Skin Care Formulas Designed For Skin Of Color – HAPPI –

According to one aesthetician, the unique skincare needs of skin-of-color consumers is overlooked by mainstream beauty companies. Those with Fitzpatrick Skin Types III-VI can suffer from hyperpigmentation, hypersensitivity, and even melanoma, all of which may be left untreated. Erica Skynn created her Derm by Erica collection to meet the unique needs of skin-of-color consumers.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Skynn began researching solutions for the burns caused by radiation after her mother was stricken with cancer. Determined to find a solution to help her mom, Skynn received a scholarship to the International Dermal Institute to become a skincare therapist. Under the guidance of Jane Wurwand, founder of Dermalogica, she earned all her certifications. In 2011, she opened her first business, The Long Beach Medispa before creating Derm by Erica.

Skynn is a tribal member of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. Her mother is Native American and her mother-in-law was half African American.

“There was nothing that could help brighten their skin,” recalled Skynn. “Most products were for white skin.”

Erica Skynn and Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather.
With funding from her tribe, Skynn opened The Long Beach Medispa, which catered to the needs of skin of color clients. While operating the spa, Skynn spent years developing formulas specifically designed for darker skin tones. She spent five years developing product formulas. With the backing of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Skynn launched Derm by Erica, closed her spa and never looked back.

“Ethnic skin needs super active ingredients that must be mixed correctly in order to be effective,” explained Skynn.

Ingredients like kojic acid, vitamin A and hydroquinone all have a place in skin care products for skin of color consumers, said Skynn. But she noted that many of these ingredients can lead to hyperpigmentation for those on the higher end of the Fitzpatrick scale.

“Breakouts on darker skin leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and it is difficult to get rid of the dark marks,” she said.

Derm by Erica includes four collections, each designed to improve specific skin condition, including acne and melasma. Each collection retails for about $350.

The Derm 7 Acne collection is designed to treat the four grades of acne ranging from mild (micro comedones, no inflammation) all the way to very severe (cystic and nodule).

“The vast majority of OTC products contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, both are very drying for skin of color consmers,” explained Skynn. “If you are using a product that impairs the acid mantle, then you are perpetually breaking out.”

Instead, Derm 7 Acne treats the triggers with vitamin A derivatives that help control the oils and not dry skin.

“My products are ultra-calming,” she explained.

According to Skynn, mitosis takes four to six weeks; during that time, she puts clients on a proper diet and encourages them to apply all the products in the collection, which includes Ultimate Clear antibacterial facial wash, Oil and Acne Control facial toner, Acne Clearifying moisturizer, Super Solar Oil Control Defense SPF 50 sunscreen and Acne Clearifying cream. The collection retails for $350 on

The Derm 7 Anti-Aging Collection formula contains vitamins A, C and E, and collagen.
The Derm 7 Anti-Aging Collection formula includes vitamins A, C and E, collagen and aloe. Products within the collection include Collagen and Aloe Hydrating Moisturizer ($49.99), Perfect Resurfacing Cleanser ($49.99), Hydramist Toner ($49.99) and Anti Aging Hydrating Collagen Cream ($150).

The Bleach Bottom Collection is aimed at consumers who suffer from skin discoloration or unevenness of the color of the skin. Hyperpigmentation is caused by an excess production of melanin, which may be due to endocrine diseases or simply excessive sun exposure. According to Skynn, the key to effective fading of brown spots is to use products that speed up skin’s natural exfoliation rate.  To reduce the appearance of discoloration, the collection includes cream ($150), cleanser ($49.99), lotion ($49.99), scrub ($49.99) and toner ($49.99). Formulas include hydroquinone, kojic acid and vitamin C.

Finally, the Melasma Collection, includes pure pigmentation cream ($150), Spot Off Lightening and Brightening Skin Moisturizer ($49.99), Ultra Hydrating Cleanser ($49.99), Light and Bright Pure Perfect Toner ($49.99) and Optimal Spot Protector SPF 50 ($49.99). When purchased together, the Melasma Collection costs $350. A Maskne travel kit retails for $149.99. The collection is geared toward consumers with dark spots on their skin from conditions such as “backne,” sunspots, pseudofolliculitis barbae and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

The Melasma formula includes vitamin C and kojic acid. Skynn also recommends her detox tea (Derm7 Hormonal Detox Tea), which contains burdock root.

“It works in conjunction with the topical formulations to detox the skin,” she explained. “It even helps improve the appearance of acne scars.”

Skynn has been helping clients improve their skin’s appearance for more than a decade. A self-described “melanin expert,” she wants to pass on her knowledge to the next generation.

“I want to teach young aestheticians to be melanin experts,” she told Happi. “I want to create a digital platform where professionals can help one another and where I can also sell my formulas.”

The goal is to help aestheticians meet the needs of skin of color. According to Skynn, most products on the market are for Caucasian skin. As a result, the formulas may be too harsh for melanated skin.

“My customer is the middle-class woman who can’t afford high-priced formulas,” explained Skynn. “My favorite ingredient is Retin-A, but I stick with vitamin A. I would love to work with peptides and stem cells, but right now, I am laser-focused on getting to the next level.”

That level may include hair care in the future, but for now Skynn says she is determined to help her clients and customers achieve their best skin possible.

“I am extremely happy with how the company has grown since I launched it three years ago,” concluded Skynn. “Now it’s about teaching others what I know.”


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