susant.jpgAuthor and Harvard- trained dermatologist Dr. Susan Taylor sat down with Clutch to help give us insight on how to enhance and maintain our skin of color. An expert in her field, Taylor’s book Brown Skin: Prescription for Flawless Skin, Hair and Nails details strategies on how to achieve satin-smooth skin, minimize scarring and recognize the early signs of skin cancer.

Clutch: There is a huge myth among African Americans that we don’t need protection from the sun. How important is it for us to wear sunscreen? And what brands do you recommend?
It is very important for all people including those of African American decent to use sunscreen on a daily basis for several reasons. In general, African Americans have brown skin hues. Despite what many people may think, brown skin is indeed susceptible to developing sunburn, skin cancer, and photo-aging (all as a result of sun exposure). In addition, brown skin is prone to the development of discolorations, uneven skin tone and dark marks. The sun will often worsen these pigmentation problems. Therefore, protection with a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is important. Neutragena is prone to the development of discolorations, uneven skin tone and dark marks. The sun will often worsen these pigmentation problems. Therefore, protection with a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is important. Neutragena, Aveeno, LaRouse Pousiy, and Rx for Brown Skin are all recommended brands.

Clutch: Just when you think you’ve overcome growing pains and puberty, here comes adult acne raring its ugly head. Is there a cure? And what products do you recommend for cystic acne? There is no cure for adult acne but rest assure that there is effective treatment. The treatment begins with a good cleansing regimen and includes prescription medications for more severe cases. The Rx for Brown Skin Bright & Clear regimen (cleanser, toner and moisturizer) contains salicylic acid which is effective in preventing and treating acne. In addition, your dermatologist and prescribe topical and oral medications for more persistent acne. These incluse medications may include retinoids or antibiotics and for severe cystic acne, Accutane. (For additional information on acne visit http://www.brownskin.net/).

Clutch: Myth or fact: Does what we eat affect our skin? Does chocolate and junk food cause breakouts? No, in general what we eat does not affect our skin. Chocolate and junk food will not cause acne breakouts.

Clutch: For skin discoloration, are there products out there that actually work in creating an even skin tone? Yes, there are treatments and medications that help skin discolorations but it may take 3-6 months of consistent use. First, make sure you have a good cleansing regimen and look for cleansers, toners and moisturizers that contain exfoliants like glycolic acid to remove the dead layers of skin that contain the extra skin pigment (Rx for Brown Skin Bright & Even products contain the exfoliants glycolic acid and papain). Next, daily sunscreen is very important to prevent the discolorations from worsening. Look for products that contain hydroquinone to lighten dark marks or for brighteners that contain ingredients such as kojic acid, arbutin, bearberry and soy. Finally, consistency is very important—use your treatment regimen everyday or as prescribed.

Clutch: Shaving, tweezing or waxing. Which of these do you recommend and how can we combat ingrown hairs and unsightly razor bumps? Shaving, tweezing or waxing are all acceptable methods of hair removal. As for ingrown hairs, do not pluck hairs which worsen the problem. Consider laser hair removal for more permanent hair reduction or creams such as Vaniqa which slow the growth of hair. Glycolic acid-containing products can help ingrown hairs. (for more information please refer to http://www.brownskin.net/).

Clutch: What are some suggestions in removing or minimizing the appearance of stretch marks? If stretch marks are red in color, the prescription medication, Retin A, may help; ask your doctor. Other doctors are trying lasers but they are variably effective. We are still waiting for more effective treatment for stretch marks to be developed.

Clutch: Keloids are excessive scar tissue that is typically characteristic in African Americans. Is there a way to remove them? Keloids can be treated but often they will grow back. If a keloid is surgically removed, it must be treated with an additional method to lower the risk of it growing back. These treatments include injections with cortisones or ever X-ray treatments.

Clutch: Dandruff . . . yikes! What products can we use to stay flake- free? Shampoo weekly using medicated shampoos. Ask your doctor for shampoos like Nizoral, Capex or Loprox which help treat the flakes.

Clutch: For those of us who have oily skin, what regular skin care regimen would you recommend? Do we need to moisturize? Cleanse, tone, and moisturize with products that contain ingredients such as sulfur, salicylic acid or even low concentrations of benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients will both help to reduce excessive oil and prevent and treat acne.

Clutch: What cleansers do you recommend for women who have sensitive skin? I have developed a cleanser that is fragrance-free, alcohol-free, lanolin-free, propylene glycol-free, and dye-free that contains Bright Skin Complex (soy, hyaluronic acid and pomegranate) which is perfect for women with sensitive skin. It eliminates ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin and it contains the anti-oxidant pomegranate to help soothe and calm sensitive skin.

Clutch: What is your opinion on mineral makeup? Is it in fact “healthier” for our skin as opposed to liquid or cream concealers and foundations? I like mineral makeup although it can sometimes leave brown skin hues slightly chalky. I don’t think that we can say that it is healthier than other makeup.

Clutch: Lastly, what products do you carry in your clutch? I carry my Rx for Brown Skin Protect and Defend Sunscreen, MAC pressed powder, and Sephora lipstick and gloss, Bliss Body Butter (a great hand cream).

1.Bright and Clear Toner For Oil Prone Skin, $18, 2.Bright and Clear Cleanser For Acne Prone Skin, $21, 3. Protect and Defend Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 15, $26, 4. Absolute Radiance Intensive Exfoliating Serum, $36, Rx for Brown Skin

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