Although basic skin-care needs are the same for everyone, there are some issues that darker skin tones are more likely to experience. For example, African-Americans may be more prone to skin issues like keloidal (raised) scarring, pronounced hyperpigmentation, and ingrown hairs.
Research shows that the only real difference between African-American skin and Caucasian skin is the amount, size, and distribution of melanin (the cells which produce our skin’s pigment). Excess melanin accounts for the darkened or ashen appearance darker skin has when it’s irritated or sun damaged, whereas the same conditions would cause the lighter skin to appear pink, red, or, if more melanin is present or stimulated mottled tan.
Dark Skin and Sun Damage
Everyone’s skin color is created by the amount of melanin in their skin. More melanin means darker skin color; less means lighter skin color. Having lots of melanin gives women of color an added advantage when it comes to how their skin handles sun exposure and how soon the damage becomes visible. Essentially, the more melanin your skin has, the more natural defense your skin has against the sun.
Although the extra melanin is good news for those with darker skin tones, it doesn’t mean damage from unprotected sun exposure isn’t happening. Uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and slower healing time (particularly for scars) is primarily a result of sun damage. Even though it takes longer and more intense sun exposure for visible damage to occur on the darker skin, sun damage is always greater on skin that’s chronically exposed to the sun than skin that’s properly protected. All skin, no matter what color, can absolutely be damaged by the sun and everyone needs to reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen at regular intervals during long days outdoors, especially after swimming or perspiring.
Think Skin Type, Not Skin Color
Just to review, skin color is not a skin type, and skin type is definitely what should dictate which products you use. How you treat oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, rosacea, acne, clogged pores, eczema, skin discolorations, wrinkles, or sun damage is the same, regardless of your skin color.
Rather than getting misled by slick marketing convincing you to buy products based on ethnicity, follow The Paula’s Choice Research Team’s approach: Use products that suit your skin type and condition, not your skin color. We’ve even made it easy for you because our skin care reviews and recommendations at Beautypediaare all categorized by skin type!
The bottom line is that regardless of your skin color or ethnicity, everyone needs a skin-care routine that includes:
- Gentle cleansing
- Effective exfoliation to improve skin texture and tone
- A state-of-the-art moisturizer (over dry areas, including around the eyes)
- Broad-spectrum, daily protection from a sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater
- Appropriate treatments for skin discolorations (hydroquinone-based products or proven alternatives), blemishes, dry skin, oily skin, and rosacea.
We hope you enjoyed a week about how different skin color reacts to different problems! At Satori Laser, we believe that all skin color is beautiful and we can’t wait to treat you!