Treatment for darker skin tones can be more difficult

Doctors find new, more natural treatments for skin at higher risk of scarring

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MIAMI, Fla. - Skin problems can occur in all ethnic groups but some conditions occur more often in darker skin tones and resolving these issues can be a struggle.  Fernande Saintilis never thought her bout with childhood acne would stay with her well into adulthood, but it did.

"Up until a few months ago, the spots were really bad. I had inflammation, scarring, I felt like they looked like crater holes on my face," she explained.

Dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd says darker skin tones are at greater risk for hyperpigmentation problems, dark spots from blemishes or brown patches from melasma - a condition often referred to as the mask of pregnancy.

"Most commonly due to hormones, which can also come from birth control pills and women going thru menopausal women can also develop melasma because of the hormone changes," explained Woolery-Lloyd.

The newest treatments for hyperpigmentation are products with natural and safe skin lighteners like soy, licorice and kojic acid.

"Most of the newer formulas combine these alternatives, so licorice or soy, with retinal or glycolic acid to help them penetrate and work better," said Wooler-Lloyd.

Another key concern among darker skin tones, keloid or raised scars. Treatments like facial peels and injections of cortisone can help reduce the severity of scarring.

"And there's some new research that came out that if have keloids in your family and your concerned about piercing your little girl's ear, we know that  if you piece before the age of 11 years old, you significantly reduce the risk of keloids," said Wooler-Lloyd.

Fernande can't turn back the clock, but she's tickled to finally be getting compliments on her skin.

"I like to look in the mirror now, so it's great," she said.

The good news is many of the newer over-the-counter products contain powerful but gentle ingredients to address common concerns for darker skin tones.

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