When it comes to skin colour, the world is blending. The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, half the citizens of the US will have dark skin. It’s important that the practice of dermatology acknowledges this, and adjusts its understanding and approach to black skin care. For decades, medical dermatologists have recognised the role that genetics and ancestry play in skin health. But as of late, ethnicity is proving to be a significant factor too. Darker skins have significant structural differences from lighter skins. And this influences the diagnosis process. In addition to this, individuals with darker skins often have cultural practices that affect their skin. And these influence lifestyle approaches to treatment.
Structural differences in dark skin
Individuals of all ethnicities share the majority of skin conditions. The structure of the skin, however, plays a significant role in how the skin reacts to sunlight exposure, pigmentation disorders, irritation, and inflammation. Hyperpigmentation (darkened patches on the body), for example, is more likely to manifest in darker skins because of its biological structure. Click here to learn more about hyperpigmentation. The following aspects of dark skin are important to keep in mind when attempting to diagnose and treat individuals who present skin conditions and concerns.
The Stratum Corneum (outermost layer of skin) is thicker and more compact in darker skins. There is greater lipid content on this layer, with a reduced ratio of ceramide to cholesterol. And the melanocytes of the stratum basale contain more melanin (pigment).
The dermis layer is thicker and more compact in darker skins. It also has smaller collagen fibres and increased fibroblast content. And numerous superficial blood vessels.
The influence of culture in black skin care
Many dark-skinned individuals have lifestyles that include skin-altering cultural practices. For example, some cultures favour lighter skin. So, individuals undergo skin lightening practices to actively lighten the surface layers of the skin. Wearing sunscreen is also not seen as a priority for many dark-skinned individuals, with many choosing to rather limit their sunlight exposure. It is important for medical professionals to educate themselves on these issues and be sensitive to cultural expectations. The ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to treatment is proving to be unreliable, leaving many skin conditions undiagnosed. A tailored, individualised approach to black skin care ensures the skin is properly understood and effectively managed.
Tailoring dermatological treatments for black skin care
At our practice, we maintain an up-to-date understanding of issues pertaining to ethnic skin, in terms of biological makeup and cultural affiliation. We treat each of our patients as an individual, collecting information on their backgrounds and ancestry before recommending any kind of procedure or lifestyle adjustment. Our practice offers a wide variation of medical and cosmetic treatments. Because of this, we are confident that we can find the right skin care solution for every individual’s unique situation. (Explore our range of skin care services.)
Book your specialised skin care consultation
Healthy, beautiful skin could be just around the corner. But you have to take the first step. If you would like to receive a thorough skin examination and expert advice for black skin care, get in touch with us and we’ll arrange your consultation with Dr Noks.