Dark Skin is Sensitive Skin

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Dark skin (meaning olive tones or darker) is actually classified as "sensitive skin" by most dermatologists because of the care they need to take when treating the skin for certain conditions.  You don't want to heal one problem while creating another problem like discolorations, light patches or other disfiguring issues.


    So when it comes to both acne and rosacea (redness, flushing, appearance of prominent blood vessels of the skin), dermatologists are now realizing that early intervention for the patient with darker skin is a must, so that these undesirable side effects are avoided.  The groups most concerned include:

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    • African Americans
    • Hispanic/Latin
    • Asians
    • Middle-Easteners
    • Native Indians

    So when treating acne, you want to avoid post-treatment inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and retinoids seem to help with avoiding that outcome while treating the problem.  Also combining a retinoid cream + clindamycin is a good regimen.  Chemical peels with salicylic acid and microdermabrasion may also be good treatments of choice for these patients (if performed by experienced dermatologists).  You can try fractional lasering after salicylic acid/microdermabrasion if there are no negative outcomes. 


    For rosacea, first you need a good diagnosis, since it is more difficult to differentiate when it occurs on darker skin.  Treatments need to be selected carefully since hypo-pigmentation (light spots) can be the undesired outcome.  Avoid triggers of rosacea like:

    • sunlight
    • heat
    • high temperatures
    • certain beverages/spicy foods
    • stress

    Using sunblock year round is a good prevention habit but in terms of treatment, you need a very exerienced dermatologist who can create a treatment plan that won't offer the undesired side effects.

Published On: August 01, 2008