KRÈME CHATS WITH EXPERT: DR UJU RAPU FOUNDER OF BEL FIORE MEDICAL
March 31, 2017
Dr Uju Rapu founder of Bel fiore medical , a medical doctor with a specialty in Aesthetic medicine. Dr Uju Rapu was first mentioned to me during my chat with media personality Denola Grey (click here for interview). He raved about the treatment and results he received at Bel fiore. Coincidentally, couple months later I interviewed Adebayo Oke-Lawal Creative director Orange Culture (click here for details)and he also spoke highly of Dr Rapu's superficial peels and the clinic in general. Personally, I couldn't wait to chat with Dr Rapu about all things peels and aesthetic medicine so I was glad when she accepted the invitation to share her passion and vast knowledge with us. Thank you so much for your time.
Tell me a little about yourself
I am a trained medical doctor. My passion for cosmetic medicine/antiaging medicine, led me to pursue a training in aesthetic medicine. I found black skin quite interesting and decided to focus my practice on treating predominately people of color. I studied medicine in the United Kingdom and the Caribbean, then I moved to Nigeria and acquired my license to practice. I returned to the United Kingdom to train in aesthetic medicine, returned home to practice medicine and opened my own clinic called Bel fiore late last year.
What services do offer in your clinic?
We have basic skin consultations, and address various skin concerns our clients might have. Acne and hyperpigmentation are the most common skin conditions we see, so I treat those with prescription skincare products. We offer chemical peels from superficial to medium depth, anti-aging treatment from noninvasive to micro needling, collagen induction therapy (more invasive), Botox to prevent and treat wrinkles, dermal fillers for smile lines, cheek augmentation, lip augmentation, skin lightening injections using glutathione and vitamin c, we do IV vitamins (inserting vitamins intravenously), injection lipolysis (non-surgical stubborn fat removal), micro needling for stretch marks, and removal of dark knuckles.
On Krème Chats I interviewed Denola Grey and Adebayo Oke-Lawal Creative director of Orange Culture. Both mentioned your facility, specifically getting peels at your clinic. For our readers, what are peels?
A Chemical peel is a solution made primarily of plant based acids, such as alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids. The solution is applied to the face and it causes dead skin cells to sort of disjoin and come off. On the skin, there are always dead skin cells present that need to be fluffed off mainly by exfoliation. As we age, the process of the dead skin cells coming off themselves slows down at this point you begin to notice a dullness of the skin, which indicates the need for exfoliation.
Exfoliation can be mechanical or chemical. We find that skin of color is a little sensitive to trauma for example when people pick at their skin it gets dark etc. We tend to lean towards chemical exfoliation instead of mechanical because it is more even, and we are doing the same thing your scrubbing is doing but more effectively.
There is a wide range of peels. They vary from superficial, medium, to deep peels these are based on how deep into the skin the solution is penetrating. We do not do deep peels on skin of color because there is a high risk of hyperpigmentation and getting darker. We are able to do superficial and medium depth peels with caution. For superficial peel, the solution does not penetrate past the top layer of the skin, so you wont have evident peeling. But with repeated sessions we know that the skin is being exfoliated nicely as the client returns to their daily routine. Usually after superficial peels are done in the clinic, clients are placed on a home peel booster to maximize the effects of the peel, and a superficial peel can be repeated after two to three weeks.
A medium depth peel goes a little bit deeper than the top layer. It goes a little bit into the dermis; with this peel, more layers are affected and there is evident shedding of the skin. In this case, the results we are trying to achieve determines the choice of the treatment. However, I am a bit cautious with medium depth peels when it comes to skin of color, especially because we live in a tropical country. There are steps that we follow to ensure positive results with medium depth peels.
With Denola Grey and Adebayo Oke Lawal, they had series of superficial peels. After that, they were put on a home booster, good sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation and they were both satisfied with the results.
What brands do you use for your peels?
I have been through a few brands, but at the moment I use the mesoesthetic range for most of my professional treatment, and it is really compatible with skin of colour. For sunscreen, it varies because it is based on what clients like and what blends in with skin of colour. Currently I like the la Mel range.
Who should get peels and how often would you recommend it?
Everyone could do with a peel. Even people with great skin could do with a peel because we know that with the skins life circle, there is always dead skin on the face. As mentioned earlier, a superficial peel can be done every two to three weeks, and a medium depth peel every month if needed, or when I am trying to treat a condition more aggressively.
Earlier you mentioned the most common skincare conditions in Nigeria are acne and hyperpigmentation. From your experience, why are they common?
Skin of colour have what we call melanin. It protects us from the harmful rays of the sun, which is great because we are less at risk when it comes to skin cancer. However, the presence of melanin increases our risk of hyperpigmentation, which is caused by exposure to the sun rays. In Nigeria, the use of sunscreen is not ingrained in the society, and there is also prevalent myth that skin cancer does not affect black people. Due to that, there is nonchalant attitude towards the use of sunscreen which helps prevent against skin aging and hyperpigmentation.
Acne is a really common condition. It spans from teenage years to adulthood, and most times it is chronic. There are a lot of factors that cause acne, from lifestyle factors, hormonal imbalances, diet, to stress. So, because acne is so multifactorial, most people are left confused and without the knowledge of how to treat it. They try different types of products, mixed creams which most times worsen the condition, and some people even pick their face which leads to hyperpigmentation.
Black don't crack. Myth or fact?
People of colour age better than Caucasians because our dermal layer is thicker, so it has more strength. We find that people of colour also produce more oil than Caucasians, which is great because it makes the skin more pliable and flexible. It doesnt mean we dont age, it just means we are better. However, there are some people of colour who look older than their age based on the products they have used or lifestyle choices. We found with proper routine, and noninvasive procedures like micro needling, we can delay the signs of aging in people of colour even longer.
The biggest misconception about skincare in Nigeria?
The biggest misconception would be that skin of colour does not need to use sunscreen.
Three tips for someone suffering with acne
I recommend you see a professional for a consultation. In order to treat acne, we have to find out what is causing the individual acne condition.
DO NOT PICK. Picking at your acne always leads to hyperpigmentation
Avoid dairy. We know the is a proven link between acne and consumption of dairy products. So, for people who are prone to acne, it is advisable to cut dairy out.
Three tips for someone trying to get rid of hyperpigmentation
Sunscreen. Using a sunscreen daily with SPF 30 minimum is advisable.
Try not to traumatize the skin.
See a licensed professional for a personalized consultation.