Note from BW of Brazil: I suppose there are at least two ways to look at the first dermatologist to specialize in treating black skin in Brazil. One would be, this is great news that there is someone that knows how to deal with treating special skin issues of a large parcel of Brazil’s population. The other would be, it’s about time, what took so long? We know that Brazil has long dealt with its people in a sort of ‘one size fits all’ manner, but questions such as, is black skin oilier than white, can black people get laser hair removal and is cellulite common in black skin, need very specific answers.
For years, and even still today in some ways, it was difficult for black Brazilians to find hair products, makeup, panty hose, that matched their textures and tones. This is one of the many drawbacks of people really believing that ”we are all equal’‘. If societies really have an interest in ‘diversity’ (and I do have problems with this term), how is this possible without acknowledging that we are, in fact, different?
In black communities in the United States, people have long noted how black people seemed to age slower than people with white skin. It could be just an opinion, but I must admit, sometimes there seems to be some truth in this point.
I don’t remember exactly when this particular meme featuring actress Cicely Tyson and Queen Elizabeth started circulating through social networks, but I gotta say, the difference was shocking. Let’s be real, black skin is perhaps the most hated (or most envied, but on the low) in the world, even by many black folks, but you gotta admit that the saying seems to be true: black don’t crack.
Anyway, I had already introduced Dr. Katleen da Cruz Conceição to readers back in the early months of this blog, and since then, her name and work has exploded, particularly among black Brazilian star circles. In the brief interview below, she responds to several questions about treating black skin that many of us could benefit from. So, if you’re traveling to Rio and you have questions or want to discuss some skin issues with the good doctor, by all means, check her out.
Dermatologist from Rio Grande do Sul is the only specialist in treatment for black skin in the country
By Rosângela Honor Especial
The agenda of Rio Grande do Sul dermatologist Katleen da Cruz Conceição includes names such as actor Lázaro Ramos, his wife, actress Taís Araújo, singer Preta Gil, actress Cris Vianna, singer Thiaguinho, and actresses Juliana Alves and Érica Januza. They are part of a famous team that hand over their faces and bodies to the doctor’s care. There’s a reason for such credibility and trust: Katleen is the only Brazilian dermatologist specializing in treatments for black skin.
“Everything that people said not to do because of being black skin, I said: I do”, says dermatologist known as the “fada da beleza negra”, meaning ‘black beauty fairy’.
From Tuesday to Friday, the office of the dermatologist from Rio Grande do Sul’s capital city of Porto Alegre, is located in the Leblon neighborhood of south zone Rio de Janeiro, is full of celebrities and anonymous people looking for solutions to skin problems of all kinds. It was with the doctor that Isabel Fillardis was able to cure, after a long treatment, a lichen planus pigmentosa, a disease that stained the skin of her face and damaged the actress’s hair. Despite being worshipped by the stars, Katleen says she is far from being an unattainable professional for mere mortals. The dermatologist receives everyone, without distinction, with the same smile and contagious joy – the result of the devotion she feels for the profession she chose under the direct influence of her father, also a dermatologist, who helped her to become one of the most respected doctors in her specialty.
In her interview with the magazine, Donna, in her office at the end of a busy day at work, Katleen revealed how she became this reference throughout Brazil.
Donna: There’s a legend that black skin is privileged, that it’s hard to age. Is this true or a myth?
Katleen da Cruz Conceição – Black skin has a denser, thicker collagen fiber. While black skin has this good fiber, it is more prone to keloids, which is difficult to treat. It is a skin with late aging due to a higher amount of melanin, which gives a greater protection factor. It is also a skin that tends to have blemishes, but reacts faster to laser treatment in the case of blemishes, sagging and stretch marks.
Donna: What are the main complaints of your patients with black skin?
