While makeup brands have taken a major approach in being diverse and inclusive, there’s still some work to be done within the skincare arena. We may have 40 to 50 shades of foundations that cater many skin tones, but in order to achieve the makeup look of your dreams, skincare matters. Realizing early in her life and career, Urban Skin Rx Founder, Rachel Roff took on the task to educate women of color on hyperpigmentation, acne, lasers and more within the multicultural community. The Southern entrepreneur and aesthetician continues to be a pioneer within the skincare melanin movement. Keep reading as Rachel reveals what moved her to create the brand, how she feels about the term ‘ethnic skin,’ and everything you need to know about treatment pads, chemical peel pads and lasers.
On changing industry standards:
Growing up, I suffered from bullying due to a nevus mole on my face, acne and being overweight. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a medical aesthetician, and when I started in the field in Charlotte, NC, a city with a large African American and Latino population. I realized that there was no one serving men and women of color. That just seemed like such a huge injustice to me, and a missed opportunity. I grew up with a diverse family, and the majority of my closest friends were people of color, so I wanted to change the industry standard. I opened up my medspa, Urban Medspa and Weight Loss Center, and after its success, realized that there was a huge demand outside of Charlotte for skin care catered to melanin rich skin. I then started Urban Skin Rx as an e-commerce site, and the rest is history! Now we are in Ulta Beauty, CVS Pharmacy and Target stores nationwide, and we continue to grow.
On biggest mistake with treating hyperpigmentation:
Two things: One, a huge mistake I see is not treating the source first. For example, if you have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, but you haven’t gotten your acne under control, you are still going to continue getting dark marks and hyperpigmentation. Start with getting your acne under control, then target the hyperpigmentation. Second, not wearing SPF. UV rays from the the sun can penetrate the skin rain or shine, and through windows. They also make dark marks and hyperpigmentation worse. If you are spending hundreds of dollars on skin care and treatments but are not wearing a daily SPF you are wasting your money and hindering your results.
On the term ‘ethnic skin’ within the market:
I feel torn about it to be honest. On one hand, a person’s race shouldn’t play a role in treating skin, it’s about the person’s skin tone. On the other hand, some skin conditions are more prevalent in certain ethnicities. For example, Keloids and Reticulated Papillomatosis are two skin conditions more common in the African American community. I think it comes down to context.
On women of color and laser treatments:
When the right laser is used, and the person is going to a medical spa that is well-versed in working with darker skin tones, lasers are a safe and effective way to treat hyperpigmentation! It uses pulsating beams of light to exfoliate away layers of skin to reveal a smoother, more even skin tone. At my Urban Medspa & Weight Loss Center in North Carolina we use the Clear + Brilliant Permea Fraxel Laser to treat hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone in melanin rich skin.
On Urban Skin RX’s Super C formula :
The Super C Brightening Serum contains 20% ascorbic acid, which is on the higher side when it comes to serums on the market. But what really sets it apart is the percentage of ferulic, kojic and salicylic we included to make this a multi-purpose serum. It not only brightens the skin, it helps with texture, the appearance of pore size, and anti-aging. The Super C Brightening Serum has also won several awards, so it’s has been proven to be a fan-favorite, and a formula that delivers amazing results.
On the Urban Skin RX’s retinol resurfacing treatment pads and the Complexion Correction Chemical Peel Pads:
The formulas are very different. Urban Skin RX’s Chemical Peel Pads ($38) contain 15% Glycolic Acid and are meant to be used as a once a week, at home treatment. The Retinol Resurfacing Treatment Pads ($58) are meant to be every other night, or nightly part of your skin care routine. Both formulas use ingredients that are not only safe for melanin rich skin but help speed up the skin’s turnover rate. Quickly shedding the top layer of dead skin helps fade the appearance of dark marks and hyperpigmentation at a faster rate.