Dermatologist's visit can be a laborious process for anyone. But what if they have no idea about your needs as a colored woman? For example, if you do not know why certain treatments do not work for someone with your hair texture, what if?
You deserve, like anyone else, to see someone who cares about your individual skin needs differently if you have some (or much!) More melanin in your skin. Everything from sunburn to acne scars can present itself differently in the skin color. We talked to some experts to find out where to start – and how to find a dermatologist who really gets you.
Some skin problems more often affect people with skin color.
Although hyperpigmentation problems can occur in all people, they develop more often in people of skin color. Temitayo Ogunleye, MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, reports SELF.
Two of the most common problems associated with pigmentation are melasma a condition that causes spots of brown skin and is often associated with hormonal changes. and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) which causes dark spots after an inflammatory event such as eczema or acne Abnormal increase in the production of melanin, the pigment that darkens the skin. And those who already have more melanin in their skin are more likely to develop hyperpigmentation after an inflammatory problem. It's also more likely to stay longer, Dr. Ogunleye. As a result, anyone of skin color – including people of black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific or Native American descent – is more likely to feel the same.
Although these pigmentation problems can be persistent, a dermatologist can help to alleviate them. Particularly common are areas with topical prescription treatments or in-office procedures such as chemical peel or laser treatment, explains the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Keloid Scars That May Occur After Severe Acne Nada Elbuluk, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Southern California and founder and director of the USC Skin of Color Center and the Pigmentary Disorders Clinic, reports to SELF. This type of scarring results in raised skin which may take several months after the first skin problem or injury. Keloids are notoriously stubborn and permanently difficult to ward off, but they can be minimized with a variety of treatments such as corticosteroid injections, surgery, and laser treatments. There are also small mole-like dark spots, which are called Dermatosis papulosa nigra which occurs more frequently in colored individuals, adds Dr. Elbuluk added. They are completely harmless but can be carefully removed by electrocautery in a dermatologist's office .
. 2 Yes, you still need to wear sunscreen.
Both Dr. Ogunleye as well Elbuluk said color patients would come to them with questions or misunderstandings about sunscreen. A common misconception is that dark skin provides adequate protection against UV damage. But even people with darker skin need sunscreen to prevent sunburn and skin cancer, Dr. Elbuluk.
Although people of skin color, especially non-Hispanic blacks, are less likely to develop melanoma than other racial groups, they are more likely to be diagnosed later SELF previously explained. This, along with a number of other factors, makes melanoma more deadly in blacks than whites – and sunscreen remains the primary first line of defense against sun damage that can occur even if you do not burn yourself.  A rare type of skin cancer, the acral lentiginous melanoma, which manifests itself in areas of the body that are not normally exposed to the sun (such as soles and palms), is actually more common in people from than in whites.
Besides, it's like Dr. Ogunleye stresses the importance of wearing sunscreen – and avoiding UV radiation by wearing protective clothing and keeping to the shade – to avoid any hyperpigmentation problems .
When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to use a broadband protection product with a minimum SPF of 30. There is a large selection under !
. 3 Different types of hair loss affect women with skin color more often – especially black women.
There are many different types of hair loss. Ogunleye, which can be caused by genetics, the use of certain types of hair products or other causes wearing hairstyles – such as braids, dreads or fabrics – that exert chronic tensions on the hair.
Alopecia traction which occurs after repeated pulling or tightening of the hair follicle, usually leaves the hair thinner around the hairline and is particularly common in black women . If left untreated, scarring alopecia can occur, leaving scars to cover the hair follicles and prevent hair from permanently growing there. However, tractionalopeia may be treated at earlier stages by lifestyle modifications (mainly by altering or restricting tighter hairstyles) as well as topical, oral or injected treatments.
However, we still do not fully understand why women are colored more likely to experience this type of hair loss. Elbuluk. However, the researchers believe that this is partly due to a combination of genetic factors and the use of certain hairstyles and hair care products such as relaxers, curlers and hot combs .
. 4 You may feel better if you see a dermatologist who looks like you.
Of course every dermatologist should have the training and education to diagnose and treat every patient who walks through his doors. And depending on where you are, you may not have much choice when it comes to dermatologists. But it's also understandable that you feel better (and possibly even more personalized) with a dermatologist who looks like you or at least has experience in treating people with your skin type.
At least assume that a dermatologist of color comes to your appointment with some cultural knowledge about you, Dr. Ogunleye. For example, a dermatologist familiar with black women's hair care routines would recommend not washing their hair daily to reduce dandruff (the usual first treatment for a mild case of dandruff ) as this would be detrimental to black women with break-prone hair, she says.
Dr. Elbuluk recommends that you first check the website of your insurance company for a dermatologist in your area. You can also search the Skin of Color Society for dermatologists who specialize in various skin types.
If you are not sure what treatment your doctor recommends, Dr. Ogunleye It is perfectly fine to ask if your dermatologist prescribed this treatment to other color patients and what their results were.
Especially if you have questions about your skin or are dealing with a new skin problem, this is important for finding a dermatologist and making an appointment right now, rather than looking for alternative solutions first, Dr. Elbuluk. Dr. However, Ogunleye recommends that skin-color patients be open to try several dermatologists before choosing one that suits their needs.
"You should always turn to someone you feel comfortable with and feel comfortable with. What you need to be treated and whoever you and your culture-specific issues seem to be taking into account," Dr. Ogunleye. "Do not be afraid to ask questions … If you're asking if care is specific to you, you should ask that."
. 5 Unfortunately, there are some gaps in our understanding of skin color.
Both Dr. Ogunleye as well Elbuluk agree that racial and ethnic differences exist in dermatological research. Why? Well, there are many reasons. In particular, Dr. Elbuluk on historical medical misconducts such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (19459004), in which researchers used black men without their full consent or appropriate treatment as subjects, and on the story of Henrietta Lacks, a black woman's cervical cells were without without taken their consent and used for research purposes .
Serious problems such as these would have made it difficult for the color communities to trust medical professionals conducting clinical trials and gaps in our research created medical knowledge about these populations. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that in 2013, researchers reported on the use of color patients in 3 percent of NIH (Non-National Institutes of Health) publications slight increase of 1.1 percent in 1993.
But this is more than mistrust in the medical community. For example, researchers have also suggested that these communities may have limited access to health care and coverage for this care as shown in a 2011 survey in the American Journal of Public Health . They are also more likely to succumb to the prejudices of a physician towards their patients, especially their black patients.
Therefore, we may not always know exactly how a particular treatment will affect your particular skin type. However, that does not mean that dermatologists can not help you at all – and you definitely should not feel that your skin is an unsolvable puzzle. It is all the more important to find a dermatologist who knows how to treat you and who makes you feel good.