While there’s truth in that old saying “beauty’s only skin deep”, it’s also equally true that having a clear complexion can impact your happiness, confidence and even your behavior in social situations.
Many of us people of color face common skin challenges. We’ve identified the main five, broken them down, and offered recommendations for safe treatment.
1. The Skin Challenge: Oily skin
What it is:
Skin is split and categorized into four classifications: normal, dry, oily and combination. Oily skin is typed by an excess of sebum or oil on the face. You may also notice more on the “T-zone” because of all the oil glands in the forehead, nose, and chin. Lifestyle factors compounding oiliness are genetics, hormonal changes, stress, too much sun, a diet with excess fried food and alcohol, over-utilization of skin products and the incorrect use of skincare tools.
Maybe your skin isn’t really oily. Only when you’re aware of your skin type, will you be able to get the most results out of your skincare regimen (cleansing, toning and moisturizing) and also choose the correct products.
Moisturize with natural oils. It sounds contrary but your face loves nourishing carrier oils like coconut, olive, jojoba, or sweet almond. Beyond leaving your face smooth and soft, oils contain replenishing emollients and antioxidants.
Be gentle with those tools. Rotating cleansing brushes, hand mitts, buff puffs and washcloths can cause trauma to skin and dry out, causing it to over-produce oil.
To minimize the shine on African American skin, weekly deep cleaning using clay masks naturally draw the oil build-up and impurities out, and preventing acne. Wild oat and honey masque as well as charcoal mask are great alternatives.
Resist the urge to pick your face please. Keep those bacteria-laden hands away. Picking can and will cause scarring, and will make things worse.
2. The Skin Challenge: Acne
What it is:
Acne happens with too much oil produced in the skin. It combines with bacteria in the pores and blocks the openings. Inflammation appears just below the skin’s surface resulting in lesions, varying in size from small bumps to sizable cysts. It also leads to pigmentation issues for dark skin. Regarded as part of an uncomfortable rite of passage through teenage years, acne on adult Black skin is even more frustrating.
Smart cleansing. It is critical to keep our skin clean but dirty skin is not the culprit for acne. It is actually excessive washing which can disrupt the balance of skin’s healthy oil. When natural oils are stripped, it creates the overproduction of oil to compensate, thus leading to more pimples.
With Black skin having unique issues, natural facial cleansers specially formulated for African American skin are best. Those containing green tea, glycerin, coconut, essential oils, aloe vera, or chamomile are good choices. A natural cleanser twice daily will keep your skin healthy, clean, while also helping to even out your complexion.
Keep things in contact with your skin clean. Your hands, makeup sponges and yes, your phones do accumulate germs.
Eat well. A healthy and balanced diet helps your body to repair skin much more quickly. Be mindful of food and drink allergies since reactions could cause acne and consequently, scarring.
Drink plenty of water. The proper amounts keep us well-hydrated and flush out impurities.
De-stress. Do what you can to decrease the negative stress in your life. Exercise is a great solution, keeping us in shape and getting rid of excess toxins.
3. The Skin Challenge: Dark spots
What it is:
Hyper-pigmentation is pigment deposited deep within the skin’s layers and too much pigment is produced, resulting in dark spots. Dark spots and freckles often appear as a result of sun damage.
Regular skin care
We need to protect our skin from the sun, which means using sunscreen protectant with a SPF of 15-30. Those particularly created for black skin, will keep skin moist. Sunscreen should be applied after moisturizing.
4. The Skin Challenge: Uneven skin tone
What it is:
Uneven skin tone for African Americans generally means the skin is not all one tone with areas of discoloration, blotches, hyper-pigmentation and dark spots.
A regular simple skin care regimen (again) including exfoliation, is the foundation.
Shea butter is a natural moisturizer known to help even out skin tone. This natural fat derived from Shea trees to make Shea butter, is effective for fading scars, dark spots, and blemishes.
5. The Skin Challenge: Unsafe Skin Lightening
Likely some of the challenges discussed before could lead to those making the controversial option of skin lightening. This practice does not promote healthy skin or self esteem – especially if it’s linked to your (or someone else’s) perception of beauty. However, if this is what you’re thinking about, at least do the research to make an informed choice.
What it is:
Lightening or bleaching creams reduce the normal levels of melanin in your skin. They are often employed to treat discoloration, age spots and scarring from acne. Hydroquinone is a known irritant that can lighten your skin, producing initial redness, itching and peeling. It has already been banned in several countries because of a risk for cancer and can cause a reversed uneven skin tone reaction, resulting in the skin turning darker.
Again, a commitment to a basic skincare regimen.
A natural exfoliating scrub can also be used as a skin lightening product because exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells that cause discoloration.
An effective natural skin lightener for African American skin is bear berry extract. The bear berry (arctostaphylos uva ursi or bear-grape) – originating from northernmost climes – has several properties which fight free radicals leading to premature aging, wrinkles and fine lines as well as hyper-pigmentation issues, age spots and freckles.
This cold-climate plant is also a source of a potent, safe, and effective skin-lightener, beta-arbutin – also extracted from the leaves of blueberry, cranberry, and mulberry plants.
I hope you see great skin can mean being gentle and natural, but most of all, consistent. Be good to you until next time!
As always …
Dedicated To Your Beauty
Nyraju Skin Care