Many of us have used mainstream skincare products in hopes for the same results as our lighter-skinned counterparts, but it doesn't always work out the way we planned. Our skin comes with its own list of challenges and benefits and the first step is to acknowledge that is has different needs and requirements to keep it looking (and feeling) its best.
The Good News:
Darker skin tones contain more melanin which offers more natural protection against UV damage and visible signs of aging like wrinkles. Moreover, because dark skin produces more oil, our skin maintains its youthful glow longer. And finally, the cell turnover of darker skin is more than 2.5 times than lighter skin--faster cellular turnover equals more youthful, healthier looking skin.
The Bad News:
Despite not visibly being prone to burn, UV rays can still damage our skin and lead to uneven skin tone. Also, because of the higher oil content in our skin, people of color are more prone to acne. This acne can lead to Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation which causes dark spots to remain long after the offending spot as gone. This is due to the higher concentration of melanin in our skin.
Here, we've simplified skincare to it's most elemental with a few basic steps for truly nurturing melinated skin.
- Try the Oil Cleansing Method and ditch expensive cleansers. Most mainstream skincare products are filled with parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, and other toxins that can wreak havoc on your hormones, irritate your skin, and even cause certain types of cancer. "Clean Beauty" is exploding right now, but there's still limited choices formulated specifically for women of color. Remember we mentioned that darker skin has higher oil content? Well like disolves like. Therefore, if you wash your face with oil as opposed to harsh foaming cleansers you will actually be gently dissolving the excess oil instead of completely obliterating it. When your skin is squeaky clean and has that stretched feeling, your body responds by producing more oil to compensate. This causes the vicious cycle to repeat. The oil cleansing method is also incredible because its relatively inexpensive and completely customizable. If you have acne prone, dry, oily, mature, or any combination thereof, there's an oil that specifically addresses your skin concern. We'll be posting more on the OCM with our favorites oils in the future and DIY recipes, but until then check out an article about it here on Crunchy Betty.
- If you suffer from hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone, find a serum or moisturizer with ingredients specifically made to target these issues. Our favorite serum is the Dark Spot Remover by 100% Pure which contains powerful ingredients that fight hyperpigmentation like Matsuke Mushroom Extract, Red Algae, and Bearberry. Our pick for a lightweight moisturizer is the Probiotic + C Renewal Cream by Andalou Naturals. It's packed with incredible ingredients like Goji Berry Extract, Rosehip Seed Oil, Squalene, Vitamin C, and probiotics.
- Always follow your moisturizer with a sunscreen. For women of color, this isn't an easy step. It's incredibly difficult to find a sunscreen that doesn't turn chalky white or purple on our skin. Also, the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic database still shows that most sunscreen contains harmful ingredients. They recommend a 100% natural mineral sunscreen which can turn most people of color into ghosts. We think the best compromise is the Plant Stem Cell Age Defying Face Sunscreen SPF 30 by organic skincare company Mádara. The formula is moisturizing, nourishing, and actually blends into deeper skin tones.
So, just to recap.
- Step 1: The Oil Cleansing Method to gently cleanse your skin.
- Step 2: A skin-loving serum and moisturizer with ingredients that target uneven skin tone
- Step 3: SPF! It's a must even for darker skin.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below? Have you tried the OCM? Any clean skincare products you recommend or impressive DIY recipes? Sound off below and let us all know.