Skin of African descent has unique characteristics, as well as some commonalities with other ethnic skin of color. Darker skin types tend to have more melanin and therefore, greater ultraviolet protection. This results in skin that ages more slowly. The melanosomes in dark skin have larger granules and are dispersed more deeply in the basal layer of the epidermis. Darker skin types also have larger sebaceous glands developed as an evolutionary necessity to allow adequate cooling in the intense African heat. Despite its larger oil glands, dark skin experiences greater transepidermal water loss and is sensitive. There are also more layers of keratinized cells in the stratum corneum resulting in a thicker dermis, less facial muscle movement, and a reduced tendency to develop crow’s feet and “elevens” between the eyebrows.
Clients with dark skin of African descent often have concerns about hyperpigmentation. Receiving treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is one of the biggest reasons clients seek professional skin care services. Many treatments that are intended for antiaging, acne, or melasma involve creating an inflammatory response in the skin. This inflammation could trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
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A technician, educator, mentor, and business owner, Mary Nielsen has been at the forefront in medical aesthetics since its infancy in the early 1990s. She is currently vice-chair and industry expert on the Oregon Board of Certified Advanced Estheticians. She is the author of “Fearless Beauties,” along with other aesthetic texts. She is the executive director of an aesthetic school, the founder of Fearless Beauties, and the creator of Cascade Aesthetic