About 2 years ago, I was having a chat with one of my neighbors. She had come to me because she had a ‘dire’ need. This neighbor of mine is light-skinned naturally and her husband is dark enough for two people. Like me she has 2 amazing girls; her first child seemed to take after her complexion and her second seemed more comfortable in between her and her spouse. On one of his trips back to Lagos, her husband felt that she wasn’t caring enough for the children and he demanded she go find out what ‘other’ mothers do to ‘maintain’ their childrens’ complexion. As far as he was concerned, for female standards, they had gotten too dark and too ugly and something needed to be done about it. Knowing that I’m a skincare consultant, she sought me out to help with her ‘problem’
I was shocked!!
In the masterclass with Kahlana Barfield Brown a few weeks back at GT Fashion Weekend, colorism was one of the topics that was discussed and I felt and still feel a strong pull towards it. Kahlana mentioned that prior to her writing about it in an article with InStyle, her beauty had been questioned because of her dark complexion. On the Nigerian scene, colorism seems to be the in-thing; as long as you are dark, you are not as beautiful and/or you don’t properly ‘maintain’ your complexion. This has driven a lot of people especially women to acquire a fairer complexion by any means possible.
It’s even made worse when people desperate to profit financially from such a need then devise all kinds of mixtures to ensure that a fair complexion is achieved despite the health implications. People without as much as a diploma become ‘dermatologists’, ‘chemists’ and ‘skincare consultants’ after a 3-week WhatsApp class and no other certification. They ply their trade on social media especially Instagram where they sponsor 2-3 videos of them mixing all-what-not in a bucket (that still has paint stains on the inside) and they attach a ridiculous price tag to it. Ask them their key ingredients and all they can pronounce properly is STRICTLY ORGANIC!
I’m sure by now you can tell I’m VERY passionate about this.
It hurt me so much that this lady has been pushed by her husbands’ ignorance (I don’t know what else to call it) to find ‘help’ that her 4 and 2 years old daughters did not need. I did my best to counsel her to let them be and focus more on their health rather than their fair complexion or lack of it. Something inside me kept telling me I was wasting my time; she would eventually find what she was looking for; so sad.
Healthier, Glowing Skin VS Fairer, Lighter Complexion? Which is your pick?
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It’s been over 3 years since I started taking clients as a skincare consultant and I find myself still getting baffled by the kind of stories I hear during consultations. Most times people tell me they visited a ‘dermatologist’ in a ‘market place’ and that he/she ‘mixed’ some topical applications for them which may or may not have worked. And this often makes me ask; who exactly should you trust with your skin concerns?
I’m a firm believer that when people are better informed they can make better decisions. So knowing who is who would go a long way in helping one to turn to the right place for help.
- Dermatology is a branch of medicine that deals with skin, nails, hair and its diseases. This means that a dermatologist would have gone to medical school (7-10 years in Nigeria) and afterwards specialized in dermatology (another 2-3 years after housemanship and NYSC). He/She is licensed to perform surgical procedures and biopsies in order to treat dermatological diseases. In other words, dermatology is a specialty just like pediatrics and OB/GYN.
- Skincare Consultations are usually anchored by a skincare consultant. Ideally, he/she must have obtained a certification after at least a 100-hour theory + practical training session from a credible institution. A diploma or degree is usually not required prior being certified to offer skincare consultation services. A credible skincare consultant would gladly refer a client to a dermatologist when unusual skin conditions are observed, either for biopsies or proper diagnosis. They do not use their clients as guinea pigs to test ‘mixtures’ and are transparent and not afraid to tell their clients their level of certification and/or experience. They are also open about the products they recommend to their clients, the ingredients contained in the product and why they recommend it. They may or may not offer facials services.
- An esthetician usually offers spa, facials, waxing, massage, manicure and pedicure services. Because this requires a lot of touching others sometimes in personal places, proper training from a credible institution is required when pursuing this career path. In other climes, an additional license by a State Esthetician Board is required before one starts practicing. Such a license expires within a few years and has to be renewed after writing an exam or two. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Nigeria.
Skincare Consultants can get further certification to become estheticians and vice versa. But neither of them is qualified to diagnose skin diseases (different from skin conditions). Something all of the above have in common is that they offer MORE of paid services than products.
I’ll ask you again, who exactly should you trust with your skin concerns?
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Whenever I’m headed towards Ikeja axis I seem to find an excuse to pass under the bridge around the mobile phone market, maybe because my favorite book vendor stalls there. On almost every occasion I do notice people, especially young men, with little white containers in their hands. These young men are not your regular ‘memory card’ and ‘ear-piece’ hawkers which should be conveniently associated with a place called Computer Village. No! They let out a shrill whistle to get your attention and when they do, next is “pink lips”. Yes! Pink lips are for sale.
