Furthering Research in Dermatology for Skin of Color
In recent years, studies in the field of Dermatology relating to skin of color have been more and more frequent. “Previously, doctors left to extrapolate what would and what not work for darker skin types,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board-certified dermatologist in Austin Texas. “Medical decision making was based primarily on studies composed on Caucasian subjects.”
While this ‘best guess’ approach has demonstrated the effectiveness of skin disease treatments in individuals of all backgrounds and skin types, studies did not always address or reveal conditions and reactions more common in individuals with medium and darker complexions. Recent scientific investigations have used broader inclusion criteria, to ensure dermatology and skin care studies glean more knowledge and benefits the needs of patients with darker skin tones.
“Certain skin diseases can look different in different skin types,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “But it’s not only the diagnosis that can be challenging. Treatments with creams, oral therapy and lasers can all produce unique effects in individuals with skin of color.” Dr. Hanson prides herself on treating acne, pigmentation and complexion issues in individuals with darker skin types. She stresses how important it is to know how to properly treat each skin type, as improper treatment can be detrimental in certain cases.
Societies for Skin of Color
A new group of societies have formed dedicated to attaining and sharing information regarding skin diseases, skin care, and cosmetic dermatology in skin of color. For African American, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern individuals, new information is making its way into the practice of medicine and dermatology, allowing more accurate treatments for skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, hair loss and dark spots. These societies hold symposiums and conferences, e.g., Aesthetic Medical Conference, where they have many panels, seminars, and speakers that are able to relay the most current information regarding skin of color. “Studying treatments in all skin types is crucial,” says Dr. Hanson. “We’ve made a lot of progress, and future studies will continue to give us the valuable information to truly individualize our skin care treatments.”