The use of lasers in ethnic skin can pose a therapeutic challenge due to significant risks of post-inflammatory pigment alteration in this patient population. The greatest risk occurs in lasers with wavelengths in the range of the absorption spectrum on melanin due to the epidermal melanin absorption and resultant thermal injury in richly pigmented skin. In this article we will review lasers that have been studied in ethnic skin and will offer a practical approach to the safe use of lasers in ethnic skin.
Read the full article online here or click the image below to read the full PDF.
As summer approaches I always get this question from my patients. This can be a hard question to answer because most people get a little darker in the summer even if they are not trying to. During the summer, the days are longer and the sun’s rays are more intense. For this reason, even regular incidental sun exposure in the car and running errands can cause darker skin by the end of the season. This is almost unavoidable in certain climates like Miami even if you are wearing sunscreen. The real problem arises when people go and lay out at the beginning of summer to get a “base tan”. This definitely is not good for your skin…especially if you have uneven skin tone or brown patches on your skin. Chronic sun exposure makes hyperpigmentation worse and, of course, causes wrinkles. You should definitely wear sunscreen if you are going to spend the day outside, and this is especially important in the summer months. There is no such thing as a safe base tan.
The good news is that there are some fantastic self-tanners that can achieve that sun-kissed look without the risk. Two of my favorites are Jergens Natural Glow and Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel. Both of these self-tanners go on evenly and consistently win awards in their category from magazines like Allure. So choose a self tanner to if you want a tan this summer, and you won’t have to sacrifice your skin in the process.
Natural ingredients continue to grow in skincare and for good reason. At every meeting I attend, I am always excited to hear about the great new research on these new natural ingredients. To treat treat hyperpigmentation, my favorite ingredient is licorice. Licorice extract works not only on pigmentation but also on inflammation so products that contain licorice extract are great for many types of discoloration.
For example dark spots from acne, melasma, and sun damage are some of the most common pigmentary conditions that licorice works on. Products that contain high concentrations of licorice tend to be yellow-brown in color because the extract from the licorice plant is yellow-brown. For example, Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum is yellow because it has very high concentrations of licorice, making it extremely effective. The research on licorice in pigmentation is extensive. In combination with other natural ingredients, the effectiveness of licorice has even been proven to be equal to prescription treatments such as hydroquinone.
Green tea is another one of my favorites. It is an excellent antioxidant and can help prevent free radical damage from the sun. Like licorice, skincare creams with very high concentrations of green tea should be light brown in color because green tea extract is brown. Antioxidants like green tea should be applied in the morning to improve sun protection from sunscreen. Ideally, your daily sunscreen should contain antioxidants but if it doesn’t consider adding a topical antioxidant to your morning routine for better sun protection. When seeking natural ingredients in your skincare regimen, look out for licorice and green tea. These “brown beauties” are great additions to any skincare routine.
After a little hiatus, it is time to start blogging again.
This year, I wanted to continue to focus on beauty and skin care. I will start Beauty Tuesday’s to talk about fun and interesting things happening in the beauty world for women with multi-hued skin tones.
I recently read an article in Allure’s March issue which I found absolutely fascinating. They did a survey on “What’s Beautiful Now” and found that America’s perception of beauty has changed in the last twenty years. When the survey was originally done, the beauty icon most people chose was Christie Brinkley. Now twenty years later, Angelina Jolie with her dark hair and full lips topped the list.
In addition, when given pictures of models of various ethnicities, most participants chose the dark haired Latina model as the most attractive. The male model with the most votes was of Indian descent. It makes me think about how much America’s view of beauty has changed. Twenty years ago there were few, if any, models with multi-hued skin tones in magazines and on TV. These changes in the perception of beauty may be, in part, due to the changing demographics of the United States. By 2050, researchers predict that close to 50% of the United States will be comprised of people of color.
I think it is wonderful that women of all skin colors and ethnicities are now considered beautiful. The great news in skincare is that this shift will likely increase research in the areas that were previously neglected such as hyperpigmentaion. I am looking forward to new and exciting research in skincare and hair care for women of color. I, OF COURSE, will keep you all posted on what’s new in the upcoming year!
There are many natural options available to treat hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Licorice extracts, such as liquiritin and glabridin, have been shown to be effective in treating uneven skin tone. Niacinamide is another common ingredient used to even out skin tone and brighten skin. Niacinamide is a B vitamin that prevents pigment from being transferred into skin cells. Like Niacinamide, soy prevents pigment transfer and is very well established as a treatment for uneven skin tone. Vitamin C is another well-known vitamin to help with uneven skin tone and dark spots. A natural fruit extract, called emblica (also known as Indian gooseberry), has been shown to improve hyperpigmentation and even the skin tone. Other natural agents, including pomegranate extract, acerola fruit extract, and aloesin (derived from the aloe plant), have been shown to have some efficacy in improving skin tone. This is an extensive list and I am sure you must be wondering which works best. Well, a combination of these ingredients seems to be the most effective. When combined, these ingredients are significantly more effective than when used alone. The best approach is to look for multiple ingredients in products, and to look for studies that show that a treatment actually works. With this approach, you can be more confident in choosing a skin brightener.