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The New Skin of Color

By Christine Heathman
Posted: February 2, 2006, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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      Acne. Treating acne for SOC includes the use of a myriad of home care and clinical remedies. Most agents used to address this condition are antibacterial and comedolytic to target the various pathogens that are responsible for the development of acne vulgaris. However, many of the ingredients needed to manage acne can cause a rebound in hyperpigmentation if not administered properly. These constituents and their irritating nature do not mean that you should avoid them—just understand them, as well as the type of skin to which they are exposed.
      When it comes to acne in the new SOC, further complications can arise that result in additional challenges. For instance, some ethnic combinations genetically produce an abundance of oils in the sebaceous follicle environment, yet have a pore size that is extremely tight, due to other genetically influenced factors. This makes it next to impossible to extract lesions. When facing this type of situation, use caution to avoid causing any injury that will exacerbate the pigmentation. Knowing the genetic history of your clients’ skin and what makes it tick will enable you to be more effective with the treatments you provide.

      Rosacea. Rosacea occurs in SOC, although it is not as common as in lighter Northern European skin types. Conduct a careful analysis of your clients’ family history, including cultural practices, such as diet, in order to yield invaluable information regarding common rosacea triggers. Be careful not to overlook bumps or pimple-type lesions on the skin or to attribute them to acne vulgaris. Stinging or burning is the most common complaint among rosacea sufferers, and, because SOC is darker, this condition is more difficult to detect. Remember, acne and rosacea can go hand in hand, and each must be treated individually with respect to skin type and skin condition.

      Pigmentation. Inflammation is the leading cause of pigmentation in SOC skin types, and because the microdermabrasion concept is based on mechanical irritation, you should avoid treating SOC by using this modality. This professional method not only can be responsible for unwanted pigmentation in SOC, but it also can cause the insertion of micro-fine crystals into the skin. Unfortunately, these eventually can lead to “pigmentation streaks,” which are very difficult to treat.

SOC skin savvy
      So, are you skin savvy enough to treat the new SOC? Product advancements and clinical protocol, coupled with an in-depth understanding of these special skin types, will provide advantages for your spa. It is the well-informed professionals who will inherit the future of esthetics, and this never has been as true as it is with SOC—the future of skin care.