In honor of Black History month, we are focusing on rashes and skin of color. It may sound shocking, however, people with darker skin may find it difficult to have their skin conditions treated due to lack of treatment knowledge for skin of color. It goes without saying that this is a problem in the healthcare industry and in dermatology as well. Because certain skin conditions may look different on darker skin, there is a certain peace of mind that comes with seeing a physician that understands what your skin needs and how conditions may look on your skin. Unfortunately, there are not many dermatologists of color. We do hope to see those numbers increasing in the coming years.
We are sensitive to how rashes appear and present in those with darker skin. Our dermatology specialists have worked and through their readings and talking with these patients to become better dermatology specialists for people of color.
We talked to our skin care expert Jo Ellyn Dyson, PA-C who is working hard to help understand the best ways in which to identify skin issues in skin of color and how to treat those conditions. Additionally, we are featuring one of our patients who has darker skin this month on our social media platforms, be sure to watch her testimonial!
In your experience, which skin conditions tend to be more difficult to indicate on darker skin?
-Rashes for sure. That is because there is not as much of a color contrast between inflamed skin and natural skin tone in dark skin as compared to light skin.
Do medical treatments for darker skin differ from those on lighter skin?
-The medical treatments not so much, but we do have to take into consideration what form of topical we choose to treat with. Often those with darker skin require more moisture in their products than those with lighter skin. However, when dealing with scalp issues, treatments vary dramatically. That often has to do with hair type and how often people are able to wash their hair. Lastly, when giving oral medications, we want to take into consideration as patients past medical history which may not have to do with color of skin, but there are certain conditions that people with darker skin have more than people with lighter skin.
Do you recommend darker skinned people use sun protection?
– Yes, always. The reasons may be slightly different compared to whit skinned, even though dark skinned people can develop skin cancer, their risk is less than that of white skinned people. However, we still would like our dark skinned patients to wear zinc sun protection to prevent any risk of skin cancer, but also to help them maintain an even skin tone. Dark skinned people have propensity to develop blotchy skin tone from sun. Protecting their sun with zinc every day minimizes this risk.
Do dark skinned people have to be careful with products they apply to their skin?
– Yes, if dark skin becomes irritated, it can create dark colored spot and light colored spots, leaving the person with uneven skin tone. It is best to sty away from harsh products that can cause skin irritation, such as any products with Benzoyl peroxide, acids, vitamin A derivatives or any other product that tends to dry the skin. Sometimes we have to use these in dark skinned people, but we try to counter act that with other products that will calm the skin. That’s often not easy to do, but we work very hard to try and keep the skin in balance.
Can people with dark skin get cosmetic treatments?
-Yes, but we have to be selective when recommending those treatments. Botox and fillers are a yes to any skin type. Chemical peels can be done, but you have to move slowly and increase the strength as the skin proves it can tolerate it. You have to be careful with lasers and be sure that you are being treated by a technician that is familiar with dark skin. There are lasers that can be used on dark skin, but you just have to be cautious about which ones you use.
At Skin Solutions Dermatology, we understand the importance of representation and the peace of mind that comes with seeing a physician that understands your skin care needs. We strive to narrow the gap in healthcare disparities for people of color. If you have skin care concerns or if you would like to know if you’re a good candidate for certain treatments, schedule a consultation with one of our skilled dermatology specialists today. With eight locations across Middle Tennessee, we can tailor a skin care regimen for your personalized needs. Our patients are part of the SSD Family and we love giving back in any way that we can! Do you have a skin care story that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you! Send your story or photos to: email@example.com