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Taking Care of Ethnic Skin

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Did you know that skin care practices and skin conditions actually vary quite dramatically in regards to darker skin tones?
Air Date: 9/24/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Rachael Eckel, MD
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Rachael Eckel completed her medical training at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She graduated from her program with Honours, and accrued six revered first place medals for outstanding academic achievements.

Dr. Eckel began her career in dermatology through the eminent St. Bartholomew’s and the London School of Medicine, where she received a distinction in her dissertation on leprosy and its history in the Caribbean. She further completed her American Board Certification in aesthetic medicine, graduating first in her class. Through her excellence, Dr. Eckel was nominated onto this academy’s faculty; to teach and examine physicians worldwide in skincare and cosmetic medicine advances. Dr. Eckel remains the youngest doctor to ever achieve such esteemed membership.

Dr. Eckel has participated in several international cosmetic dermatology fellowships, at world-renowned institutions including the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvard University, Oxford University, and Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Eckel has also privately trained under Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, Dr. Rox Anderson, and Dr. Michel Delune, the most influential and respected clinicians in cosmetic medicine and laser technology. In doing so, Dr. Eckel has learned and perfected the most pioneering aesthetic techniques worldwide.
  • Guest Twitter Account: @rachaeleckel
Taking Care of Ethnic Skin
Did you know that skin care practices and skin conditions actually vary quite dramatically in regards to darker skin tones?

One of the most common complaints from people with darker skin is discoloration and pigment issues. And, many individuals with darker skin often want to lighten their skin, for a myriad of reasons.

What you must keep in mind is that pigment is a good thing; it provides protection against the sun and its damaging rays. In a way, pigment is like your body's built-in sunscreen.

Lightening the skin can be appropriate if you're affected by diseases of pigmentation, such as Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

But, if you lighten your skin unnecessarily, simply for cosmetic reasons, it can be truly harmful. In essence, you're removing that natural "SPF" protection and rendering your skin more prone to the harmful UV rays of the sun, increasing your risk of sun damage.

Also, many people use skin lightening products inappropriately and without the supervision of a physician, which can be quite disastrous to the skin. It may also result in skin coloration differences in the face and the rest of the body, resulting in an unattractive appearance. 

Another consideration when dealing with dark skin is vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency increases your risk for common cancers, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, and infectious diseases. In people with darker skin, the ability to produce vitamin D is vastly reduced. This is because those individuals have greater amounts of the pigment melanin in the outermost layer of the skin. The presence of this pigment reduces the body's ability to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.

Aside from the diseases and conditions, vitamin D is also essential for effective anti-aging.

Expert dermatologist, Dr. Rachael Eckel, joins Andrea and Lisa to discuss specific considerations in dark-skinned individuals, as well as ways you can take care of your skin to prevent discoloration and diseases of pigmentation.
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