Aesthetics in Skin of Color: Pearls and Precautions

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, May 13, 2022

Aging in skin of color is less about wrinkling and more about fat loss.

Treating the medical dermatologic needs of people of color requires expertise in recognizing variations that can affect outcomes, from diagnosis to management. Best-practice fundamentals still apply, but optimizing cosmetic procedures on darker phototypes poses challenges, according to Pearl E. Grimes, MD, FAAD, director of The Grimes Center for Medical and Aesthetic Dermatology and The Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California, both in Los Angeles, and a member of the Dermatology Times editorial advisory board

“If you look at treating acne or atopic dermatitis in skin of color, there are similarities in the protocols among all racial or ethnic groups,” said Grimes, who served as moderator for a session on aesthetics in skin of color at the 18th Annual Skin of Color Society Scientific Symposium. “But aesthetics is a different beast. We dermatologists need to know the differences, and we have to know our boundaries.”

That starts with basics such as photoprotection. “When you look at differences between dark skin vs lighter skin, dark skin has an SPF of 13, whereas if you look at lighter skin, it’s an SPF of 3.4,” Grimes said. “This really is a major factor in some of the morphologic, physiologic differences we see.”

She cited research conducted by Procter & Gamble on dermatomyositis, in which investigators compared aesthetic procedures performed on African American women vs Caucasian women. Her presentation highlighted examples of the 2 groups’ marked differences, including signs of aging. Comparing images of two 80 year-old-women, one with dark skin and the other with light skin, Grimes pointed out that the latter’s skin showed fine, coarse lines whereas the former’s skin showed more volume loss.

Read more at Dermatology Times >>