Acne African American skin often contributes to a secondary skin condition not as prevalent in skin with less color: hyperpigmentation (darker patches or spots on the skin's surface).
Human skin color is influenced by the amount of melanin (pigment of the skin) contained within cells. Research shows that melanin protects the skin from the sun's harmful rays, and it slows the signs of aging. A greater degree of melanin in the skin clearly offers protective and visible benefits, but it also poses some specific challenges for prevention and acne black skin treatment.
Blocked hair follicle pore builds up
African American acne skin care and acne prevention must consider that melanin makes skin more vulnerable to injury and more sensitive to topical products (those applied to the skin's surface). Acne African American skin scaring often produces hyperpigmentation after lesions have healed, and the spots may remain darker than the surrounding skin for months or even years; therefore, preventive steps should be used.
To help prevent pores from clogging, proper cleansing should be done with mild, non-abrasive products. This will remove excess oils and the build-up of dead skin cells, which combine to clog pores. Acne black skin treatments, such as topical spot treatments may also aid in reducing surface bacteria, which help prevent new lesions from advancing and causing hyperpigmentation. Because acne African American skin is more sensitive, these topical agents must be extremely mild to prevent a reaction, which can result in further problems.
Hyperpigmentation, this deposit of excess pigment in specific areas of the skin, is not only the result of acne, but also scrapes, burns, cuts, eczema, or other skin trauma; therefore, to prevent further trauma once a lesion has formed, acne African American skin should not be picked at, squeezed, or punctured. Prevention is key in African American acne skin care since treatment of sensitive skin is complicated by the possibility of further trauma.
Topical agents and spot treatments are the most common acne black skin treatments. However, as the ethic population has reached 40% in the United States, other treatments have become more popular or have been modified to treat darker skin.
Dermatologists may prescribe a topical retinoid, a compound related to vitamin A known for its ability to speed cell regeneration, for acne African American skin. It may also be prescribed to treat hyperpigmentation. Unfortunately, topical retinoids often cause undesirable side effects, especially in sensitive ethnic skin. The most common side effects are skin irritation, much like sunburn, and higher sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet rays. If being treated with a retinoid, one must use a sunscreen. The sunscreen's SPF (skin protection factor) should be no lower than 15.
In recent years, the cosmetic market has been flooded with products that contain retinoid formulations, and these formulations do not require a doctor's prescription. It is especially important for those with acne African American skin to read labels carefully before beginning any treatment with cosmetic products.
Besides topical agents, newer acne black skin treatments may include procedures such as chemical peels and laser therapy. Chemical peels for acne use chemical solutions that, when applied to the skin, act as an accelerant to cause the upper layers of skin to slough or peel off. Laser therapy includes treatment that may affect different layers of the skin, thereby allowing acne and or hyperpigmentation to be treated without visible trauma. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, these treatments may cause further trauma to the skin, resulting in additional hyperpigmentation or even scaring.
If treatments such as chemical peels are selected for acne African American skin: a primer should be applied, a lower-strength solution should be used, and the chemical peel solution should be left on for shorter durations.
Other acne black skin treatments may also treat hyperpigmentation; one such procedure is laser therapy. Because lasers can cause further trauma to the skin, lasers that transmit a long pulse are preferred to treat pigmented skin. If receiving this type of treatment for acne or its resulting hyperpigmentation, confirm that the physician has FDA-approved lasers for darker skin.
If you are being treated with a topical retinoid, you should see your doctor regularly for monitoring.
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