Ethnic Skin

Ethnic skin, or skin of color, requires extra attention and skill to treat effectively and to avoid unwanted side effects.  We specialize in recognizing and managing many of the conditions common to darker skin types.


Patients with darker skin tones are particularly prone to the development of excess, unwanted pigment or brown spots. Depending on the cause of the pigment (such as sun, hormones or medication) and the location of the pigment in the skin, we will  create an individualized plan for treatment. Often times, this entails a combination of appropriate sunblock, prescription fading creams, chemical peels, or laser therapy.  We recognize the pigment doesn’t develop overnight and we work with patients to reveal a more even skin complexion using the safest and most advanced techniques.

Skin Growths (DPN, skin tags, seborrheic keratoses)

Patients with ethnic skin are likely to develop small bumps on the face and neck.  Sometimes these bumps are called Dermatosis Papulosis Nigricans (DPN), which are basically a form of skin tags. These can be skillfully removed at SMD by a variety of approaches. There may also be some topical washes and lotions, which can be suggested to help prevent the development of future lesions.

Hair Loss

Alopecia, or hair loss, comes in two major categories. One is scarring alopecia and the other is non-scarring alopecia. At SMD, we will determine which pattern of hair loss a patient may have, which will then determine the treatment plan. Many patients with alopecia will undergo laboratory blood testing and hair follicle biopsy, in order to diagnose the condition and/or to rule out other conditions. There are different treatment options for each of the different types of alopecia and we are eager to help patients with alopecia improve. We understand hair thinning and loss of hair is an emotional and distressing condition for both males and females. We have the expertise and patience to completely evaluate and then offer the best possible outcomes.

Acne keloidalis

This special form of acne usually shows up on the back of the scalp or neck and is more common in darker skinned patients. It can be aggravated by short buzz cuts. There are prescription products and procedures, which can be provided at SMD, to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. This is particularly important so that scarring, and subsequent bald spots, do not occur.


A keloid scar is an overgrowth of the normal healing condition. Most wounds heal with a regular scar, however sometimes the scar gets thick, raised, and firm, and this is called a hypertrophic scar. If the scar gets large enough and expands beyond the boundaries of the original wound, then it is known as a keloid. Both hypertrophic and keloid scars are more common in patients with darker skin tones. They can be treated at SMD in a variety of ways: prescription creams, injection therapy, laser therapy, or cryotherapy (freezing).The best time to treat these forms of scars is early! For patients with a known history of keloids, they are encouraged to seek evaluation and treatment at the first signs of a keloid to reduce the chances of it growing larger or becoming painful.


Ashy skin

Darker skin tones can lose moisture, dry out, and become “ashy” or grayish in appearance. Certain skin conditions can cause more pronounced forms of ashy skin and the dermatologists at SMD can diagnose and treat these. There are medicated cleansers and lotions to improve the color and texture of ashy skin.