The beautiful Dija Ayodele launched her Black Skin Directory Instagram account recently with great excitement from many an Aesthetician, including myself. The website, which is launched early 2018 will give access to black women and men on skin health advice and services. Dija says ‘research shows that overwhelmingly black women struggle to find skin care professionals adept at caring for the unique characteristics of darker skin tones’
I have to say I am a little perplexed as to why skin professionals are not dealing with ALL skins. The professional therapist should absolutely know how to treat accordingly or the very least advise on black skin and Asian skin.
Fact is, it is not only the size of the melanosomes that differentiates a white skin, Asian skin or black skin. Moisture content, lipid content and thickness all play a part. Black skin has an abundance of fibroblasts and larger mast cell granules, which can lead to more abnormal scarring and keloid formation, especially from acne scars or ingrown hairs. Black skin desquamates more than white skin and has lower pH and up to 50% less ceramides than white skin, increasing the risk of inflammatory responses. The resistance in black skin is stronger, the stratum corneum has more layers, stronger cells and a thicker and dense dermis resulting in ageing slower.
Black skins have a superior protection to UV exposure, also protecting against DNA damage and the depletion of folate levels. Skin cancer rates are lower in black skins BUT this does not mean they are immune from skin damage (including skin cancer) or burning – it is an absolute falsehood to believe that black skin will not be damaged from sun exposure. Always use a high SPF to prevent premature ageing, pigmentation and skin damage.
Rosacea, pigmentation, dehydration and acne are all conditions that black skins suffer from. In fact one of the BSD (Black Skin Directory’s) posts was asking advise on Rosacea in black skin and how to treat. For me this always comes back to gut health, how they were born and genetic composition. It is not always just a black and white issue (pardon the pun) you have to look beyond the skin, diet, emotional responses and environmental factors come into play but fundamentally, especially with Rosacea, you treat the gut first! It is so important to understand the whole, take for example Asian skins, acne is higher in this race as, genetically the Asian liver is longer and thinner,. Traditionally Chinese and Japanese lived on a diet of fresh fish, soy and vegetables so the introduction of the western diet caused untold stress on their liver to eliminate correctly, which of course not being able to handle this throws out in the skin.
Black skins are extremely sensitive and less tolerant to prescriptive strength ingredients including Tretinoids (Retinoic Acid) and acids in general, so again less is more.The last thing needed in inflammation, increasing the risk of hyper pigmentation and scaring.
When dealing with uneven skin tone stay away from aggressive peels, bleaching agents, deep microneedling and laser treatments. Look for more organic skin care or if you are looking for an advanced skin treatment plan look for aestheticians using ingredients that are chirally correct ,encaspulated Retinaldahydes all with intelligent delivery systems in place. A chiral ingredient has been purified so the right sided molecule is ‘knocked out’ enabling the molecule to fit perfectly with the skins own molecular structure decreasing inflammation and irritation, encaspulated retinadahydes are the kindest and non inflammatory, non toxic form of vitamin A (read all about ‘A is for’ here), resiliant hyaluronic acids are a great addition to a skin routine.
Lightening agents suppress melanin and do not get rid of uneven skin tone they can place a strain on the liver which may cause inflammation so it is actually a vicious circle. Contraceptive pills, coils, hormone patches also play a part in skin health no matter what race!
Oil production tends to be richer in black skins but this is not a reason to stay away from facial oils. treat like with like, facial blends (from essential oils) will actually oxygenate, hydrate and detoxinate they will regulate sebum activity and if suffering from acne – kill bacteria (bacteria thrives in an anaerobic state – EO oxygenate, bad news for bacteria) Marula oil has a smaller molecular structure than most base oils so absorbs directly into the skin, it has a 60% higher antioxidant content than other oils, rich in omega’s and had four times vitamin c than one orange a beautiful treatment oil for the skin to condition, protect, feed and rejuvenate.
So in conclusion, I just wanted to bring attention on the fact that we are what we are by what we inherit, eat and experience, this includes genetic factors and environmental factors. Skin is ever changing from day to day from the moment we are born! Always seek advise from a skin therapist and don’t be afraid to ask questions, consultations are there for a reason, to find out more about your skin needs and get answers.
Huge congratulations Dija, I wish you all the success and so proud of what you are doing!