Skin Conditions in Dark Skin
Eczema in Dark Skin
Also known as dermatitis, this skin condition is characterized by an itchy, red rash that comes on gradually and lasts a long time. It can be triggered by stress, extreme changes in temperature, dry skin, plant allergies, or irritations caused by skin care or cosmetic ingredients.
When eczema occurs as the result of an inherited tendency, it is known as atopic dermatitis.
Eczema is believed to occur twice as frequently in children with dark skin. One study found its incidence is higher in Mexican-American teens than either whites or blacks. Other research found a greater incidence in Chinese and Vietnamese babies, compared with white babies.
When eczema occurs in those with dark complexions, it presents a two-fold problem:
- It is often misdiagnosed, leading to long periods of no treatment or the wrong treatment.
- When not treated early on, it can increase the risk of pigmentation problems.
Treatment for eczema consists of identifying and avoiding products that irritate skin. Use of moisturizer can help, along with steroid creams. Sometimes, ultraviolet light therapy is effective.
It is essential to seek help as soon as possible for any red, itchy rash. Doing so will help avoid pigmentation problems.
Acne in Dark Skin
Acne can occur in any skin type. But due to its link to hyperpigmentation, it is of greatest concern for people with dark skin. Acne develops when there is an overproduction of oil in the skin. That oil mixes with bacteria within the pores and blocks the pore openings. This causes inflammation just under the skin, which results in lesions -- anything from small, discreet bumps to large cysts.
Not only can this trauma lead to pigmentation problems in dark skin, but so can many medications used to treat acne. This is also true of certain oral antibiotics, particularly minocycline. In some people, it can produce a darkening of the skin, which can take months to fade.
If you have dark skin and develop acne, see a dermatologist skilled in treating ethnic complexions as soon as possible. The earlier you seek treatment, the less likely you are to suffer permanent pigmentation scars.
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB) and Dark Skin
This skin condition is characterized by bumps under the surface of the skin, and is often confused with acne. But the problem actually stems from ingrown hairs. It most often occurs in black and Hispanic people, due to the distinct shape of the hair follicle.
If the bumps are squeezed or manipulated in any way, they can become inflamed or infected. But even when left alone, they can be difficult to cover and sometimes cause pain.
Recent studies have shown that laser hair removal is an effective treatment.
Because this condition is often confused with acne, it's important to have your diagnosis confirmed by a dermatologist familiar with dark skin.