People of color are a very large group, which in South Africa includes people of African and Asian descent.
It also includes patients of mixed backgrounds who have more darkly pigmented skin. Darker skin type people represent a significant and growing group of patients seeking aesthetic procedures. This is because of the increased awareness of safe, affordable aesthetic procedures. These procedures include amazing new lasers that are colour blind and are less invasive than previous generations of lasers. Yet special concerns have to be addressed when treating skin of color.
People with darker skin tones are prone to certain skin problems. One of the most common is hyperpigmentation, or dark spots. These spots are caused by an insult to deeply pigmented skin, such as acne, a cut, or a disorder such as psoriasis.
Melanocytes are very sensitive cells and can either stop producing color- hypopigmentation or produce excessive color in cases of inflammation- post inflammatory hyperpigmentation PIH which is most commonly seen in areas where acne blemishes heal, leaving a dark spot behind. These too will fade with time; however, it can be quite persistent.
Skin Renewal Tip
The traditional way to treat PIH has been to bleach the darkened pigment using hydroquinone based products which in South Africa is only available by doctors prescription. Still, despite best efforts with bleaching agents and exfoliation treatments, pigment from PIH can be stubborn and long lasting. There is a ‘something’ missing in conventional fading creams. Most have side effects.
For most people with dark skin, treating pigmentation is like taking one step forward and one step back. The challenge is to take care of dark skin, fade the dark spots / pigmentation and heal it without further causing rebound hyper pigmentation which results from irritation of the skin