From my observation, those with naturally-occurring (as if there’s any other way it should occur) ‘pink lips’ (which is not necessarily pink, but several shades lighter than ones skin tone and quite noticeable in people of color) always have their tongue swiping over the erring lip or even have it trapped in their mouth really often. Sometimes as often as twice a minute especially if they are not talking or are trying to concentrate on a task. This has been their default lip position for years, yes, years.
A good number of people seem to find this ‘pop of color’ quite attractive and believe that their level or scale of appeal would be increased should they have it themselves. What they don’t realize is that with ‘pink lips’ comes really dry lips, and with dry lips comes the need to moisten them again: a vicious circle that becomes a habit and tends to last a lifetime. Imagine having to wet your body twice a minute for approximately 12 hours a day……. Exactly!! But how would they know? Theirs is a 7-10 days’ cosmetic acquisition.
Whichever way you feel about this, naturally-occurring ‘pink lips’ is reversible. Once the lip(s) and the tongue don’t find their way to each other as often as before, the pale color fades and the default shade is restored without any side effects. I’m afraid the same cannot be said for the content of that little white container, considering most of them don’t declare their list of ingredients.
Do tell me; pink lips or no?
We started talking about my 6 most underestimated skin care products on the previous post.
Here are the remaining 3
Night moisturizers: this is one of my absolute favorite product. I cannot begin to tell you how important a moisturizer is; it is such that you should apply it at least once daily.
A good night moisturizer is tailored to continue from where the day moisturizer stops. Most day moisturizers are made to protect the skin from the hustle and bustle of the day; from the sun to air pollutants and oxidative stress. But the night moisturizer helps to rejuvenate the skin, restoring whatever damage that may have been caused earlier, while one is asleep. This gives the skin a fresh start every morning.
Allowing your skin a fresh start every morning is indeed a good way to stall any visible signs of aging.
Hand and foot creams: our limbs have some of the toughest layers of skin; our palms, soles and nails. We handle objects, hot and cold, wet and dry, slimy and solid, with our palms. We subject our feet to tight enclosures, called shoes, sometimes on a daily basis. Some of us work on our feet all day long. Our nails are scissors, knives, peelers and any other tool in between. It’s just befitting that adequate care be given these unsung heroes.
Adequate care for the hands and feet is a post all on its own and would be addressed later.
Wash hands and feet before applying this product generously, preferably right before going to bed.
Masks: this product has a wide range of consistency; from clay to mud to cream to marine and even peel-off. These consistencies also give varying results. Some of the results can be
– Getting rid of white and black heads (exfoliation)
– Firming the skin
– Hydrating the skin
– Drawing out impurities
It’s best to find out exactly what your skin needs and tailor your mask to suit it.
Do you think I’ve missed any underestimated skin care products in this line up?? Let me know in the comment section.
Many a time, when breaking down skin care routines to clients, some products seem to be misunderstood and termed irrelevant.
Here are my 6 most underestimated skin care products.
Toners: this product is a must have in any skin care kit. I’ve had many clients go from cleanser straight to moisturizer because they don’t understand what exactly a toner does. A good toner actually has about 3 functions unless otherwise indicated by the manufacturer. Such functions include
– Further cleansing; beyond what your cleanser already provides.
– Calming the skin; which is why it is usually used after scrubbing.
– Prepping the skin; just before applying a mask or your favorite moisturizer.
While choosing a cleanser, do put in consideration your skin type. Also make sure it’s alcohol-free.
Eye makeup removers: this is an essential product for every makeup lover because, in the bid to have longer lasting makeup, most of us use water-proof products and then have a really hard time removing them. Some of us scrub so hard around the eye area, we end up with scanty lashes.
What I love about the Eye makeup remover is that it’s quite gentle and it also works on ALL water-proof makeup products; this includes the mouth region. Simply dampen a Q-tip with this product and reach into sensitive areas like the water-line for a quick wipe.
Eye creams: some people say they are born with bags and/or dark circles around their eyes. Agreed! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make any effort to make it look better. Personally, I think it’s better to brighten up the area and reduce the appearance of bags and puffiness than to layer it with Concealer.
This product almost always comes in a little container but it packs a punch. It is best appreciated when one is stress-prone; the ‘eyes’ always have it!
Before I let you in on my remaining 3 underestimated skin care products, do tell me: which skin care product do you deem irrelevant and why?
I met a lady a few days ago at my daughters’ open day. Our kids are actually in the same class and typical me, I struck up a conversation. Before long, we were talking skin care (which I’m quite passionate about) and she was quick to tell me she’s a natural person and doesn’t apply anything on her face.
Let’s clear something up here: being natural shouldn’t mean being negligent!!
Don’t get me wrong! I understand that a good number of people don’t have the discipline to maintain a healthy skin-care regimen and many of them believe they don’t even need it. But lack of discipline or ignorance shouldn’t be mistaken for being natural.
