If you have a darker skin tone and suffer from acne, you’re likely looking for a nearby skin of color dermatologist. You may also wonder if safe and effective acne treatments even exist for darker skin. Well, wonder no more. At Vibrant Dermatology in Dedham, MA, we’re proud to offer a range of therapies that can be used on all skin types and colors. Equally important, these treatments work as intended so you can finally enjoy a smooth, radiant complexion.
Does Skin Color Affect Acne?
People of all skin colors are at risk for breakouts, including those of African, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, and Mediterranean descent. For these patients, the skin color changes that accompany breakouts are of primary importance. These dark spots, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), develop because the skin produces extra melanin in response to pimples and cysts.
Melanin gives skin its particular color. When the body produces too much in one skin spot or patch, the surface can appear darker than surrounding tissues. The secret to keeping these spots at bay is in treating both the acne and dark patches at the same time. It is therefore crucial when searching for a “black dermatologist near me” that you ensure he or she has the right treatment options for your skin tone.
The Right Methods for Treating Skin of Color
Acne treatments are the same for all skin shades; what must be considered is the potential for side effects, which can vary widely depending on your unique skin tone. One of the safest picks is the PiXel8-RF microneedling system. Unlike traditional lasers, this handheld device emits only radiofrequency (RF) energy. The energy passes through microneedles into dermal tissues in a precise, controlled manner.
You can trust the PiXel8-RF is safe because it virtually eliminates thermal damage to the skin’s surface. This means that, regardless of skin tone, you’re at almost zero risk for developing PIH. And this therapy can address a number of concerns, helping you look younger and fresher by the end of your treatment plan. For instance, in addition to breakouts, the PiXel8-RF can correct:
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Age spots
- Skin laxity
- Large pores
- Stretch marks
The PiXel8-RF uses microneedling to create tiny injuries in the skin’s tissues. This triggers the body’s natural healing process, which includes amplified collagen production. Collagen is a protein that rejuvenates and tightens skin. Essentially, new collagen pushes out the old and, similarly, repairs damaged skin. It also encourages the growth of new healthy cells.
Pairing this rejuvenation process with RF energy only amplifies its healing abilities. Heat delivered to the skin’s deepest layers increases the speed and quantity of collagen production – your skin will look plumper and more radiant. And the microneedling depth can be adjusted for individual treatment areas, allowing the PiXel8-RF to safely treat breakouts:
- Across the forehead
- Along the jawline
- Over cheekbones
- Under the eyes
NeoClear Laser Treatments
If you’re thinking laser is a no-no for patients with skin of color, we’re happy to say the NeoClear by Aerolase is uniquely gentle. Its laser energy speeds through the epidermis so quickly, it lacks the time necessary to overheat pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes.
This treatment therefore avoids the pigmentation risk that most laser systems present. It’s not only safe for all skin tones but also very effective with a blend of high-powered laser pulses. In turn, fewer treatments are needed to achieve the intended results.
When used to treat breakouts, the energy emitted by the NeoClear destroys bacteria and reduces inflammation. It also shrinks the likelihood of future breakouts by decreasing your skin’s sebum output. Sebum is oil, and although some is necessary to keep skin soft and supple, too much clogs pores.
And, of course, the NeoClear encourages collagen synthesis. This means any acne scars you currently have will be whisked away as new skin cells replace the old. Depending on the size of the treatment area, sessions can be completed in around 30 minutes. This laser is equally effective for the face and other parts of the body; as we all know, breakouts can happen in less visible but equally uncomfortable places like the back, chest, neck, and shoulders.
This three-in-one treatment combines microdermabrasion and dermal infusion to simultaneously exfoliate, extract, and nourish skin. After just one session, your face will look and feel softer, and as an acne treatment, this facial stops breakouts in their tracks.
Let’s start by talking about microdermabrasion, a minimally abrasive treatment that gently removes the thick, uneven outer layer of facial skin. You’re probably wondering if this is safe for patients of color, but we can assure you it is. Darker skin is generally recognized as being more sensitive. The reason can be attributed to the higher quantity of melanocytes, which make darker skin react more easily and more quickly to stress.
