Why is black men’s skin care always overlooked in beauty?

It’s no longer an industry secret that black skin has been marginalized. And while steps have been taken for greater representation in the mainstream beauty industry, there is still an overwhelming disconnect that we have to contend with; namely, how black men’s skin is viewed and treated. Widely ignored and often misunderstood, we asked brand founders and dermatologists what can be done to change the existing narrative surrounding black men and the grooming industry.

The global men’s grooming market is worth $ 70 billion, and unfortunately the needs and concerns of black men are largely overlooked when it comes to marketing, branding, and exposure. “Most of the brands that either exist in the mainstream or are bred in major publications are run primarily by people other than black men,” Patrick Boateng, founder of Ceylon, a skincare brand told POPSUGAR. created to address the concerns of black men’s skin. . “The same can be said for those who cover these brands, invest in them and work to shape the industry as a whole. When these people think of a beauty or grooming audience, that person is rarely in their minds a black man. or even some other non-white man Industry size and growth projections don’t have a significant impact on how most people think about how we might serve such an underrated audience.

“For as long as I can remember, black men have been viewed as pillars of strength and protectors with no space to be softer or to prioritize our self-care. For this reason, we are not the first. demographic you think of when it comes to beauty and skin care. ” – Dorion Renaud

Unpacking this further, Buttah Skin founder Dorion Renaud said, “We are not part of the conversations that take place behind closed doors. We are not in the room, and until recently we did. not been invited. For as long as I remember, black men have been viewed as pillars of strength and protectors with no space to be softer or to prioritize our self-care. For this reason, we are not. not the first demographic you think of when it comes to beauty and skin care. “

While black men have not necessarily associated with grooming, it is even more difficult for them to enter the space when “grooming has not been as socially acceptable as it has been up to. present, “Tijion Esho, doctor of aesthetics and founder of the ESHO clinic, said. Traditionally, men have been positioned as individuals who must provide for and care for the family. Expected to realize the ideals of masculinity, only the basics of grooming such as brushing / combing the hair and washing the face were taught to them. The tables are turning, however, with society placing greater emphasis on health and wellness, and men are looking for the time they need to integrate their grooming habits.

Yet with this new narrative, black men are struggling to enter the grooming space when brands aren’t investing in market representation and education, which encourages an endless and tiring cycle.

Part of the problem, according to Dr. Esho, is the lack of behind-camera representation in beauty companies. “Last Father’s Day I was sent some Father’s Day material to pass around by brand to my patients, but none had a picture of a black father,” he said. . “As a black dad myself, I was offended and sent this back to the brand, who immediately changed the material to include it. Inclusion, education and support will be essential for that to happen. these things don’t happen in the future. But for all of those three things to be successful, black people – especially men – need to be involved in the conversation and, better yet, there needs to be more representation. at the table where those decisions are made. ”

With education and training comes awareness and recognition, and with awareness and recognition comes the ability to change and address the concerns of black men.

For Lauren Hamilton, doctor of aesthetics at GetHarley in London, the root cause runs much deeper than the lack of representation in the boardroom or in the communications team. It starts with changing the conversation at the development level.

“Visibility must be amplified at all levels starting with the heart of the field: research,” she said. “When researching, greater inclusion – regarding the selection of participants for all studies, as well as articles focusing on black skin treatment innovations, including psychosocial aspects – would be welcome. To address the discrepancies between clinicians and estheticians in their knowledge of black skin, training companies should include the specifics of black skin in theory and practical elements in their courses. By allowing this part of the curriculum to be optional, we can never really say that we have control over the services we provide.

With education and training comes awareness and recognition, and with awareness and recognition comes the ability to change and address the concerns of black men.

So what are the main concerns that affect the skin of black men? “We are disproportionately fighting eczema, acne scars, hyperpigmentation and razor pimples. These are issues that I personally encountered that led me to create Ceylon,” Boateng said. . Marko Lens, London-based plastic surgeon and reconstructor and founder of Zelens Skincare, agreed. “The most common problem I see related to black skin is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can occur as a result of skin damage. If, for example, you cut the skin, the hyperpigmentation usually occurs on the skin. ‘place where there is a cut. These pigmentation changes are very difficult to treat. ”

When treating these areas of concern, Dr. Hamilton recommended using topical retinoids (derived from vitamin A), which can treat dark spots and hyperpigmentation. In the outermost layer of your skin, you may notice good results as vitamin A increases cell turnover, which improves skin texture. In addition, by stimulating the production of collagen, fine lines and wrinkles can also be reduced. She also suggests incorporating vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage to skin cells by binding to free radicals caused by UV rays and pollution. The brightening effects of vitamin C are a good first step in improving the appearance of uneven skin tone and dark spots. Sunscreen is also a non-negotiable part of everyone’s skincare routine, regardless of skin tone. Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays leaves the skin susceptible to the effects of aging, hyperpigmentation and skin cancer.

At the brand level, changing the misconception that black men can’t or shouldn’t be marketed, listened to, and invested in is essential when it comes to permanently changing the narrative. “Through better education of practitioners and brands, as well as more open conversations about male grooming as a community, the perception of male grooming will change over time,” said Dr Esho.

By changing the relationship between brands and black men, Renauld emphasized the elephant in the play that representation and voices matter – the more black men that brands take the time to listen and understand, the greater the change. important. “First, take a look around and ask yourself if we are present in these vital spaces and conversations. If we are not, ask why not. Second, invest in our community by funding and by creating opportunities that provide a pipeline into the industry. I would also like to see more programs supporting emerging black brands and founders. ” In addition, Renault concluded that the industry must “cover us as a diverse subset of the beauty and nursing consumers that we are. Talk in depth about our needs. Raise, invest and support the growth of brands that want to serve us. ”

Read on for some of the experts’ favorite skincare brands.

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