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Special Skin Deserves Extra Care

People of color account for nearly half the population of the US. The unique genetic make-up of this group of blacks, Asians, Latinos, and other ethnicities, makes them particularly vulnerable to two specific skin conditions: pigmentation problems (dyschromia) and acne.

While better protected from ultraviolet radiation (UV) because of the increased amount of melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), skin of color is a mixed blessing because the very cells that manufacture melanin tend to be more susceptible to inflammation and injury.

Almost anything that has the ability to injure skin – whether deliberate as in chemical peeling or Laser treatments, or unintentional as in an injury, excessive sun exposure, or acne – has an equal potential to cause excessive pigment deposition as seen in melasma (the so-called mask of pregnancy), freckles, and lentigines (a spot on the skin that is darker than the surrounding tissue and commonly referred to as a liver spot).

Acne can be treated with topical and oral medications including antibacterials, hormones and isotretinoins (vitamin A derivatives). Complete systems for this purpose are available from several sources: OBAGI produces the CLENZIderm M.D. Acne Therapeutic System while Glytone offers their Acne Treatment Kit for blemish prone skin – both of which are based upon two proven therapies, benzoyl peroxide and the potent alpha hydroxy acid salicylic acid.

In terms of strategies, Columbia University professor of Dermatology, Andrew F. Alexis, M.D., states: We can block the production of melanin by using hydroquinone and other bleaching creams; we can block the transfer of pigment to the upper layers of the skin by using retinoid creams, which are vitamin A derivatives; we can remove excess pigment in the skin using chemical peels, and we employ sun protection to prevent increased pigment production and UV exposure.

Here at we are pleased to offer a broad array of treatment options. Currently we are featuring Perle, the new hydroquinone-free product from Neocutis which has shown good effectiveness in this arena. Our Colorescience line provides an especially attractive approach to sun protection and for a common follicular problem that affects a disproportionately large number of dark-skinned individuals called razor bumps, Glytone produces Serious Shave Cream with 9.8% glycolic acid and Colorescience provides a specially formulated post-shave shield called Real Minerals Cooling Skin Soother. Personally, I use the Glytone shave lotion for my daily shave, applying it with my Clarisonic bush which resides in my shower.