Dr. Rose Ingleton is a board-certified dermatologist working in New York with more than two decades in her field. During that time she has likely touched thousands of faces with the goal of helping them feel happier in their skin. One such client is Amanda Murray, AKA @londongirlinnyc on Instagram. Amanda is the reason I first heard of the doctor, and as she is known for her fashion knowledge and stylish aesthetic, whenever Amanda mentions or recommends something, everyone takes note. When Amanda hosted an Instagram Live with Dr. Ingleton, we were all glued to our phones wanting to know the doctor’s secrets.
As soon as an opportunity arose to interview Dr. Ingleton, my mind instantly went to this image of a very serious practitioner. But, within minutes of talking with the Jamaican doctor I learned that she is quick to laugh and smile and is very passionate about her heritage and how it influences her eponymous skincare line.
To begin with, I wanted to find out what inspired Dr. Ingleton to focus on skin.
“When I went to medical school I only knew that I wanted to be a medical doctor, but I didn’t know anything about dermatology. Four years into my training I went to a dermatology clinic and when I saw what they did, I became so excited. I loved the outpatient nature of it and how we got to do procedures. That’s when I realized that I am a very visual person and I'm good with my hands. I feel like working with the face, I have an almost painterly approach — I’m an artist really."
The doctor reflects on how her younger years of singing, dancing, acting and swimming also influenced how she works.
“I was that girl. At the time I didn’t realize I would end up using these skills. Now I’m appearing on television doing interviews. I’ve realized that you need to have a level of comfort with the public to do what I do. Those skills — that visual sense — prepared me for what I do today.”
One theme I never expected to come up during an interview with a medical doctor is the theme of creativity. Throughout our conversation Dr. Ingleton frequently refers to painting and sculpture; it’s a passion that seems to give her an inner glow.
"I remember learning how to sculpt and while I didn’t go into art or sculpture, today I get to really look at a face and sculpt it like an artist would. I feel like the science part is the necessary part. I have to do things correctly, but there's an expressive and creative part of me that gets the actual work done,” says Dr. Ingleton.
We move onto the subject of working with people of color; was there ever a moment when Dr. Ingleton realised that people of color needed a different approach?
“I didn’t learn what people of color needed in dermatology school, but once I began working in clinics I saw so many people who were very underserved and didn’t have much money and often they would be people of color.
I soon learned that a lot of what we had been taught simply couldn’t work for a person of color. For instance, let’s say a Black person has a scalp issue that needs treating; if they are also someone who relaxes their hair, the guidance we were given for a white patient is not going to work. I can’t tell someone with chemically relaxed hair to wash their hair and dry their hair every day!
I also learned that skin of color is very reactive and whenever it reacts, it leaves these little discolored marks. It’s not the same with white skin. Once you have melanin in your skin, that melanin wakes up once it is traumatized — by anything from a scratch to surgery. We are very sensitive and this really affected how I practice dermatology, as well as the products I recommend and also create in my own line,” says the doctor.
From the outside, Dr. Ingleton's skincare line looks clean and effortlessly stylish, but inside it houses some heavy hitters in the form of ingredients found in her homeland of Jamaica.
I ask which ingredient is her Holy Grail?
“Glycolic Acid; fruit acids in general are my thing. It’s probably one of the first ingredients I was introduced to after graduating and I realised that people of color were seeing so many benefits. We might have to be more cautious about how it is introduced but the results include brighter skin, faded dark spots, hydrated skin, less texture. I’ve really fallen in love with the benefits which is why my own line is packed with fruit acids — from oranges, lemons, sugar cane, berries…”
I have to ask, in a world that’s seemingly run by whatever is trending on TikTok, what's a trend we should ignore?
Dr Ingleton answers with a smile: “Coconut oil cannot fix everything. Everybody gets a little piece of information and they take it and run with it! I have patients coming to me with a face full of acne and I have to ask a lot of questions, and I end up finding that they are over-doing it with oils, particularly coconut oil. Over the course of a day, that oil ends up melting down your face and leaves your skin clogged up and congested.”
This made me giggle, because today social media influences what we do with our skin and bodies and there is so much misleading information out there, labeled as ‘advice.’ I ask the doctor, what is the biggest misconception when it comes to Black skin in particular?
“That Black skin doesn’t need to be preserved, because ‘Black don’t crack.' Apparently, I can just wake up and go and I won’t get skin cancer or age because I’m Black. Don’t get me started on that whole ‘we don’t need sunscreen’ thing. Everyone seems to be an expert right now but I can truly say, after my years of study, that I am an expert in skin."
In a world of influencers and experts, I ask Dr. Ingleton, what is the best way to find a practitioner that’s right for us?
“I’ve built my practice on word of mouth. Look for reviews that will give you some insight — don’t just go for the most famous name; it doesn’t mean that they’re an expert or that they’re the right person for you. Do your research.”
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