In today’s article, we will expand further on skin predispositions and how our ethnicity affects the structure of our skin, and the different types of visible aging that we see within each group. Depending on the demographic of your clientele, we can apply this knowledge to select ideal formulas and treatment protocols to ensure optimal results with a safe approach to guide them towards their skincare goals.

Just like us, our skin has in own strengths and weaknesses and they can be directly related to our genetics and ethnic background. This can also be considered as the intrinsic (inner) factors involved with skin conditions and phototypes, while our lifestyle and environment are considered extrinsic (external) factors like what we eat and our environment that can accelerate or decelerate how we age. A thorough consultation will consider both, the skin type or condition and genetics. When combined it will help to create a compressive treatment plan that will be safe and effective.

Generally speaking, we can categorize our clients using the Fitzpatrick skin classification. This method also referred to as photo typing looks at the concentration of melanin, found in the skin, hair, and eyes. There are two types of melanin found in the skin, eumelanin which is brown to black pigments, and phaeomelanin which are yellow to reddish-brown pigments. These are naturally occurring pigments are directly related to how our skin responds to the sun along with the visible signs of aging that we are predisposed to.  Knowing your client’s phototype in a professional setting is essential to understand how our clients will respond to IPL, LASER, and RF based treatments. It can also be used to select the best exfoliation options for your clients.

As a general guide Photo types 1, 2, and 3 are more susceptible to photo aging and damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. They can be more predisposed to sensitive skin and rosacea. Their skin tends to be thinner, so they are more affected by collagen and elastin degradation as they age which causes fine lines and wrinkles. Specific technologies such as IPL, LASER, and RF are great treatment options to explore. Products that are rich in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory actives along with SPF every day will be key to keeping their skin healthy.

Photo types 4, 5, and 6 have a higher melanin content that offers better protection and less UV induced aging but they are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation, including PIH (Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Generally darker phototypes have a more compact dermis and stronger matrix that prevents fine lines and wrinkles naturally. It will be more important to avoid IPL and applications that may cause inflammation due to the risk of pigmentation changes. Gentle peels, tyrosinase inhibitors along with antioxidant-rich skincare will ensure great results.

As we know there are specific ingredient and treatment options that are best suited for each group and as all of us are wonderfully unique we can develop a more customized approach for each of our clients. Knowing your client’s background and phototype can help guide you and your clients towards the best treatments and products possible.