Pigmentation & Black Skin
Pigmentation is a disorder that causes the skin to appear blotchy and discoloured or lighter or darker than normal. This occurs when the body produces either too much or too little melanin, a natural pigment that produces hair, skin and eye colour. Melanin is nature’s way of protecting the body from ultraviolet light. The most common form of pigmentation is hyper-pigmentation, where the body produces too much melanin, causing the skin to become darker than usual, but hypo-pigmentation is also a concern of people with black skin. People with black skin such as people from Africa, Native Australia, the Caribbean, Africa-America and other islands, and people with heritage from these places, have skin that is characteristically dark due to an increased amount of melanin in their skin cells. Melanin is the pigment in the skin that protects skin from sunlight and a benefit for people with dark skin is they stay looking younger for longer than people with lighter skin because melanin slows the aging process. However, as people with black skin age, their skin can become irregularly pigmented. Irregular pigmentation can also occur due to inflammation. When acne or an insect bite causes an area to become inflamed a brown area can be left behind as the redness subsides. Hyperpigmentation can be a challenging problem for people with black skin. Darker skin is more prone to hyper pigmentation and may need to avoid treatments that can cause this problem and damage the skin. Treatment is available, however, and it is worthwhile enlisting the help of a professional who specialises on the treatment of pigmentation problems in dark skin. Treatments such as chemical peels can burn the skin if applied too strongly. Laser treatments can be beneficial but ask a trained physician to help, as they know which lasers a safe to use on black skin. As a safety precaution, ask for a spot test of the chosen treatment before you go ahead with the treatment all over your skin. This way you know how your skin will react. It is advisable not to self-treat your pigmentation problem. Exercise full caution when using bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, alpha-hydroxy acids, and tretinoin. These agents can cause further pigmentation problems such as hypo-pigmentation, which results in the loss of color in the affected area and is even harder to treat than hyper-pigmentation. Natural home remedies for people with black skin are hard to come by, and you should seek professional advise before you try one. Experienced professionals can accurately identify the root cause of your pigmentation problem and decide which treatments are appropriate for your type of skin.
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