Dermatological tips for black women

Dermatological tips for black women

We should all love the skin we’re in. While many women have the same goals when it comes to their skincare — from finding the right moisturizer to managing common skin conditions — women of color can have distinct concerns that aren’t always properly identified or addressed by service providers. sanitary.

We asked Lakshi Aldredge, MSN, ANP-BC, FAANP, dermatologist nurse practitioner for VA Portland Health Care System and member of the HealthyWomen Women’s Health Advisory Council, to share some of her top dermatology tips for Black women to take care of their bodies from head to toe.

1. Make sure you moisturize

While anyone can experience dry skin, a lack of moisture can be more noticeable on darker skin. Some Education suggest that darker skin may also be more prone to dryness because it loses moisture faster than lighter skin. “I tell all patients that it’s good to moisturize their skin, but in darker skinned individuals, it makes such a difference in how their skin looks,” Aldredge said. “Plus, the drier the skin, the more itchy it gets.” Fragrance-free creams and ointments or even petroleum jelly (except on the face) can help avoid dryness and related skin conditions.

2. Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis look different on skin of color

In lighter skin tones, inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis appear as red or pink patches, also called plaques. In darker skin tones, those Patches it can appear brown, gray, dark gray, purple, or even black. These spots can also look like older skin lesions, which may mean the condition is healing, but the disease is still active.

In people with darker skin, chronic, inflammatory skin conditions can also be misdiagnosed as scarring, dry skin, or even fungal infections. If you think you have a skin condition, consider keeping a photo diary of your patches and lesions so your healthcare professional (HCP) can see how your skin is changing.

It’s also important to track the timing of your skin problems. For example, did it happen suddenly or did it happen over the course of months and years? It’s also a good idea to ask if other family members have similar skin conditions, and if so, what treatments have worked for them.

3. Treat inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis as soon as possible

The sooner you are diagnosed, the easier it is to treat inflammatory skin conditions. Home treatments include taking lukewarm baths with mild soaps and then immediate hydration with plain petroleum jelly or other unscented moisturizers. For more severe cases, people can look into more advanced nonsteroidal treatments from a dermatologist.

4. Release tension

Cornrows, braids, beads, and other cultural hair care practices among people of African descent should be celebrated, but pulling hair too tightly can lead to hair loss. Traction alopeciaFor example, it is a type of hair loss often seen in black women. If you choose to wear braids or similar styles, try to minimize strain and tension, Aldredge said. Other practices, such as bleaching and chemical straightening, can cause hair damage, thinning and evenness contact dermatitis in the scalp as a result of reactions to chemicals.

5. Observe skin changes

If you see new marks on your skin, or existing ones start to change in size, shape, or color, contact your healthcare professional to make sure they aren’t an early sign of something more serious. “If you have a new rash, think about when it started or what you were doing that might have been associated with it,” Aldredge said. “Were you traveling? Have you started any new medications? New pets? Insect bites? Is there anyone else in the family or close contacts who has a rash or similar lesion? Getting a good history of the skin problem will be very helpful to your dermatologist or primary care physician to help narrow down the diagnosis.

6. Understand that skin conditions can show up in different places in darker skinned individuals

Skin cancer is a prime example of how conditions can look different based on race: Melanoma rates are lower in darker-skinned people due to their higher melanin content, which protects against sun damage . When it occurs, it tends to appear on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and nails as opposed to the scalp, face, back, or trunk in lighter-skinned people. “Bob Marley died of melanoma and it started in his toenail,” Aldredge said. “This is the classic example.”

7. Find a healthcare professional who is familiar with treating darker skin

Sometimes, skin conditions may go undiagnosed on darker skin due to their different appearance. This makes it important to find a provider who knows what to look for in patients with darker skin. The American Academy of Dermatology allows users to search for “skin of color” in provider search. Other resources include the Skin of the Color Society and the Derm Black List.

This resource was created with support from Eli Lilly.