Since I positioned myself as the go-to bella for random beauty questions, I’ve started to get questions that are sometimes out of my league.

When a particularly difficult one came my way, I just had to ask The Makeup Girl. And in her quest to find the best answer, she deferred to her friend Avin from 99 Problems, because she is a proud acne survivor! So this post is like a Russian nesting doll of fab black beauty bloggers.

Kind of.

Jennifer writes:

Dear Afrobella, I’ve had acne problems since I was 11 (now 20), and it has progressively gotten worse. I’ve seen dermatologists and nothing happens or does but quickly goes away. I have combination skin (both oily and dry). Mostly dry around my mouth and cheek area, and oily on my forehead and temples. My skin was actually starting to clear up on its own, but I ended up getting a skin infection this summer. Now, my face looks terrible, in addition, with my chest and back area. I have dark spots everywhere, plus acne on my face again. What can I use for the dark spots and acne that actually works for women of color?

Lianne said: I have deferred to my sistah Avin from 99 Problems for this one. Avin has suffered with acne since she was 12, and only recently freed herself from the bonds of bad skin.

Avin says, “The only thing that I ever found that helped me to clear it was Accutane. No antibiotic or cream ever helped but she does need to make sure that she exfoliates with something non-abrasive like textured wipes or a clean washcloth because that will be what clears both the bacteria and dead skin clogging her pores. She should make certain to use a clean wipe or cloth so as not to redistribute the bacteria!”

Avin also recommends a peel off alpha hydroxy mask like the one from St. Ives or Fresh Sugar Face Polish. “Both of these are good to use 1-2 times per week. Also, she ought to start using Cetaphil sensitive skin wash & moisturizer. Neither should cause more issues while she is trying to heal the others. Also, women of color should try to steer clear of benzoil peroxide, that is the active ingredient in ProActive. It will bleach the melanin in our skin, and cause discoloration over time.”

She suggests that maybe you were seeing the wrong dermatologist. “For her trouble, suggest that she see a minority dermatologist who can prescribe a non-benzoil peroxide topical that will fade the spots,” Avin says.

Dr. Eliot Battle, the minority dermatologist in the DC Metro area helped to clear Avin’s acne up. She adds “Dr. Battle is a good friend of Vanessa Williams, and though she hawks Proactive, she was an Accutane user.”

Well, we can all agree that Vanessa is still looking fabulous. Love her on Ugly Betty.

Check out or for help in finding a minority dermatologist in your area!

Ohsoluvlee1 asked me several questions that I’m working on answering.

The first one was this : “Have you tried Miss Jessie’s curly buttercream or her curly pudding?  (I know in a previous post you commented about the price)” I can’t tell you how many readers find my site in desperate search for Miss Jessie’s info. I wrote this post on August 31 and I still get regular and extremely long responses to it.

41 comments and counting from bellas who have loved it, hated it, recommend it, regret buying it.

I still haven’t tried the stuff because why? It cost $58 a jar! I hear your argument – oh, you paid so and so much to go to the hair salon once a month, why not pay this much for a product that lasts this long? Well, at least at the salon there’s someone I can complain to if my hair looks bad and I feel like I wasted my money. I’m just saying come on, Miko and Titi! Can’t you sell this stuff in a smaller jar and price it more reasonably? Damn, why they wanna stick me for my paper?

So in summary, no I haven’t tried their products yet and I’m still wishing and hoping and praying for a sample so I can review this for y’all. But look out this week for a review of some products I do like!

Ohsoluvlee1 also asked about “Eyeliner that doesn’t run or disappear during the day, what can you suggest? I have allergies and my eyes water a lot in the mornings so it has to be waterproof. I don’t know where else to turn.”

Fret not, Luvlee1! I myself have been looking for an amazing eye liner, and professional makeup artist Lianne came to the rescue.

She says: “The only eyeliner that I have found that will stand up to the test of tears is MAC’ s PowerPoint eye pencil. As a makeup artist, I use this for weddings excusively because it blends really easily but won’t budge if you tear up or cry. It even holds up in the pool!”

I love that the pencils come in a range of colors, too. I’m definitely going to get that pencil before the holiday season really kicks in.

Hope that helps, bellas! Keep the great questions coming, I’ll try my best to answer them, whether it’s by myself, or with professional help.

