People of color include those with non-white heritage. The distinctions between a skin of color and white skin are numerous. The most notable differences include:
-more melanin (brown skin pigment) resulting in a warmer skin shade
-greater natural protection from the sun and lower risk of skin cancer
-fewer visible signs of aging like deep wrinkles and fine lines
-increased pigmentation (uneven darkening or lightening of skin)
-greater risk of developing keloids (raised, often large scars)
-increased oil production
A disadvantage to having more melanin is that it makes skin more “reactive.” That means almost any stimulus–a rash, scratch, pimple, or inflammation– may trigger the production of excess melanin, resulting in dark marks or patches on the skin. These dark areas are the result of what is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Less commonly, some will develop a decrease in melanin, or post-inflammatory hypopigmentation, in response to skin trauma (such as a burn). In either case, the dark or light areas may be disfiguring and devastating for those who experience them, especially because the discolorations may take months or years to fade. That’s why handling your skin gently, wearing sunscreen, and preventing pigmentation problems are all extremely important.
Skin Of Color FAQs
DO I NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN?
Yes. Even though darker skin is less susceptible to sunburns, it can experience sun damage. The UVA rays (the ones that cause skin aging and skin cancer) can still affect your skin, and daily application of sun protection is necessary. Try Renée Rouleau Daily Protection SPF #30. It dries to a matte finish on the skin and won’t clog the pores or cause acne breakouts. Tip: For darker skin, it’s best to avoid using sunscreens with the ingredient Titanium Dioxide as it can leave a white-ish case on the skin. Micronized Zinc Oxide is a better choice and is the main sunscreen ingredient in our Daily Protection SPF 30.
WHAT NUMBER SPF IS NECESSARY?
A minimum of SPF #15 is recommended for daily use. (Did you know that an SPF #30 offers only 4% more protection than an SPF #15?)
WHAT CAUSES THE DARK MARKS ON MY SKIN?
A rash, scratch, bug bite, blemish, or inflammation can trigger the production of excess melanin, resulting in dark marks or patches on the skin.
HOW DO I GET RID OF THE DARK MARKS?
When the skin has been traumatized or scarred from a blemish, scratch, or rash, the way to fade the marks is by ridding the skin of the damaged cells, so that the skin can produce new, healthy cells. You achieve this by increasing your exfoliation. Use chemical enzymes to dissolve and digest the damaged skin cells, and use a physical exfoliant, like a mild facial scrub, to polish off and remove the dissolved cells. (Try Renée Rouleau AHA Smoothing Serum 17%, Triple Berry Smoothing Peel and Mint Buffing Beads.) The result, over the course of time, will encourage more even-toned, less pigmented skin.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THE DARK MARKS?
In most skin, the marks are created from damage caused by breakouts, so the key would be to prevent the breakouts. You can do this by combining a skin care routine consisting ofdisinfectants (to reduce bacteria to promote healing of blemishes), exfoliation (to keep the pores from being clogged with bacteria), and water-based, oil-free hydration (to keep the skin cells healthy and moist, preventing dead skin cell buildup). It’s also important not to over-dry the skin when there are acne breakouts.
WHAT ABOUT USING A SKIN LIGHTENER OR BLEACH?
Skin bleaches containing Hydroquinone cannot fade pigmented marks that are caused by breakouts. Exfoliation is the only way to rid the skin of those. Certain types of Vitamin C can accelerate the fading process. Try Renée Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment.
WHICH PROFESSIONAL TREATMENTS WOULD BE GOOD FOR MY SKIN?
HOW CAN I LESSEN THE OIL MY SKIN PRODUCES?
You can’t stop the skin from producing oil, but you certainly can slow it down. Surprisingly, this includes not over-drying your skin. When people have a lot of oil, they think that they must dry it out in order to control the oil, but the skin actually produces more oil to compensate for dryness caused by harsh products. So keep your skin hydrated with water-based products, and this will help lessen oil production.
DO I NEED TO USE A MOISTURIZER?
Yes! You need to keep the water in your skin with a water-based, oil-free moisturizer. The water in your skin is needed to discourage dry skin cell buildup. Try Renée Rouleau Matte Moisture.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR COSMETIC SURGERY?
Skin of color is also more susceptible to developing certain conditions such as keloids (large, raised scars that grow beyond the original site of injury). For this reason, women of color need to be very careful when considering cosmetic surgery. You need to consult with your doctor to see if you can safely undergo such procedures. But the good news is that because melanin naturally protects your skin from sun damaging rays, and oil keeps your skin conditioned, you are unlikely to get wrinkles in the first place!
Which products are right for your skin? Check out our nine skin types.