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Dermatologists Shed Light on Common Pigmentation Problems and Solutions in Skin of Color
Date:7/29/2009

BOSTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As we age, brown spots and splotchy skin are all too often a fact of life. But for people with darker skin, changes in pigmentation can occur without warning at any age and can be very difficult to treat. Fortunately, dermatologists can help people with skin of color diagnose and treat bothersome pigmentation problems.

At the American Academy of Dermatology's Summer Academy Meeting 2009 in Boston, dermatologist Jonith Y. Breadon, M.D., FAAD, co-chair of Dermasurgery at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, discussed pigmentation problems that occur more frequently in darker-skinned patients and how early diagnosis is key to stopping the progression of these skin conditions.

"Even though people with skin of color have less moles and experience less premature aging from the sun than lighter-skinned individuals, in some ways their darker pigmentation makes their skin more vulnerable to other skin problems," said Dr. Breadon. "While these skin discolorations can be stubborn, there are treatments that offer noticeable improvement."

Hyperpigmentation

One of the most common pigmentation problems in darker-skinned individuals is hyperpigmentation (or the darkening of the skin). Usually the result of some type of inflammation or injury to the skin, such as a cut, burn or scrape, hyperpigmentation produces darkened areas of the skin that can last months or years. Even healed acne lesions can leave permanent dark spots in darker-skinned people that, in some cases, can be more distressing than the original acne.

Dr. Breadon noted that treatments for hyperpigmentation are based on whether or not the dark areas are confined to the surface of the skin or if they have penetrated to the deeper layers of the skin. For superficial dark spots, a prescription topical medication consisting of hydroquinone, retinoic acid
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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