What’s best for your skin is an individual thing based on genetics, skin type, special skin issues, age and other factors. But these 10 tips for women of color are musts for healthy skin.
1. Use products for your skin type. It’s important to use products that are formulated for your skin type. A cleanser for oily skin will be too drying for someone who has dry skin. Some products that work on normal skin might irritate delicate, sensitive skin.
Using the wrong product can do anything from making the skin look too oily or causing breakouts, to emphasizing fine lines and wrinkles or making makeup application look uneven.
2. Avoid harsh ingredients. Certain ingredients in products like salicylic acid and even some alpha hydroxy acids (fruit acids) can be too harsh for certain skin.
Chemicals like synthetic fragrances can cause allergic reactions in the skin of some women and alcohol-based products are very drying to others.
Observe which product ingredients cause skin reactions and check the ingredient label for patterns and possible culprits. So if you know you are allergic or easily irritated by certain ingredients, check the list before using a product.
3. Do patch tests. If you are using at-home kits like microdermabrasion kits, hair removal systems, facial peels and other products that are clinical strength or potentially harmful, always do a patch test on a small inconspicuous area like the inside of the elbow to make sure you are not allergic to the ingredients or that your skin is not too sensitive and can be irritated or damaged by the product.
4. Cleanse the face daily. It’s especially important to cleanse the face at night to get rid of dirt and debris and of course makeup. Avoid abrasive cleansers. Opt for a sensitive formula, especially if you have dry or easily irritated skin.
5. Exfoliate. When dead skin cells accumulate on the skin’s surface, what you’ll end up with is dull-looking skin or skin that is unable to adequately absorb nutrients and nourishing ingredients from skin care products.
Remember to regularly exfoliate the face, using gentle exfoliants, avoiding almond or coarse salts, which can actually tear the skin. Don’t use a body scrub on your face. And speaking of the body, be sure to exfoliate the body with scrubs or by dry brushing to avoid dry or ashy skin.
6. Keep Skin Hydrated. Always moisture, even if you have oily skin. Use a moisturizer that is formulated for your skin care needs and for the season (i.e., a lighter moisturizer in the summer, a creamy moisturizer during the winter.)
7. Use sunscreen. The sun can contribute to premature skin aging. While melanin provides protection to darker skin, you can still get skin cancer and often it’s at an advanced stage. Use sunscreen year round.
8. Be mindful of medications. Certain medications contribute to skin problems and others can cause sensitivity to the sun. Be sure to apply sunscreen or avoid the sun when using these drugs. Drugs that cause sun sensitivity are birth control pills, antibiotics, acne medications and some hyperpigmentation treatments.
9. Be careful with professional treatments. Cosmetic surgery and other professional treatments (laser treatments, microdermabrasion, etc) might cause skin discolorations and other problems in skin of color. Make sure that you see a professional that is experienced in treating dark skin.
10. Help your skin take care of itself. Lead a healthy lifestyle, with a nutritious diet, exercise and plenty of rest to help your body and skin continue to rejuvenate itself.