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What Is Desquamation and How Does It Affect Black Skin?

Here we go kicking off the All About Black Skin Series with our first installation talking about desquamation.

Desquamation is a term that isn't heard on a daily basis and you probably are scratching your head as to what this even means. Today, we begin to look further into different skin conditions that affect Black skin more than others and why Ode to Self create the products that we do. In turn this gives you an understanding as to why we say that we make products specifically with women of color at the forefront, because it's definitely time to put our needs first and not be an afterthought.

Okay, so what is desquamation?

Desquamation is essentially skin peeling. Based on a clinical study, while some of the evidence was inconclusive, one observation showed that "Black have a 2.5 times greater spontaneous desquamation rate compared with Caucasians and Asians, possibly accounting for an increased frequency of xerosis seen clinically in Blacks." 

Desquamation is usually associated with differences in the stratum corneum layer of the skin and comes about due to harsh weather conditions and environmental stress such as the cold/winter and low humidity. When the conditions of the environment aren't favorable, this causes a loss or depletion of the lipid layer of the skin's barrier, which helps to retain the oils and moisture that we need. When the lipid layer is depleted, it causes dryness, ashiness, and flaky skin, which is more prominent in people of color. 

How does Ode to Self products help with this problem?

When desquamation, or skin peeling, occurs, it's normally due to the lack of moisture within the skin and a weakened/damaged skin barrier. That barrier can be strengthened overtime with humectants that draw moisture into the skin such as hyaluronic acid and propanediol, which is why we include these ingredients in our formulations. 

Using a facial oil, such as the De Palma Facial Oil, can help as the oil contains ingredients that are high in healthy fatty acid components, such as oleic acid. Oleic acid is essential in helping to reduce moisture and providing more moisture to the skin if it's been damaged or dry. Oleic acid doesn't clog pores, which is why the components that make up De Palma are mainly high in oleic acid due to their non-comedogenic properties, quickly absorbent, easy penetration to the skin, and amazing restorative and anti-inflammatory properties.

With our Wave Toning Essence, it's formulated with propanediol (Propanediol-1,3) which is another humectant that I prefer more so over glycerin because glycerin can be sticky and impart a tacky feeling when incorporated into a formula. Once again, the humectant draws moisture to the skin, which is why it's included in this formula, plus it's gentle and safe. We'll get more into ingredients a little later on, but we just wanted to touch based on the ingredients in our formulas which make up the final product and how it works for you.

This is how we keep skin of color at the forefront of our formulating process--from idealization to creation. It all starts with: what does OUR skin need? 

Shop the De Palma Facial Oil and start reinforcing your skin barrier for healthier skin like. Taking care of yourself is simply worth the investment. You don't need fancy tools or things that are highly expensive in order to make it seem like a luxury experience. You're gifting yourself luxury when you simply take charge in the way you care for yourself. 




Wesley, Naissan. “Ashiness.” MDedge Dermatology, 11 Jan. 2019,


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