Skin of Color

Skin of color has often been overlooked by the Aesthetic Industry. As more research and better understanding becomes available, we are better able to take care of all skin types.

Skin of color is prone to pigmentary disruption. This can mean both hyper and hypo pigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can have multiple causes, often related to UV exposure and some hormonal, such as melasma. It is important to identify the underlying cause to achieve best outcomes.

Most of our sun damage occurs when we are under 18 years old, as that is when we spend the most time outside. We did not previously know the extent of dangers of sun damage, not only in terms of it causing skin cancer, but causing DNA damage that results in aged looking skin, with red and brown discoloration. Applying and reapplying daily sunscreen, 365 days a year, is very important and beneficial to maintain good skin health and best appearance. Wearing a hat and sunglasses helps to protect the scalp, neck and areas around the eyes, which are all prone to sun damage, as the skin is very thin.

Rosacea, melasma, ingrown hair, burns and acne can all cause pigmentary disruption. Sunscreen is always the first step to preventing and improving the appearance of pigment.

A good at home skincare routine is also very beneficial. Hydroquinone has been the gold standard skin lightening agent. It is sold both over the counter and as a prescription. Unfortunately, it can have some unpleasant side effects, and more importantly, may predispose to skin cancer. Retinols are very popular for acne, anti-aging and pigmentary issues. They are Vitamin A derivatives that promote cell turnover and induce collagen. They also come over the counter and as prescription grade creams. Retinols are irritating to the skin and a routine needs to be instituted to acclimate the skin, so it can tolerate retinols.

Many other products such as tranexamic acid, glutathione, niacinamide, kojic acid and other ingredients are available to help improve pigmentary disruption. Lasers and chemical peels may also be used. Lasers can be tricky in this situation because heat can stimulate melanin and make the situation worse.

It is important to see an expert in skin of color for best results, as there are many things to consider and the treatment is often challenging and prolonged. For example, melasma has no cure and is a lifelong condition to be managed. There are different types of melasma. All these issues have to be taken into consideration when creating a plan.

Skin is the largest organ. A good diet, exercise and sunscreen are very important to your skin and overall health.

Have questions?

Please call 860-999-4865 and request a consultation. Dr. Shternfeld will be happy to answer them for you.