Voicing the Specialty’s Diversity Concerns

By Chloé Gronow / 07 Sep 2020

In this exclusive Special Focus, we highlight the results from three surveys conducted by the Black Aesthetics Advisory Board on the representation of skin of colour within medical aesthetics

In July this year, four award-winning aesthetic practitioners founded the Black Aesthetics Advisory Board (BAAB).

The group, comprising aesthetician and founder of the Black Skin Directory Dija Ayodele, Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, Dr Tijion Esho and Dr Amiee Vyas, aim to investigate the experiences of black practitioners within aesthetics, as well as those of black and minority ethnic patients and consumers. They also plan to provide guidance to brands and professionals to allow them to conduct better training and improve access to aesthetics for black patients.

To inform their research, the BAAB created surveys seeking responses from black consumers1 and black practitioners2 to learn about their experiences in medical aesthetics, while also surveying practitioners from all ethnicities to understand their views on the representation and treatment of skin of colour in general.3

You can gain exclusive insight into the surveys’ results, as well as acquiring valuable advice from the BAAB on actions you can take to improve diversity in aesthetics.

Influence of the Black Lives Matter movement

While 70% of practitioners said they felt comfortable with race after recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) events, many admitted it made them think more about what they could to do support the cause.3 Comments included:

  • “After the BLM movement I felt heartbroken I want to learn more about how I can treat and attract more people of colour to my clinic”
  • “I have never considered myself racist, but I am now thinking more about how my lack of actions, may and probably do affect other communities
  • “It’s up to us to fight this and make sure that we identify racism when it happens”
  • “BLM has encouraged me to take responsibility and educate myself on treating darker skin types”
  • “I believe that in aesthetics we really can change views”

Improving diversity in clinics

The majority of respondents (92%) said they felt comfortable approaching diversity in their clinics. Despite this, there were hundreds of comments expressing concerns practitioners have and suggestions of how the representation and treatment of patients with skin of colour can be improved.3 The general consensus was that:

  • Practitioners were scared to say the wrong thing to patients with skin of colour and worried that people with darker skin wouldn’t trust them or their clinic wouldn’t cater to them
  • Better training and guidance on what they can do to improve practice is needed
  • Skincare companies should state what products are suitable for darker skin
  • Knowledge on how to attract more patients of colour to gain experience would be beneficial
  • More literature on treating darker skin is needed
  • Promotional images should better represent skin-of-colour patients
  • Better training on treating dark skin in medical school and aesthetic courses would help

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