I can’t tell you how many Black, Asian, Hispanic or Indian people I’ve met over the years who don’t wear sunscreen because they think the extra melanin in their skin protects them. Nothing can be further from the truth. While having extra melanin does give you some protection from the sun it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of skin cancer. About eight years ago I had a client who was very Black, I’m talking Ethiopian Black, so very dark skin. Not only did her father pass away from melanoma, at twelve years old she’d already had melanoma.
Aside from the risk of skin cancer, when doing chemical peels, as an esthetician I need to go low and slow on my darker skin clients. One example is a Jessner peel. There’s an acid in there called resorcinol. If I were to do a Jessner peel on someone with darker skin, they would likely hyper-pigment, meaning they’d get dark spots. This is why I require all my darker skinned clients be on a lightening product for a good month prior to doing any strong peels like TCA’s. Any peel that actually peels the skin. On my new client form, I always ask about ethnicity both on the maternal and paternal side.
Not everyone looks like the ethnicity they actually are. Back in the day, many. light skinned Black women would pass as white so they could work in the nightclubs. This was when Black people were segregated so they couldn’t get jobs unless they passed. My adult children are 1/8 Native American via their biological father. If you look at my son he has my blue eyes but he has dark brown hair and beautiful skin that I call either caramel or cafe au lait. If you look at my daughter she has my white skin so if another esthetician were to work on her and not ask her about ethnicity and did a strong peel on her, it could be disasterous.
By asking my clients about their ethnicity I’m able to assess their risk both for skin cancer and for hyper-pigmenting. Someone who has Irish and Scottish on their maternal side and Italian on their paternal side is both high risk for skin cancer and brown spots.
Make Sense?? Feel free to ask questions and I’m happy to answer! And give us a call at Peace of Mind to pick up a tube of our mineral only Protect SPF 30 which gives you immediate protection and if you’re someone who is high risk for brown spots and wants to do a strong peel, make an appointment for a customized facial to begin with and we’ll assess if you really need that strong of a peel and if so, I’ll get you started on a lightening product. Read my previous blog about how lighteners work!
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