The differences between black skin and Caucasian skin go far beyond outward appearance. High levels of melanin are what give black skin its warm color; it’s also the reason why women and men of color have fewer problems with wrinkles and sagging as they age. But high levels of melanin also cause issues that are unique and sometimes problematic: dark marks, hyperpigmentation, and irritation are challenges that black women and men know all too well. Frustratingly, there were virtually no African-American skin products on the market to remedy these problems – until Dr. Susan Taylor created Rx for Brown Skin.
Today, millions of black women and men are using Rx for Brown Skin and are seeing dramatic improvements in the appearance of their dark spots, dark marks, uneven skin tone, and skin sensitivity. But keeping skin radiant all the time takes more than just using the right skincare products. It also means understanding what works, what doesn’t, and when it’s time to switch up your routine. Here’s a collection of our best black skincare tips.
Black Skin Care: The Basics
Know your skin. The most common skin concerns for Caucasian men and women are fine lines and wrinkles, acne breakouts, loss of skin elasticity, sensitivity, and dry, dehydrated skin. However, for darker shades of skin, hyperpigmentation is the most common problem and is often referred to as dark spots, dark marks, uneven skin tone, and melasma. Hyperpigmented skin is quick to develop dark spots and dark marks – from vigorous scrubbing, squeezing blackheads, sun exposure, and even exfoliating.
Cleanse, treat, and moisturize according to your skin concern. No matter what your skin is concerned about, it’s important to be gentle – and to use a product that cleanses without stripping away essential moisture or irritating the skin. Hydration is key to beautiful, glowing, supple African-American skin, but be cautious about the moisturizer you choose; look for ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Shea Butter that hydrate the skin without making skin oily.
Use black skincare products that are specially formulated for your needs. Like millions of others, you’ve probably been frustrated by mass-market products that never worked on your skin. The problem isn’t your skin – it’s the products.
Change your routine with the seasons. It’s vital to be aware of how changes in weather affect your skin, no matter what type of skin you have. Dry skin may act more like oily skin in the summer, normal skin may feel more sensitive in certain seasons, and skin prone to hyperpigmentation may be more susceptible to dark spots in cold weather. The key is to notice these changes and to alter your routine accordingly.
Black Skin Problems: Do’s & Don’ts
Acne – Not only is African-American skin prone to acne, but breakouts tend to leave dark marks or dark spots behind. Using a product that gently exfoliates the hyper pigmented cells while providing anti-inflammatory benefits will have the best results.
- DO use a Complete Acne System to clear existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Using a system of products that were designed to work together will be the most effective way to fight breakouts. And don’t forget to use a moisturizer. Light hydration is essential to acne-prone skin to keep it calm and in balance.
- DON’T pick your zits! Picking, squeezing, and popping pimples can spread infection and worsen breakouts. Plus, because black skin is prone to discoloration and dark marks, picking, squeezing, and popping your pimples often result in dark marks and dark spots that just don’t seem to go away.
Ashy Skin – Any skin type or color can get dry and flaky, but when it happens to black skin, it can appear gray or “ashy.”
- DO use body lotion and moisturizer! Hydration is key to radiant, glowing brown skin. At least twice a day, apply a moisture-trapping moisturizer like Essential Hydration Moisturizing Cream to your face and neck.
- DON’T use products with alcohol, harsh chemicals, or fragrance and avoid “scrubbing” your skin.
Eczema – Eczema, the second most common skin disease among African Americans, is triggered by internal and external factors, including stress, temperature extremes, allergies, and irritants. On black skin, eczema may appear as dry, ashen, brown, or gray patches that can leave dark marks and scars.
- DO use a mild, fragrance-free Gentle Cleanser and apply moisturizer within three minutes of showering to lock in moisture.
- DON’T scratch. To relieve the itchiness, see your doctor for a topical cortisone or steroid cream.
Hyperpigmentation – Hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin in patches of the skin. Black skin is vulnerable to hyperpigmentation, the darkening of the skin in some areas. Exposure to the sun can also trigger excess production of melanin and exacerbate hyperpigmentation dark marks.
- DO use a gentle Hyperpigmentation System to even out skin tone without stripping away moisture.
- DON’T scrub the skin or use abrasive black skincare treatments. Stick to products that contain no alcohol, no lanolin, no PABA sunscreen, and no fragrance.
Razor Bumps – Razor bumps affect 45-83% of black men. Because the hair shaft in African-American skin is curved, shaving often causes the tips of hairs to grow back into the skin and cause inflammation – also known as razor bumps.
- DO use warm water when cleansing to open pores for a deeper clean and to soften stubble.
- DON’T shave against the direction of hair growth. This can make razor bumps even worse.
Sunscreen: Does Black Skin Need It?
African-American skin has a natural SPF of 13, which means that it can be exposed to the sun 13 times longer without burning than white skin. But that doesn’t mean that people of color should ignore sunscreen. In fact, recent studies show that skin cancer is on the rise among African Americans, and that skin cancer fatality rates are higher among Blacks because the cancer is often detected too late. Exposure to the sun not only causes cancer, however. It also contributes to skin discoloration, causes premature aging, and lowers the immune system.
No matter what your skin type, a sunscreen with a broad spectrum SPF should be part of your daily skincare regimen. Rx for Brown Skin’s Age Block Broad Spectrum SPF 15 contains an exclusive Organic Antioxidant Complex that neutralizes free radicals and protects the skin from damaging UVA/UVB rays that make dark spots darker, accelerate aging, and cause skin cancer.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.