Your skin is the largest organ your body has; it’s the first thing people see when they look at you. Little wonder people are most particular about their faces which leads one to believe that ‘skin care’ is all about the face.
Did you have your bath today? Skin care
Did you shave any part of your body today? Skin care
Do you shampoo your scalp/hair? Skin care
Do you mani and pedi? Skin care
Do you indulge in massages and spa treatments? Skin care
All of the above procedures and a whole lot I didn’t include are measures we take to appear properly groomed and as such is not limited to females alone. Neither is it for people that are ‘not natural’.
I’m just in my early 30’s but believe me when I say that my skin, especially my face and scalp/hair, is not what it used to be. Maybe its childbirth, maybe its hormonal changes, blame it on what you want, but my skin care regimen helps me cope with the visible signs of aging.
It allows me to remain confident even without makeup; which is what ‘being natural’ is all about.
Share the steps you take to better take care of your skin/nails/scalp/hair.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that so many people (1 in every 50 persons) are not aware they suffer from, especially dark-skinned persons.
Skin cells on the surface of the body usually get replaced about every 28 days by underlying cells. In people suffering from psoriasis, what would have taken 28 days happens in 4-6 days thereby, piling skin cells on the surface of the body. These skin cell piles cause thick red and purple patches in light and dark-skinned persons respectively. These patches which can be found on the scalp, face, elbows, knees, palms of the hand, soles of the feet and other parts of the leg, can get itchy and sore, sometimes they become scaly, swollen and painful.
Just like eczema, psoriasis has a genetic link to it, in other words, it can be hereditary. It can also be aggravated by stress, smoking, infection (misdirected immune intervention) and changes in the weather which may dry up the skin.
Psoriasis has no known cure but it can be managed quite well. It is not contagious!! It is not sexually transmitted and it is not as a result of poor personal hygiene!!
To properly manage this skin condition, the following should be considered;
- Stop smoking!!! That is if you do smoke, of course. 😊
- Supplement diet with vitamins A and D as these may be deficient in psoriatics. One can also consider sunshine or UV exposure. In moderation of course.
- Essential fatty acids especially omega–3 is vital.
- It is important to regulate cells, repair the skins barrier and retain water, so using topical treatments with plant derivatives should prove effective. Aloe Vera, Curcumin (derived from turmeric) and Marigold extracts work well. Using moisturizers with these extracts as often as possible is a step in the right direction.
- Work towards being stress-free.
It is wise to basically avoid any situation or environment that could trigger a psoriatic flare. If such measures have been taken yet reactions still persist, do well to consult a dermatologist for detailed examination.
Do you or anyone you know suffer from this skin condition? How do you (they) manage it?
A good percentage of us struggled with acne/pimples while growing up. I know I did. During my secondary school days, I could hardly remember a day I looked into the mirror without having to pinch one area of my face or another. My face looked so much like a bumpy Nigerian road.
Every 28 days or so, the top layer of skin cells are shed and replaced with new ones. But if for one reason or the other they don’t shed properly, there’s a tendency for the dead skin cells to clog the opening or pores on the skins’ surface, resulting to whiteheads and black heads depending on the depth of the clog. Acne is then formed when this clogged area is infected by bacteria.
Acne breakouts could be as a result of;
- Stress: Sleep and rest should not be taken for granted, there’s a reason why it’s called ‘beauty sleep’. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep daily enables the body and skin to work at their best. Try not to worry and stress about situations you can’t avoid.
- Hormones: For females, there are certain times in a month when you can’t help but notice zits all over the face. Sometimes it creeps to the chest, back, shoulders and upper arms and can be painful too. For teenagers, acne is also a reality for a good number of years because of the level of hormones raging on the inside. Once there’s a surge or plunge in hormones within the body, most times it results to changes on the skin which may include acne.
- Pollution (Oxidative stress): UV rays and automechanical fumes are two major sources of free radicals which put the health of ones’ skin at stake. Taking care to ensure minimum exposure will go a long way in maintaining optimum balance.
- Improper skincare regimen or hygiene: When one is ignorant of their skin-type and products that work well for them, they stand a chance of not giving their skin the best care that it needs. Try not to under-do it or over-do it.
- Poor diet: Eating a balanced meal, alongside green leafy vegetables and fruit most often reflect on the health of our skin. Carbonated and processed drinks should be avoided and replaced with pure water.
To treat or avoid acne breakouts, one can
- Exfoliate; for me, this is the most important step. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. With little or no dead skin cells to clog pores, it’s safe to say that there’ll be less and less breakouts. Care should be taken not to exfoliate too frequently as this may affect the skin adversely.
- Adopt a skin care regimen suitable for your skin type.