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Adrianna says:
November 20, 2006, 3:35 am
Afrobella I have a question do you know what one can do agaisnt hyperpimentation ? and how can i make strech marks fade? Thanks in advance if you or somoene you know the answers!
Avin says:
November 20, 2006, 12:04 pm
Ms. Bella I forgot to mention in that interview that the one thing I have found that works well to clear your complexion IS Clinical's Active Serum. Its outrageously expensive ($120) but it works for drying acne, clearing dark places, razor bumps ("the boyfriend" is now a dedicated user) and a host of other issues. It was recommended to me by non other than Dr. Eliott Battle who happened to be featured in last months Essence Magazine. You can locate IS Clinical online at
Annie says:
November 20, 2006, 1:45 pm
I think that the well known potential side effects asociated with Accutane should also be mentioned for the sake of balance and maintaining objectivity.( e.g birth defects in children when taken by pregnant women and the tendency for small percetage of patients to become suicidal).I found differin + clindasol worked well for me,but it can make some patients skin really dry.
bella says:
November 20, 2006, 2:08 pm
Annie, you're 100% correct. I wrote a post on acne a while back - Ask Afrobella For Men where I said this: "If you have really serious acne, a dermatologist could give you a perscription for Accutane. However - call me crazy - I would steer clear of a skin-care medicine that could potentially cause rectal bleeding. Nobody needs that." But Accutane has been accused of causing far more serious health side-effects than that, including birth defects, mental disorders, and suicide. Nobody should take the decision to get that (or any) prescription lightly, and there are alternatives on the market. The point is, talk with your dermatologist about all of your needs and concerns to make sure the decision you're making is the right one.
themakeupgirl says:
November 20, 2006, 3:08 pm
Annie, I am pretty certain that reputable and licensed dermatologists won't prescribe accutane if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (I know they asked these questions of Avin before they would even write the prescription) Obviously, I suggest that people check with a board certified dermatologist to find out what will work for them as far as their acne goes. As far as hyper-pigmentation goes, the best results I have found are achieved with some form of light dermabrasion (multiple sessions) andor hydroqunone, an ingredient found in Philosophy's "pigment of your imagination" serum. Good Luck!
Avin says:
November 20, 2006, 3:41 pm
Annie, you are absolutely right I didn’t mention the side effects. Lianne is also correct. Dermatologist not only make you bring proof of two forms of birth control but some make you sign an affidavit stating that you will continue to use those methods for the duration of your treatment. This keeps most folks honest and the dermatologist's liability low. In fact, the little “No Pregnancy” avatar I have on my blog is a scan from the back of my old pack of Accutane. I haven’t heard much on the issues with depression, but I can wager if you are already struggling with some form of mental issue, it may not be the product for you. I had fantastic results as did a few of my friends who had struggled with acne most of their lives. As with anything, you should go to a board certified reputable dermatologist, and do your homework before you try anything new. If you feel that perhaps the side effects outweigh the benefits, by all means stick with the methods that work for you.
Staceyann Lindo says:
November 21, 2006, 1:10 pm
One question what are the products that have accutane in it because my cousin has really bad acne I wouldn't even call it acne it's just that bad so it would really be helpfull to me if I knew what products contained accutane.much love stacey
St.Lucian_Spirit says:
November 21, 2006, 2:44 pm
Hey afrobella.Thanks for taking the time to blog about black beauty and so forth. My queston is, can black people wear bronzer?I tried wearing it once just on my cheeks but I looked darker.Is there something known just as shimmer?Thanks in advance.
Coffy says:
November 21, 2006, 3:08 pm
oh Bella, i think you need to start a post on the powers of bronzer. Yay! i will let you answer St. Lucian Spirit, can you tell i'm excited?
Annie says:
November 21, 2006, 7:49 pm
Hi Bella, I never read the entry you did when responding to a question for men,I never even knew about the rectal bleeding!!! I think Lianne ma have misinterpreted what I was trying to say.I was not trying to attack her comment,just add to it :)
IndigoGold says:
November 22, 2006, 10:53 am
Quick Question: WHERE CAN YOU BUY AN ALOE VERA PLANT? I've gone to several supermarkets, big and small and all i'm finding are the leaves. I need the actual PLANT. Any help would be great. I live in New York City, so I know there must be a place around here SOMEwhere. Thanks.
IndigoGold says:
November 22, 2006, 11:52 am
On ACCUTANE: If you do your own search on the web for this drug you'll see that many newpapers have reported on possible links between this drug and depression-driven suicides as well as its dangerous affects on pregnancies. Before taking any medication, even ones prescribed by your doctor, just do your own research, be informed, and view all information as a whole before making a decision. Never take anyone's word for it. On NEVER TAKING ANYONE'S WORD FOR IT: Although I was wary of vaccinations when my son was born, I did the research on the best type of vaccinations so that when the doctors told me he needed to be vaccinated, I told THEM exactly the type of vaccine I wanted my son to have. For ex: I knew the side effects of what they wanted to push on me (a vaccine cocktail that could be taken in one dose and therefore more "convenient"-their word) and chose instead the less convenient 3 stage dose, but which, in my mind, posed less of a shock to my new born son's body. He wasn't even on the planet a good 6 months yet. I wasn't about to start overdosing his body on man-made toxins. I knew I had no choice but to have him vaccinated, but I did have a voice in HOW he was vaccinated.
tracey says:
November 27, 2006, 8:05 pm
i love your site. i'm new to blogging. your's is off the chain girl. i just discovered it today. i read the comment about bronzers, and i love bronzers on black skin. my favorite is NARS Casino. I'm what I call light medium brown, and it's the perfect blush or all over bronzer for me in the summer. I have several others that I use on my clients.
Brooke says:
March 15, 2007, 5:30 pm
afrobella, i have alot of red marks on my cheeks and they have been there for 2 years its really ruining my life... wat can i do?
ashie says:
June 7, 2008, 10:46 pm
Okay. so i have this thing coming up, we are doing a cookout for 3 hours, outside in the middle of june, its hot! and then we have an awards ceremony right after, i need to know how to keep my makeup fresh. and i have quite a few pimples, so i want to keep my face looking good to recieve my award. any advice?
aloe vera juice says:
June 8, 2014, 9:00 pm
Black Walnut oxygenates the blood that helps to kill parasites. Nowadays many researches are getting on about the medical properties of aloe plant almost in every single field of Medicine. Aloe vera contains complex sugars, or polysaccharides, that moisturise and hydrate the skin.


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