Different skincare routines benefit different skin colors, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This is due to variances in the structure and function of the skin.
Some conditions that people with darker skin may experience include:
- acne, which includes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
- changes in pigmentation, which causes areas of discoloration
- contact dermatitis, or inflammation that occurs from contact with an irritant or allergen
- eczema, a skin condition that causes itchy, dry, and cracked skin
- seborrheic dermatitis, which appears as scaly patches on the scalp and face
In this article, we cover five top tips to care for African American skin.
To keep skin bright and supple, it is best to cleanse and moisturize it daily.
Use a gentle exfoliator with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) like glycolic acid found in sugar scrubs that unclogs pores. It may be worth looking for one that claims to be "noncomedogenic."
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.
Some research suggests that African American skin loses moisture quicker than lighter tones skin.
To avoid this, and to prevent the skin from looking ashy, apply a daily moisturizer that contains humectants, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Humectants retain moisture in the skin.
Avoid moisturizing with products containing petroleum jelly (Vaseline). These products are byproducts of motor oil exploration. Just think... Do you want to oil your skin with what you oil your car? No thanks! African American women should take care when applying thick products such as this to the face, as they may cause acne and other facial problems (not to mention being a potential carcinogen)
Avoid moisturizers with fragrances, as these can irritate some people's skin which is why Tonae uses very light fragrances in very low concentrations. Moisturizers that include creams or ointments are shown to be better than just plain lotions.
Hyperpigmentation, or areas of skin discoloration, can affect people with any skin tone.
To reduce the appearance of existing dark spots, people can use a specialized product. These typically include ingredients such as:
- Hydroquinone: Products containing hydroquinone stop the production of excess melanin (the cause of dark spots). Found here:
- Kojic acid: This is another skin lightener that can reduce dark spots and is found in all of our facial scrubs.
People should use these products — particularly hydroquinone and kojic acid — sparingly, as overuse may irritate the skin and cause redness.
It is important to not use hydroquinone for extended periods of time. Aim to take a break after 3 months of continuous use.
Treating acne early could prevent the condition from getting worse. It may also prevent the formation of dark spots on the skin, which is part of a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These spots are not scars.
Establishing a gentle daily skincare routine can help stop acne, as can using noncomedogenic, or oil-free products.
People should also try to avoid irritants, such as scented laundry detergent and skin products with heavy perfumes.
Good skincare 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, beans, and tofu
- healthful fats, including nuts, avocado, and olive oil
Avoiding 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.
Establishing a good skincare routine can help keep African American skin bright, supple, and clear.
As well as performing a gentle daily routine and adopting a healthful diet, people with African American 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.