Black Folks Need Sunscreen, Too!

african american woman putting on sunscreen(BlackDoctor.org) — There is a myth that dark skin doesn’t burn, and therefore doesn’t need sunscreen. The reality is that all complexions can burn. Darker skin does provide some protection from the sun’s UV rays – it has more melanin for natural protection — but you can’t count on that alone. The extra melanin doesn’t guard against the UV damage that accelerates aging or causes cancer. The best thing for darker complexions to do is to begin each day by applying a sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF of 15 to 30 — reapplying often while in direct sunlight.

Following are common skin problems caused by sun exposure and tips on how to rescue your skin from the damage.

For Darkened Facial Skin

Changes in the skin’s pigmentation occur as we age and are very prominent in African American skin. Exposure to both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light stimulates the production of melanin which most likely accounts for darkening of the skin. There are 4 commonly occurring types of darkening.

•    Localized areas on the face and neck
•    More generalized areas on the face and neck
•    Dark under eye circles
•    Uneven skin tone

A way to treat the problem is to adopt the daily regimen of applying a SPF 15 or 30 sunscreen. For those who are experiencing pigmentary changes, a SPF 30 combined with a glycolic acid cream or lotion are recommended. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are a great solution for African-Americans with this problem. It is recommended to undergo glycolic peels and, for sensitive skin, gentler salicylic peels.

For Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation — dark spots or splotches from UV-ray exposure — needs to be treated with a prescription for 4 percent hydroquinone, which is faster-acting and more effective than the over-the-counter variety. But make sure you don’t use a hydroquinone fader longer than six months, because a rare condition of permanently darkened skin tone could happen. If this occurs, take a break for a month or two and then resume treatment. The widely held idea among women of color that tanning will solve hyperpigmentation, by enabling the darker areas to blend in, is purely a myth.

For Dark Freckles

Another pigmentary problem caused by the sun is dermatosis papulosa nigra, or DPNs – a benign cutaneous condition common among blacks. It is usually characterized by small, brown or black bumps that are sometimes mistaken for moles. It is felt that a combination of heredity, aging and exposure to the sun are factors in the development of DPNs.

While not dangerous, they can easily be removed in a doctor’s office. Since there is no cream that has the ability to remove DPNs, treatment involves either excising (cutting) the lesions with as special surgical instrument, called a gradle scissor, or desiccating (burning) them with an electric needle. These procedures are well generally tolerated and healing generally occurs within one week. Side effects of removal may include light or dark skin discolorations which usually fade rapidly.
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A Natural Remedy For Erectile Dysfunction

cropped shot of man smiling(BlackDoctor.org) — Erectile dysfunction could be helped by the extraction from a plant called horny goat weed. This plant and other related herbs have been used as treatments for this sexual dysfuntion for years.

Now scientists may be a step closer to discovering how compounds from horny goat weed may work.

The ability to get and maintain an erection depends upon blood flowing into the penis and staying there long enough. One way drugs like Viagra work is to inhibit an enzyme called PDE-5, thereby keeping blood flowing to the penis.

Researchers, led by Mario Dell’Agli at the University of Milan, found that the main compound in horny goat weed, called icariin, acted the same way that Viagra does.

The research team studied a handful of plants and the compounds in them. They found that out of all the plant compounds, icariin was the most potent of the group.

Scientists tested icariin and other plant compounds in a lab by exposing them to an enzyme that regulates blood flow to the penis. They also chemically modified the icariin and found that its effect in the lab was similar to that of Viagra.

They write that this “is a promising candidate for further development.”

They warn, however, that some plant extracts could actually “interfere with erectile function.”

ED is a condition that affects some 18 million men in the U.S.

The study is to be published in the Oct. 24 issue of the Journal of Natural Products