Conditions that irritate, clog or inflame your skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning and itching. The fact is that any type of skin condition can happen regardless of the pigment of skin you have. When it comes to African American skin care and others with darker complexions, however, there are a few skincare problems that are much more prevalent, including acne scarring, ingrown hairs, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, vitiligo and keloids.
Cutaneous disorders, Dermatologic disorders
The leading cause of skin cancer is regular exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays can damage the skin’s immune system, causing the development of pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. Outdoor activities can expose the skin to harmful rays, which is why physicians always recommend sunscreen. UV exposure isn’t always from a natural source, however. Tanning beds are equally dangerous and should be used sparingly, if at all.
It doesn’t always take long-term UV exposure to cause skin cancer. Just a few sunburns in a person’s life can lead to cancerous skin developments. According to Steven Q. Wang, MD, of New Jersey’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, these burns could occur in childhood and not become a problem until decades later. This doesn’t excuse adults from protection, however, as skin cancer can develop at any time.
Immunosuppression is when a body’s immune system is adversely affected, either by disease or other factors. People with immune problems are more susceptible to becoming sick and developing cancers. Skin cancer becomes a higher risk for those being treated for HIV/AIDS, leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of cancer. Although it is always important to wear sunscreen or limit exposure to radiation, those with immune problems should be especially mindful about preventing skin cancer.
Exposure to the radiation from medical X-rays can increase the chances of developing skin cancer. This happens because the cells are damaged from X-rays, making them more likely to grow cancerous lesions. The occasional X-ray carries very minimal risk, however. Those who receive multiple X-rays, particularly high-powered ones like a CT scan, will be at higher risk.
Exposure to certain chemicals can cause the development of skin cancer. Fortunately, most of these dangerous chemicals are not found in everyday environments. Those with occupational exposure to arsenic, coal, tar, paraffin, creosote or radium should be aware of the dangers. Certain medications can also lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, so it is important to research every medication’s effect on the body.
Those with a history of skin cancer in the family may be more likely to develop pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
Skin diseases and disorders can range from eczema-like rashes and topical irritations to internal or autoimmune disorders that manifest in skin symptoms.
Acne is a chronic disorder characterized by excess production of oil from sebaceous glands causing the hair follicles generally on the face, chest and back to become plugged. Pimples, papules, pustules and comedones, (blackheads and whiteheads) cysts and infected abscesses can be treated in acne. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent. However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s – even into their 40s – can get acne. In regards to African American skin care, acne may result in long-lasting discolorations of the skin. Therapy is the same for all skin types but it is very important to use topical agents that minimize irritation of the skin.
Ingrown Hairs of the Beard (Razor Bumps)
Another African American skincare issue is Ingrown Hairs. African Americans have curved hair shafts and this is true of beard hair as well as