When it comes to the mainstream cosmetics industry, the needs of skin of color have been overlooked for a very long time. It's time to understand what this is all about. If you have sometimes become frustrated about this, that's understandable.
When our skin care needs are finally being addressed to a small degree in the skin care industry, it is only by major players in the mainstream, conventional cosmetics industry and skin care market, simply repositioning existing products in an effort to gain more ethnic consumers.
This is accomplished by using ethnic actresses, entertainers and other celebrities to advertise these products to us. They include:
- Queen Latifah-Cover Girl
- Halle Berry-Revlon
- Gabrielle Union-Neutrogena
- Angela Bassett-Oil of Olay
However, most of the mainstream skin care and make up products marketed by the cosmetics industry, who are gearing their marketing efforts to gain the attention of the ethnic consumer, are not adequately formulating products with skin of color in mind.
What They Don't Want You to Know
Many of these companies in the cosmetics industry want us to believe that they are specifically formulating these products to address our unique skin care issues. They, in most cases are not.
When it comes to make up for example, they simply attempt to develop mediocre shades with the same base formula they’ve been selling to everyone else. The only difference are the shades. Most companies in the cosmetics industry are not making adjustments to their formulas to meet the needs of our skin type, only adding new colors.
Another example is, when it comes to formulating products for our dry, ashy skin, these sometimes runny, water based lotions and creams don’t work as you probably already know. These products quickly evaporate and do not contain enough nutrient rich, natural and nourishing oils or plant butters for our skin in high enough percentages to more effectively hydrate our skin and keep it that way.
Our skin requires it. Some companies in the cosmetics industry that do create richer formulas for our ashy skin, usually incorporate one or two natural oils or butters, in concentrations so low, they make little to no positive difference in our skin.
There are other products created by companies who add one or two beneficial ingredients in minuscule amounts, to a cheap, inferior pore clogging ingredient base to produce a higher yield. This results in a cheaper, mediocre product that does nothing more than leave our skin greasy, broken out and dull.
This is because the pore clogging ingredients just sit on the surface of our skin and never penetrate the deeper layers to nourish it. When ingredients don’t penetrate, they clog pores and create the potential to cause breakouts.
To add insult to injury, the few skin care companies who do call themselves creating formulas with ethnic skin in mind, formulate products with high levels of artificial ingredients, irritants, and chemicals. These toxic ingredients include but are not limited to hydroquinone and alcohol which can over time, cause adverse reactions within the skin.
Some of these companies who make products filled with potentially irritating synthetic ingredients for darker skin tones include Black Opal, Palmer’s, Edgar Morris, Iman and various others. Check ingredient labels.
What You Need to Know and Remember
Keep in mind that 60-70% of every skin care product we put on our skin has the ability to penetrate through our pores into our blood stream. This is why we must remember to employ the use of natural and organic, skin-safe products. Those of us, especially African Americans, would like to know there is a product specifically designed for our particular skin care needs.
One that is gentle, one that is safe, one that is effective. Efficacy, quality and authenticity in a skin care product is of extreme importance to the ethnic consumer, especially the African American consumer.
Don't These Skin Care Professionals Know Better? Or Do They?
Hydroquinone as mentioned above, as toxic as it is, continues to be recommended and prescribed by many dermatologists, and other skin care professionals. Products containing this toxic chemical are still being sold by companies today in the U.S. for the treatment of skin discoloration. People of color have for a long time, used creams, lotions and gels containing this ingredient in an effort to eradicate or minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
These type of products are all we had to rely on for quite some time in the cosmetics industry. Our high consumption of these preparations were understandable. However, today there are safer, more effective alternatives as we understand the risks associated with this drug. What’s really ironic, is that even many ethnic dermatologists and chemists are formulating and recommending the use of alcohol based skin care products designed to address excessive oiliness.
Don't they know better? You wonder, “how could they not?" Do they know better, but just care more about their bottom line? Alcohol is one of the worst ingredients brown skin can encounter. Alcohol badly disrupts the skin’s moisture content, then in turn, it over stimulates the oil glands making them produce more oil.
Reducing excess oil in our skin is what we were trying to accomplish in the first place. Putting alcohol-based products on our skin would be counterproductive. Please do not put alcohol on your face.