Naturally Melvin wanted me to add more SMP in order to camouflage the darker areas which would have been a quick fix, however I felt this would be wrong. If I added more SMP and his skin later lightened again in those patchy areas, then this would result in a dark patch. This would make the whole treatment look overdone and questionable and again not match the rest of his hair.
In the summer months sun damage can occur and it is important not to have SMP on freshly tanned skin. It is better to hold off and delay the treatment for at least 6 weeks after tanning as the skin tone can change as the tan wears off. However in Melvin’s case because the dark skin was around the sides only and patchy, it was not sun damage as that would occur everywhere, unless of course he was wearing a hat, which he did not.
Initially I thought it may be an allergy, irritation or a skin condition so I recommended Melvin to seek medical advice from his GP and perhaps a referral to a Dermatologist before proceeding. Even if just to rule out any medical condition and to be on the safe side. The outcome was good as there was no allergy or medical condition but neither the Dermatologist nor the GP could give Melvin any answer or solution as to why his skin was changing and the problem seemed to be getting worse.
So I continued with some further investigating of my own as I knew Melvin’s skin was healthy before so I knew that something had changed. I asked Melvin if there was anything different he had been doing since the irritation had started and to walk me through his routine in detail step by step. I knew that he was using a razor and had recommended a machine before but he didn’t want to use a machine and that’s ok as some men prefer a wet shave. Melvin said he tried several types of machine, was not satisfied and prefered the results of a razor. He felt that he couldn’t find a machine that cut the hair low enough.
Melvin was using a razor for a whole year already but since I used to perform wet shaves I was particularly interested in the details. Not all skin reacts well to a razor, especially if shaving in the wrong direction. Melvin worked with me together with close communication and we tried a few things.
The outcome was as follows. Melvin needed to shave every 2 days for the perfect result so what he did differently was to shave every 2 days rather than 3 as he previously did. What we found to be the issue was that when he shaved at 2 days, it was causing irritation. However when shaving at 3 days then there was no irritation and skin was happy but his hair was too long.
I recommended that Melvin stop using the razor and after a few weeks the patches were totally gone, the skin was healthy again and his SMP was perfectly even without the need to have any further work done. I recommended a more professional barber level clipper which he had not tried before and he found the hair did get low enough and he was much happier with the result.
Melvin returned for his follow up session in 2019 a year later, he had a single top up session with no issues and I will see him again soon. We have discussed transitioning to a more permanent SMP option and perhaps a slightly softer hairline.