Dark Skin - Patients ask, Dr. Ringpfeil answers
Please feel free to use the blog below to share information about Dark Skin or to ask Dr. Franziska Ringpfeil a question that might be of interest to others.
Training and working at four inner-city university hospitals in NYC and Philadelphia allows us the opportunity and experience to treat a diverse range of skin ethnicity. People of different origins ineed have significant differences in the composition of their skin.
On one hand, darker pigment protects our skin from the sun but on the other hand inflammation of the skin could result in significant unwanted discoloration. As darker skin runs the potential risk of discoloration, different lasers, procedures, and medications may be appropriate to safely and effectively treat not only medical but also cosmetic conditions.
As a large portion of our patients are from a diverse and mixed ethnic background, we invested in technology that is specifically suited to their skin condition and it could even be said that it is ‘color blind’. We provide various treatments including peels that correct dark pigmentation, remove dark ‘moles’ (dermatosis papulose nigra) and treat keloids with unique cryoscope technology.
Keloids are a genetic condition that is more common among black and the Mediterranean. For more information about keloids and possible treatments please visit our keloids page.
Treating acne scars on dark skin requires special considerations. Improper treatment can result in permanent damage to the skin without improving the scar texture. Fortunately, there are now two new technologies that allow us to treat scars with minimal risk of damaging the healthy skin around the scar.
With the Picosure laser, we can safely soften scar tissue. This is followed by the Infini microneedling treatment that triggers collagen production and raises the skin in the scarred area. A new treatment protocol has been developed for darker patients that is now able to achieve results that were previously not possible.
For post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation to be prevented, it is imperative to control inflammation caused by acne as early as possible. Topical medications that contain irritating ingredients should also be avoided.
Various treatments including Picosure laser, Microdermabrasion, Photodynamic therapy, and Melanage treatments can help lift dark pigment and restore the original and lighter complexion for those who find it difficult to control their acne and have focal or widespread dark marks.
For dark skin, there is no laser hair removal that is safe and effective. NDYag lasers can permanently reduce 80-90% of the hair in 6-8 treatments. Other laser types can be less effective and can cause hyper and hypopigmentation.
In contrast, the diode laser (often referred to as "the laser for all skin types") requires more treatments and is not suitable for darker Indian or African American skin tones. There is a high risk of hyperpigmentation with IPL hair removal, and the effectiveness of hair removal is very low.
The Alexandrite laser hair removal treatment should never be performed on Mediterranean or darker skin.
Please visit our Laser Hair Removal page for more information about potential treatments for dark skin.page for more information about potential treatments for dark skin.