Explore This Treatment Program


The Mass General Dermatology Multi-Ethnic Skin Program is comprised of specialty clinics that address the unique needs of patients with pigmentary disorders and darker skin tones.

The Multi-Ethnic Skin Program is led by board-certified dermatologists A. Shadi Kourosh MD, MPH and Sandy S. Tsao, MD to provide specialized and culturally sensitive care in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair and nail conditions that are common, rare, or of concern to individuals with darker skin tones.

Our specialized dermatologists offer patients of all ethnic heritages a personalized plan of care tailored for each patient’s skin type.

Skin color is determined by a pigment (melanin) made by specialized cells in the skin (melanocytes). The amount of melanin determines a person’s skin color. Many African-American, Black, Latin, Hispanic, Native American, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian ancestry and people of mixed ethnicities have darker skin tones.  However, that does not mean that everyone in the same ethnic group has the same skin type. Darker skin tends to show more discoloration after injury and be prone to the development of keloid scarring.

Experts in Diagnosis and Treatment
Many skin problems disproportionately affect people with darker skin, making it especially important to find a dermatologist who can address your specific needs. Our clinic specializes in treating issues like these:

Pigmentary Disorders (uneven skin tone)

  • Vitiligo (loss of skin color)
  • Melasma (dark skin discoloration)
  • Hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
  • Hypopigmentation (light spots) 
Excessive Sweating Disorders
  • Bromhidrosis (excessive sweating with foul odor)
  • Hyperhidrosis (abnormally increased sweating)
  • Chromhidrosis (rare condition, colored sweat)

Special Concerns 

  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps)
  • Dermatitis nigra papulose (Flesh moles, brown and most often found on the cheeks, more common in African-Americans)
  • Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars

If your concern is enhancing your physical appearance, please visit our Laser and Cosmetic Center to learn about a variety of treatment options.

Research Focusing on Pigmentary Disorders

Nicholas Theodosakis, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist.  In addition to seeing patients with pigmentary disorders in clinic, Dr. Theodosakis conducts laboratory research studying the underlying biology of chronic darkening and lightening of the skin.  His current focus is on the pathophysiology of dermal hyperpigmentation; including sunspots, melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, drug-induced hyperpigmentation, and dyspigmentation due to chronic venous stasis; all with an eye toward developing novel therapeutics for these difficult-to-treat conditions.