Treating Black Skin Shouldn't Be an Afterthought For Aestheticians — Here's Why
Visiting a salon and getting a facial is supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience; you're not supposed to feel anxious, or nervous, or uncomfortable. However, that's the reality for many BIPOC visiting an aesthetician. Similarly to how the hair industry is lacking in education and knowledge of Black hair, there's a shortage of education being offered on treating Black skin.
"I feel like taking care of someone's skin is very personal because you get to pull back the veil of the perfect makeup look to help them with the skin conditions that they're dealing with," Lakeisha Dale, aesthetician and founder of MelaSkin Studio, told POPSUGAR. "That's a really big privilege when it comes to being an aesthetician. And being that it is such a privilege, I feel like we also need to talk about how Black and people of colour don't get represented as much as their white counterparts, whether it be as a professional or the clientele."
The difference in treatment that many BIPOC receive when they seek out beauty treatments isn't just a problem at the salon level — although there are plenty of microaggressions and injustices to be suffered there as well; it starts in the very beginning stages of training.
"In our textbooks, [treating Black skin] is talked about as far as what melanin is, and how it's produced, and what happens to it in regards to inflammation — it talks about hyperpigmentation," said Dale. "But it doesn't go in depth on things like, 'When you're dealing with some darker skin, these are the ingredients that you want to keep around,' or 'Black skin is more prone to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so when you're doing this particular technique, you might want to reduce the level.' There's things like that, that could have been talked about."