By Lenora Houseworth

There is a common belief that black women either don’t need or partake in cosmetic surgery or other procedures. You’ve probably even used the term, “Black don’t crack.” Well, this is not completely true. As an aesthetician, esthetician and Director of Skincare Services/Partner of Lavish Medical Spa, Leslie Nesbitt has seen the cosmeceutical aka the non-surgical industry become more inclusive while finally addressing the unique skincare needs for people of color.

In recent years, the New York-based Lavish, seen in The New York Times, has exploded with an uptick in procedures like skin lightening, or IV whitening, among women of color.

The procedure, which goes for $300 per session, mimics any IV treatment you’d get in a hospital for dehydration, menopause or the flu, injecting natural minerals in the blood stream. While results can vary, it usually takes up to four treatments before your skin is noticeably more even, with fewer blemishes. Clients often see a difference in the first treatment says Nesbitt. For patients looking to completely change their skin color, ongoing treatments from 15-30 sessions are needed. Some patients cite Lil Kim or Beyonce as celebrities they want to immolate when interested in changing the natural color of their complexion entirely, which Nesbitt says are fewer compared to clients who just want a brighter, clear skin tone.

You of course can’t talk about skin lightening without acknowledging it is a controversial topic in the beauty world often rooted in colorism. Yet, it has become a multi-billion dollar business worldwide, and growing. Nesbitt asserts IV whitening treatments are completely different from more commonly-known over-the-counter skin bleaching systems, which she warns against. She says, 

 “I have clients of all ethnicities and backgrounds coming in for IV treatments for different reasons to address different skincare needs, many times after botched, topical skin bleaching.”  

Indian clients make up the majority of Nesbitt’s clients for lightening due to their skin being most susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Black women mostly undergo the treatment to heal dark spots, which is common in black skin. Nesbitt says,

“IV whitening is not really skin bleaching because there’s no topical bleach. It suppresses melanin with vitamins and minerals, and helps to break up melasma. Anybody that has pigment or hormonal changes, may have dark patches (or melasma). Most patients just want overall clarity.”

Men surprisingly are making up a growing number of clients requesting these treatments in order to even their complexion. A month lead time is recommended before a major event for any skin treatments. As with any procedure, make sure you follow the directions from the skincare specialist for optimal results. Nesbitt explains,

“Do your research and just make sure that you don’t just sign the form. Make sure that you understand the treatments that you are getting. A lot of times if something goes wrong, that means the person didn’t do something right. So follow the (post-procedure) instructions.”

Lavish will soon expand its business into the Los Angeles area, providing the same services while serving as an alternative for those who don’t want to go under the knife to change their appearance.
“Society tries to define how we should see beauty …I believe beauty starts first in the soul. How you feel about yourself is important to me, “says Nesbitt. “Giving someone the tools to achieve those goals are important to me.”

What do you think? Would you ever try this procedure for your skin?

Lenora Houseworth is a social media strategist and writer based in Jersey City, NJ by way of the Chicago. Her work has been seen in places such as Yahoo.com, Glaad.org and BlackEnterprise.com. Jay-Z lyrics and avocados are her life. Follow her adventures on Instagram @LenoraSheWrote!

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