Entering the field of dermatology was an easy decision for Dr. Marsha Henderson, M.D., of Hamzavi Canton Dermatology. “I’ve always just been obsessed with skin and hair, so it’s a natural fit for me. I just find skin fascinating,” says the California native, who moved to Michigan to attend medical school at the University of Michigan.
While she enjoyed all of her rotations, dermatology stood out. “One of the things I thought was unfair with dermatology patients is they have to share their skin conditions with the world.” Unlike other medical conditions, patients with hair loss or skin problems are unable to hide their condition.
And, she says, research shows that people make judgments of others based on the appearance of their skin. Dr. Henderson wanted to be able to help patients share their skin issues on their own terms.
So after completing her dermatology residency training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit – where she met and was mentored by Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi, the Vice President of Hamzavi Dermatology – she joined the dermatology group. And today, she leads the medical team at Hamzavi Canton Dermatology.
“One of the things that I really like about our practice and our overall group (including our affiliate group, Dermatology Specialists of Canton) is that Hamzavi dermatology is a family practice,” Dr. Henderson says. This practice is one of only a few family-owned dermatology groups in metro Detroit.
Diagnosis, treatment, prevention
The doctors at Hamzavi Canton Dermatology diagnose and treat patients with a variety of hair and skin conditions including acne, hair loss, eczema, vitiligo, pigment disorders and more. Dr. Henderson has done extensive research in skin of color, vitiligo and hidradenitis suppurativa and continues to teach dermatologists in training.
She is motivated by a desire to elevate the level of care and treatment options in difficult-to-treat conditions – especially in skin of color. The physicians can perform simple procedures including mole and cyst removal, in addition to in-office laser treatment for acne, psoriasis and vitiligo.
Botox is done in office, as well. “We’ll be adding a few more cosmetic services in the future.” Hair loss, including breaking and shedding, is a huge issue in the African-American community. “We consider it a silent epidemic,” she says.
Some of the things people do to cover hair loss can actually make it worse. That’s why Dr. Henderson is passionate about treating hair loss patients and strives to help find healthy ways to care for their hair on a daily basis. In addition to hair loss, issues with dark spots from acne, burns and injuries, along with eczema, are very common for African-Americans, she adds. Each of these conditions is treated in office.
African-Americans have the same skin issues others have, but the nuances on how to best treat conditions in richly pigmented skin is an important difference. In addition, there are skin and hair conditions that almost exclusively affect African-Americans. Knowing how to identify and treat these conditions can make a world of difference to her patients.
A patient-centered approach
“In this day and age, there are a lot of over-the-counter treatments and it’s a very confusing marketplace,” Dr. Henderson says. You can spend thousands of dollars on hair and skincare products, but a consultation with a dermatologist can help get to the root of the issue. And because these issues can be embarrassing for some, it’s important to find a doctor you feel comfortable with. That’s exactly what you’ll find at this local dermatology group. Each patient is different, so Dr. Henderson and her team take the time to get to know each individual.
“At least once a day someone will come in and say, ‘I’ve seen this many doctors, and no one is listening to me,’” she says. “We really try to take the time to listen to patients’ concerns, because everybody has a story.”
Credit: BLAC Detroit Magazine