Katleen – These are the blemishes caused by acne, because black skin is oilier than white. Patients also complain of stretch marks, folliculitis (ingrown hair), brittle hair because it’s drier at the ends and more oily on the scalp. I always give the advice: if you’ve got some kind of chemicals in your strands, I advise you to maintain them. You know that story that now I decided, and then I’m gonna go for the escova progressiva (Brazilian Keratine Hair Treatment)? It’s not like that. Black-skinned people are usually more allergic. The aging of the eyes is very striking, since in the rest of the face it’s more time consuming, so it draws attention. The dark spot is also a complaint, which happens a lot when you have a child, when you have a loss, a trauma. One of the good points is that cellulite is not common in black skin.
Donna: What are the top treatments for black skin today?
Katleen – The fractional laser for scars, the ablative laser darkening that many people say they can’t do and I do, the hair removal laser, which many people also say they can’t, but they can. But on white skin you do six sessions and look good. In black skin, you have to do six to 18 sessions. It is more laborious, but it is possible. And the sagging laser, which I do a lot, especially on the eye.
Donna: What are your beauty tips for the black woman?
Katleen – First, you need to identify if your skin is oily or sensitive. For oily skin, use a salicylic or glycolic acid soap, oil free sunscreen or serum. For sensitive skin, choose specific soaps associated with thermal water. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify, I sometimes alternate in my patients as I see the need – sometimes sensitive, sometimes oily. Sunscreen 30 is for use always, because if you don’t want to age early, you have to be very careful. From the age of 25 you can start taking care of yourself, because if your mother has bags under her eyes, for example, you probably will too. In this case, the ideal is to treat with focused ultrasound, which improves wrinkles under the eyes by causing a contraction of the eye muscles. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can be done at home. One trick that can momentarily mitigate but not solve the problem is ice on the spot or iced tea.
Donna: Does black skin need special makeup?
Katleen – The ideal is to have a sunscreen and makeup that suits the tone of black skin. This type of makeup is most common in the United States.
Donna: What kind of treatment is destructive to black skin that should not be done at all?
Katleen – Phenol, which is a more aggressive peel, or any type of abrasive peel that can cause hypo-pigmentation, which is a lack of pigment, and also cause keloids and hypertrophic scars.
Donna: Hair is a problem for blacks because of the chemicals used. Any advice?
Katleen – Black hair is more fragile, it is good to have a good hair therapist and make a treatment associated with that of the dermatologist.
Donna: Black woman’s self-esteem has improved a lot in recent years. Is this transformation due to something special?
Katleen – Credit to examples that serve as mirrors, such as Taís Araújo, Isabel Fillardis, Erika Januza, Ildi Silva, all of them helped a lot for this change. They are very representative, women see them and think, “I can look beautiful too, I can look the same.” Today there are very successful black women.
Donna: How did you become famous among your patients?
Katleen – Lázaro (Ramos) in my life was a thing of God, he helped me and helps a lot. He is an important person because he’s extremely engaged, intelligent. I was entering the niches where black people are: actors, the world of samba and futebol, to promote my work. First I treated many men, MV Bill, Fabrício Oliveira, and then came the women.
Donna: What is it like to treat celebrities?
Katleen – Being a celebrity doctor has further increased my responsibility, because there is a whole story around it. They spread divulged me a lot, helped me, all in love. People come here thinking I’m superb and I’m completely different – I like talking, exchanging ideas. I’m like this, my parents are like this, my family in the south is like this. I’m very happy to sell this blackness thing of, that I’m beautiful because my dad always told me that. I travel well anywhere. What I am achieving today is because people believe in me.
Donna: Do you suffer any prejudice?
Katleen – Sometimes I see a white person and she doesn’t agree to the budget, often choosing another because she expects to find a lower price in me. Dermatology is an elitist thing, it’s a lie to say it’s not, because it is. But it never got me because my father is a doctor, I came from the south and with elevated self-esteem. I prefer that the person tells me that I will not succeed, because then, yes, I will succeed.
With information courtesy of Gaúcha ZH