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How do I need to adjust my daily regimen for my dark skin?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

The biggest challenge of darker skin is pigmentation problems. When your skin is irritated, by either scrubbing too hard or picking at a pimple, it can easily become discolored. Any form of trauma, even a small scratch or redness, can turn into a dark stain that lasts for about six months. To help fade darker spots, ask your dermatologist about including either hydroquinone (a lightening agent) or retinoic acid in your regimen. As for your routine, keep it geared to how your skin feels (oily or dry), but if there's any confusion, it's most likely sensitive. If your skin is pigmentation-prone, it is definitely very sensitive. You want to avoid anything that will cause a reaction on the skin: fragrances, exfoliants that are too gritty, acids that are too strong, and benzoyl peroxide acne treatments. Even a harsh cleanser can cause pigmentation problems. Start by using gentle products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera, allantoin, soy, vitamin E, and cucumber. And you need to wear sunscreen daily to prevent more hyperpigmentation. Even though your skin type is a little more protected by melanin, it's not completely safe from skin cancer or burning. Sun exposure generates skin tone discoloration, and those darker spots are hypersensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is important. Remember, don't pick or scratch your face, which can cause dark spots. You have to be especially respectful of, and gentle to, this type of skin.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.