Several readers have written in with questions, so I decided to compile them as a Q and A with Shelley Skin Care.
How and Why Did you Get into the Skin Care industry
I began my beauty career as a makeup artist working for Clinique and Lancome when I was 21. A couple years after that I started managing a retail skin care boutique named H2O Plus. It was a year into working there, and still freelancing as a makeup artist, when I realized I’d found my calling. I wanted to make visible changes in client’s skin and use healthy ingredients, which was not possible with the path I was on. So I started with esthetics school, and after graduating decided to also complete my studies as a cosmetologist.
Where Did Your Fascination and Love for Skin Care Evolve?
My mother looked like a gorgeous Jackie-O, and worked part-time as an Avon Lady when I was little. Her box of beauty products quickly became part of my toy box. As I got older, my fascination grew and I would make masks out of everything I could find in our refrigerator. Not long after that, I became obsessed with finding the most hydrating body lotion, since winter was incredibly dry on the East Coast.
There Are Companies That Create Products Specifically For Women with Melanin in Their Skin. Do People with Darker Skin Tones Have a Specific Skin Type?
Definitely not! Unless you are living with a skin condition such as albinism, everyone has melanin. Melanin helps to prevent UV-damage from sunlight exposure. Over time our ancestors’ bodies naturally produced more or less melanin depending on where they lived. For example, someone living close to the equator, where there is more sunlight, would need additional melanin in their skin to protect against sun damage. As we have evolved, large groups of people migrated to different parts of the world, where subsequent generations passed on blends of pigmentation genes.
An interesting fact is that melanin is located in the outermost layer of the skin, meaning it is in the dead layer of skin. This dead layer of skin is the only difference between light and dark skin.
When I consider “skin types”, I focus on things like pore size, skin texture and hyperpigmentation. Enlarged pores tell me that a client has an abundance of oil while smaller pores indicate drier skin. Certain bumps and scars tell me about previous problems with acne, while hyperpigmentation shows me that the client has had UV exposure or that I will need to take extra precautions due to higher amounts of melanin.
In my experience, I understand that preventing hyperpigmentation is extremely important in people of color. During a facial, if the skin becomes inflamed due to pressure while performing extractions, ice or something cool is necessary to quickly reduce it.
What is Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?
For simplicity, I call it PIHP. Inflammation can occur after the skin has been wounded. A wound may include over-exfoliating with a scrub, a facial peel, burn or abrasion. White blood cells rush to the surface of the area causing inflammation. The production of white blood cells stimulates melanin. Once the melanin is activated it pushes up the pigmented cells to aid in the healing process. The faster you can cool that down and relieve the inflammation the better chance you’ll have of not hyperpigmenting (hyper, meaning over-active).
What Would You Say to People Who Don’t Have Acne or a Regular Skin Care Routine?
If you don’t have acne, I’d say you are lucky! However, no matter what, cleansing twice a day is important for skin health and moisturizing with something that adds a bit of hydration and protection always helps. I think serums are a wonderful addition to anyone’s skin care routine. I love customizing serums because they can add brightening ingredients, essential fatty acids, peptides and vitamins to the skin. Serums are secondary, but great to add in if you have the time.
Do We Need to Wear Sunscreen Even When It’s not Summertime?
Absolutely, hands down, everyone needs sunscreen. There are UVA’s and UVB’s and we need to be protected from both. You can think of A’s as aging and B’s for burning. UVA’s filter through the clouds and cause a “slow burn” while the UVB’s can cause immediate sunburn effects depending on your skin color (how much melanin you have). The glare that comes from a cloudy day or the light that reflects off of snow is as damaging as a sunny day. They both cause premature aging that can be greatly reduced by sunscreen.
What Skin Care Do You Have in Your Medicine Cabinet?
I have been formulating my product line for so long that I have a cabinet full of skin care. I have various samples of batches that never made it into production, along with some of the fan-faves. Depending on the condition of my skin and weather factors, I use various cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and masks. Since I started the Shop World section of my website, I am trying lots of different products to figure out what is what. I’m always tweaking the site to give a better user experience.
My website, shelleyskincare.com, focuses on navigating the world of beauty and filtering out all of the unhealthy products to find healthy, effective products. Shop World has all of my recommendations of brands found on sites like Amazon. You’ll see my “Tried and True” and “Dying to Try” products. Of course, you will find my Shelley Skin Care products, as well!