Melanin Myths: Treating Hyperpigmentation


Melanin comes from the ancient Greek word Mealnos, meaning dark, and it is a natural pigment that gives the skin color. To dive deeper into melanin myths, Josh Agnew and Regilynn Haywood spoke on the Skin Inc. LIVE! Stage at Face and Body Southeast on Saturday Feb. 8, 2020.

Myth No. 1: “Avoid Chemical Peels”

Agnew and Regilynn started off by discussing this classic melanin myth. Agnew explained how peels are classified in four levels, starting with superficial peels, which target the top layers of the skin. Meanwhile, medium peels affect the dermis and deep peels penetrate right through the dermis. Just remember “progressive over aggressive treatments work.” The pair broke down some key ingredients to keep in mind when peeling as well.

  • Retinol: great for light and dark complexions, addresses and improves hyperpigmentation, addresses scarring
  • Salicylic acid: 20 to 30% for higher Fitzpatrick's, decreases excessive oil production, addresses acne-prone skin, helps dissolve dead skin, unclogs pores
  • Mandelic acid: strength matters, usually zero downtime, minimal to no peeling, skin exfoliating and ant-bacterial properties, great for sensitive skin/rosacea

Myth No. 2: “Black Don’t Crack”

This is often a spoken phrase among consumers and clients, but deeper Fitzpatrick’s are still skin that can be damaged—it just is damaged differently. Some forms of damage that can happen include loss of elasticity and firmness. Agnew and Haywood emphasized that once these negative effects are in, there is little that can be done from that.

The duo discussed how important and useful vitamin C can be for the skin explaining its antioxidant properties as well as how it can help battle free radical damage for all Fitzpatrick's. The ongoing use of vitamin C has been shown to improve the look of multiple signs of aging, correct uneven skin tone and reduce inflammation.

Myth No. 3: “Skip the SPF”

It’s hard to believe that this is something people actually believe to be true, but it is, which means its up to spa professionals to keep clients properly educated on the importance of SPF. As the spa professional, you need to stay on top of the proper information on SPF, including how melanin is not a sufficient protectant against the sun rays.

The duo included some important facts on melanoma and how 5 in 100,000 Hispanics, 1 in 100,000 African Americans and 26 in 100,000 Caucasians develop melanoma. However, even though only 1 in 100,000 African Americans may experience an incidence of melanoma, of those 52% of them are advanced cases. Haywood and Agnew listed out the key dos and don’ts when it comes to sun care, and they are listed below:

  • Do: apply daily
  • Don’t: use Avobenzone
  • Do: Look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • Don’t: Use Oxybenzone
  • Do: Apply Maximum SPF 30 or higher
  • Don’t: Use Octocrylene
  • Do: Use tinted options to avoid the “white cast”
  • Don’t: Use Ecamsule
  • Do: Warm product in hands before applying
  • Don’t: Think SPF in makeup is enough
  • Don’t: Forget to educate clients
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