Dr. Jamal’s Top Ten Beauty Tips for Skin of Color

1. ACNE: If you have acne prone skin, avoid products that contain cocoa and/or shea butter. These can clog the pores and make it very difficult for your acne to get better.

2. HAIR SHEEN: When choosing a product that adds sheen to the hair, avoid products that contain oils, cocoa butter and shea butter because these products can clog pores and cause breakouts along the hairline and forehead. The best products contain dimethicone and glycerine , which provide sheen without clogging pores. We can make specific product recommendations to you during an in-office consultation.

3. DRY SCALP: “Dry” or itchy scalp, a condition also known as seborrheic dermatitis, can be frustrating. Although it is a chronic condition with no known cure, there are great ways to keep it under control: washing your hair at least once a week with an anti-dandruff shampoo is an important way to fight dry scalp. Look for dandruff shampoos that contain either zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide. Shampoos with prescription strength products are also great for treating dry scalp. Dandruff shampoos specifically manufactured for skin of color are less likely to dry the hair out and make it brittle. We can make specific product recommendations during an in-office consultation.

4. HAIR LOSS: Hair loss can be emotionally distressing and both men and women can suffer from it. It can be caused by a number of factors, including stress or hormone imbalances and harsh chemical treatments. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to seek immediate consultation. Early intervention is the best way to combat hair loss. Don’t watch and wait for years and then seek professional help because it might be too late: damage to hair follicles that could have been prevented with early intervention may become irreversible over time leading to permanent hair loss.

5. EXFOLIATION: Gentle exfoliation on a daily basis helps you maintain even skin tone and vibrancy by removing dead skin cells that give the skin a dull appearance. If daily exfoliation is too much, we recommend exfoliation with a fine scrub at least twice a week . The best way to exfoliate: mix a small amount of a scrub with fine particles (approximately the size of a grain of finely ground salt) with your cleanser, apply to face in a gentle, circular motions for no more than 30 seconds. Our top pick: Mandelac Scrub and ID Skin Buffing Cleansing Scrub.

6. TOPICAL ANTIOXIDANTS: Antioxidants are powerfulanti-aging compounds that are very helpful in maintaining even skin tone by suppressing excess pigment . Daily use also helps prevent skin damage from environmental pollutants. Commonly used antioxidants are Vitamins C and E, idenbenone and coffee berry extract. Our top pick: Resveraderm Liposomal Serum.

7. GLYCOLIC ACID/TOPICAL RETINOIDS: Topical retinoic acid (Vitamin A derivatives) and glycolic acid are great antiaging products. When used on a regular basis, they help to stimulate collagen production in the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Both retinoic acid and glycolic acid help fade dark spots and even out skin tone. Retinoic acid is more potent than glycolic acid but can cause skin irritation and may not well tolerated by some individuals. They are by prescription only and should be used under the supervision of a physician. Retinols are much less potent in their effect and can be found in many over-the-counter products. Glycolic acid is well-tolerated by most people and a prescription is not required. Our top picks: AcGlicolic moisturizing gel or AcGlicolic S moisturizing gel (acne prone skin). Our top pick for a retinol containing product is Retises 0.25.

8. DARK CIRCLES: Dark circles under the eyes are a very common problem in people of color. Dark circles can look purplish or brownish but each is caused by different factors. What causes purplish dark circles? A thinning of the connective tissue in the skin which results in the underlying veins to be increasingly visible. Brownish dark circles can be hereditary, or caused by inflammatory conditions such as eczema, or just not applying moisturizer. A variety of creams can be effective but because dark circles can be caused by many different factors, it is important to have a dermatologist determine the right reason before treating them. In many cases, laser treatments using the Sciton Profractional or Microlaserpeel also can help to improve the appearance of dark circles.

9. ANNUAL SKIN CANCER SCREENING: Myth: Patients of color don’t get skin cancer. While skin cancer is rare in skin of color, by the time it is discovered, it is usually at a very advanced stage and more difficult to treat than if it had been discovered early. That’s why we recommend our patients of color to come in for annual skin cancer screenings. And, as a person of color, you must regularly use sunprotection. Incorporate a broad-spectrum sunscreen into your daily skincare regimen so that you never forget to apply it. Our favorites are TiZO3 Mineral Fusion SPF40 and TiZO Ultra SPF40.

10. LASER SURGERY, LASER HAIR REDUCTION, CHEMICAL PEELS AND MICRODERMABRASION: Many patients of color are misled into thinking that cosmetic procedures harm their skin. There are many cosmetic procedures that can be performed safely on darker skin types including laser surgery, laser hair reduction, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. These treatments can be very effective in achieving an enhanced and optimized appearance. However, it is important to have these procedures done by those who have the correct lasers, microdermabrasion machines and chemical peel agents for skin of color AND the expertise and experience in administering the treatments. Without both the correct tools and the knowledge and experience to use them properly, undesired outcomes can be frequent. Some of these undesired outcomes may be hypopigmentation (loss of color) or hyperpigmentation (an increase in color), scarring and treatment failures. At Keris, our lasers are considered the gold standard for skin of color. And, we are nationally recognized as having strong expertise in cosmetic dermatology for ethnic skin.