Dr Ncoza Dlova.

A study conducted by the Head of UKZN’s Dermatology Department, Dr Ncoza Dlova, examined skin conditions common in black patients and highlights the similarities to and differences from other skin conditions elsewhere in the world.

The research was titled: Ethnic Skin and Hair Disorders in KwaZulu-Natal: A Study of the Spectrum of Ethnic Skin and Hair Disorders, and the Composition and Use of Skin-Lightening Preparations, Traditional Cosmetics and Sunscreen.

The PhD work emphasized  the importance of understanding black skin and hair in recommending appropriate treatment.

Dlova’s study revealed that acne, eczemas, pigmentation disorders, infections and hair disorders are, in that order, the five most common skin disorders in black patients in KZN.

The second aspect of the research was on the use of clays and plants for skin protection and rejuvenation.

Dlova said clays had long been used in southern Africa as photo-protectants by indigenous people.

‘Typically, two types of clay are used – one white in colour and the other red. In this work, the two clays were identified and characterised and their sun protection factor (SPF) values measured. The clays afford a low SPF but offer broad spectrum protection,’ said Dlova.