Fact is our Asian population is growing rapidly. Statistics show that in Auckland almost 1 in 4 people are Asian. That means, your Asian client base could be growing too. Yet, very few skincare clinics are catering and marketing to their Asian clients. If you're one of those clinics, is that because you don't really understand Asian skin? Is it because you really don't understand what your Asian clients' needs are?
I decided to do try and get a better understanding of the Asian client's skin and what it is that really drives our Asian clients, in the hope that it may help you grow your business and your Asian client base.
First thing to understand is that Asian clients have a fascination with white skin. Apparently, a fair complexion symbolizes both youth and beauty to women in Asia. A lighter complexion is associated with wealth and higher education levels. In Asia, lower social classes would do outdoor labour and are therefore more exposed to the sun. Something that we’d call in New Zealand a farmer’s tan. Oh! How they must laugh at our obsession with being tanned, spray tans, and ever-evolving self-tanners!
That's the reason why Asian clients are always interested in skin-whitening products. They are seeking out moisturizers, serums, cleansers and face masks that are designed to turn olive skinned complexions into white, pasty ones. This Asian trend to maintain a pure, white complexion is a growing one too. Research show that in Asia 4 of every 10 women use a whitening cream.
What is really disturbing about all of this whitening of skin is the health risks associated with it. Dermatologists in Asia are prescribing clients creams with hydroquinone which causes skin irritations like redness and itching and more serious side effects like ochronosis, the appearance of very dark patches of skin that are very difficult to remove. That’s not all. Continual use of these chemical-laden products can develop leukoderma, a condition where the skin loses the ability to produce pigment, resulting in pink patches on the skin. It almost looks like the person has been burned. There are many horror stories of people who have lost jobs, destroyed their appearance after years of using these products. So, you may need to educate your Asian clients on the dangerous effects of these harmful ingredients in some whitening products.
Also, Asian clients can commonly experience certain skin conditions due to their skin's adaptation to the climate and the pigment composition of their skin, according to a blog posting by the Dermatology Associates of Central Texas. Therefore, their skin tends to be oilier than Caucasian skin, and they are also known to have hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation depending on their skin's melanin content.
It is important for us to understand these skin differences so we know how treat them effectively in salon.
Asian skins have a naturally higher hydration level. That makes their skins prone to show spots of hyperpigmentation, freckles and general unevenness of skin tone with age rather than wrinkles. Common skin disorders affecting many South Asians involving too much pigment include melasma and post-inflammatory pigmentation.
Melasma involves tan or brown patches mostly over the face. Sun exposure and skin irritation can worsen melasma, and this condition is often seen in pregnancy. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) results in small dark spots or large patches after inflammation or a skin injury, such as a bruise, cut, burn or scratch. Any type of rash or even acne can also lead to this disorder. Unlike melasma, PIH heals quicker and can appear anywhere on the body.
Hypopigmentation Vitiligo is a condition in which the immune system attacks skin pigment cells, resulting in smooth white patches that can occur on the skin and mucous membranes, such as lips or genitals. While vitiligo is common across all races, it is most superior in South Asians because of the contrast of light patches on darker skin. This skin condition can also be associated with other medical conditions involving the immune system, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease and pernicious anemia. Aside from vitiligo, tinea versicolor and pityriasis alba can result in hypopigmentation. Additionally, similar to hyperpigmentation, inflammation or injury to the skin can cause hypopigmentation as well.
Oiliness and Acne
Due to Asian countries having a generally warm climate, Asian skin naturally produces more oil, which leaves people of Asian descent more susceptible to acne outbreaks as opposed to Caucasians. In most cases, acne outbreaks for Asians will be in the form of keloids or hardened bumps and reddening, which can lead to permanent scarring if they are not treated quickly and thoroughly.
Interested in learning more about How to Effectively Treat Pigmentation Disorders?