions
Despite educational efforts, many dermatology myths continue to surround darker skin tones, such as the idea you don’t need to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. Although higher levels of melanin do provide a certain level of photoprotection, you’re still at risk for conditions like skin cancer – the difference is your symptoms may present differently and therefore require a provider with greater knowledge.
It’s also believed that patients with darker skin aren’t subject to common signs of aging like wrinkles and sags. The truth is these signs usually appear later in life and can therefore be further delayed with the proper skincare techniques.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common form of eczema and significantly more prevalent in African American and Asian/Pacific Islanders than Caucasians. In addition, African Americans don’t respond to treatment in the same way other groups do and therefore need particular attention.
AD tends to strike patients with darker skin tones for a few different reasons, including genetics and environmental factors. In most cases, those with a family history of AD also develop it as skin mutations get passed from generation to generation. These mutations tend to occur more often in African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians than in other groups. Finally, AD often develops in response to environmental allergens, common in urban settings.
Treatment Options in Washington, DC
In our capable hands, the right treatment can transform your skin. Chemical peels, for instance, are wrongly thought to be a poor treatment choice for patients with skin of color, but the truth is they can effectively treat hyperpigmentation, including PIH and brown spots. The key is in providing the right pre- and post-treatment regimen to prevent discoloration.
These are also generally dismissed as too harsh for darker skin tones and therefore omitted from a treatment plan. But Laser Genesis is both gentle and effective and safe enough to provide beautiful, glowing skin to patients of all ages and skin colors.
It’s true some lasers are not suitable for darker skin tones, but Laser Genesis is non-ablative and targets tissues well below the skin’s surface. This means it can markedly improve wrinkles, acne scars, and other skin irregularities without side effects. This laser also reduces sebum production and tightens pores to improve active acne. It is therefore a multi-faceted therapy that we can safely administer to you.
Skin Tightening with RF Microneedling
This exciting option for people of color reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation while rejuvenating your overall appearance. We already know that skin, regardless of color, changes with time. The combined modalities of microneedling and radiofrequency (RF) provide a more comprehensive treatment with broader results.
During this treatment, super fine needles are used to make controlled injuries at precise skin depths. This ignites the body’s healing response, meaning it ramps up collagen and elastin production. Collagen lifts, plumps, and firms skin, while elastin provides bounce and elasticity. In tandem, these proteins freshen and brighten your skin over the next three to six months.
With specific, gentle wavelengths, RF heats the deepest layers of your skin. When combined with microneedling, thermal zone channels are created to provide energy to those spots that need the greatest attention. In turn, RF causes collagen and elastin fibers to contract for a smoother, tighter appearance.
We also provide treatments for mole removal, skin brightening, and hair loss. The best way to identify a correct course of action is to schedule a consultation with our office. We’ll review your medical history, examine your current concern(s), and develop a treatment plan suitable to your skin type and tone. Keep in mind this plan will be unique to you and safely delivered by our staff, who understand the nature of skin of color.
A Treatment Option for You
The point in exploring all of these options is to show that treatment does exist for you. As a premier dermatological provider in Washington, DC, we will explore these modalities with you to find the right one; and, in some cases, modalities may be combined to ensure the best results possible. From hyperpigmentation and acne to AD and PIH, our guidance can correct a variety of concerns and help reveal the skin you crave. Dr. Rodney has extensive experience in all aspects of cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology for all skin types. The entire team at Eternal Dermatology is committed to providing the very best experience possible in a patient-friendly and professional environment. Visit this dermatologist in Baltimore and DMV area today. Schedule your consultation today!