A number of conditions can contribute to uneven texture and an allover lackluster appearance. They include flesh moles, also known as dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPNs)--those small, dark-brown or black frecklelike papules that cluster on the face and neck--and acanthosis nigrican, a dark, velvety patchiness that develops on the necks of dark-skinned men and women. "The latter is especially common among those suffering from obesity, diabetes and insulin-resistance," says Susan C. Taylor, M.D., author of Brown Skin. Using the wrong skin-care products or having a buildup of dead-skin cells can also contribute to rough texture and dehydrated skin, says Annet King, worldwide training and development manager for the International Derma Institute in Torrance, California.
* "Exfoliation is key," says Annet King, especially for dull, dry skin tones. She suggests and other products that have skin-smoothing ingredients like vitamins A, C, E and D, oatmeal, beta glucan and aloe.
* On the professional side, aestheticians like Mamie McDonald, owner of Mamie's Day Spain in New York City, treat uneven texture with combination of exfoliating microdermabrasion and pure oxygen to soothe and hydrate. For at-home care, McDonald recommends that women exfoliate skin twice a week with a mild scrub and follow with a hydrating mask to rehydrate and remineralize the skin.
* To remove flesh moles, experts such as Katie Rodan, M.D., a San Francisco dermatologist, use an electrocoagulating device that lightly burns them off. "When done correctly, it won't cause hyperpigmentation." she says.
* To treat acanthosis nigrican with over-the-counter creams, Susan Taylor uses LacHydrin and Carmol 40. "They, along with prescription Retin-A and Differin, may help slightly but won't resolve the condition completely," she says. Taylor recommends that people suffering from the disorder see their physician to determine if the cause is excess weight or something more serious, like diabetes.
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