For the first time in South Africa, dermatologists, brands and hair and skin care experts shared the latest trends and research in dermatology from Africa and beyond.
This ground-breaking development in information sharing on caring for African skins and hair took place at the second African Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ASDV 2018) congress. It was held in conjunction with the fifth Combined National Congress of the Dermatology Society of South Africa, from 30 August to 2 September 2018 at the Durban ICC, in KwaZulu-Natal.
‘A number of workshops on vitiligo, dermatopathology and Ethnic skin and hair disorders added an African flavour to the congress,’ said congress president, Prof Ncoza Dlova of the Department of Dermatology at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine in Durban.
Dry skins need intense moisturising
L’Oréal was the platinum sponsor of the congress, highlighting its commitment to the African market to create safe and effective skin and hair care products suitable for African skins and the different hair types.
The global beauty brand hosted two symposiums during the congress featuring L’Oréal R&I scientists and experts in hair research, skin photobiology and pigmentation.
The L’Oréal Skin Symposium provided a research-based update on African skin from both a biological and clinical perspective. In her presentation, Poonam Sewraj, head of clinical and instrumental research at L’Oréal South Africa, revealed that dry skin on the body is more prevalent than on the face. This was proven through instrumental evaluation of consumer groups using a corneometer.
These focus groups confirmed the skin care aspirations of African women are matte, even tone, smooth and glowing skin. Considering the dryness factor on the body, there is a definite need for body care products formulated with more effective moisturising ingredients.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of African consumers’ skin care issues, L’Oréal South Africa will continue to do perform these studies across the South African and African regions. For example, the company has ongoing research on the differences between African and Caucasian skins using reconstructed skin models. Its goal is to better understand the bio mechanisms of the different Fitzpatrick skin types to address certain skin concerns of various consumer groups.
Real hair care concerns
Dr Kwezikazi Molamodi, clinical and instrumental evaluation researcher at L’Oréal South Africa shared very interesting findings of a recent consumer study of hair care perceptions.
Part of the L’Oréal Hair Symposium, Dr Molamodi’s findings revealed black African men mostly have tightly coiled hair, while black women’s hair ranges from tightly curled, to curly and wavy hair. Hair type VIII is most prevalent among black women.
Of the consumers surveyed, their concerns ranged from too intense hair volume, slow growth as a result of slower cell turnover in the keratinocytes in African hair versus Caucasian hair, hair breakage and hair loss.
While dermatologists and professional hair dressers note traction alopecia is a growing problem and the main cause of hair loss among black women and men, the consumers surveyed didn’t feel it is a problem. Traction alopecia is caused by relaxing the hair and pulling it during braiding.
Scalp hydration was also found to be a challenge, followed by scalp discomfort where itching and sensitivity where highlighted as the main concerns.
How to care for fragile hair and skin
Grooming and hairstyle habits can contribute to scalp health and the severity of traction alopecia. This was confirmed Dr Molamodi’s study that investigated the impact of grooming and regular braiding on the integrity of Ethnic hair. The study was conducted on types VII and VIII natural African, Ethnic hair.
Combing alone causes cuticle damage on natural Ethnic hair. Her study showed that daily combing is the equivalent to a daily haircut, which is why Ethnic hair takes so long to grow. Avoiding daily combing is key. In addition, L’Oréal is working with Some solutions to overcome this include detangling the hair with bloggers to create content on detangling and caring for natural hair in ways that limits damage and promotes hair and scalp health.
Prof Dlova has also developed a website dedicated to educating African consumers on caring for their skin and hair. The site is set to go live soon and will focus on safe products to achieve an even skin tone, alternatives to skin lightening and those products found to be problematic through scientific testing. The website will be linked to her dermatology practice and through the media, Prof Dlova will drive its awareness.
With this website, Prof Dlova will be sharing her intellectual property to educate consumers and the industry on caring for African skin and, for example, how to safely braid the hair to avoid scalp damage.