For more than three decades, L’Oréal has built scientific programs for increasing knowledge on African hair and skin. Their experts recently shed some light on the matter at a dermatology conference in Durban.
Dr Michele Verschoore, Medical Director, L’Oréal Research and Innovation, highlighted their scientific programs for increasing knowledge on African hair and skin.
“We have shared these advancements with medical and scientific communities across Africa,” she said.
She was addressing the second African Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ASDV) congress, held recently at the Durban ICC.
In an interview she expounded on how their research indicated that sensitive skin in Africa is largely underestimated.
“We identified two things which are underestimated. First is the sensitivity of African skin. It is sensitive to any external factor, like UV light, solar light, to high temperatures, changes in temperature. African skin is quite sensitive to excessive sweating, and it is also sensitive to natural cycles of women. And this is underestimated because the African customer has a high tolerance of acceptance of symptoms of sensitive skin,” said Verschoore.
These symptoms were often linked to undiagnosed inflammation of skin: “Symptoms like very subtle redness, dry skin, hyper reactivity to products - like when you apply a cream or use a shower gel,” she said.
Verschoore said their scientists had also identified how sunscreen can help relieve pigmentation disorder. “Our basic science group identified that even very dark skin can be sensitive to UV light and in particular the UVA range in the UV light. When you buy sunscreen for example, the number for the SPF is UVB, but this more for suitable for light skinned people. There is no need for a dark skinned person to apply a high dose of UVB. We’ve found that the correct amount of UVA application can last up to six months. UVA light is responsible for longstanding dark spots induced by inflammation,” said Verschoore.
And this information is important in managing aging African skin: “The main characteristics we’ve observed with aging, is that there is longer life expectancy. In darker skin uneven pigmentation and dark spots is a major indication of aging - not wrinkles as in lighter skin. A good UVA sunscreen is a good way to avoid symptoms of ageing.”
Verschoore - also a practicing dermatologist - also warned consumers against“fake products”.
“We see a lot of patients having symptoms related to using fake products on the market. Understand the characteristics of your skin, prevent and protect. Stay far away from illegal products. They pose long term danger to public health in terms of contents in these products that are not disclosed and high concentrations of unknown chemicals. Use good quality products with a good distribution channel so that you know what you are putting into your body. Illegal products have no quality dossier and education for consumers is essential to help them chose what is good for each one, said Verschoore
The 71st Annual Congress of the Dermatology Society of South Africa was held in conjunction with the 2nd African Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ASDV) congress in Durban recently.
The second ASDV congress was the first African Dermatology congress held in South Africa. The ASDV Congress gathered over 400 dermatologists from across sub-Saharan Africa and abroad.