Everyone’s skin is different and can benefit from a tailored care routine. Black skin contains more melanin than lighter skin. Melanin-producing cells may be more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which may be more noticeable in dark skin than in light skin.
Different skin care routines benefit different skin colors, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This is due to variances in the structure and function of the skin.
Some conditions that people with black skin may experience include:
- acne, which includes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
- changes in pigmentation, which causes areas of discoloration
- contact dermatitis, or inflammation that occurs from contact with an irritant or allergen
- eczema, a skin condition that causes itchy, dry, and cracked skin
- seborrheic dermatitis, which appears as scaly patches on the scalp and face
To keep skin bright and supple, it is best to cleanse and moisturize it daily, ideally right after showering.
Use a gentle cleanser that does not clog the pores. It may be worth looking for one that claims to be “noncomedogenic.”
Massage the cleanser into the skin with clean fingertips, then rinse it off with warm (not hot) water and pat the skin dry with a clean towel.
To avoid this, and to prevent the skin from looking ashy, apply a daily moisturizer that contains humectants, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Humectants retain moisture in the skin.
A highly effective moisturizer is petroleum jelly (Vaseline). However, people should take care when applying thick products such as this to the face, as they may cause acne. Be sure that they are noncomedogenic before applying.
Avoid moisturizers with fragrances, as these can irritate some people’s skin. Moisturizers that include creams or ointments are preferable to lotions.
Do not use a loofah or other similar exfoliating product on the skin.
Hyperpigmentation, or areas of skin discoloration, can affect people with any skin tone.
Although sunscreen can prevent new patches of hyperpigmentation from developing, it does not get rid of existing dark spots. That said, it can prevent existing dark spots from getting darker.
To reduce the appearance of existing dark spots, people can use a specialized product. These typically include ingredients such as:
- Retinoids: Over-the-counter topical differin and prescription-based products such as tretinoin can be helpful.
- Hydroquinone: Products containing hydroquinone stop the production of excess melanin, which causes dark spots.
Kojic acid: This is another skin lightener that can reduce dark spots, but it may be
Some researchsuggests that vitamin C, an antioxidant, can reduce hyperpigmentation, protect against sun damage, and increase collagen levels. However, vitamin C has a poor ability to penetrate the skin, so more research into its effectiveness for these purposes is necessary.
People should use these products — particularly hydroquinone and kojic acid — with caution, as overuse could irritate the skin.
It is important to not use hydroquinone for extended periods of time. Aim to take a break after 3 months of continuous use.
After long periods of use, hydroquinone can result in darkening of the skin. This is part of a condition called exogenous ochronosis.
Dermatologists may recommend a combination product that combines multiple products into one that people can use on their skin.
Establishing a gentle daily skin care routine can help stop acne, as can using noncomedogenic, oil-free products.
Good skin care starts on the inside. To give skin the nutrients it needs to form and repair itself, eat a healthful diet rich in:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean protein sources, such as fish, eggs, legumes, and tofu
- healthful fats, including nuts, avocado, and olive oil