Much of the literature has focused on how aging affects patients of European descent. However, aging effects everyone, albeit in different ways. The term African American represents a broad range of skin types, pigmentation, and facial features. In fact, a recent study in Nature found that persons of African descent had the most diverse genome (genetic characteristics).
Typically, the higher melanin content in African American skin provides increased protection from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB sun damage. As a result of this protection, African American skin may continue to have a higher elasticity, or spring, even in advanced age. The elasticity is an important factor in prevention of lines and skin from sagging. Despite the beneficial approaches seen in the skin, the aging process continues with volumetric changes to the face, midface and cheek area. In addition, the deeper structures of the face and neck will continue to slide down, creating less defined jawlines and necks.
Dr. Shah utilizes an individualized approach in treating African American patients seeking youthful rejuvenation. First of all, some patients may benefit from a neck only lift in order to tailor the jaw and neckline. Volumetric replenishment of the face may serve to provide a lift of the midface and lower face. Finally, in some cases, repositioning of the deeper tissues will allow for a more youthful deeper structure to the face.
African american patients have a higher incidence of keloid formation. Due to this possibility, Dr. Shah advocates close follow-up after any procedure to lessen the likelihood of this occurring. Dr. Shah utilizes a series of preventative measures to help reduce the incidence of keloid formation.
For more information, see the Facelift Home Page
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Dr. Shah use the same techniques with each patient?
No, an approach to a patient’s aging process should be individualized.
Is there a facial filler which works better for African Americans?
Yes, I believe Radiesse is more often a better choice than a hyalouronic acid filler, such as Restylane.
Can African American patients get sun damage?
Of course. While melanin seems to protect the skin more, any skin type can receive sun damage which can promote facial aging. Every patient should consider the use of daily sunscreens.
Can I have a procedure if my hair is thinning?
Dr. Shah can tailor the incisions for each patient, in some cases avoiding incisions all together.
Can Dr. Shah make my face thinner?
Yes, Dr. Shah does perform buccal fat removal in specific cases where patients will benefit.