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Adoption Blog: Talk to AF

Transracial Hair and Skin Care - Questions for Dr. Brooke Jackson

When parents adopt transracially, their child’s hair and skin may be very different from their own. Parents who have hit some snags while learning to care for their child’s African-American, Latino, Asian, or biracial hair and skin had the chance to send their questions to board certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Brooke Jackson. The online chat covered everyday ethnic skin care and hair care, as well as dry skin and other problems brought on by cold winter weather.

The chat took place on Tuesday, November 15, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST in the "Transracial Hair and Skin Care – Expert Chat with Dr. Brooke Jackson" discussion thread. That page will remain live so that AFC members who weren’t able to make the chat can read through the discussion.

Read the questions AdoptiveFamiliesCircle members submitted ahead of time in the comments below.

Brooke Jackson, M.D., is the Medical Director of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Her specialties include ethnic skin care, laser therapy and skin cancer prevention. Dr. Jackson is the adoptive mom of three young children, and she is currently writing a book about transracial adoption and beauty.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


I have 4 full African American children with the same problem! How do I know what is safe to use as shampoo and what is not. Going into the ethnic isle at any store I am so afraid of the chemicals and terrible things that could be in the product that I am not caring for their hair as much as I should.
I just want a hair moisturizer that softens the curls and isn’t like tipping olive oil onto their heads! HELP!

Where is the best place to learn to style hair that is different?

By Wubyoumama on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 12:13 am.

My husband and I were just matched with a birthmother who is due in early January with a boy.  I am wondering what the best hair and skin care products are for an infant.

By nims on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm.

My adopted twin 4 year old boys continually struggle with dry, itchy scalp. When we shave their heads, we notice intermittent white patches on their scalps. The white patches seem to be a build-up of something and can flake off. They have been tested for ringworm and it is always negative. They have the tightest curl pattern possible, which makes it very difficult to keep their hair and scalp moisturized.

Please tell me what you believe the white patches are AND what routine we should follow to keep them moisturized and itch-free, including the names of products you would suggest. Thanks for the help!

By hflip72 on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm.

I’m looking for natural hair and scalp conditioner for my son’s hair. 
He is African-American. 
I’ve considered using olive oil but it is much messier than any lotions that I’ve tried. 
I have purchased many “better-than” hair products but would like to know if you know of a hair and skin product line that is the least synthetic. 
Covering him in chemicals is the last thing that I would want to do.
Thank you for your help and have a good day grin

By Merelyn on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm.

I have 4 bi-racial (AA and Caucasian) children, two adopted, two natural. I only have 1 girl in the mix and her hair is the hardest to manage. It just seems eternally dry. I am using Aveda be curly shampoo on her hair as I thought since it’s originals are “natural” it would work the best. I wash her hair once a week and then in the middle of the week I add only conditioner while she is bathing. It still seems quite “frizzy” and rough. Her hair is curly. My question is…should I be using a children’s hair product and if so which one? A lot of the specialty shampoo’s for mixed kids or ethnic races are so expensive—-I’ve yet to buy into them.
Thanks for your help.

By janobelch on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm.

1. My Ethiopian children have white spots on their face that look like the dark pigment is gone.  What is the cause and how/should it be treated?

2. What is the best weekly bathing and shampoo/condition regimen for African kids?  There’s varied answers on how often to shampoo their hair and how often to take baths so their skin/hair don’t dry out.

By TaraBradford on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm.

My 18 month old daughter born in Africa only has hair growing in a mohawk pattern.  Should I trim it to match the baldness on the sides?

By brett_ashley on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm.

We have a beautiful 5 month (today) African American/Cuban boy.  He is beginning to get white patches on his scalp like previously mentioned by another Mom.  How best do we deal with this? 

This fall he got some white pigment spots on his forehead between hi eyebrow, after some research I thought maybe it could be a type of ecxema called (I forget the name)??? I was persistent with vaseline and it went away in a few weeks.  Should I have used something defferent?

I am bathing him once a week with California Baby Super Sensitive Cleanser for Hair and Body.  He is massaged with Burts Bees Baby Buttermilk Lotion Scent Free 4 times weekly.  I have heard of a “butter” that can be handmade for AA skin, do you have a recipe?

Finally we are looking at the possibility of some super cute corkscrew curls that I will want to keep that way.  I know others have asked about this and I can not wait to hear your answer.

By mainegirlmama on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm.

Hi! Our daughter adopted from Africa is almost 3 years old. Around the time she turned one, the pigment around one eye and down the the same side of the face started to lighten. The other side of her face has not changed in its pigmentation. She had a cut on her face near her eye when she was a baby so I put some Sweet Almond oil with Vit E on it for a few weeks to keep it moist as it healed. Could this have caused this patch of skin to lighten? Is there anything we can do to make her pigmentation on her face more uniform? Thank you!

By DTBI on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm.

Question moved here from the chat page:
My African American twin girls have very dry skin and cradle cap…what are good care products and strategies for my little ones? Thanks!!!
Posted by Arms Finally Full

By AFC Editors on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm.
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