Dr. Susan Taylor’s Rx for Brown Skin

brown skin book

Dr. Susan Taylor’s Rx for Brown Skin: Your prescription for flawless skin, hair, and nails. Published in 2008. 304 pages.

I stumbled on this one as I was doing my usual stroll through and perusal of our local library’s shelves. There is little about caring for our skin that we can’t readily find answers to online these days, but as a lover of books, I picked this one up anyway.

It’s a good, comprehensive book covering common skin problem women of Asian, Hispanic, and African ancestry have to deal with. As much as we enjoy the fact that our higher melanin content means few to no wrinkles for many years, there can also be problems associated with darker skin than can be bothersome if we don’t exercise due diligence with regards to skin care. In other words, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

What I liked about the book was the extensive coverage of all topics related to hair, skin, and nails. Because women of color tend to be more inclined to going the “extra mile” when it comes to beauty treatments, the admonitions against things such as over processing of hair -with heat and chemical treatments such as relaxers- and damaging the nails with the use of acrylic nails was important.

At one point, she alluded to the notion that what we eat has less importance with regard to our epidermis than the care we give it. I disagree strongly with that but later in the book she makes a point of noting that nutrition is an important part of maintaining a healthy appearance. I suspected the dermatologist in this author was loathe to concede that women can reverse many of their skin conditions through proper nutrition rather than dermatological intervention. I can understand the inclination, so I gave her a pass on that because the book overall was quite informative.

For instance, it has always been obvious to me that my skin tone varies greatly in photographs I have seen of myself. The difference in the winter and spring made perfect sense since most people tan in summer and lighten in winter, but  the fact that the change can be exaggerated simply by stepping from the shade into the sunlight was good information and demystified for me why I looking at photos makes me wonder, “Why is my skin a totally different shade than it was in an earlier photo?”

Dr. Taylor also offered sections for dealing with skin care during pregnancy, middle age, and the more mature stages of life. In short, she left no stone unturned, including referencing the safest and most effective over the counter products to use. She also included references to those products which should be avoided due to their harshness or incompatibility with darker skin.

It was a useful book.

Grade:  B



9 thoughts on “Dr. Susan Taylor’s Rx for Brown Skin

  1. Bike bubba says:

    I am utterly unqualified to note anything about skin that actually has much melanin, except for one thing I’ve learned in my trade; people whose near ancestors grew up in the tropics or warm areas (roughly speaking those with browner skin) don’t perspire as much as do those of, say, northern European descent. So in my trade, it was important to have large amounts of hypoallergenic creams ready for workers, or else our precautions wouldn’t work. (static discharge control–it’s generally done by putting a bracelet on that connects a person to ground, and if you don’t sweat, you need conductive lotion to make the connection)


  2. elspeth says:

    Is it true that we don’t sweat as much? Interesting, as my husband and I can work out together, and I come away drenched, and he doesn’t sweat nearly as much. Some, but not as much.

    He never has, and I marvel at how he manages to smell better afterward, too, LOL. Of course I’m baised but still.

    Nevertheless, my curiosity is piqued enough that I will see if there is any scientifically documented truth to your theory.


  3. Bike bubba says:

    If you find I’m wrong–I don’t have a good set of papers to point you to, just the experience of my company’s ex-pats in Asia–please feel free to say that I’ve got absolutely no wisdom in this area. :^)


  4. elspeth says:

    It’s not that deep, Bike. It’s an interesting theory and given that darker people are “sun people” so to speak, because of our ancestry, it actually makes perfect sense that we might better tolerate heat – and sweat less- than people whose ancestry is from colder climes.


  5. Major Styles says:

    There’s a booming cottage industry out there when it comes to black, women’s hair. My wife is black (Dominican) so I have become privy to this world. I imagine there are a few millionaires who cater to this market, specifically.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bike bubba says:

    Major, people have been getting very rich off hair care for blacks for a long time–in fact, Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a. “Madam Walker”, got pretty close to being a millionairess back around the turn of the 20th century doing exactly what you talk about.


    (just curious; did Dr. Taylor go into any of the history? Even on wiki, it’s fascinating….)

    Point of fun; the guy in the office right next to me is the son of two Amish parents who left the Amish church, and having adopted a young black girl, he and his wife are learning the ins & outs of black hair care.


  7. elspeth says:

    You’re right Bike, except where Madame Walker got rich helping black women “integrate their hair” (which has had disastrous results for many), the current crop of products are a combination of fake hair -still popular although my hubs has NEVER allowed it- and increasingly products to help us style and beautify our hair in its natural state.

    One thing I try to do as a rule is shun the products made by the big companies who have also all gotten in on the trend of black women wearing their natural hair, and buy exclusively from companies who 1) have a personal investment in it and 2) purposefully create products which are free of damaging and harsh chemicals. It costs a bit more, but it is totally worth it. For anyone who might need a list:



  8. hearthie says:

    I know that I sweat more now that I work out – I mean, in general. I thought it mostly had to do with my increased general hydration rate, which I maintain in self-defense against muscle aches. Ah, it’s nearly summer time. Or when I come home with my pigtails wet 6″ down from my head.

    Have heard the thing about East Asians smelling better before. I *think* that’s supposed to be in relation to diet, apparently meat eaters don’t smell very good in comparison to pescatarians/vegetarians. Which might explain your hubs.

    Liked by 1 person

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