Why Women of Color Get Dark Spots on Their Skin And What You Can Do About It

Nothing is more beautiful than a smooth complexion, but if you’re a woman of color, you know that keeping your skin tone clear can be challenging. That’s because dark skin responds differently than lighter skin when it comes to healing from small scratches and blemishes. Men get dark spots and patches, too, but 90% of these blemishes happen to women specifically. 

If you’ve got uneven skin tone, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation, Dr. Javier Zelaya of Skinworks Dermatology can help you get your smooth, youthful skin back. Here in our Brooklyn and Maspeth, New York, offices, we offer the most advanced technology to help you reduce your patchy areas and tone down your spots, including laser treatments

What causes uneven skin tone in women of color?

All skin gets its color from melanin, a chemical produced by your skin cells, or melanocytes. Everyone is born with approximately the same amount of these melanocytes, but if you have darker skin, it means yours are larger and more plentiful. 

It also means that your skin is able to process UV rays from the sun more efficiently than lighter-toned people, and it’s better able to avoid skin cancers and sun damage. But when it comes to pigmentation problems, you may face a few more challenges. 

Little scratches, bug bites, and pimples can cause hyperpigmentation when they heal. This simply means that you produce more melanocytes during the healing process, and the result is patchy areas and dark spots.

What is melasma?

Melasma is a pigmentation disorder that generally shows up on your face, although it can appear on your shoulders, neck, and arms as well. While it’s most common in women of color, pregnant women of all skin tones are prone to these patches. In fact, it’s even earned the nickname “the mask of pregnancy.” 

You can blame your melasma on hormonal changes, overexposure to the sun, medications, or injuries, but you’re likely more interested in your treatment options than how you got your pigmentation problem.

What can I do about the hyperpigmentation on my dark skin?

Many options are available to treat hyperpigmentation, but as a woman of color, you need to be careful. Your skin is special and needs the touch of a qualified health professional experienced in treating dark skin tones.

Non-ablative treatments are best for your dark skin if administered by a trained professional. Ablative techniques that cut or scrape your skin cause your melanocytes to kick into high gear and give you hyperpigmentation, the very thing you’re trying to get rid of.

Laser treatments are also a good choice for dark skin, but again, you need to make sure you’ve chosen someone with experience and skill. Dr. Zelaya is the right doctor for the job. 

Intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL, may also give you great results in the right hands. By using higher wavelengths and various filters, Dr. Zelaya can safely administer IPL on your skin and reduce the look of your patches and spots.

If your dark skin is showing signs of blemishes, or even melasma, call us today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online to find out which treatment is right for you.

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