For women of color, it is often a chore to wade through all the different skin care products available and find what is best suited for their skin type. This is due in part, to many products being geared towards people with lighter shades of skin. Luckily, we have complied this list of the best skin care practices for women of color, so that you can find the right products to help nourish your skin and maintain its natural glow.
1. Perform Skin Self-Checks: Although people of color are less susceptible to skin cancer, it does still occur. It is often diagnosed late, and thus more deadly. During your weekly skin care routine, incorporate skin self-checks to look for unusual spots or discoloration. In people of color, skin cancer tends to show up in the hands, toes, nails, and mouth. If you see any spots on these areas that grow or continue to change in color, contact your doctor immediately.
2. Use Sunscreen: People of color have high amounts of melanin in their skin. This skin pigment gives people of color a darker shade of skin, but it also produces some protection against the sun’s UV Rays. While it does provide some protection, it cannot prevent skin cancer. Since skin cancer is still a concern for people of color, it is important to regularly use sunscreen or lotion with added SPF. Using these products regularly can protect you from skin cancer, but also fight the effects of premature aging and wrinkles.
3. Understand Your Skin Type: Having a successful skin care routine depends heavily on using products and practices appropriate for your skin type. The four main skin types are normal, combination, dry, and oily. People of color tend to have dry skin, especially in the harsh cold of winter, but some may also have oily and combination skin. If you are unsure about your skin type, a dermatologist can easily help you. Once you know your skin type, you can begin using products that will work best with your skin. For example, people with dry skin should use oil-based moisturizers vs. water-based.
4. Use Products for Sensitive Skin: Women of color tend to deal with dry skin, but because of the increased melanin in their skin, may also be sensitive to the ingredients found in many skin care products. Try to avoid products that contain alcohol, propylene glycol, dyes, or fragrances. When using a new product, always test it on a small patch of inconspicuous skin, before using it on your face.
5. Only Wash Your Face Once Daily: For women of color with dry skin, it is important to not over-wash. Over-washing can dry out your skin further and cause it to appear ashy or chalky. Always use a gentle cleanser, and never use soap to remove make-up or dirt. Also, use your fingertips to massage the cleanser onto your skin as opposed to a washcloth. Always rinse with warm water, never hot, to further avoid drying.
6. Exfoliate Regularly: By exfoliating regularly, you will remove dead skin cells, and your skin will feel healthier and look brighter. Use a bath mitt or gentle brush to exfoliate your whole body, paying special attention to your knees and elbows. While exfoliating will help remove the ashy look, too much can cause your skin to dry out more, so only exfoliate once or twice per week.
7. Match Your Skin Tone with the Right Make-Up: Women of color often have trouble finding the right shade of foundation to match their unique skin tone. Instead of turning to the most expensive brands of make-up, check your local drug store for aproduct that most closely matches your skin tone. You can even buy a shade that is slightly darker and one that is slightly lighter, and then mix the two to find the shade that best matches your skin. Typically, yellow-based foundations work best for women of color. If shopping for blush, brown and copper tinted products work well for darker skin.
8. Spot Treat Acne: While women of color have less problems with acne, it can still be present. It is important to only spot treat acne, as many acne treatments cause over-drying. When you have a blemish, apply a small amount to the affected area, but do not spread it over your entire face.
9. Moisturize Daily: Keeping your skin type in mind, you should moisturize daily to keep your skin hydrated and supple. Again for people with dry skin, use oil-based moisturizers. Many find it helpful to use body creams, as opposed to lotions, to better lock in moisture during the dry, winter months. It is also important to note that moisturizers should be applied when the skin is still wet, such as right after a shower. This will help the skin absorb the product better. Moisturizing before applying make-up will also help foundation spread smoothly and more evenly across your face.
10. Drink Your Water: Preventing dry, ashy skin is more than just about using the right skin care products. Drinking enough water per day helps your body flush out toxins which can affect the look and feel of your skin. People who drink more water tend to have a radiant glow, and feel healthier in general. Moisturize your skin from the inside out by drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day.
There are many different skin concerns for women of color. For more information on skin care practices for women with darker skin, please contact us today!