Dija Ayodele on Breaking the Myths in her New Book Black Skin

Dija Ayodele is on a mission to simplify skin care for black women. The London-based skin care expert, owner of West Room Aesthetics and founder of Black Skin Directory has once been an integral part of the beauty industry, celebrating black skin and making it a focal point rather than a thought after the fact.

Now she strives to go even further with her new book Black skin ($ 30). The Complete Skin Care Guide delves deep into the uniqueness of black skin, debunks myths, diagnoses skin conditions, and delves into the crucial history of black beauty and unequal skin care. Plus, it includes a range of treatment suggestions, product recommendations, and more.

Ayodele has combined her wealth of industry expertise and insider knowledge with her love of history to create a one-stop shop that helps everyone better understand black skin. Whether you’re dealing with a skin condition, wanting to learn more about the trivializing of the dark, or looking for info on the latest treatment, she has it all covered in an easy-to-digest, engaging, and pragmatic way. POPSUGAR spoke to Ayodele to learn all about Black skin.

Why Ayodele wanted to write black skin

Writing a book wasn’t particularly on Ayodele’s agenda, but it was clear to her clients that it was necessary. “We get so many inquiries from places halfway around the world on Black Skin Directory from people saying they don’t have professionals close to them that they trust and that they have found their way around black skin or darker skin tones. These kinds of things planted the seed of the book, ”Ayodele said.

It was then that the question really struck her: “How can I disseminate information in a more comprehensive way, rather than just articles here and there?” Coupled with numerous virtual consultations carried out during the lockdown, she fully realized how many myths and misconceptions existed. “I think black women always tend to take these legwork when it comes to skin care because sometimes they feel like it’s not available to them or is not being marketed. correctly. You don’t know if something is right for us or not and you constantly have to overinvest yourself to find out. I wanted to lighten it all up. That’s when Black skin was born.

Why Ayodele’s approach to writing the book matters

Ayodele’s approach to writing the book is one of the things that makes it so successful. “One thing I’ve always been proud of is that I write in very simple English. I don’t need to tell you about the process of melanogenesis, but I can tell you how melanin is transferred between skin cells, which is exactly the same thing. I don’t like the idea that we have skintellectuals that make skin care so confusing, ”she said, explaining that a lot of these people are not in clinics to see women day to day. “I can tell you, hand on heart, the average woman just wants to know how to stop having spots or what to watch out for in her. products. She doesn’t want to know the ins and outs. Nobody has time. ”

That said, Ayodele believes that, in some cases, getting to the bottom of scientific names is an integral part of self-defense. “There are some instances where real words are important to know so that if you’re going to stand up for yourself you know what they are. For example, rosacea has four subtypes, all of which have very scientific words.” Ayodele kept these four diagnoses in the book for this exact reason.

The 3 favorite sections of Ayodele’s book

“Being a history buff, I wanted to back up all of the information with a bit of history. I didn’t want it to be just as a skin care guide: convenient, and that’s all you get. I wanted him to have weight. Too, that’s why there’s a lot of story in there. That’s why there’s a journey through it on the dark, the dark beauty, the relationship that people have with the beauty industry and how it’s been over the years, ”she said.“ I really wanted this section to add a bit more seriousness and also to educate – especially to people who are not beauty consumers. The beauty ecosystem in general, journalists, PRs, brand owners, formulators, I wanted to give them something It was important for me to think, ‘What the hell they don’t know else culturally on black skin, or on the approach of black women in beauty? ‘”

“If we think black women are left out of the skincare narrative, black men are not even included.”

Aside from the story, Ayodele really enjoyed writing the section on teens. “In my clinic, we see a lot of teenagers who come in through the doors, brought in by mom or big sister. I wanted something for them because I think teenagers have very difficult times, harder than me.

Finally, another very important section for Ayodele was that of black men. “If we think black women are left out of the skincare narrative, black men are not even included,” she said. “These are the sections that I really, really enjoyed, because again, that highlights areas that we tend to overlook. We tend to think of skin care as only for women.”

Ayodele on Inclusion of Black Women in Skin Care Marketing

When it comes to skin care products aimed specifically at black skin and darker skin tones, Ayodele explained that it’s not only important that current formulas have come a long way, but that marketing l also did. “Sunscreen, for example, has taken giant strides – we still have a ways to go with mineral sunscreens, though – with the texture and elegance of the formulations. But not just that, the inclusion of tones darker skin and black skin in the marketing spiel has also improved dramatically, “she said.” Back then, you had sunscreens suitable for darker skin tones, but no one would tell us. , so we won’t know. Now we’re part of the ad. I think beauty is going to be constantly in the works., we’re still going to move towards nirvana, but it has improved tremendously. ”

Ayodele explains how to create a more diverse and fairer beauty industry

Education is one of the most important aspects in the search for a more inclusive beauty industry. “Coming from a therapist point of view who went the traditional way of a beauty school, then having to perfect myself, I definitely fall back on education, because I think that’s the basis,” said Ayodele. “It’s great to see more black people in corporate positions and beauty businesses, you need more black people and people of color in management and decision-making roles who can disseminate information, so that brands are more open and diverse. However, on the other side, fueling the system, you need therapists who have received the right training. As soon as you start a beauty school, there should be information and knowledge you should be tested on.

Ayodele explained that unless the therapists are in extreme conditions, you won’t see black skin in the textbooks. “Black skin would only be used for something very extreme, which means your day-to-day skin problems are misdiagnosed. Again, black people are left with this legwork. I know people who have taken the Black Skin Directory on their phone to the GP, ”she said. “GPs have told me before that they tell their patients to use Black Skin Directory, and part of me is really happy, but another part of me is thinking, ‘This shouldn’t be what you are about. count. Your state and taxpayer funded medical education should I gave this to you in the first place, not to me sitting in my kitchen. It shouldn’t be like that. Lack of education means it creates a cycle of mistrust, which then fuels poor health outcomes. ”

That is why education is crucial when it comes to moving towards a more equitable industry. “When you take the frivolity out of beauty and all that – I don’t think the beauty industry is frivolous at all, we’re worth billions, but when you take that aspect out – there are actually real messages and serious health outcomes that If you remove things like eczema, psoriasis, and all those conditions that can be misdiagnosed on the skin, it actually has a real impact on people’s health and their mental health, that’s why education is so essential. “

Image source: Dija Ayodele

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