Skin of Color

Skin of Color | RefinedMD and Dr. Steven Swengel, Los Gatos

Skin of Color

RefinedMD is committed to giving every patient the best skin possible for life. Each person’s skin is unique to them and is impacted by the genetics of your skin as well as your commitment to protecting skin from the ravages of sunlight and in judiciously using products at home to stimulate turnover of skin, control pigmentation and to encourage healthy, well hydrated and protected skin each and every day. Our skin care experts can work with you to find the perfect combination of topical retinoids, epidermal, antioxidants, moisturizers and zinc-based sunscreens. In addition, we factor in skin care which adjusts for dryness, acne prone skin, pigment issues, red skin and sun damaged thin skin.

The pigmentation process is the same in all human skin. The difference is all related to the amount of melanin, the distribution of the packets of melanin in the epidermal cells, the speed at which melanocytes can rise to the occasion to produce more melanin, the amount of melanin within each packet (melanosome) and whether ones skin produces melanin that only rises to the surface or has the capacity to dump melanin into deeper tissues. The darker the skin, the more melanin there is and the more volatility there is regarding direction of melanin distribution. These dynamics really impact our ability to predictably treat and adjust protocols in order to safely manage skin of color. Rest assured we can treat, but it needs to be done carefully, more slowly and with the understanding that improvement and long-term results will be slower to appear. As we begin your office based treatments, we need your full support with the conscientious use of home care products and zinc-based sunscreens and total sun protection.

So what are the safer, more predictable systems for skin of color?

Genesis: There is a reason why there are more Genesis systems in South Korea than in all the US. It works and is safe on darker skin tones. No downtime. Can be used on face, neck and décolleté. We literally bathe your skin with thousands of laser pulses to gently warm the skin and dermis to a 42-44 degree temperature in order to diminish the microvasculature causing redness as well as stimulate the fibroblasts to form new, healthy collagen. This is a treatment that quietly improves the texture, tone and porosity of skin with each and every treatment.

Microneedling: The key to stimulating dermal collagen and reducing the size of pores and acne scars, resulting in smoother, finer textured skin that glows. We use the EclipseMicropen and offer this treatment as a stand-alone treatment or with serums  to enhance the healing and recovery and improve the end results after each microneedling session. For skin that can handle more aggressive treatment in this category, we offer the Sciton Pro-Fractional treatments.

Chemical Peels: We have chosen specific peels and proprietary ones that are safe to use on skin of color as well as specifically treat concerns regarding pigment and texture of the skin. Some of our favorites in this class of treatment included: Obagi Blue Radiance Peel, Theraplex Peels, The Perfect Peel and Melanage Peel.

SilkPeel Dermalinfusions: An aesthetician based service that is safe on all skin types. Various infusions systems can be employed on any visit to hydrate, calm, exfoliate, tone, brighten and clarify the skin. The Lumixyl Infusion is specifically designed to improve the appearance of discoloration and achieve a more uniform skin tone overall. No downtime with these at all.

BBL and EXCEL V treatments. The power of light and laser technology for photorejuvenation. These systems can be used on most skin types but have to be used carefully and precisely. Trust these higher energy treatments only to a board certified dermatologist and particularly to one who is comfortable treating skin of color.

Halo: An exciting new laser technology that is safer to use on darker skin tones. This is the world’s first hybrid laser using both 1470 nm and 2940 energies. We use both systems during the treatment visit and can address pigmentation, coarse texture, fine lines and pore size. Virtually painless, minimal downtime and amazing results in one treatment.

QX-MAX: our newest ND-YAG/Alexandrite laser that treats both tattoos, deep pigmentation, and is even used for skin toning. This laser is particularly adept at addressing the deep pigmentation of melasma and is one of our tools for ‘controlling’ pigmentation as well as ‘removing’ existing pigment. This laser can also be used for what is referred to as laser toning, a gradual improvement of texture and suppleness of the skin. Safe for all skin types.

Zinc Based Sunscreens. Avoidance of sun on all areas of skin. This may seem obvious and somewhat trite, but zinc based sunscreens are the most important focus when treating skin of color for any condition. Zinc is the only product that entirely blocks both UVB(burning rays) and UVA(pigment inducing rays). Remember that UVA is the great skin aging wavelength which also increases pigmentation and may increase the potential risk of melanoma. Also remember that exposing non-facial skin may increase pigmentation on the sunscreen-protected facial skin.

Retinoids: Most people refer to retinoids as Retin A, but there are other names used as well. Bottomline, these are all part of the class of drugs called retinoids. What retinoids achieve is more rapid turnover of the epidermal layer, and increase in the thickness of this layer, increase blood supply and healthy replacement of new collagen fibers in the papillary dermis. All of this creates smoother, more youthful looking skin. Everyone should be using a retinoid in some form, every day.

Tranexamic Acid: The Asian secret to clear, clean skin with systemic control of pigmentation. We have been astounded by the level of pigment control achieve by taking this medication orally. Great safety profile and demonstrates improvement within two months of use.