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Curly Nikki

Dr. Perry on Ethnic Skin and Acne

By January 27th, 202111 Comments
Our Resident MD is back and she’s talking ACNE.
War and Peace

Dr. Perry on Ethnic Skin and AcneWhen you’re ticked off, the last thing you need is to be picked on, pushed around, and squeezed until you burst, right? Same thing for a zit! Picking fights with your breakouts puts you at war with your skin. Your skin will respond by becoming discolored, scarred and possibly infected to show its displeasure. Who needs that? You must LOVE that pimple into submission! Here’s my advice on how to give acne prone skin the care it needs to glow.

Acne (Acne Vulgaris) breakouts are caused by excess oil production usually caused by hormonal shifts. Although acne is most common in teenagers, some adults suffer from an onset way beyond the teen years. In people of color, breakouts can often lead to persistent discoloration long after the bumps have resolved. The face, chest and back are the most common areas of acne breakouts due to the fact that these areas have a high concentration of sebaceous (oil producing) glands. Unfortunately, these are the same areas where residue from hair products can block pores and lead to breakouts (Pomade Acne). A gentle skin care regimen utilizing the correct product ingredients can assist in controlling most mild breakouts. Moderate and severe breakouts usually require the assistance of a dermatologist. There are so many effective medications available to control breakouts these days.

Over the counter product ingredients which help acne prone skin are: Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Glycolic Acid. Neutrogena oil free acne wash and Clean and Clear are a basic cleansers which contains salicylic acid. The Proactiv skincare line contains Benzoyl Peroxide. The mdskincare line contains a great group of natural fruit acids. Be careful with using new products on your skin. I recommend performing a test area for 3 full days on a small area under your chin before using a product over your entire face. This helps to determine if you have sensitivity or are allergic to the product. Sometimes, newly treated acne skin become dry, sensitive to the sun and a bit irritated. A light moisturizer with sunscreen of SPF 30 (Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Purpose and Aveeno) each morning may assist in reducing this problem. Sunscreen can also help protect discolored areas from becoming darker, prevent photo aging and protect against skin cancer. Although shea butter has a natural sunscreen property, the extent of protection has not been determined. Try and avoid toners and astringents which contain alcohol (witch hazel included). These can dry out the surface of the skin which can lead to a worsening of acne or irritated skin. Facials are fine, but do not allow the technician to squeeze or pick affected areas and ask what product ingredients are being used. There is a great, cheap product that I recommend if one wants to have the feel of a spa experience, but the convenience of doing it at home for a fraction of the price- Queen Helene Grapeseed Extract Facial Peel Off mask. Be sure to apply a moisturizer afterward.

What to do when you have a big one? First of all, back away from that mirror, and put your guns down! Spot treatment with a Benzoyl Peroxide containing cream and Hydrocortisone 1% cream to reduce the inflammation quickly can reduce the chances of discoloration. Really big lesions can be treated with a cortisone injection by a dermatologist to reduce the swelling and pain quickly. Persistent areas of discoloration can be lightened with product ingredients specifically used for this purpose (hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, licorice root extract or bearberry extract). Recently, hydroquinone has come under increased scrutiny and has fallen out of favor in some circles. It has been a mainstay of treatment for lightening areas of dark discoloration. The other ingredients listed above are naturally occurring substances. If discoloration persists, see a dermatologist. You may need a prescription strength regimen chemical peel or laser treatment to assist.

As always, keep your skin well-hydrated and well-nourished by drinking enough water daily, taking a Multivitamin supplement and maintaining a balanced diet.

Until next time . . .
Take care of yourself, so you can care for others. Do your best to be your best. The better you are, the brighter the world gets.

Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546). The contents of this article are the literary property of Dr. Perry and are copyrighted.


  • Brown Babe says:

    This is right on time. Over the past year I've been suffering with thyroid issues. The hormone fluctuations have wrecked havoc on my previously clear skin, particularly my forehead…makes me wanna cry whenever I look in the mirror (then I suck it up :o) Im in NYC and looking up Dr. Kim Nichols as we speak, thanks Hamptonsfnst!

  • the eXclusive says:

    I'm almost 24 and have acne issues since I was 11. I have no clue what my adult face looks like without spots and have done the whole Neutrogena/every type of cleanser available thing. I'm currently using Rx for brown skin cleanser, moisturizer, toner and serum from Sephora. But I think my major problem is that I'm one of those people who hates the taste of water, so I don't drink it often. I can go days without it (can't remember the last time I had a bottle). And usually only feel dehydrated when I work out, but I know this is probably the one thing that is keeping the acne from going away.

  • Acne warrior says:

    Nicotinamide (also known as Niacinamide) applied topically, is beneficial for reducing Acne, Skin hyper-pigmentation (acne scars), increasing skin moisture and reducing fine wrinkles. Scientists at NY University College of Medicine have shown that Niacinamide is superior to antibiotics such as Clindamycin in controlling acne. Try "Niapads" (Nicotinamide acne pads) for controlling your acne. It’s Simple for Pimple(C). One step process provides exfoliation, pore cleansing, prevention of Acne and Skin Lightening (acne scars). Visit for details. Free shipping to all US and Canada.

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent article Dr. Perry! I can't wait for the next one.

  • Amanda says:

    Fantastic article! Even though I am super in love with my hair, i do have "areas of concern" on my face. The moisturizer that I love is Ambi Even and Clear with spf 30.

  • Ms. Silky Coils says:

    thanks for the post and Dr. Perry your information is insightful. As someone who suffered from adult acne (i use the past tense, for I have a good regimen that is working for me now), it was very frustrating to not touch the breakouts…or "go to war" with my face. Lol. TLC is key and you have to patient…..

    great read!

  • Hamptonsfnst says:

    Dr. Perry is right on point about hormonal changes causing acne to develop. Earlier this year I was under a lot of stress and because of it I began to breakout along my jaw, forehead, and cheeks. Some areas I've never experienced a breakout before. After crying in the mirror I contacted Dr. Kim Nichols in Manhattan. She's fabulous and a woman of color. That eased my nerves. She knew exactly the cause of my breakouts just by their locations and advised me to use a gentle cleanser, retinoid (at night only) glycolic acid solution and medicated pads that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

    Now my boyfriend is constantly complimenting on how clear my skin is.

  • Jess says:

    Great tips, neutrogena is one of my fav lines. Glad to hear you recommend it!

  • Jamie says:

    Where can I find the Queen Helene Grapeseed Mask? Also, have you heard of the skincare line BioElements? My sister has been using it for a while, and she loves it. i have sensitive, oily skin and wanted to know if I might have success with it also. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Dr. Perry and Nikki!


  • Anonymous says:

    excellent article Dr. Perry! cute imagery too!

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