- Use anti-inflammatory products: this can be in form of supplements or topical creams. Anti-inflammatory products are almost always antioxidants, so this will help a lot combating oxidative stress. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide are a few of the supplements and/or topical creams that can be used to control acne.
- Eat balanced meals, fruits and vegetables, drink lots of pure water.
Any questions? Type in the comment section below. Also like our Facebook page @roseebynwaka for more ‘behind the scenes’ info.
When picking out skin care products, I’m pretty particular not just about the expiry date, but also the ingredients on the label. I already shared with us my must have ingredients in a previous post, so today, I’ll be sharing ingredients I avoid and why.
- Alcohol: Have you enjoyed a bottle or two of your favorite alcoholic beverage recently? Did you feel thirsty after a while? This is because alcohol has a tendency to dry up or dehydrate cells. Those with oily skin seems to favor cleansers and toners with alcohol in them because it gives them this crisp feel right after applying them. But truth is, it strips the top layer of the skin of all protective oils, thereby, causing the skin to produce even more to replace that which has been wiped out. This is not to say that all skin care products containing alcohol are bad, just do well to avoid those that have Alcohol Denat as their number one ingredient, that sting when applied or evaporate very quickly when exposed to the skin.
- Mercury: This ingredient is mostly found in antiseptic soaps and ‘skin lightening’ creams, serums and ointments. It works by inhibiting the formation of melanin (the natural color of the skin), resulting in lighter skin tones. Mercury is so potent that it also affects the people around whoever applies or uses it and in a negative way. Side effects include hair loss, drowsiness, weakness, depression, burning skin sensation when in humid or air-conditioned environment, itching, stinging and redness of skin over time. As if all the above is not enough, it also exposes the skin to sever sun damage. Look out for calomel, mercurous chloride, mercuric, mercurio as these are synonymous to mercury. If any of these names is listed as an ingredient on a skin care product, I avoid it!!
- Hydroquinone: In the US, Hydroquinone is a recommended ingredient in skin lightening BUT for particular skin conditions, in regulated quantities and for a specified period of time. Even at that, many people still suffer from the side effects which may include: skin dryness and cracking, excessive redness and irritation, blistering and blue-black darkening. These side effects also leave the skin more sensitive to sunburn and over time, more prone to skin cancer.
These 3 ingredients are an absolute no-no for me when picking up skin care products. What ingredients do YOU avoid? Let me know in the comment section below.
Someone once joked that the sun needs to stop showing off as it remains the hottest thing on earth. I totally agree!!
It’s no secret that your skin gets a good dose of vitamin D from the early morning sun, but how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between nourishing your skin and keeping it from premature ageing and burn?
There are six skin types in relation to the sun and burn risk. These skin types are categorized based on the concentration of melanocytes (cells that give the skin its color) on the surface of the skin. Knowing where you fall will go a long way in helping you reduce any skin damage caused by the sun.
- Type 1; People in this category have VERY fair skin, very light blond or red hair, are prone to freckles and have green or blue eyes. Europeans easily fall into this category. This skin type hardly tans (always gets burnt and very prone to skin cancer) and TOTAL sunblock should be used.
- Type 2; Skin in this category burns easily and tans with difficulty. Hair can be blond or light brown and eyes are blue or brown. Should use SPF 20 and above. Total sunblock can be used on delicate areas.
- Type 3; Skin sometimes gets burnt but tans very well. Hair is light brown and eyes are brown or green. Sunscreen with SPF 20 is ideal for this group.
- Type 4; People with this skin type are usually found in the Mediterranean region. They have dark brown eyes and hair. Their skin rarely burns and tans easily and they are less likely to develop skin cancer than skin types 1 & 2. But with continuous exposure, their skin will age prematurely and become saggy. Sunscreen with SPF 15 is recommended.
- Type 5; Skin in this category are not as vulnerable to UV-related ageing or skin cancer but this doesn’t mean care shouldn’t be taken. They have brown to light black skin and should use sunscreen with SPF 10 if they have to stay out in the sun for an extended period.
- Type 6; This skin type is typical to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. They have darker black-brown skin, black-brown eyes and hair. The skin hardly ever burns. For prolonged exposure, use SPF 8.
When using sunscreen, lavishly apply on areas not covered by clothing a few minutes before heading out under the sun, but do well to avoid staying out between 12 noon and 3 o’clock: this is when the sun is at its hottest!
After unexpected or prolonged sun exposure, use an after-sun soother. Aloe Vera works very well. If you have the real plant, just snap off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the affected areas. Or choose an after-sun product based on Aloe, just make sure Aloe barbadensis is the first ingredient on the label.
If you fall into Type 5 or 6 skin type and you seem prone to sunburn, you might need to re-examine the ingredients used in your skin care products as it may be eroding the protective melanocytes on the surface of your skin. Better still, visit a certified dermatologist.
Did you get value from todays’ post? Let me know in the comment section below.