Skin Barrier 101
Full Name: Quani ‘Deb’ Burnett
Occupation: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Content Creator and Beauty Blogger at Beauty4BrownSkin.com
Location: Greater Los Angeles
Skin Type or Concerns: Hyperpigmentation
Life Motto: Whatever comes, let it come. Whatever goes, let it go. Whatever stays, let it stay.
Fun Fact: I am obsessed with reading! When I was younger, my friends teased me relentlessly for reading subway cups (if you’re old enough to remember their label printed cups) and writing short stories over playing four square and hide & seek!
Hello, my friends. I’d like to invite you on a short exploration of me; my skin story, my skin struggles and triumphs, and how I like to push the agenda of inclusivity one step at a time.
My Skin Journey | Let’s start from the beginning
Around this time last year, my skin was at its absolute worst. Between stress and poor eating choices, my skin was in a constant rotation of active breakouts followed by dark spots my picking left behind.
I had low self-esteem and confidence and wore heavy makeup daily to hide my imperfections. Living in California while having my family and close friends live in the Midwest, I felt lonely and often isolated. I became a Sephora Rouge in a few months’ time, trying to find products that would help and heal my skin.
I was able to self-educate myself on skin compatibility and ingredients, slowly finding products that worked for my skin. I would research articles, read the Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary, and combine those with my own trial and error. With all the information we receive, we must learn to decipher how it applies to us. In healthcare, we call it clinical judgment but, as consumers, we are equally responsible to sift information and its sources as we deem necessary.
Social media played a big role in the brands that I wanted to try and as I dove into this world, this is when I immediately noticed a lack of representation in this space. People who looked like me, a black woman, weren’t featured on the social feeds of beauty and skincare brands alike; which was inhibiting my self-education, discovery, and connection in a realm I am so passionate and inquisitive about.
That’s when I began to simultaneously seek out products and brands that aligned with my ethos and were compatible with my skin while cultivating a community where people of color could inquire about products and be celebrated.
Skincare Products I Can’t Live Without
My initial standout was The Beet Shield! Through my skin self-education, I learned that in other regions such as Korea, sunscreens utilize newer advanced UV filters while the U.S. has outdated SPF regulations.
I was most excited to try the Great Barrier Relief (GBR) when I watched a YouTube video of KraveBeauty Founder Liah Yoo explaining how the tamanu oil present in the serum helped to fade her hyperpigmentation. I was sold after that!
In conjunction with chemical peels from an esthetician, GBR definitely helped to repair my skin barrier while maintaining the improvements of my hyperpigmentation. Additionally, GBR is my go-to during times of minor breakouts or over-exfoliating! Hydration is key during those aforementioned times!
I vividly remember my introduction to KraveBeauty and after having seen them on Instagram for awhile I was excited to try them out. After engaging with the team and the thoughtful conversation that we were able to have around visual diversity and representation, they definitely became a quick favorite.
My Current Skincare Routine
I’d like to preface my routine with the fact that I have slowly increased the number of steps and products in my routine, but there are times where I #PressReset and minimize my routine when I feel my skin needs it.
One of the things I love about KraveBeauty is how they separate their products and put the basics into the "Core Series", which includes cleansing, moisturizing and protecting. (Hint hint - I'm excitedly awaiting the launch of their oat moisturizer!).
What #PressReset Means to Me
#PressReset means to pause to truly listen to what your skin needs. Like any other organ in our bodies, there are certain factors such as vitamins, healthy fats, and antioxidants that help to maintain and protect the skin's true function.
Social media can have you in a constant state of FOMO with every new product that launches. I often find that similar to having a cluttered room; having and using a clutter of many different products may cause your skin to become irritated or sensitized. It’s a sensory overload for your skin.
Researching brands’ ingredients and ethos should help in finding products and brands that are compatible or work synergistically with your skin. It then becomes a journey of consistency and patience. My idea of “good” skin is not one that is free of blemishes, but rather one in which I am actively engaging in hydrating, nourishing, and protecting my skin because “good” skin is healthy skin.
How I #PressReset Beyond Beauty
I #PressReset in multiple ways beyond beauty. I like to #PressReset on my mental and physical well-being by engaging in mindful breathing, and being conscious of what I consume visually and ingest physically. By doing this, I make sure I am giving my mind, body and soul what it needs.
Another way I bring this mentality into my daily life is often to redirect my time and energy to the mission of inclusivity, visual diversity and representation in the spaces I interact with on the daily as a consumer. I actively celebrate and highlight people of color on my social platforms while creating thoughtful and engaging content around the topics of visual representation and inclusion.
It takes courage and tact to respectfully reach out to brands to bring awareness to this ongoing issue, and it’s how I seek to encourage all those involved to #PressReset on the standards of beauty. We are in a process of shedding these old standards and embracing skin: color, pores, scars, texture and all.
It’s even more encouraging and inspiring to see women of color, specifically African-Americans, break barriers as creators and founders, be employed in high levels of leadership, and collaborate with major beauty brands (hey Auntie Jackie Aina!).
@beauty4brownskin on IG and my blog Beauty4BrownSkin.com are my contributions to continuing change; creating positive and inclusive interactions.
I’d love to work for a skincare company in the future. Either in product development given my scientific background and love of ingredient research or as a content associate given my love of writing while providing an inclusive perspective.
What I’ve Been Loving
Currently loving creamy palettes from Kosas Cosmetics and Tinted Lip Oils from Lili
Megan thee Stallion- a Hot Girl Summer is a state of mind to live your best life, being kind, and being confident!
The Friendzone- imagine if Issa Rae and Insecure were made into a podcast! It speaks to navigating love, life, corporate America, and mental well being from the perspective of a Person of Color.
What was your favorite place you visited in August?
My summer highlight was a trip to New York in which I met so many people in this skincare community including briefly running into Liah!! She’s a true gem and inspiration and I can't thank her enough for "bringing me on to do this #PressReset Diaries.
Want to follow along with Deb on her mission for inclusivity in beauty? Keep in touch at @beauty4brownskin.