Do you struggle with maintaining a black skin care routine? Girl, me too!
Everyone’s skin is unique. My black skin may not suffer the same conditions as yours, but one thing I know is we can certainly benefit from a custom black skin care routine, because our skin is different and special.
And by routine I mean from the hair down. Yes, because the scalp is skin too.
As you may be aware, black skin is more melanin therefore melanin-producing cells are more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which is why awareness of skin type and everything that goes into your body is essential.
As black women, we suffer from a range of different skin conditions from acne to dermatitis, eczema, and changes in pigmentation.
You may spend years trying different products to boost rid your skin of these conditions but having a dermatologist treat you may be your best bet.
Below, we cover 5 most important ways to help your black skin care.
1. Stay hydrated
This has to be the most useful advice when it comes to black skin care.
Drinking an adequate amount of water daily is important for overall good health as water aids in digestion, circulation, absorption, and even excretion.
Drinking water gives you a radiant, healthy, younger-looking complexion, and in case you did not know – your skin contains 64 percent water.
Because water reaches all the other organs before the skin, it is best to apply a topical solution. How?
Apply a hydrating moisturizer immediately after showering.
Strive for at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep your skin hydrated and working properly.
2. Cleanse and Moisturize Daily
Building a skincare routine is necessary to maintain good skin health and to keep skin bright and supple.
Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Moisturize!
To cleanse, use a gentle cleanser that does not clog the pores. It may be worth looking for one that claims to be “non-comedogenic.”
Massage the cleanser into the skin with clean fingertips, then rinse it off with warm (not hot) water and pat the skin dry with a clean towel.
Exfoliation is the key to radiant and glowing skin.
Post-cleanse, saturate a cotton ball with an exfoliating lotion and sweep it down the T-zone, across the forehead, down the nose, and once over each cheek.
It’s the sweeping action of the cotton combined with the active ingredient that helps loosen those stubborn dead cells.
Be careful not to over-expose: If you’re using other exfoliators like retinol or scrubs, alternate them with the lotion to avoid irritation.
Applying a daily moisturizer that contains humectants, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, which prevents your skin from looking ashy.
Humectants retain moisture in the skin.
Vaseline (petroleum jelly) also works as a highly effective moisturizer.
Avoid moisturizers with fragrances, as these can irritate some people’s skin. As black women, fragrances affect our bodies adversely, so we need to pay close attention. Less fragrance is suggested.
Moisturizers that include creams or ointments are preferable to lotions.
Do not use a loofah or other similar exfoliating products on the skin. Also, avoid abrasive scrubs.
If you have a skin condition, contact your dermatologist for any product you’re unsure of.
3. Always Wear Sunscreen
“People with black skin do not burn, and do not need to wear sunscreen.” Untrue! One of the biggest myths about black skin!
Everyone should use adequate sun protection daily as part of their black skin care routine.
Sun exposure can also cause dark spots, such as those typical of melasma, to develop on black skin. It can also make existing spots darker.
Also, being inside and in front of our screens for extended periods during the day exposes us to blue light. We need sunscreen inside as well.
The AAD recommends using a waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that protects against both ultraviolet (UV) A and UVB rays. This is called broad-spectrum protection.
People should apply sunscreen all year round to all areas of exposed skin, even on cloudy days, when in the shade, and in the winter.
Many regular moisturizers contain SPF, including facial moisturizers. Sun protection is especially important on the face, as it is often the only part of the skin that gets sun exposure all year round.
Face creams with SPF are available in pharmacies, drug stores, and online.
People can also wear special clothing for extra sun protection. A range of UV protection factor clothing is available online.
4. Consider Treatments for Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation, or areas of skin discoloration, can affect people with any skin tone.
Although sunscreen can prevent new patches of hyperpigmentation from developing, it does not get rid of existing dark spots. That said, it can prevent existing dark spots from getting darker.
To reduce the appearance of existing dark spots, people can use a specialized product. These typically include ingredients such as:
- Vitamin C: Some research suggests that vitamin C, an antioxidant, can reduce hyperpigmentation, protect against sun damage, and increase collagen levels. However, vitamin C has a poor ability to penetrate the skin, so more research into its effectiveness for these purposes is necessary.
- Hydroquinone: Products containing hydroquinone stop the production of excess melanin, which causes dark spots.
- Retinoids: Over-the-counter topical differin and prescription-based products such as tretinoin can be helpful.
- Kojic acid: This is another skin lightener that can reduce dark spots, but it may be less effective.
People should use these products — particularly hydroquinone and kojic acid — with caution, as overuse could irritate your black skin.
It is important to not use hydroquinone for extended periods of time. Aim to take a break after 3 months of continuous use.
After long periods of use, hydroquinone can result in darkening of the skin. This is part of a condition called exogenous ochronosis.
Dermatologists may recommend a combination product that combines multiple products into one that people can use on their skin.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet
Good black skin care starts on the inside. To give skin the nutrients it needs to form and repair itself, eat a healthful diet rich in:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean protein sources, such as fish, eggs, legumes, and tofu
- healthful fats, including nuts, avocado, and olive oil
Avoid processed and sugar-filled foods and limiting alcohol intake may also help improve skin health. Alcohol may make certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, worse.
People with a skin condition such as acne or eczema should speak with a dermatologist to determine whether there are any foods that may make symptoms worse.
Here’s some advice we posted earlier – Eat a Plant-Based Diet. It’s a Simple Solution to Aging Gracefully
Establishing a good black skincare routine can help keep you looking bright, supple, and clear.
As well as performing a gentle daily routine and adopting a healthful diet, people with black skin should aim to avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals and fragrances.
Specific skin issues, such as acne and dark spots, benefit from swift treatment and preventative techniques.
To prevent the formation and worsening of dark spots and more serious health concerns such as skin cancer, experts recommend that everybody use sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.