Your Skin Explained
If you tend to break out following specific activities or experience irritation after a day in the sun, now you know why. Your skin is naturally sensitive, but don’t let this deter you from pursuing an acne treatment. Microdermabrasion can be highly beneficial because it acts as an exfoliant. This means it addresses concerns like pimples and hyperpigmentation without damaging already-fragile tissues. It also strengthens collagen for an altogether brighter complexion.
On top of this, the Aqua facial incorporates extractions to heal breakouts. And in the final step, we apply serums that contain vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-aging agents your skin will absorb like a sponge. The specific serums we use are tailored to meet your needs, allowing for a customized treatment that balances skin even as it clears and prevents breakouts.
We know what you’re thinking: chemical peels are only safe for lighter skin tones. But this is nothing more than a myth; peels are actually safe for a variety of skin tones. The key is in choosing the right one. Before we get into this, let’s first discuss the ins and outs of peels.
These sometimes elusive treatments can counter a variety of skin concerns, including hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and breakouts. When administered by a professional, a peel accelerates your body’s natural exfoliation, meaning it sloughs away dead cells so new, healthy cells can take their rightful places. But a chemical peel should not be confused with a scrub you can buy at the local pharmacy; they’re two very different therapies.
A Light Peel Is Best
Far too many peels exist for us to discuss them all here, but they can be organized into three main categories: superficial/mild, medium, and deep peels. The first is ideal for darker skin tones because it’s mild in nature and won’t contribute to hyperpigmentation or scarring. Essentially, you get the benefits of new cell growth without any associated downtime. After treatment, the skin looks cleaner, clearer, and healthier.
Adding a booster to your treatment can brighten your skin tone and help repair damaged areas. Vitamin C, for instance, is known for fighting dark spots and supporting collagen production. Specific boosters we offer include:
- Amplifying glow masks
- Eye treatment
- Lip treatment
- LED treatment, known to improve breakouts
Treatments to Avoid
Patients with darker skin tones should steer clear of lasers (except the ones we mentioned here) for one reason: they can cause permanent damage. In general, applying heat to skin that already has a propensity to pigment can cause spotting.
Lasers you shouldn’t use include Fraxel and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments. These therapies simply cause too much trauma to skin and can lead to post-inflammatory pigmentation. Hair removal lasers can also be damaging, although an ND-Yag laser is safe for all skin tones, including types four, five, and six.
Slow and Steady
Keep in mind you may need several treatments to achieve the desired results, but that’s common for nearly all patients. Most cosmetic therapies do not work overnight, so if it takes a little longer to clear and smooth your skin, don’t think the treatment isn’t working. You’re dealing with delicate facial skin, and with that in mind, slow and steady is a wise philosophy to adopt.
Tips to Prevent Breakouts
As a society, we tend to embrace the notion that pain is beauty. But if in your home care regimen you find a product stings too much or overly dries your skin, it can likewise make breakouts worse. In addition, never use rubbing alcohol on your pimples; in theory, this may seem beneficial, but alcohol can cause devastating damage to delicate tissues.
Carefully Choose Your Products
When choosing products for your skin and hair, you should take your time and opt for those that are both non-comedogenic and oil-free. Information like this should be posted on the label so you know exactly what you’re purchasing. If you need help choosing the right products for your needs, feel free to ask one of our staff.
Keep Your Hands Off
We know how hard it is to resist popping and squeezing whiteheads. Your face, however, should be a hands-free zone. Any picking you do will prolong the life of your breakouts and spread toxins. It can also bury bacteria deeper into the pore to cause large cysts that can leave scars. Last but not least, picking contributes to PIH, so the best thing you can do for your face is leave it alone to breathe and heal.
People assume dark skin cannot suffer sun damage, but just the opposite is true. Exposure to UV rays makes dark spots last longer. You can combat this by limiting your time in the sun and wearing sunscreen made specifically for facial tissues.
Use Makeup Carefully
Heavy, oily makeup might hide dark spots, but these products also cause new blemishes. A better alternative is mineral makeup; it’s healthier for skin and does a similarly great job of concealing spots.
Your Answer to Beautiful Skin
Your skin of color needs acne treatments that can be customized and are both gentle and effective. We further understand the sensitive nature of darker skin and can treat blemishes in addition to secondary hyperpigmentation. Don’t delay another moment – schedule your consultation with a nearby African American dermatologist today by calling Vibrant Dermatology in Dedham, MA.