Pure Dermatology

Skin of Color

Skin of Color has become a very ‘hot topic’ in dermatology. It takes special training, experience, and expertise to properly treat skin of color. The term skin of color constitutes a wide range of people including, but not limited to the following racial and ethnic groups: African, African American, Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, Native American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, Middle-Eastern and people of Indian decent. Part of understanding how to expertly treat patients with skin of color is understanding the differences in the biology of dark skin. People with dark skin have more active melanocytes, which means the melanocytes produce more melanin. Melanin is the substance in the epidermis that causes pigment – the more melanin a person has, the darker their skin will be.
Both Dr. Haseltine and Dr. Holcomb have extensive training and experience with treating skin of color. Dr. Haseltine completed her dermatology residency at Tulane University and spent time at Charity Hospital treating all skin tones before Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Holcomb trained at Saint Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Columbia University where there was one of the earliest Skin of Color Programs in dermatology. Both Dr. Haseltine and Dr. Holcomb have practiced in New Orleans for decades, where they were able to gain experience with all skin tones.
Dermatitis (skin rash and inflammation) can present differently in patients with dark skin – and nuanced differences in diagnosis and treatment are important to recognize and address. Hair loss in skin of color is often from different root causes, and Dr. Haseltine and Dr. Holcomb have vast experience in disorders of hair in skin of color.
One of the most common concerns in patients with darker skin is discoloration or dyspigmentation. This term includes both hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and hypopigmentation (light spots). Patients sometimes refer to their dyspigmentation as “blemishes.” Pigmentary changes in darker skin tones can happen after something as small as a bug bite, acne bump, eczema flare, or scratch! The first line of defense against discoloration in skin of color is SUNSCREEN! UV Rays of the sun induce more melanin production by melanocytes – thus making pigmentary differences more prominent. The small amount of sun you get through windows and driving to and from work and school is also a factor. Therefore, if you have hyperpigmentation as a concern or suffer from hypopigmentation, it is essential that you wear SPF every single day.

We recommend a daily facial sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher. It is important to find a daily facial sunscreen that you will LOVE, and thus want to wear every day. Patients with skin of color may be less likely to sunburn, but sunscreen is equally important for maintaining an even skin tone. Some of our favorites for skin of color are: Intellishade Clear due to the antioxidants and antiaging peptides and Supergoop! Unseeen Sunscreen.

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If dark spots are still a problem despite SPF use, one of our favorite pigment correctors for dark skin is Cyspera. This unique formulation uses Cysteamine to decrease melanin production and antioxidant activity to improve the appearance of dark spots. Check it out.

Certain diagnosis, such as vitiligo, have more impact in skin of color and understanding these differences allows better treatment of the underlying disorder. Opzelura is a new and exciting FDA-Approved treatment for vitiligo and atopic dermatitis. The great thing is that Opzelura can be used on the face and around the eyes and it is not a steroid. Atopic dermatitis may be more prevalent in patients with skin of color due to inherent differences of moisturization in the epidermis. Great strides have been made in treatment of atopic dermatitis in the last decade. Book your medical appointment today with a skin-expert to discuss new treatments for dyspigmentation, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, or any skin care need.


Cosmetic procedures must be approached with special caution when treating skin of color. For instance, laser hair removal must be done with a specific laser which is smart enough to understand the difference between the pigment in the epidermis, and the pigment in the hair follicle. Since Laser Hair Removal use the pigment in the hair follicle as the target to permanently destroy the hair – the laser must specifically target the melanin in the hair follicle, or dyspigmentation will result. Pure Dermatology frequently performs laser hair removal on patients with skin of color. Book a consult today to discuss your treatment.


Skin rejuvenation is becoming more and more popular and desired in patients with skin of color. Sometimes these are referred to as “color blind” procedures – but special caution must still be taken in patients with darker skin tones. Microneedling is one of the most popular procedures performed at Pure Dermatology on patients with skin of color – it can improve scarring, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin tone. For even more tightening and additional collagen boost, the Secret RF uses a combination of traditional microneedling and radiofrequency. We have vast experience performing both traditional microneedling and Secret RF in skin of color at Pure Dermatology. Learn more or book a FREE consultation to determine which treatment is right for you.

UltraLase MD is a revolutionary laser which makes tiny microchannels in the skin to improve fine lines, wrinkles, acne, dark spots, freckles, and signs of sun damage. UltraLase MD leaves the top layer of the skin intact making it a VERY safe procedure compared with other resurfacing lasers for skin of color. This is one of our favorite procedures to use to improve under eye pigment, crepey skin, melasma, and hyperpigmentation from acne. https://puredermnola.com/lasemd-ultra/. Book a skincare consult today to discuss the best products for your skin and how to pair this with color-safe procedures.

Last, but not least – the DIAMOND GLOW FACIAL! This fan favorite at Pure Dermatology uses a customizable microdermabrasion tip to gently remove dry, damaged skin cells. It extracts the skin’s surface and pores using a high- powered suction, and after that, infuses your skin with customized serums to give professional-grade results. Diamond Glow leaves your skin GLOWING and feeling great – regardless of skin tone. Book your facial today using our secure online portal.

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