Ethnic Skin Care Essentials Part II - NOVA Surgicare McClean

Ethnic Skin Care Essentials Part II

Laser Treatments for Women of Color

As rejuvenation treatments and cosmetic enhancement services continue to become more accessible the desire that woman have try these remedies continues to rise.     For women the advancements are a much welcomed addition to their beauty rituals, offering an opportunity to look years younger than their age, and improve facial imperfections with precision and outstanding results.


Although the array of available services carries minimal risks with benefits that far outweigh the drawbacks, there are a few potential downsides that women and especially women of color should be aware of when seeking cosmetic enhancement.  As part II of this series on ethnic skin care essentials I will be discussing laser and light based technologies and their applications and precautions with different skin tones including, black Asian, Hispanic and dark skinned individuals.

The Benefits of Laser Treatments and How Lasers Work

In the aesthetics arena the benefits associated with laser and light based therapies fall into four major categories, lasers that are designed to:

  1. Improve textural irregularities
  2. Reduce skin discolorations and enhance skin tone
  3. Diminish lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity
  4. Stop the formation of acneic pustules, cysts, and breakouts.

There are a number of good lasers available to effectively provide the prized attributes outlined above.  Among the newer and more popular devices are MicroLaserPeel®, Contour TRL , SkinTyte , CO2 Laser Resurfacing, ClearScan , BBL Treatment, and the Aesthera PPx Acne Treatment.  While each laser possesses its own unique qualities all lasers work on a similar principal.   A highly concentrated beam of light penetrates the epidermis where it stimulates a wound healing response that will in time yield one or more of the key benefits: namely, improvement of textural irregularities, reduction of skin discolorations, diminishment of lines and wrinkles or the cessation of acne.

Laser Treatments: Precautions for Woman of Color 

In lasts weeks post I commented on the distinctions between melanocytes (individuals of all skin colors have the same amount) and melanin (darker skinned individuals have more).   While melanocytes are not a factor in treating different skin ethnicities, melanin production can play a pivotal role, particularly in the use of lasers and light based therapies.

With larger wavelengths such as sun rays, Melanin absorbs less light hence the natural low-level SPF found in darker skinned individuals.  However, with shorter wavelengths such as those utilized by lasers, melanin’s absorption increases greatly.     The increase in absorption causes a greater amount of heat to be generated in the deeper layers of skin, positing a higher risk for thermal injury in individuals with larger quantities of melanin.

The Best Laser Treatments for Black, Asian, Hispanic and Dark-skinned Individuals

The good news for women of color is that the newer lasers have been designed to be viable devices for all skin types.    Built-in cooling mechanisms and controlled pulse durations allow surgeons to modify each laser treatment according to the area and color value of the skin

What is of primary importance is the surgeon’s knowledge and skill in treating different skin ethnicities.   Since the cooling function and pulse duration settings must be accurately adjusted to accommodate various skin tones, the surgeon’s technique is paramount to success.

Questions To Ask Your Cosmetic Surgeon Prior To Laser Treatment

For woman of color it is critical to ascertain whether your surgeon has experience in both the laser they recommend and its application with your particular skin tone.     Open and honest communication between patient and doctor is always recommended.   Depending upon the area and goals you have:  improving textural irregularities, reducing skin discolorations, diminishing lines and wrinkles and improving skin elasticity or effectively treating acne, your surgeon may advise a patch test with the prescribed laser prior to full treatment.

For more information contact Dr. Hamrah at Nova Surgicare.  Telephone: 703.288.4495

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