Dr. Sayyida Abdus Salaam has long recognized that skin conditions manifest differently in people of color. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)

My friend Sayyida Abdus Salaam is the heart and soul of her own practice, Memphis Center for Aesthetic Medicine (MCAM), which she opened with purpose and intention in Germantown just over two years ago.

Dr. Salaam saw a need and moved in to fill the vacuum. Oddly, there are very few people who specialize in black skin in this blackety-black-black town. Together, we came up with less than a handful of names, including my former dermatologist, Dr. Richard Gibbs, who recently retired.

Before folks ask, MCAM does not do traditional dermatology or plastic surgery. The company specializes in aesthetics for “melanated” skin. Or, aesthetic procedures and non-surgical cosmetic procedures suited for our skin. Salaam has long recognized that our skin has to be treated differently. And, perhaps most critically, skin conditions manifest differently in people of color.

After finishing her post-graduate degree in internal medicine at Howard she became a research scholar for the National Institutes of Health. However, the most instrumental and influential training was under a world-renowned dermatologist in Washington, DC who focused on skin of color and was considered the laser guru. He brought laser treatments specific to “us” to the forefront.

A Memphian by choice, Salaam moved to Memphis with her husband and concentrated on opening her practice. MCAM is a family affair. Salaam’s mother, sister and brother – Baltimore natives – have all made their home here.

“Memphis has been good to me. I’ve made some good friends. And, I’m really happy to bring a different perspective to Memphis in terms of how we take of our skin, how we beautify our skin, how we slow down the aging process,” Salaam said. Basically, how can we be Angela Bassett?

So we pulled that thread a bit because many of “us” think that the melanin magic is actual magic and lean on said melanin as a substitute for proper skin care. No, no, no!

Salaam says she has heard many people talk about plain water and even DIAL SOAP (!!) as their skincare routine. Y’all! We must do better once we know better. These methods will dry your skin and ultimately cause splotches. Very not Angela Bassett!

Since summertime comes in Memphis well before the solstice, I asked if we’re behind the 8 ball. How do we jumpstart this summer glow-up, body-beautiful process? I was particularly mindful of those of us that didn’t keep the post-holiday gym promise.

Before we go through the rundown, know that you have to get your mind right first and foremost. This is about a mindset and a lifestyle. You will be right back where you started if you aren’t mentally on board. You didn’t gain weight overnight and you sure ain’t gone lose it overnight.

The Summer Jumpstart and Get Right List…

* Employ a great skin regimen. You can see a change in your skin in as little as 2 weeks.

* Lots of water

* Mind your diet – up the intake of good protein, good fats (avocados, olive oil, coconut oil), plenty of leafy greens; minimize sugar intake

* Wear sunscreen! WE CANNOT RELY ON MELANIN. It only provides about 5-7 SPF. Wear SPF 30; or if outside for prolonged periods, SP50. We wear 70 in my house and still get toasty cocoa.

* Use topical Vitamin C twice a day in 15-20 percent concentration – serums, lotions, oils. It helps replace collagen and helps sunscreen do its job.

* Use retinol at night to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, correct dark spots, decrease pore size.

Salaam recognizes that we humans are visual and need at least semi-instant gratification. You can get your summer body snatch started with these in-office procedures:

* Supplements like carb blockers.

* Wraps – After a 45-minute wrap you see a reduction in fat.

* TruSculpt laser – You should see 28 percent reduction in body fat after two weeks. Fat keeps melting over time, with maximum results typically seen in 12 weeks. The beauty here is that there is no maximum BMI requirement unlike with cool sculpting. You can be any size. With both the wraps and TruSculpt alternatives, you don’t have to be as concerned with loose or lumpy skin. Both procedures tighten and smooth the skin.

Let me tell you, I felt educated after our chat. There is so much more to learn. I have purposed in my heart to have a 365 snatch, not just for summer. I’m down for the journey and mentally ready. Stay tuned!

(Learn more about skincare and MCAM’s other service offerings at www.memphisskindoc.com.)