The term “ethnic skin” can be so vague and undefinable. Depending on where in the world you live, your skin could be the “norm,” or it could be the outlier that is never counted, the exotic, or the just plain overlooked.
If you’re in the latter group like me, finding products, treatments, and specialists to help you with your skincare goals can be an uphill battle. Even living and working in a city as diverse as LA, I still hear from clients and friends that their favorite brands and professionals are falling short with effective treatment and skincare options. I’ve had numerous clients reveal to me that they booked appointments with other estheticians or dermatologists, only to find out their skincare professional did not have the information or tools necessary to treat their specific skin tone.
Like most industries, the skincare industry is motivated by money, what they think is going to sell. And up until recently, a lot of people in this business didn’t think anything ethnic would sell well. They didn’t put money into research or testing, preferring that someone else took the plunge first to see if the market was favorable.
During my 13 years of experience in skincare, the main reasons I’ve heard for companies and providers not investing in more diverse treatment options were that:
- Ethnic skin ages better
- We aren’t profitable consumers
- The spectrum of ethnic skin is too large to test products on
Trial and error have found that skincare for different ethnicities varies widely. The approaches we take to our ethnic skincare is based on the rules of each ethnicity’s skin, rules that most companies and providers aren’t aware of. Some professionals use the Fitzpatrick scale to help them find the correct products to treat their patients, but many products on this scale aren’t tested on darker skin tones. ILP and hair removal lasers for instance, aren’t calibrated for darker skin tones.
The skincare industry doesn’t need a whole new skincare line for ethnic skin. Skin is skin. However, it does need to recognize and address a demographic that yearns to be accepted. As a black esthetician, I am trying to do my part and educate myself and my clients about how best to take care of their skin. My products are only released after they are tested on a wide range of ethnicities and skin tones.
We need representation and we need education. The lack of information on ethnic skincare in this industry is a problem, and I want to start the conversations that will lead to finding solutions.
Have questions about your skincare or the skincare industry? Book a consultation with me and let’s discuss! Or hit me up @tracyhudsonskincare on Instagram.