Tips for Summer Skin Care for People of Color
Ways to protect and maintain your skin’s health
When it comes to summer skincare advice, we’ve all heard the standard fare.
Avoid pore-clogging lotions and creams.
Exfoliation should be used sparingly.
Drink plenty of water.
While this advice is sound, you may need to consider other things dependent on your skin type.
People of color (those of African, Asian, Latino or Hispanic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Native American origin) may face disorders such as keloids, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in addition to dry, oily, combination, normal, or sensitive skin. Even while melanin can defend against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, persons of color must exercise caution. Why? Because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is extremely difficult to cure by the time it is discovered in this patient population.
Kiyanna Williams, MD, a dermatologist and Section Head of Cleveland Clinic’s Skin of Color Clinic, discusses why it’s vital for people of color to protect their skin from the summer sun and offers some tips for keeping it healthy, attractive, and shining.
The significance of melanin
Melanin is a mystical substance. It is responsible for your distinct hair and eye hues, as well as the differences in your skin tones. It is produced by melanocytes, which are cells present in the skin’s inner layer. Carotene and melanin mix in these cells to form the colors of your eyes, skin, and hair.
Melanin is classified into three categories
- Eumelanin is responsible for the darker pigmentation of skin, hair, and eyes.
- Pheomelanin is responsible for pink, red, and yellow tones in places such as your lips, as well as making your hair red.
- Neuromelanin is a pigment present in the brain. It does not offer skin or hair coloration. It instead colors neurons.
Melanin has the ability to protect the skin from UV radiation. It absorbs UV rays before it may harm your skin cells’ DNA. Melanin also serves as an antioxidant, combating free radicals and reducing the appearance of aging symptoms like as deep wrinkles and age spots. While this all sounds nice, it doesn’t imply that people of color shouldn’t be concerned about their complexion or apply sunscreen.
Why should people of color apply sunscreen?
“Many people come to visit me because they have hyperpigmentation, melasma, or both.” “I told them that sunscreen will not only keep those problems from getting worse, but it is also the initial step in treating them,” Dr. Williams explains.
She notes that, while many treatments on the market are intended to cure dark spots or disorders such as melasma, sunscreen is quite efficient in fading both.
“You may spend all your money on everything if you have dark patches or melasma, but if you’re not wearing sunscreen, those products won’t help.” Every time the light shines on your skin, it darkens those spots and encourages melanin formation. This applies both while you’re outside and when you’re inside. Sunlight from windows, light from your phone, light from your computer, and interior light may all deepen those spots.”
What kinds of sunscreen are suitable for persons of color?
Mineral sunscreens including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are strongly recommended by Dr. Williams. While colored choices can leave a white cast, they are less likely to do so. Tinted sunscreens also include iron oxides, which shield darker skin from indoor light, particularly light emitted by electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops. They are also less prone to cause skin irritation.
Dr. Williams recommends waiting five to ten minutes for your sunscreen to settle and blend in. However, if you sweat a lot, you’ll need to reapply mineral sunscreen frequently. She suggests using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on a regular basis. If you want to remain outside for an extended amount of time, choose one with a higher SPF (greater than 50).
How to Moisturize Your Skin Correctly
When the air becomes heavy and humid, avoid using thick lotions or oils. Use a lotion to lighten your moisturizing regimen and avoid using aromatic or abrasive body cleansers.
“If you have a dry skin problem, make sure you’re washing your body using products developed for sensitive skin.” You should also moisturize your skin using creams designed for sensitive skin. Creams will be thicker and denser than lotions. As a result, if it arrives in a pump, it will be thinner. A moisturizer that arrives in a jar will be thicker.”
Don’t moisturize your face the same way you do your body
While there are numerous dual-purpose products available, body lotion is not one of them. In a pinch, you might be tempted to apply a little body lotion or cream on your face, but don’t. Body skin care products are far too concentrated for the face.
“In general, the face does not require the same amount of heavier creams as the body.” Because the face has a far higher density of oil glands than the rest of the body, it already produces more moisture and oil. As a result, the face seldom needs something so weighty. I always warn my patients not to apply body lotion on their faces. It cannot be used interchangeably.”
Avoid using harsh scrubs
Gritty scrubs are not the way to go if you want your skin to shine. Dr. Williams feels that many washes are overly abrasive and might aggravate underlying skin problems.
“I find that many of them are overly raw and rough, and they produce more trauma than anything else.” Instead, you might use an excellent exfoliating cleanser. These cleaners contain acids like as glycolic acid and stimulate natural exfoliation. They will not penetrate too deeply or create mechanical stress. They are also less prone to irritate or produce harm in comparison to manual exfoliation.”
Avoid taking a hot shower
Also, when taking a shower, avoid long, hot ones. Dr. Williams suggests lathering up with warm water and a moderate, hydrating cleanser. And, rather than waiting to apply lotion, she recommends slathering on moisturizer immediately after gently patting skin dry.
“Moisturize shortly after showering since your skin will be the most porous and amenable to accepting a lotion or cream.”
How to Prevent Keloids and Dark Spots
Going sleeveless and wearing shorts or skirts increases the likelihood of cuts, scratches, and other injuries. In most circumstances, a bandage and a decent antibiotic ointment would suffice. Keloids and black markings may occur in people with darker skin.
What exactly are keloids?
Keloids are smooth, hard growths that can arise on their own or over a scar. Keloids are caused by an expansion of scar tissue. They’re not dangerous, but they can take weeks or even months to form.
“There are two methods for keloids to develop. They might occur as a result of an accident, or they can form for no apparent cause.”
If your parents have keloids, you may be predisposed to them as well. As a result, you’ll want to be extra cautious and keep an eye on any injuries you experience.
“If you are prone to keloids, avoid tattoos, piercings, and other items that may contribute to keloid formation.” Keloids can be difficult to handle on your own. If you see that a scar is getting elevated, make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible because there are several treatment options for keloids. There are over-the-counter silicone sheets that may assist, but there are also injections or drugs that a dermatologist can use to help decrease keloids.”
Dr. Williams advises the same approach for dark markings.
“Similarly, there are prescription drugs and therapies for black markings that can assist even at the start of an injury.” “Earlier is preferable in terms of preventing dark spots or trying to lessen dark spots that already exist.”
When in doubt, consult a dermatologist about your pimples
As previously said, if you detect anything suspicious about your skin or are experiencing discoloration, keloids, or acne, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. While it may appear that many dermatologists are unfamiliar with the issues of people of color, Dr. Williams believes there are those in the specialty who can help.
“If you’re unsure about anything if it’s been troubling you, or if you have questions about it, make an appointment to visit a dermatologist.” Whether it’s dark spots, a new growth that doesn’t appear like others, or skincare product inquiries. We see folks for a variety of reasons and are always delighted to assist. What we don’t want you to do, though, is not come in at all.”
And, if you’ve had bad experiences with dermatologists in the past, Dr. Williams advises being open and honest with a new physician.
“Express any concerns you may have as a patient.” It is OK to state, ‘I had a poor experience with my last provider and I felt like they didn’t hear or comprehend me.’ I’m expecting that our experience will be more positive.’ When you put everything out there, your new provider will know what they can do differently to assist you to reach your treatment objectives.”