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Cosmeceuticals for Patients of Color With Dr Susan Taylor

As society move toward a more inclusive environment for patients of all phototypes, dermatologists should be equipped with the knowledge to suggest cosmeceuticals for patients with darker skin types. In her American Academy of Dermatology Virtual Meeting Experience 2021 presentation, Susan Taylor, MD, FAAD, explained the latest innovations in cosmetics for skin of color (SOC).

“The beauty industry has not been very inclusive regarding the depth and diversity of color palates, especially for people with brown skin,” said Dr Taylor. New brands have emerged with products across the entire spectrum of colors, and established brands have expanded to keep up. However, there are still some concerns that the expansions do not cover every color or products leave people of color looking ashy or gray.

A “beauty brawl” occurred around 2017 with the launch of celebrity beauty brand Fenty by Rihanna; this cosmetics line featured 40 shades from the color spectrum, sparking expansions and pushback from other brands. In head-to-head comparisons with traditional brands based in the United States, however, the Fenty brand as well as the Maybelline Fit Me line stood out for their breadth of coverage, including even for coverage of a wider range of lighter tones. This is significant for patients with albinism, noted Dr Taylor.

Further, US brands with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) founders are more likely to skew toward darker shades. These brands include Beauty Bakerie, Black Up, Laws of Nature Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Iman Cosmetics.

Internationally, US brands have the largest total number of shades, likely due to the increased diversity in the country. It is important for dermatologists to be aware of these brands to be prepared to make recommendations to patients with darker skin tones.

Dr Taylor also discussed moisturizing needs for SOC. A growing body of evidence points to differences in skin physiology, and because of this, dryness is fairly common in SOC. Moisturizers with ceramides are a good go-to, explained Dr Taylor, due to the added benefit of hydration.

In addition, cosmeceuticals with lightening agents can be helpful in battling uneven skin tones, lentigines, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and melasma in skin of color. But even with ceramides and lightening agents, a moisturizer should have UV and visible light blockers. Sun damage can reverse any progress in improving the appearance of SOC. Dr Taylor added that tinted sunscreens are available in all Fitzpatrick phototypes and are available with concentrations of iron oxides and pigmentary titanium dioxide to provide protection against visible light. —Lauren Mateja

Taylor SC. Cosmeceutical innovations in skin of color. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Virtual Meeting Experience 2021; April 23-25, 2021; virtual.

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