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Dark Skin and Cosmetic Procedures

Women with darker skin tones are fortunate in that their skin does not show signs of aging as quickly as lighter skin, but they often avoid cosmetic surgery for fear of scarring. This fear is well founded, but there are ways to work around the danger.

Sun Exposure
Dark skin contains more melanin which protects your skin from the sun. It is also thicker than light skin. This combination means that dark skin stays elastic longer and resists the aging effects of the sun much longer than light skin. This does not mean that if you have dark skin you should not wear sunscreen. Over-exposure to the sun can lead to chronic hyperpigmentation in darker skin, meaning that darker spots do not return to their normal color and can result in a blotchy look.

Dark skin is prone to discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) and hypopigmentation (skin lightening). Keloids, raised scars which are larger than the original wound, are also a big concern.

Safe Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic surgery is aesthetically safe as long as precautions are taken. In some cases alternative procedures, which require a smaller incision, are used. For instance, liposuction can be used in place of a tummy tuck or breast reduction. Another way to minimize scarring is incision placement. Endoscopic procedures use a small incision away from the surgery site and a small camera to view the site as the procedure is performed.

Treating Scars and Discoloration
Women with dark skin often seek cosmetic procedures to correct scarring and discoloration, rather than aging. Acne scars, chicken pox scars and stretch marks, as well as scars from injuries, tend to be far more visible and last longer in dark skin. Hydroquinone, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion can lighten and soften scars. The excimer laser can darken scars that are too light.

Dark skin is especially prone to cystic acne, and to acne scars. Some acne treatment products, such as Benzoyl Peroxide, can cause discoloration. Always consult your dermatologist before using a topical acne treatment to make sure it is safe for your skin type and tone.

Darker skin requires special care, and carries special cosmetic considerations. If you are considering cosmetic surgery or any cosmetic procedure and you have dark skin, talk to a cosmetic surgeon who has extensive experience working with darker skin tones, today. Dr. Martin O’Toole of the Pasadena Cosmetic Surgery Center in Pasadena, California is an expert in skincare and many other cosmetic surgery areas.

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