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African Americans tend to age well and don’t show the same extent of fine wrinkles or sun spots. Instead, African American tend to show more dark circles around their eyes, as well as eye bags. Therefore, eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty tends to occur at an earlier age among African-Americans. Eyelid surgery improves the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. It can remove drooping eyelid skin, puffiness and bags under the eyes resulting in a more youthful, and rested appearance.
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African Americans develop facial aging which is caused by the loss of fat, bone resorption, and sagging of skin. This results in pronounced sagging of the cheek, laxity of the skin, and jowl formation under the jawline with folds and deep creases begin to form along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth. A facelift (rhytidectomy) can reduce these signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening the underlying muscles, and re-draping the skin around the neck and face. Special care should be taken in individuals prone problem scarring, as the facelift incisions can become hypertrophic and keloid.
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Ethnic rhinoplasty or nose surgery is the second most commonly requested surgery by African Americans. African-American want to refine their nose while keeping their African-American identity. Most African Americans requestion nose surgery (rhinoplasty) seek a nose that is more balanced with the rest of their face, both in terms of its height and width. This often requires use of nasal implants or cartilage graft in order to augment the nasal bridge and alar base resection in order to narrow the base of the nose.
The use of injectable fillers is becoming increasingly common in African Americans. Darker-skinned individuals develop significantly more volume loss in the face resulting in prominent jowls and laugh lines. Injectable fillers can restore facial fullness, soften facial creases resulting in a smoother more youthful facial appearance. There are many types of injectable fillers (collagen, hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, poly l-lactic acid, and human fat). They all serve to enhance fullness of the face. However they differ in their composition, and duration of their results.
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Although African Americans develop fewer wrinkles than age matched Caucasians, repeated facial expressions, coupled with the effects of gravity, results in formation of facial lines and folds. When we laugh, smile and frown the muscles under our skin contract and pleat the skin creating lines that appear between the eyebrows (glabellar lines), on the bridge of the nose, across the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes. These lines become much more pronounced as we age. When a small amount of Botox is injected, the muscle it is injected into relaxes and weakens giving the skin a smoother, less wrinkled appearance.
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Darker skin types have fewer wrinkles but develop uneven pigmentation, and rough skin. Chemical peels are popular cosmetic treatments that help to even the skin tone, texture and reduce wrinkles and fine lines. As African American skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation than other skin types, many African Americans look to chemical peels as an option to quickly even the skin tone. Chemical peels should be performed with great care and caution because the risk of hyperpigmentation and worsening of discoloration is an all too common consequence. If chemicals peels are to be used in darker skin individuals, a pretreatment with hydroquinone, azelaic acid or kojic acid should be used for several weeks before the peel. The initial peels should be performed at the lowest concentration. Peels can be done in 2 to 4-week intervals for a series of 3 to 6 peels.
Laser skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also very effective in treating uneven skin tone and discoloration. Lasers were initially developed and used in lighter skin tones, many lasers now have been developed and used widely in darker skinned patients. In the past, people with tan or darker tone would suffer from burns and excessive peeling during laser skin resurfacing. Although all lasers pose some threat of abnormal pigmentation and scarring, newer devices have been developed making lasers safer for use in patients with darker skin. It is imperative that African Americans seeking laser skin resurfacing choose a cosmetic surgeon with experience treating individuals with darker skin.
If you would like to learn more about Plastic Surgery in African Americans, we invite you to meet with Dr. Olivier who is a female, board certified plastic surgeon for a private consultation at our Brooklyn, New York office, located at One Hanson Place. Contact us by calling 718-783-0934.
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