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How To Get Great Results for Skin of Any Color

Just two decades ago, working with skin of color was unknown territory – and that challenge intrigued me. I set out on a journey to gain a greater understanding of various skin tones/colors and how ancestry impacted results. I discovered it’s not enough to create a treatment plan solely based on the skin’s pigmentation. Ancestry plays a major role in how the skin will respond to certain topicals and treatments.

Beyond the Cover

To truly understand the skin – of any color – and create the most effective treatment, you have to go beyond just the skin’s tone. While this is an important characteristic to note – it helps identify characteristics such as melanocyte size and melanin breakdown – there is much more that must be addressed when working with skin of any color.

Knowing a client’s ancestry and understanding the traits of each provides insights into other key differences that may impact the skin and the treatment plan, some of which include:

  • Cell layers – Thickness and density of some ethnicities will require special attention to remove epidermal layers.
  • Ceramides – Ceramide levels vary in skin of color, a skin may appear oily at the surface and yet be dehydrated. This will impact treatment choice and outcome.
  • Inflammatory responses – Skins of color have heightened sensitivity to inflammation that may increase susceptibility to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

Understanding the Unique Challenges

Every ancestry has certain skin challenges specific to it, and this will significantly direct the type of treatment you perform. While treatment intensity will always be based on the client and their specific skin challenge – not color – the following are a few common challenges by skin type:

  • Caucasian skin – premature aging, dryness and rosacea. Determine the best treatment plan based on skin history and specific skin challenge.
  • Latin and Hispanic skin – hyperpigmentation, scarring, PIH, and uneven skin tone. Progressive treatments and corrective facials are generally the best place to start, particularly if there is scarring or hyperpigmentation.
  • Asian skin – sensitivity, and more prone to acne discoloration. Keep product selection minimal to determine what is most suitable. Progressive peelings and corrective facials are best to start with, and use extreme caution with microdermabrasion.
  • Black skin – sensitivity to PIH, keloid formation, and pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). Ashy color is a signal to dehydration and lack of moisture. This skin type generally responds well to a more rapid progression and a fairly aggressive home regimen of topicals that stimulate cell turnover, lighteners and brighteners, and antibacterial support.

Intelligent Ingredients for Beautiful Skin

While every client will have different ingredients that work best with their skin type, there are a few intelligent ingredients that generally work with most skins and produce beautiful results. Some include:

  • Epidermal growth factor (EGF) – an essential protein and powerful cell regenerator that supports cell renewal and wound repair. Found in the Growth Factor Serum and Growth Factor Serum Plus.
  • Mandelic acid – this is a safe go-to acid that universally may be used successfully on all skins of color. Derived from almonds, this antiseptic rejuvenating acid has lightening and restorative properties. Found in the Mandelic Arginine Serum.
  • Daisy flower (bellis perennis) extract – a gentle, yet highly effective natural skin lightener that influences different pathways involved in melanin formation, counteracting age spots and balancing hyperpigmentation. Found in the Naturale Mega Brightening Serum.
  • AHAs – naturally occurring, nontoxic organic acids. The most commonly used include glycolic (from sugar cane) and lactic (from milk). Others include malic (apples), tartaric (grapes) and citric (citrus) acid.
  • Salicylic acid – a beta-hydroxy acid extracted from wintergreen and birch. It is a relatively safe, low-risk acid, as it is self-neutralizing and produces a drying and lifting effect. Found in the Beta Green Tea Cleanser and Salicylic Serum.
  • Retinol – a vitamin A derivative that converts to retinoic acid and is a DNA regulator. It assists in the synthesis of collagen, aids in the formation of blood vessels and encourages healthy cell formation. Found in the ChronoPeptide A.
  • Melanin suppressants – typically a combination of natural lightening ingredients such as kojic acid, L-arbutin, azelaic acid, L-ascorbic acid. Look to the Rhonda Allison Melanin Suppressant Solution to brighten the skin, and provide antibacterial and antioxidant support, while minimizing PIH during the peel. Found in the Melanin Suppressant Solution.
  • Thermus thermophilus ferment extract – a deep-sea microorganism used to fight free radicals. Found in the Sea Gems.
  • Zinc oxide – provides natural sun barrier, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and soothing, healing support. Found in the Daytime Defense SPF30.

The next blog post will cover two new treatments we’ve created specifically for skin of color.

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