our leather Performs many roles. It helps manage body temperature, keeps bacteria and other insects away, and is key to our sense of touch.
Skin unites us all in these common functions, but our skin also differs in the ways it appears cosmetically.
The tone of your skin can affect how quickly you develop wrinkles and sunspots. It can also affect whether you are more prone to hyperpigmentation and dark areas on your skin.
Skin color is not limited to race only, as people of the same background can have widely varying skin tone. Race and ethnicity are usually not an accurate reflection of skin color, says Anna Shen, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Doctors refer to “skin types” ranging from 1 to 6. Skin type 1 is the palest, which always burns and never tans. Midtones, such as Type 4, are light brown, tan easily, and rarely burn. 6 darkest skin types, highly pigmented and never burn. This group of skin types is also called “Fitzpatrick skin type,” named after the doctor who developed it. It depends on how much pigment is in a person’s skin and how their skin reacts to exposure to sunlight.
Learn from three dermatologists how skin tone can affect your skincare routine.
Call the doctors Sun damage Photoaging, which includes wrinkles and sunspots that can come with sun exposure.
Shen says this tends to happen “a little more quickly” in people with lighter skin types. “And they are more likely to get skin cancer.”
In contrast, people with darker skin “often have a later delay in showing signs of photoaging. They also have a lower risk of skin cancer, says Julia Mhlaba, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This pigment actually provides protection from the sun.”
But it’s important to keep in mind that a lower risk of skin cancer does not mean no risk. “All skin types can develop skin cancer,” says Shani Frances, M.D., a dermatologist in the Los Angeles area.
The misconceptions that people with dark skin do not get skin cancer are serious because it can lead to a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. “We can definitely see melanoma in people with darker skin,” Chen says. “Unfortunately, because this is not often talked about…the skin cancer may be caught later when it is more advanced.”
In people with darker skin, cancers can also occur in places where “patients are not normally exposed to sunlight, such as the bottoms of the hands and feet,” Mhlaba says.
Universal need: sunscreen
Requires all skin tones sunblock cream With an SPF of at least 30 – every day, in the rain or shine – to help prevent skin cancer and slow photoaging.
“We always recommend sun protection because even in dark-skinned people [and in] People who say, ‘I don’t burn; Always tan, Shane says, ‘They still have skin damage.
If you’re outside for extended periods, use at least an SPF of 60, says Chen. Reapply often, especially if you are active, sweatingOr swimming or getting wet.
Physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide Providing the best protection according to the experts. But on dark skin, such products are not always cosmetically elegant.
“It can cause a white layer to appear on the skin, which is a challenge for people with darker skin,” Shen says. She recommends using tinted sunscreens that may best match their skin tone.
Colored sunblock cream It may offer more benefits. For people with darker skin, Chen says, longer wavelengths beyond UV rays can be more harmful than people with lighter skin. “The color can actually protect a little bit from the longer wavelength that their skin may be more sensitive to,” she explains.
What’s behind the sunscreen?
Don’t rely on sunscreen alone. “I always tell my patients that sunscreens aren’t perfect,” Shane says. “We need to reapply and collect [it] with other measures.
Includes wear Sunglasses Long-sleeved shirts, avoid peak sun, seek shade, and wear wide-brimmed hats. She calls it a “multimodal approach to sun protection.”
It does not depend on the sun protection factor (SPF) Make-up alone to give you adequate protection, says Shane. “The SPF they achieved in a lab setting – they usually put a fairly heavy amount of this makeup on, so it doesn’t mimic daily use.”
What do you know about retinol and retinoids?
Regular use of sunscreen and moisturizer can help slow down the signs of aging. Also, a file can be used retinoid or retinol on your skin.
“here they are Vitamin A “Derivatives that can either be bought over the counter or can be prescribed by a dermatologist at higher strength levels,” says Mhlaba. “They do a lot of things: They’re used to treat acne. They can help with skin pigmentation. But they can also help in terms of smoothing fine lines and preventing wrinkles from forming.”
Mahlaba says people with darker skin can use high-strength retinoids but should start slowly to avoid irritating their skin. “If they get irritated, it can cause hyperpigmentation more easily than patients with fair skin types,” she explains.
Her advice: When you start using a retinol or retinoid, apply only a small amount to your face, and do it every few days at first. Follow up with a moisturizer to help reduce any skin irritation.
Mohlaba says applying sunscreen to the face not only slows skin aging, but can also help prevent hyperpigmentation from getting worse.
Hyperpigmentation can occur on all skin types, but it’s more common in people with darker skin, says Mhlaba.
‘It can happen from young love scars or eczema Or at trauma sites, then there are other conditions that lead to hyperpigmentation, such as melasma. Melasma appears as patches of darker pigmentation, especially on the face.
Sun exposure can exacerbate hyperpigmentation—another reason sunscreen is key. Products that can treat hyperpigmentation include Vitamin C Serum or products containing vitamin C, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, and niacinamide, Mahlaba notes.
For melasma, dermatologists can also prescribe it hydroquinone– Based compounds or oral medications.
dry skin It can affect all skin tones. But if your skin is darker, dry skin It is off-white, so there is more contrast. “It’s a lot more noticeable,” Francis says. This dry appearance comes from flaking skin scales.
Dark skin that becomes dry can benefit from a “good, really thick moisturizer, something that can help rebuild [skin] Shane says.
Don’t judge the product by how thick it is in the container. Francis says that what matters most is how thick it is on your skin. She suggests looking for ingredients like ceramides, glycerineCastor oil, Vaseline, and hemp seed oil.
A gentle moisturizer on damp skin after showering or bathing. “It will keep the water in the skin,” she says.
People of all skin tones can have allergy issues. “Stick to really gentle products,” says Shane. Choose unscented products, and steer clear of those labeled antibacterials.
“Keep your skincare regimen very simple: Just a gentle face wash, a gentle moisturizer, something with built-in SPF in the day, and a regular moisturizer in the evening,” she says.
Chen says people with sensitive skin can spot test a product behind their ear or the top of their arm to make sure they don’t react to the product.
She recommends “not adding too many anti-aging serums or products. Too many of these can be annoying.”
If people with sensitive skin want to exfoliate, “it’s more patient-specific in terms of what their skin tolerates,” says Mahlaba. Body scrubs can be very harsh. But “if you’re talking about a chemical exfoliant, I definitely recommend starting slowly and working on using it daily, if necessary. Sometimes, even…just once a week, depending on the product, may be enough.”
Look for things salicylic acid, glycolic acid,” she says. “A lot of topical creams have that. This is a good way to exfoliate.”