I've shared my story on how I got started as a Formulating Chemist and became the owner of a formulation and production company, but for those new to my platform or just new to this information, I'm going to dive a little deeper into that story while sharing some data you probably didn't know.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the global population was estimated to reach 8 billion by November 2022. Some population data and estimates support that black people make up at least 1 billion of that global number.
SEE ME, I always feel like Big Brother is watching and I DEFINITELY know that Big Brother be lying. I question all statistical data collected by the government. I doubt those in power are willing to give us an accurate account of the influence of black and African people in this world. There is power in numbers, so do you think they'd really tell us ours? Hmmm... just food for thought.
However, these numbers are what I have to work with to deliver this message and I digress. To zone it in, the United States population is almost 400 million. Being the second largest minority group, there is over 46 million black people in America (about 14% of the US population). Again, these numbers are based on data collected through the United States Census Bureau. Check them, don't check me.
Reportedly, African Americans spend 9 times more on cosmetics than the general population. In Taylor Bryant's essay "How the Beauty Industry Has Failed Black Women", the core argument is that "Black women spend an estimate $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, shelling out 80% more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care as their non-black counterparts. Yet, they've been grossly underserved by the cosmetic industry throughout history."
Global Skin Solutions, a beauty and education brand founded by CEO Pamela Springer, provided African American Facts on skin. From their research, here are the key points that stood out.
+ The most common skin disorder among African Americans is acne. Just as with any skin type, a build-up of oil, dead skin, and bacteria can lead to acne breakouts.
+ Because African American skin tends to be more sensitive, the appearance of these outbreaks can be more severe, resulting in heavy scarring and inflammation.
+ Other major skin disorders among African Americans are pigmentation disorders. Hyper-pigmentation, or an increase in color, and hypo-pigmentation, or decrease in color can happen to any skin type but they are more noticeable among individuals with darker skin.
However European and White beauty standards continue to influence mainstream beauty norms and impact personal care product use for women of color. Notice how anti-aging products are usually always marketed with claims of reducing fine-lines and wrinkles. In black skin, wrinkles and fine-lines may not be symptoms associated with our aging skin. Instead, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and dry skin tend to show up as black skin ages. This example of how anti-aging products are marketed is a reminder that the beauty industry tends to only have one group in mind when creating products.
Black people are the biggest consumers of beauty products so its obvious that we are also the most exposed to harm that could from its use. Research shows that there is a growing concern that black women specifically are disproportionately exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in personal care products. Data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that African Americans have the highest urinary concentrations of phthalates and parabens, two common hazardous materials found in beauty products.
A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found on the National Library of Medicine database focused on the racial differences in allergic sensitization using children and adults of different ethnic groups. The individuals were given skin prick tests to see how they responded to 10 common allergens. In each sector, black children and adults were significantly more likely to be sensitized than their white counterparts with at least one positive skin prink test result. In conclusion, not only are we the most exposed to hazardous and irritating materials, we are also the most skin sensitive to food, allergens, and other materials.
But have no fear. Research shows that when educated, black women are more likely to avoid harmful ingredients when making their personal care selections. So here I am offering some education so that my following can make more educated choices in the beauty world.
Okay, so still...WHY NATURAL SKIN CARE? AND HOW DOES THIS ALL CONNECT TO TPC?
The data that I just shared is a ONLY numerical depiction of what led me to formulate and create natural skin care. I went majority of my life with “good skin”. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started to experience the pains of having sensitive skin. I called myself supporting a friend’s business and got my face waxed. Little did I know, that choice was the worst one I could have made for my sensitive skin having a** because my skin broke out severely with cystic bumps days following. I tried everything under the sun to treat my skin: Proactiv, Peter Thomas Roth, Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena. You name it, I tried. But my skin only got worse. Eventually, I decided to go to a dermatologist and get professional help.
Without testing my skin or hearing much of my story, my dermatologist immediately pinpointed that I had a bad case of dermatitis. Dermatitis is severe inflammation and skin rashes caused by contact with a certain substance or substances. After going over my medical history and administering a few tests, we both learned that I was allergic to several of the chemicals that were present in the skin care products I was using to treat the initial breakout. My most severe reaction was due to benzyl peroxide, a common hazardous ingredient found in acne treatment products.
I felt extremely defeated because products marketed to help treat my skin actually made it much worse. It felt like I had no solution. To put it simply, I felt PLAYED. However, I was grateful for this experience because in that moment God revealed to me what I needed to do with my business. Going to a professional dermatologist gave me insight and knowledge I would not have been exposed to without this hardship. I knew that I couldn’t be the only black person dealing with this case of bad luck + sensitive skin so I started to do my research in efforts to change our fate. I read books about black skin and dived deep into natural skin care based medicine.
With my chemistry degree, I took my ability to balance formulas and understanding chemical compositions and began to formulate my own skin care.
Here's some food for thought and words by author Llaila O. Afrika in his book African Holistic Health that I found important to implement in my creative process:
"Europeans culturally distorted all sciences by fragmentation, or the so-called analytical concept, which is based on separation. In other words, they separated the mind, the body, and the spirit. Consequently, Europeans treat the mind in a psychiatric clinic, the spirit in a church, and the body in a hospital; while African science includes the body, mind and spirit as a whole-wholistically. In fact, European science does not include the spirit's affect upon the body, mind, diet, or herbal science. Subsequently, Blacks cannot adopt European or any alien's culture's diet and health practices without first Aficanizing it."
So with those words in mind, I took my very formal education and "Africanized" it. I used myself as my test dummy and crafted a skin care practice that catered to my skin color, type, and diet. After taking on these natural and more wholistic practices, my skin was no longer irritated and every ingredient I used brought soothing properties to skin. And now three years later, I have birthed Just A Little TPC, an all natural skin care line formulated with people who look like me in mind. And my brand doesn't just start and stop with skin care. I also work with other businesses to help bring their product visions to life and carry these same practices with me.
FOR US BY US: As black people, we deserve to have, use, and create quality and safe products. We are the consumers, the innovators, and the creators. From Madam CJ Walker to Monique Rodriguez, black women have built and continue to carry the beauty industry. As The Pretty Chemist, it is my mission to add inclusion and serve my specific community of black and brown people by educating and providing quality products for us to use and feel good while doing so. So THAT IS 'WHY NATURAL SKIN CARE'. Thanks so much for your time. And if you have any questions after reading this or would like to learn more about my products and business, leave a comment. Let's Connect!