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HEALTH AND WHOLENESS MINISTRY NEWSLETTER: April 2006 HEALTH AND WHOLENESS MINISTRY NEWSLETTER: April 2006

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HEALTH AND WHOLENESS MINISTRY NEWSLETTER: April 2006

Posted on Wed, May 3, 2006

Skin Care for African-Americans

 

HEALTH AND WHOLENESS MINISTRY NEWSLETTER: April 2006
Skin Care for African-Americans
 

Psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo-Caucasians and African-Americans both get these skin conditions. Some skin, hair, and nail problems, though, are more common among people of color. And though they usually aren't serious, it's always a good idea to have your dermatologist check them out, just to be safe. Here are a few conditions common among African-Americans.
 
Dry skin.
Dry skin can hurt and may make your skin look gray or "ashy." Using moisturizing lotions can help, although if you have acne, they can make it worse. If you have acne and ashy skin, it's a good idea to stop using lotions and see a dermatologist. 
If your scalp is dry, look for hair-care products that make your hair easier to style, since they can take away some of the dryness. Be careful to keep these hair products off your forehead, though, because if you sweat, they can make your face break out. (If you notice acne on your forehead, you can either stop using the hair treatment or put it on about one inch behind your hairline.) 
Sometimes, hair products cause scalp infections and make your hair fall out. If your scalp is red and bumpy, or if you start to lose your hair, see your dermatologist. 
Keloids. 
 Keloids (KEE-loyds) are small bumps that form near scars. (You usually find them on your ear lobes, neck, hands, or arms.) Some people get keloids after they've had an infection or surgery, but you can also get them for no reason. They come in all different sizes, and African-Americans seem to get them more often than other people.
Depending on where the keloid is, your dermatologist may treat it with injections, surgery, lasers, or radiation. Keloids often come back, even if you've treated them. 
Hair loss. 
Sometimes, women start losing their hair or notice broken hairs around the edge of their scalps. It may be because they're braiding their hair too tight, using hair straighteners or hot combs, or wearing pony tails. If your hair is falling out around the top of your forehead or around your ears, you may want to try a new hair style to see if the hair grows back (it usually does). 
Hair breakage. 
Hair straighteners contain strong chemicals that make your hair easier to style. If you follow the label directions carefully, hair straighteners usually don't cause problems. If you use them the wrong way, though, they can cause your hair to break. (Your hair will also break off if you brush it too much or if you comb it back too often. Usually your hair will grow back, though, like it does after you've had a haircut.)
Ringworm.
Worms don't cause ringworm, fungus does. Children get ringworm more often than adults, and it makes their scalps red, scaly, and itchy. It can also make their hair break off. It's easy to catch ringworm from other people. Your doctor will treat ringworm with pills, but it can still last for a several weeks. 

Dark nails. 
Don't worry if you have dark streaks or bands on your fingernails or toenails-they're normal. (You may even get more of them as you get older.) But if you notice that the skin crease around the base of your nail is getting darker, it could be a sign of skin cancer. Have a dermatologist check you out, just to make sure you're okay.
Flesh Moles
Flesh moles are pretty common in African-American women. These brown or black raised dark spots usually appear on the cheeks, and look like moles or flat warts. (They're different, though.) These spots aren't cancer, but some patients have them removed so their faces look clearer.
 
Info provided by: W.E. Scott MD, PhD, MPH
 
See all of our archived newsletters in the Health and Wholeness Ministry Section of this website.

 

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