Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it comes in a wide range of beautiful skin tones and shades. While ethnic skin is stunningly diverse, it also comes with unique challenges when it comes to dermatological health. When we speak of ethnic skin, we embrace a spectrum that encompasses various shades and textures, each deserving of the utmost care and respect. As a cosmetic dermatologist who also has an ethnic background I am also a dedicated practitioner who understands the importance of maintaining your skin’s health and enhancing its natural beauty. Below is information regarding ethnic skin types, common conditions we see a lot in patients, and treatment options to help with these concerns.

Using the Monk Skin Tone Scale for Treatment

The Fitzpatrick Scale used to be the most common guidance tool that would determine the proper skincare treatment for your shade of skin. However, the scale was lacking for darker tones as it featured only two shades for darker skin compared to four shades for light skin. This was not sufficient for those people with darker skin tones because it made it difficult to determine which treatments were safe for their skin color.

The Monk Scale was created as an alternative, featuring 10 colors, six of which would cover darker skin tones. However, unlike the Fitzpatrick that darkened progressively, the Monk scale placed the skin tones into social categories, including Asian, Hispanic, and Indigenous skin tones.

With the implementation of the Monk Skin Tone Scale in cosmetics, it has become easier to choose a safe course of treatment. With multiple options available, Dr. Ostad can select the correct wavelength for lasers that will offer the best results. This process reduces the risk of unwanted damage to the skin, like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and allows providers the chance to achieve optimal results.


Some common conditions in those with ethnic skin

  • Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is a common concern with individuals with ethnic skin. It’s a condition where certain areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding skin due to an increase in melanin production.Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin, hair, and eye color. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by various factors, including sun exposure, inflammation, hormonal changes, and genetics. Keloids: Keloids are raised, thickened scars that can form after an injury or surgery. Due to genetic factors, the skin tends to overproduce collagen during the healing process, resulting in the development of keloids. Treatment options include corticosteroid injections and laser treatments.
  • Melasma: Melasma is a common pigmentation condition characterized by brown to gray patches, often appearing on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. It primarily affects individuals with Fitzpatrick skin types III and VI. Treatment options include chemical peels.
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): PIH is a condition where areas of the skin become darker after inflammation or injury such as acne, burns, or eczema. Individuals with darker skin tones are more prone to PIH due to increased melanin production in response to skin trauma. Treatment options include chemical peels as well as our LUMA Cream that contains arbutase and retinoic acid that is customized in office or each patient.
  • Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra (DPN): DPN is a common condition in individuals with Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI. It is characterized by small, raised, dark brown to black lesions that often appear on the face, neck, and chest. DPN is a cosmetic concern, and not medically harmful, many individuals seek treatment for them.
  • Solar Lentigos (age spots): Solar lentigos, commonly referred to as age spots are flat, brown or dark spots that typically appear on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. Laser treatments like Picoway Laser treatments are effective at targeting solar lentigos. This works by breaking down the excess pigment in the spots, leading to a more even skin tone. Treatment options include PicoWay Laser.

Dermatology has made significant progress in providing safe and effective laser treatments for people of color. Here are some treatment options that are safe for individuals with ethnic skin:

Fraxel Laser can improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of acne scars and fine lines and wrinkles. This approach ensures faster healing and less risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Morpheus 8 is a groundbreaking treatment that combines radio frequency energy and microneedling which improves skin texture and helps stimulate collagen production. It’s effective in addressing acne scars and overall skin rejuvenation in people with ethnic backgrounds. This treatment is colorblind, meaning it’s safe to be used on all skin tones.

Picoway Laser is a great option for addressing pigmentation concerns such as melasma and tattoo removal, in individuals with ethnic skin. It’s known for its ability to deliver ultra-second picosecond pulses of laser energy, which can effectively break down pigmentation without causing significant damage to the surrounding skin.

Cutera Genesis Laser is a versatile laser treatment that offers non-ablative skin rejuvenation, addressing various concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin texture improvement. It’s suitable for all skin types.

Botox is a purified protein, injected into precise areas to smooth facial creases and lines. It relaxes and prevents the overuse of targeted muscles that create a tired, heavy facial look. Botox injections can treat expression lines such as forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, gummy smile, and bunny lines. Dr. Ostad is experienced in injecting botox in ethnic skin.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are a type of dermal filler that contains a form of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in the body. HA is known for its ability to retain moisture, which makes it a crucial component in maintaining skin hydration and elasticity. When used as a cosmetic filler, HA can effectively add volume, plump up wrinkles and fine lines, and contour facial features. Hyaluronic acid fillers offer a non-surgical solution for individuals looking to enhance their facial features and reduce the signs of aging.

It’s essential to acknowledge that skin conditions affect individuals of all backgrounds, and the field of dermatology has made significant strides in providing tailored solutions for people with ethnic skin. While laser treatments can be effective for various concerns, it’s crucial to consult a dermatologist like Dr. Ostad who has experience with ethnic skin to ensure safety and efficacy of the chosen treatments.

Dr. Ariel Ostad

Dr. Ariel Ostad has seen patients for this service from all over the tri-state area, including Manhattan, Midtown, the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Harlem, Astoria, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and more. If you are interested in any of the services offered at the Office of Dr. Ariel Ostad, please contact us for more information.

Medical-grade skincare products that will help maintain and enhance your results

These skincare products combined with your treatment plan customized by Dr. Ostad will help enhance your results and improve your overall skin texture. Click on a product below to learn more.

Dr. Ariel Ostad has seen patients for this service from all over the tri-state area, including Manhattan, Midtown, the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Harlem, Astoria, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and more. If you are interested in any of the services offered at the Office of Dr. Ariel Ostad, please contact us for more information.

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