So, we know that sunscreen is a must when protecting that beautiful, melanated skin, but you know what’s just as important?
A good skincare routine!
There’s an abundant amount of skincare products out there, all of them doing different things and having a long, complicated list of ingredients that sometimes gives you a headache. Fortunately, we’re here to help so not only is your Black skin protected, it’s healthy!
Depending upon your skin type (oily, dry, combination, etc.), different products will be helpful when it comes to your skin and try to alleviate any problems you may be having. However, whether you’re oily, dry or have combination skin, all skin types should follow these basic steps for a solid skincare routine for melanated skin.
Common Skin Issues for Black Skin
Black skin sometimes has specific problems that need to be catered to, like eczema (inflamed and itchy skin), dark circles (under eye bags), or hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin or uneven skin tone). Below, you will see the steps for building a skincare routine and examples of products/ingredients that can help with some of these common problems.
Building a Skin Care Routine for Dark Skin
A good skincare routine has the following products to maximize and maintain the health of your skin:
Step 1: Cleanser – Cleansing is important because throughout the day your skin is exposed to pollution and other environmental factors. People with oily skin may have excess oils that can contribute to clogged pores and acne or if you’re an avid makeup wearer, it’s important to remove makeup to ensure that you’re not clogging your pores with makeup. There are different cleansers for different types of skin – oily, dry, combination, sensitive or acne prone, and there are even cleansing oils that are excellent for removing makeup.
Step 2: Exfoliant (physical or chemical) – Exfoliating is excellent for removing dead skin cells and contributes to clearer, more glowy and healthy skin. There are two kinds – physical and chemical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants can be abrasive and cause small tears in the skin due to micro beads or other ingredients, so be cautious when using them. Try to use more gentle physical exfoliants that have ingredients that are more gentle on the skin, like a physical exfoliant with rice, which is less abrasive. Chemical exfoliants are more efficient and are more dermatologist recommended, however, they are strong so please read the instructions and discuss with a professional before using. FYI – nothing should ever burn, so if you are experiencing burning or discomfort with any product, stop using immediately!
Step 3: Toner (optional) – Toning helps with a variety of different problems, whether you’re trying to control your oily skin, treat/prevent acne, gently exfoliate (glycolic acid, AHA/BHA), or help with dryness. This is an optional step, but it is recommended if you are trying to get control of a specific problem, like the ones listed above.
Step 4: Treatments (serums, masks, etc.) – Similar to toner, treatments are exactly what they sound like – treatments! Whether it be serums, acids or masks, this step is great for those who are trying to resolve a problem (acne, eczema, etc.) or who are simply trying to keep their skin balanced. Be aware that some treatments are advised to be used specifically in the AM or PM, and if you do use something that is supposed to be used during the PM during the day, sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid – Hydrating: Great for helping with – dryness
- Vitamin C – Brightening: Great for helping with – dullness, hyperpigmentation
- AHA/BHA – Gently Exfoliates: Great for helping with – overall skin health, uneven tone/texture, clogged pores, anti-aging
- Hyperpigmentation cream: Great for helping with – Hyperpigmentation (dark spots, uneven skin tone)
- Salicylic Acid: Great for helping with – Acne (or acne prevention)
- Retinol:Great for helping with – anti-aging and exfoliating
Step 5: Eye Cream (optional, but recommended) – It’s not just for older people, it’s great for everyone! The skin under your eyes is thin and sensitive, so it’s great to keep it protected and taken care of. If you have early morning puffiness or dark under eye circles, this would be worth incorporating into your routine. You can pick an eye cream based on what your under eye needs. Beware that some creams are only supposed to go under the eye, and others are good for other areas of the eye, so make sure to read the instructions!
- Vitamin C – helps with brightness
- Collagen – elasticity
- Caffeine – reduces puffiness
Step 6: Moisturizer – Moisturizer helps seal everything in and adds moisture to the skin! There are different types of moisturizers varying in density and ingredients depending upon what kind of skin you have. For example, there are more gel-based creams for those who may have oily/combination skin, and heavier creams with oils embedded for people with dry skin or eczema. There are even great moisturizers for those who have very sensitive or acne prone skin. You can also have more than one moisturizer – a lighter moisturizer during the day and a heavier one at night to help with hydration and rejuvenation.
Step 7: Sunscreen – You all know the drill! Last, but certainly not least – sunscreen! This should be applied about 15 minutes before you go about your day and are exposed to Blue Light or the sun, and should be reapplied as needed. Sunscreen helps protect the skin throughout the day and helps with anti-aging and even hyperpigmentation – it’s like your final line of defense. There are different types of sunscreen, mineral and chemical, so make sure you pick what’s best for you.
Daytime Skincare Routine
Depending upon your skin type and the product you may be using, some products may be best suited for the day, and some at night. Always make sure to read through products and do a bit of research on whether a product should be used in the AM or PM.
During the day, you should be focused on making sure your skin is protected from the sun and daily pollution, as well as being hydrated. That means make sure you’ve cleansed efficiently, toned (if necessary), put on an AM safe treatment (optional – like Vitamin C for example is good for the AM or PM), moisturize and protect with sunscreen! If your skin is oily, you may want to cut a few optional items out of your regiment so that you’re not producing extra oil throughout the day. Even if you’re working from home, we all know how important sunscreen is.
Nighttime Skincare Routine
At night, your skin is regenerating and repairing itself, so focus on removing any makeup or dirt (cleansing), focusing on any problems (acne, hyperpigmentation, dryness, etc.) by using treatments (serums) or masks, and maximizing hydration with a hydrating moisturizer.
As far as products, for instance, retinol is an anti-aging ingredient that is advised to mostly be used at night because it makes the skin sensitive to sunlight. Another product that is recommended more at night would be chemical exfoliants, like the Ordinary AHA/BHA peel. AHA/BHA also makes your skin sensitive to sunlight as well, so using sunscreen after treatments like these if you choose to use them during the day is a must! On the flip side, Vitamin C can be used during the day or at night to work on brightening the skin.
Why Sunscreen is Important in Daily Skincare
You already know – sunscreen is vital in your skincare routine, rain or shine, hot or cold. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays from the sun, and even Blue Light that comes from our electronic devices or bright LED lights. It can lessen your likelihood of getting skin cancer, getting sunburn or sun damage and can also assist with hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and anti-aging.
Hopefully this helps you get your feet wet when it comes to building a strong, reliable skincare routine! Don’t forget to talk to a dermatologist or skin care professional before using any strong treatments or serums to see what would work best for you or if you’re having serious skin problems.
Remember, healthy skin is happy skin!