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The Challenges of Treating Acne in Ethnic Skin

The Challenges of Treating Acne in Ethnic Skin

Posted by Johns Creek Dermatology in Skin Conditions 21 May 2014

The types of people living in the North Atlantic area has been undergoing a change, which has led to a wide range of ethnicities being present. The unique challenge is that people with different colors of skin have needs that are unique and specific. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine, located in Johns Creek, aims to help patients in the South Forsyth, Gwinnett, North Fulton and surrounding Atlanta area treat the unique challenges faced by people with ethnic skin types.

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Challenges of Treating Acne in Ethnic Skin- Johns Creek Dermatology

The most influential factor that makes treating darker skin different is that the concentration of melanin is higher, ranging from pale tan tones to deep ebony hues. While this gives the skin a more lasting, youthful appearance and helps to protect from the sun to some degree, it tends to lead to problems that can tarnish the beauty of more pigmented skin when standard treatments are used.

What are the Challenges to Treating Ethnic Skin?

Because of the heightened amount of melanin in the skin, people with darker skin tones face a unique set of challenges. Even the smallest bit of damage can lead to skin conditions such as unsightly keloids, uneven skin color, scars that heal lighter or darker than the skin adjacent to them and a number of complications that people with lighter skin tones don’t typically confront. People with ethnic skin types particularly encounter unique challenges when it comes to treating acne at all phases – prevention, active reduction and post-scarring. Some acne treatment products can cause skin disorders like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which results in darker skin color to an area where more melanin has gathered.

The other unique challenge that is often seen in patients with ethnic skin is that their skin can become prone to acne due to the use of products meant to keep the skin moisturized, supple and soft. For example, shea butter is one of the chief culprits causing breakouts in patients with ethnic skin. It should be avoided for use on areas of one’s body which are prone to breakouts, as creams such as these clog pores and can help to trap oil and bacteria, which only leads to problems that can lead to more permanent marks like scars and hyperpigmentation.

What Solutions are Available?

While it’s possible to use salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics and topical retinoids, at Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine we recommend for patients with dark skin to avoid these products or to be diligent about checking their skin when they use them. These products can very easily cause skin with a higher presence of melanin to turn darker than the surrounding skin, which can leave unsightly effects that are difficult, but quite possible, to treat.

We also recommend that our patients with ethnic skin use only the most gentle cleansing products, non-comedogenic moisturizers and light makeup to avoid increasing the occurrence of breakouts and to prevent long-lasting effects on their sensitive skin.

Because skin with a higher melanin concentration is so prone to discoloration, it’s recommended that any person suffering from breakouts or who already has long-lasting scarring and damage to their skin seek advice from Dr. Shereen Timani, our board certified dermatologist at Johns Creek Dermatology. The sooner treatment is started for skin blemishes the increased likelihood of recovering from them, so be sure to contact Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine for an appointment today.

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