Everyone’s skin is different and can benefit from a tailored care routine. Black skin contains more melanin than lighter skin. Melanin-producing cells may be more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which may be more noticeable in dark skin than in light skin.
Different skin care routines benefit different skin colors, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Reason is variances in the structure and function of the skin.
Some skin problems that people with black skin may experience include:
- acne, which includes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
- changes in skin pigmentation, which causes areas of discoloration on the skin
- dermatitis which occurs from contact with an irritant or allergen
- eczema, a skin disease that causes itchy, dry, and cracked skin
- seborrheic dermatitis, which appears as scaly patches on the scalp and face
In this article, we will give you the best 5 tips to care for black skin.
1. Cleanse and moisturize the skin daily
To keep skin bright and supple, it is best to cleanse and moisturize it daily, ideally right after showering.
Use a gentle cleanser that does not clog the pores. You should look for a skin cleanser 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 black skin loses moisture quicker than some lighter skin tones.
To avoid this problem and to prevent the skin from looking ashy, apply a daily moisturizer that contains humectants, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, on the skin. Humectants retain moisture in the skin.
A highly effective moisturizer is petroleum jelly (Vaseline). However, people should take care when applying thick products such as this to the face, as these products may cause acne. Be sure that these products are noncomedogenic before applying on the skin.
Avoid skin moisturizers with fragrances, as these products can irritate some people’s skin. Skin moisturizers that include creams or ointments are preferable to lotions.
Do not use a loofah or other similar exfoliating product on the skin. Also, avoid abrasive scrubs.
2. Always wear sunscreen
One of the biggest myths about black skin is that it does not burn, and that black people do not need to wear sunscreen. This is untrue, and everyone should use adequate sun protection.
Although people with black skin are less likely to get skin cancer from sun exposure, they are more likely to die from skin cancer if it does develop. Reason is that it is more difficult to notice and diagnose.
Sun exposure can also cause dark spots, such as those typical of melasma, to develop on black skin. Sun exposure can also make existing spots darker.
The AAD recommend 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 protection 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 sold in drug stores and online.
People can also wear special clothing for extra sun protection. A range of UV protection factor clothing is sold in many places.
3. 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. Sunscreen can prevent existing dark spots from getting darker.
To reduce the appearance of existing dark spots, people can use a specialized product. These products typically include ingredients such as:
- Retinoids: Over-the-counter topical differin and prescription-based products such as tretinoin can be helpful.
- Hydroquinone: Products containing hydroquinone stop the production of excess melanin, which causes dark spots.
- Kojic acid: This is another skin lightener that can reduce dark spots, but it may be less effective.
- 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.
People should use these products — particularly hydroquinone and kojic acid — with caution, as overuse could irritate the skin.
You must 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.
4. Treat acne early
Establishing a gentle daily skin care routine can help stop acne. Using noncomedogenic, oil-free products can also prevent acne.
People should also try to avoid irritants, such as scented laundry detergent and skin products with heavy perfumes. It is important for a person to see a dermatologist to learn about the products that may be appropriate for their specific type of acne.
5. Eat a balanced diet
Good skin care starts on the inside. To give skin the nutrients it needs to form and repair itself, you need to eat a healthful diet, which has a plenty of:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean protein sources, such as fish, eggs, legumes, 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 diseases, such as psoriasis, worse.
People with a skin problem such as acne or eczema should speak with a dermatologist to determine whether there are any foods that may make symptoms worse.
Establishing a good skin care routine can help keep black skin bright and supple.
As well as performing a gentle daily routine and adopting a healthful diet, people with black skin should 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.