Does Equal Opportunity Apply To Cosmetic Procedures?
(BlackDoctor.org) — Wrinkles, dark spots and breast size are a few of the beauty concerns African Americans have. Dermal fillers, chemical peels and breast implants are just a few of the solutions sought to address them.
The variety of cosmetic procedures are increasing, demand is growing, and the number of service providers is rising. The costs are also dropping, allowing more people to fit cosmetic procedures into the budget. But, black consumers racing to the market may want to tap the brakes because affordability and availability are not sure signs of a green light.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported that in 2009, African Americans had nearly one million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. Trends such as these are grabbing the attention of groups like ASPS and the FDA because consumer diversity tends to expand much faster than consideration of the unique needs of minorities.
Consumers often feel if they can afford it, and they want it, then they should have it. But, that attitude can be reckless when dealing with cosmetic procedures, because what is suitable for one group is not always suitable for another. There are a number of procedures that have confirmed this, including laser resurfacing and permanent cosmetics. These procedures hit the market and it was only after issues began to arise that professionals began deal with the fact that extra consideration was needed when dealing with black skin.
ASPS warned that “applying a European or other “standard of beauty” to ethnic patients may produce inconsistent results that are not harmonious…” There are also risks that treating black skin like white skin for example, can result in pigment changes, scarring and keloids.
Black cosmetic consumers must realize that, despite the degree or certificate hanging on the wall, some service providers do not have the skills and experience to treat them. And, in many cases, there may only be one standard to offer, no matter which service provider is chosen.
A major problem with the cosmetic industry is that testing, experiments and development are generally based around Caucasians. It is usually only after African-Americans have shown an inclination to purchase services or products that their needs are considered. In many cases, the recognition of those needs and the required modifications result from negative experiences.
This is not to suggest that cosmetic procedures are off bounds. But, it is essential to realize that more thoughtful decisions are required and many procedures need to be tailored if they are to be suitable for African-American needs. For example, laser treatments tend to require different lasers, settings, and techniques for black skin.
For Best Results When Seeking Cosmetic Services
Question the service provider and the products: Find out how much experience a service provider has performing a particular cosmetic procedure on black skin. Do this regardless of what the service provider looks like; skin color is not certification. A black surgeon may have predominantly white patients. Seeing a black esthetician in a spa or skincare clinic does not mean that she normally services people of color, and it doesn’t provide any guarantee that thought has been given to whether the products and tools she uses are best for minorities.
Invest in a dermatologist: Some of the services that a dermatologist offers can also be obtained elsewhere at lower prices. In some cases choosing a non-medical service provider is acceptable, but there are some situations when it’s best to have procedures done in a doctor’s office. In any case, individuals should still see a dermatologist.
Before non-medical cosmetic procedures, it is advisable to have a consultation. A good dermatologist will steer his patients in the right direction and tell them what to avoid. Being armed with this information when seeking services elsewhere can help reduce risks and side effects.
It is also important to follow up. If chemical peels are done at a spa and the treatment will span six months, after three months, it would be wise to return to the dermatologist for an assessment of the progress. Of course, if there are serious problems that appointment should be scheduled sooner.