How many times have you said to yourself, or heard a friend say, I need to find a full coverage foundation to help cover dark areas (hyperpigmentation), acne, poor texture, etc.? We need to stop investing in make-up to cover our skin and start investing in skin care to treat our skin.
When it comes to skin care there needs to a greater focus on inclusion for skin of color. Melanin producing cells can be more susceptible to inflammation and injury, which can show up more on darker toned skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, creating a skin care routine personalized for your skin type and color, whether oily, combination or dry skin, or somewhere in between—is beneficial for for keeping it healthy. But skin tone is also a huge factor when putting together a beauty routine. Darker skin tones have specific skin care needs that fairer skin usually does not. That means skin care for Black women and other women of color with deeper complexions requires knowing the right tips to follow and products to use for a healthy-looking appearance. In this new post, we are going to cover some basic skin care tips for you to keep in mind so that your Black/Brown girl magic always shines on the inside and outside, too.
- GENTLY CLEANSE:
Darker skin can look dry, dull or ashy when it’s stripped of moisture. Be careful when choosing a cleanser, try one that is gentle and contains no ingredients that can clog pores. You don’t want to strip the skins protective barrier, which can lead to more problems with dryness and irritation. A medical grade skin care brand is better than most OTC brands, as they are made in smaller batches, small factories and must be FDA approved prior to going on shelves. There are many to choose from, including non-foaming, oil cleansers and others for all skin types. Apply cleanser with clean fingertips and gently massage into the skin. Rinse your face (and body) with warm water, as hot water causes dryness and irritation. Pat dry with a clean towel.
- BE CAREFUL WITH EXFOLIATING:
Exfoliating is a great way to rid the skin of dead layers of cells and keep the skin smooth, but darker skin can be sensitive to it. Some of us can do it more than once a week and others can only manage once a week. “Listen” to your skin and how it responds to see what works best for you. Use a gentle, nourishing exfoliant to help prevent over stripping the skin of natural oils and biomes.
Our grandmothers used to tell us to use Vaseline on our body to help with dryness. It is a great option for the body and areas with dermatitis (eczema), it is not as good on the face due its thickness and risk of causing acne. Research has shown that darker skin loses moisture quicker than some lighter tones. To avoid this, use a daily moisturizer that contains humectants such as hyaluronic acid, which retain moisture in the skin. Avoid added fragrances, they can be irritating also. Moisturizing creams and ointments are preferable to lotions.
- APPLY A BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF DAILY:
Yes, darker skin needs sunscreen too! Skin cancer is an equal opportunity attacker, the more you are unprotected the higher your risk of getting skin cancer. I can’t tell you how many times I have to explain this to patients of color. They don’t think the rays affect them or that SPF is only used when the sun is shining? Cloudy does not mean you’re safe from damaging rays. People, if its light outside, the sun is out, cover your exposed skin with SPF 30 or higher.
- HYPERPIGMENATION (DARK SPOTS):
Darker skin tones are at higher risk of skin discoloration, including PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the skins reaction to triggers that cause an increase in production of more melanin. Acne, insect bites and scrapes can be the trigger. This can. Be treated with Retinoids, Hydroquinone, Vitamin C and other products. You can get OTC products with these ingredients, but it is best to consult with a skin care provider to get the best advice for best results.
- BEAUTY SLEEP and BALANCED DIET:
Not getting enough sleep or eating more healthy meals is hard on the skin, and can cause the appearance of aging, dryness, and irritation. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep, staying well hydrated and avoiding sugars, alcohol and other inflammatory foods is beneficial to healthy skin.
Some products I have tried and recommend are:
Medical Grade: Skin Better Science, Epionce, Biojjuve
OTC: La Roche–Posa, CeraVe, Cetaphil
Establishing a good skin care routine can help keep us with more melanated skin looking fresh, younger and bright!