When it comes to black skin care, the most important thing to remember is that the color of the skin isn’t the top factor. Instead, the key aspect to keep in mind is your skin type: Dry, oily, or combination. Therefore, you need to do more than just grab something that’s marketed towards African-Americans for your daily skin care. You need to look for one that caters to your skin type or specific problems, regardless of whose face they put on the box.
On black skin, dryness often presents as an ashy sheen. This is caused by the contrast between the light-colored dry layer and the darker, moister skin beneath. The actual problem, however, is that the skin is getting too dry. Moisturizing the skin will solve it.
Some have trouble because they break out when they use moisturizers. This happens most when the skin is naturally oily. Oil-based moisturizers then cause breakouts because the skin already has enough, or perhaps too much, oil. To solve this problem, use lightweight, non-oil moisturizers and be sure to carefully cleanse the face before bed and upon waking. You may need to apply lightweight moisturizers more often, but they’re less likely to clog your pores.
Get an Even Skin Tone
For many women of color, skin damage shows up as hyperpigmentation. In other words, darker spots appear wherever the skin has been damaged by the sun, acne blemishes, or irritation. These spots make the skin’s coloration blotchy.
Fighting this problem requires a multi-pronged approach. The first step is to fix whatever is causing the skin damage. Wear a good sunscreen to stop sun damage. Even though it takes longer for the sun to bother black skin, its effects will eventually show up on all but the very darkest shades. Wearing sunscreen will stop this type of damage.
If acne is causing your skin to get dark spots, you need to stop the breakouts. Wear leave-on anti-acne products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in them. In this category, there is no functional difference between products marketed to black or white people: It’s all about the active ingredient.
General skin irritation is often caused by the skin being too dry. This makes it sore and itchy, leading you to rub or scratch it for relief. The scratching causes further irritation, which can lead to acne breakouts. Many people are surprised to learn that the cure for this problem is moisturizing the skin. The added moisture will stop the background irritation that is the root cause of the other problems. Extra moisture is often needed when other anti-acne products are used because benzoyl peroxide is very drying.
Step Two for Stopping Uneven Pigmentation
This step can be started even as you’re addressing the causes of your uneven pigmentation. It involves exfoliating the skin so that the old, blotchy layers are gently removed over time. The trickiest part of this is balancing the need to scour off old, dead skin with the need to avoid causing further damage. It’s important to be patient – if you scrub too much, or with a product that’s too harsh, you’ll just cause more blotches to appear.
Products exist that are made to lighten the skin, but they’re not free of risk. One of the most obvious risks is that of ending up with a halo of lighter skin around the dark spot – making it even more obvious than it used to be! It’s very important to make sure to only get such products on to the dark spots so that the surrounding skin isn’t lightened at the same time.
According to Ebony magazine, one good treatment is to exfoliate the skin twice a day with a product containing ingredients such as vitamin C. These are mild enough for long-term use, but strong enough to get the job done. Exfoliation slowly gets rid of the blemished outer layer of skin, allowing new, even-toned skin to take its place. Then, as long as new blemishes are prevented, the even skin tone will remain. Note that it’s important to use a sunscreen when using vitamin C and other acidic products. Such products make skin more sensitive to the sun.
Off the Face
Hyperpigmentation and other problems can also occur on body skin. This skin is tougher in most places, so it can handle stronger products. There, lactic acid is a good ingredient for exfoliation and the removal of dark spots.
Ongoing Skin Care
Some companies love to market their products directly toward African-Americans and other people of color. However, your best bet is to ignore this marketing for your skin care fundamentals. Instead, match according to your skin type. Dry skin will always need moisturizing, while oily skin requires the use of products that don’t add even more oil. Combination skin needs products that are in the middle – strong enough to remove the oil from the T-zone, but mild enough to not dry out your cheeks. Type-specific products are sold with all sorts of marketing methods, but what actually counts is how well they handle your skin type’s needs.
For conditions that are most likely to affect women of color, it can pay to give a little heed to ethnic marketing. That’s because companies that make products that are meant to remove hyperpigmentation, help with ingrown hairs, and take care of other such products are likely to use this type of advertising. They’re also more likely to have tested their products on black people, so they’ll know about possible side-effects such as light halos and, ideally, will have written their instructions accordingly.
By taking care of your skin according to its type, preventing damage, and healing existing problems, you’ll achieve the great looks that you want. For more help with your skin, just contact us.