It’s true and unfortunate that there is a general lack of education and awareness on black skincare in the beauty world. According to a journal in 2012, “47 percent of dermatologists claimed they were inadequately trained on treating black skin”
Today we’ll discuss one of the most critical steps when it comes to treating skin conditions and taking care of dark skin. We’ll also delve deeper into discussing common issues darker skin tones face, for instance, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and skin sensitization. So, tie your hair back and get your sheet masks ready because we’re going on a skincare journey of your life.
What Does It Mean To Have Dark Skin?
Every one of us has a different skin type and skin shade which means most of us must have a tailored skincare routine to benefit from. Darker skin tones have more melanin than lighter skin. Melanin is a natural skin pigment present in humans and animals in variation. So, for instance, if your body produces a higher percentage of melanin, your eyes, hair, and skin will be darker toned than those with less melanin production.
Here’s a Youtube video by Aisha Beau. She is walking you through her facial skincare routine using some of her favorite products. Enjoy!
Anyway, let’s continue.
People with a higher percentage of melanin benefit from higher protection against photo-aging damage; however, they also face other skin challenges. For instance, dark skin is more susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), acne breakouts, melasma, and other skin conditions.
Step 1: Black Skin Care Essentials
Let’s talk about the must-have steps in your skincare routine if you’re only starting with your skincare journey. First and foremost, cleansing. It cannot be emphasized enough how important cleansing is to keep your skin free from clogged pores and sebum accumulation.
But before picking up any product, you must be aware of your skin type. For example, do you have oily skin, combination skin, or dry skin? If you deal with dry skin, it is best to cleanse only once a day. While people who deal with oily skin generally cleanse twice a day.
For best results, a gentle foam-based cleanser, preferably with salicylic acid, can be used to battle acne and reduce the appearance of blackheads. It is also important to use cleansers that preferably do not contain any fragrance since they might irritate the skin. Finally, avoid using abrasive material like loofahs or scrubs on the skin to avoid over-exfoliation and inflammation.
Step 2: Moisturizing For Black Skin
Moisturizers usually contain these three main ingredients: humectants, occlusives, and emollients. So, make sure your moisturizer has either of these ingredients formulated into it. But, you might be wondering, what is the importance of moisturizing, and does it even help? And to this, we answer, YES.
Hydration and moisture to the skin help keep the skin supple and reduce the appearance of blemishes and fine lines. Some study suggests that women of color lose moisture quicker than women with light-toned skin. Hence, this should give you more reasons to always keep your beautiful, chocolate brown skin moisturized.
But, the main question is, how do you choose a moisturizer? Or what will suit your skin type best? Well, to prevent black skin from looking ashy and dry, use moisturizers that contain occlusives and humectants like glycerine, lanolin, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients will attract moisture from the environment and also help seal moisture within the skin.
Some black women who struggle with dry skin also incorporate petroleum jelly in their nighttime skincare routine. Petroleum jelly is an excellent occlusive that will ensure your skin doesn’t lose moisture through the night. However, it’s best to make sure any occlusive used on the face is non-comedogenic, so it does not cause pore clogging and acne breakout. Finally, make sure your moisturizers do not contain fragrance since that could irritate some people with dark skins.
Step 3: The Importance Of Sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen has limitless advantages. Perhaps the most important benefit of wearing sunscreen is that you will look young and vibrant even if you reach your mid-30s. On the other hand, UV rays from the sun may cause hyperpigmentation, melasma, sagging, and even the risk of having skin cancer if you stay in the sun unprotected. Hence, every day before moisturizing and after cleansing, wear sunscreen on your face, neck, back of your hands, and arms for sun protection and to give a natural glow to your skin.
Step 4: Don’t Forget Your Actives
Women with dark skin should also keep a wary lookout for active ingredients which penetrate deep into the skin and remove dead skin cells, whiteheads and blackheads. Active ingredients generally fall in the spectrum of AHAs (Alpha-hydroxy Acids) like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid. BHAs (Beta-Hydroxy Acids) like salicylic acid and PHAs (Poly-Hydroxy Acids) like gluconolactone and galactose. All of these acids have vast benefits ranging from anti-aging properties, reducing acne-scarring, hyperpigmentation, reducing dullness, and melasma
Step 5: Retinols To Stay Young And Wrinkle-Free
If you’re a black woman in her mid-to-late 20s, then it is so essential that you start incorporating retinol into your skincare regime. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A with vast anti-advantages advantages. Retinol will also help reverse acne scarring, delay wrinkles, and minimize dark spots in the skin. It also aids in collagen production to maintain skin elasticity.
However, retinol can damage your skin by causing chemical burns or damaging the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Hence, it is essential to always ask a dermatologist’s opinion before adding retinol to your skincare routine. Pregnant women are also advised against using retinol in their skincare routine.
Step 6: A Balanced Diet
We’ve discussed all the steps you can incorporate into your skincare routine for glowing skin. However, it is also essential to give your skin the proper nutrients to repair itself and remove any toxins in the body.
A healthy diet includes nutrient-rich food like fruits, green vegetables, lean proteins, lentils, whole grains, and healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, or avocado. Avoid processed carbohydrates and oily food, which may cause any possible acne breakout. To avoid additional skin conditions from getting worse, you must also limit your alcohol, dairy, and sugar intake.
We understand it requires determination and discipline to establish a daily skincare routine. But trust us, when you’re in your 30s, you will thank yourself for the hours and energy you put into your skin by keeping it hydrated, cleansed, protected, and moisturized.
And remember, skincare does not have to be complicated. You don’t even have to start with having ten steps to your skincare routine. It can be as simple as using a cleanser, sunscreen, and moisturizer to give your skin a supple and rejuvenated look. Finally, before getting into any skincare routine, always check in with your dermatologist to get skincare product recommendations based on your skin type before getting into any skincare routine.