One of the beautiful things about skincare is that it is for everyone and is customizable for every skin type. Here at SpaDerma, our aesthetics training is focused on a deep understanding of all skin types. In this article, we will break down the Fitzpatrick scale, advanced skincare treatments for darker skin types, and where SpaDerma goes from here.
In the medical spa industry, we use different types of lasers to treat patients of all skin types, addressing concerns like unwanted hair, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation or acne scarring. Some people with darker skin tones are worried to go to any medical spa due to concerns that their provider might not understand the complexities of their skin. While this remains an educational issue in our industry, at SpaDerma our Aestheticians are trained extensively on the Fitzpatrick Scale and safety protocols so all individuals are treated safely and effectively.
The Fitzpatrick scale (also Fitzpatrick skin typing test; or Fitzpatrick phototyping scale) is a numerical classification for human skin tone. It was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick as a way to estimate the response different types of skin have to ultraviolet (UV) light. The Fitzpatrick scale is important because it is useful for assessing the risk of premature skin ageing due to the sun, and for estimating the safe dose of UV light and Laser light in patients receiving light therapy or laser hair removal. There are 6 skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale and we made a graph to show how we categorize skin types for proper and safe treatment. As far as treatments for dark skin types, almost all treatments we offer at SpaDerma are safe but it is important to note that skin types 4-6 can not receive Intense Pulsed Light Therapy or Vein Therapy treatments.
When we treat darker skin types with lasers that respond to melanin, or darker pigmentation for treatments such as Laser Hair Removal or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, we want to be sure we are not causing too much heat within the skin. As our Director of Education, Ashley Powers explains, “If we do [cause too much heat], anyone with darker skin has a higher risk of burning which can lead to hyperpigmentation, or worse hypopigmentation [depigmenting that removes all traces of pigment leaving a permanent white spot]. The reason this can happen is because a lot of the lasers we use to treat many skin conditions target pigmentation, or melanin, to correct and remove unwanted hair or pigmented lesions (sun spots). Lasers are super smart and are great at treating what we need them to treat, but they also have a hard time differentiating between unwanted pigment and natural pigment we want to stay, like skin tone.” It is through this extensive training that our Aestheticians can provide safe and effective Laser treatments, like Laser Hair Removal, to patients of all skin tones!
Some major skin concerns we see from some of our patients of color include hyperpigmentation, acne, acne scarring, uneven skin tone, and unwanted hair. Here are some services we provide to help address those concerns:
- Clear + Brilliant (links for all treatments)
- Chemical Peels
- Fire + Ice
- Skinpen Microneedling
- Laser Hair Removal
- Any many more!
One of our favorite treatments is Clear + Brilliant. While this laser treatment is effective for people of all skin types and tones, it is especially amazing because it uses technology that doesn't target melanin! As we described above, some lasers target melanin or pigment in the skin–this is not the case for Clear + Brilliant! Instead, this laser targets water in the skin to resurface, address texture, and help maintain a youthful glow. We chatted with our Clear + Brilliant brand representative, Deidra, to get more information. Deidra says,
“I receive Clear + Brilliant treatments monthly for skin maintenance and it gives my skin a natural glow. It’s highly addictive.” - Deidra
Glow on Cynthia
She goes on to say, “I receive Clear + Brilliant treatments monthly for skin maintenance and it gives my skin a natural glow. It’s highly addictive.” She explains that many women of color in the celebrity world have gotten Clear + Brilliant to stay camera ready such as Real Housewives of Atlanta Cynthia Bailey! Clear + Brilliant is a gentle laser great for rejuvenation especially since we have all been in quarantine for so long, this is the perfect summer-glow treatment!
Skin exfoliating is great for all skin types too; it helps remove vellus hair or “peach fuzz” on your skin that may be causing breakouts and uneven application of skincare products. Skin exfoliating is a great add-on to many other customizable and safe-for-darker-skin-types treatments such as chemical peels (another SpaDerma fave)! Chemical peels are safe for darker skin types and help with issues such as hyperpigmentation, which is the over production of melanin or post-inflammatory pigmentation. Chemical Peels are also popular because of the transformations after just a few treatments. Michelle Holmes, an Aesthetician and Laser Specialist at our West Loop location, explains, “I find the most success with my patients of color that have concerns with hyperpigmentation, when alternatinting Clear + Brilliant and Chemical Peels every two weeks until desired results are achieved.”
Another great example of the transformative power of Chemical Peels comes from a patient of Christina Immordino, an Aesthetician and Laser Specialist at our Lincoln Park location: (her recent before and after) Other treatments include HydraFacials, isClinical Fire & Ice, and Microneedling. Stay tuned as we take a deeper dive into some of these treatments on the blog in the future!
At SpaDerma, we want our patients, staff, and community to feel safe and trust the effectiveness of our treatments. We have been lucky enough to serve our diverse Chicagoland community for over 19 years and we can’t wait to see where our small business goes from here. We will continue to provide educational information for all skin types and we encourage everyone to come in for a complimentary consultation to determine the right treatment plan for their unique, beautiful skin. 2020 has been difficult but we are committed to doing better and to create a brighter, glowy-er future for all! We hope to see you soon!