UnEven Skin – African American Skin

For African American and people of color the word hyper-pigmentation also know as dark spots can be a nightmare. Dark spots can develop after years of repeated sun exposure or acne or irritation that causes an additive pigment effect on the skin. Once dark spots develop they will grow larger if left alone.Thus, in order not to progress, it is important to constantly use topical treatments, sunscreens, hats, and other protective clothing.

Most of the sunscreens block UVB well, if they are above 15 to 30 SPF (Sun Protective Factor) and stays on well. UVB are rays that are seasonal, mainly around summer months, and are blocked over 70% by window or car glass. There are many ways to reduce hyperpigmentation are many. For the medium-skinned individual, one has to have a great deal of patience. In many cases the coloration will be reduced with a combination therapy. If the hyperpigmentation is milder, topical medications can be successful. These include hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid/ kojic dipalmitate, arbutin, retinoids, peptides, coffee berry, glucosamine, niacinamide, and other anti-oxidants. Since physicians can use a higher percentage of the active ingredient(s), if you have moderate or severe pigmentation, you may want to seek the care of a dermatologist.

If moderate or severe hyperpigmentation exists, one may need to be seen by a dermatologist. In these more involved cases, a combination therapy of topical skin lightening agents, sunscreens, liquid nitrogen, electrodesiccation, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy may be used. Cosmetic camouflage is useful while waiting for the pigmentation to be reduced.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, or from artificial light sources, can be divided into longer wavelength UVA, which causes tanning and wrinkling of the skin, and shorter wavelength UVB, which causes sunburn.

Remember: “A” in UVA stands for skin aging, “B” in UVB for sunburn.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a reflection on how well the sunscreen product protects the skin from redness caused by sun exposure. It is therefore an assessment of protection against the effect of UVB.

Because of the propensity for tanning, minor blemishes in ethnic skin types can become quite dark and noticeable, primarily because of the tanning response upon exposure to sunlight

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