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Tips for People of Color about Summer Skin Care

by Monica Stefan about a month ago in skincare
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Ways to protect and maintain your skin's health

Tips for People of Color about Summer Skin Care
Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

We all know the typical hits when it comes to summer skin care recommendations.

  • Apply sunscreen.
  • Keep pore-clogging lotions and creams to a minimum.
  • Exfoliation should not be excessive.
  • Get some water.
  • While this advice is sound, depending on your skin type, you may need to consider additional aspects.

    People of color (those of African, Asian, Latino, or Hispanic ethnicity, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Native American ancestry) face not just dry, oily, combination, normal, or sensitive skin, but also keloids, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Even though melanin helps shield persons of color from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, they must still exercise caution. Why? Because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer in this patient demographic is extremely difficult to treat by the time it is discovered.

    Kiyanna Williams, MD, dermatologist and Section Head of Cleveland Clinic's Skin of Color Clinic, discusses why it's critical for people of color to protect their skin from the sun in the summer and offers some tips for keeping it healthy, lovely, and shining.

    Melanin's significance

    Melanin has mystical properties. It's what gives you your distinct hair and eye hues, as well as distinguishing your skin tones. Melanocytes, which are cells found in the inner layer of your skin, produce it. Carotene and melanin combine in these cells to generate the colors of your eyes, skin, and hair.

    Melanin comes in three varieties:

    1. Eumelanin is the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their darker hues.
    2. Pink, red, and yellow tones are caused by pheomelanin, which also causes hair to turn red.
    3. Your brain contains neuromelanin. It does not offer skin or hair coloration. It colors neurons instead.

    The advantages of melanin

    Melanin has UV protection properties. UV rays is absorbed before it can harm the DNA of your skin cells. Melanin also functions as an antioxidant, combating free radicals and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. While all of this sounds nice, it doesn't mean that people of color shouldn't be concerned about their complexion or wear sunscreen.

    Why should people of color use sunscreen?

    "Many people visit me because they have hyperpigmentation, melasma, or both." "I told them that not only will sunscreen keep those problems from getting worse, but it will also be the initial step in treatment," Dr. Williams explains.

    While many products on the market are designed to cure dark patches or conditions like melasma, she says that sunscreen is quite efficient at fading both.

    "You can 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." When the sun strikes your skin, it darkens those spots and stimulates the formation of more melanin. This applies both while you're outside in the sun and when you're inside. As a result, sunlight from windows, light from your phone, light from your computer, and indoor light can all deepen those areas."

    What kinds of sunscreen should people of color use?

    Mineral sunscreens including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are highly recommended by Dr. Williams. While coloured choices can leave a white cast, they are less likely to do so. Iron oxides in tinted sunscreens protect darker skin from indoor light, including light from electronic devices such as cellphones and computers. They're also less likely to cause skin irritation.

    Give your sunscreen five to ten minutes to settle and mix in, according to Dr. Williams. However, if you sweat a lot, you'll need to reapply a mineral sunscreen frequently. For daily use, she suggests using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.If you'll be outside for an extended period of time, choose one with a higher SPF (greater than 50).

    Correctly moisturize your skin

    Avoid using thick lotions or oils when the air is thick and humid. Use a lotion to lighten up your moisturizing routine and avoid using too many aromatic or abrasive body cleansers.

    "If you have a dry skin problem, make sure you're cleaning your body using products designed for sensitive skin." You should also use lotions designed for sensitive skin to moisturize your skin. Creams will be thicker and more dense than lotions. As a result, if it comes in a pump, it will be thinner. A moisturizer that arrives in a jar will be thicker."

    Moisturize your face differently than your body.

    Body lotion is not one of the many dual-purpose products available. In a pinch, you might be tempted to apply a little body lotion or cream to your face, but resist. Skincare products designed for the body are far too strong for the face.

    "The face, in general, does not require the same amount of heavier creams as the body." Because the face has a larger density of oil glands than the rest of the body, it already produces more moisture and oil. As a result, something that weighty is rarely required for the face. I always encourage my patients to avoid using body lotion on their faces. It cannot be substituted."

    Avoid using abrasive scrubs.

    Gritty scrubs aren't the way to go if you want your skin to glow. Many scrubs, according to Dr. Williams, are overly harsh and might aggravate underlying skin problems.

    "I find many of them to be extremely coarse and rough, causing more trauma than anything else." Instead, you should use an excellent exfoliating cleaner. These cleansers contain acids like as glycolic acid and encourage natural exfoliation. They won't pierce the skin or cause mechanical damage. In addition, unlike manual exfoliation, they are less prone to irritate or cause harm."

    Avoid taking a hot shower.

    Also, when taking a shower, avoid taking long, hot ones. Warm water and a mild, hydrating cleanser are recommended by Dr. Williams. Instead of waiting to apply lotion, she recommends using it immediately after gently patting skin dry.

    "Moisturize just after you shower because your skin is the most porous and open to accepting a lotion or cream at that time."

    How to keep keloids and black markings at bay

    Wearing shorts or dresses with no sleeves increases the risk of cuts, scratches, and other injuries. In most circumstances, a bandage and some decent antibiotic ointment will suffice. Keloids and black markings may appear on skin of color, however.

    What exactly are keloids?

    Keloids are smooth, hard growths that can occur on their own or over a scar. Keloids are caused by scar tissue proliferation. They're safe, although they can take weeks or months to form."There are two methods for keloids to form.

    They can develop as a result of an accident, or they can develop for no apparent cause."

    If your parents have keloids, you might be susceptible to them as well. As a result, you'll want to be extra cautious and keep track of any injuries you experience.

    "If you know you're prone to keloids, stay away from tattoos, piercings, and other potentially keloid-causing items." Keloids are difficult to deal with on your own. If you see that a scar is becoming elevated, make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible because keloids can be treated in a variety of ways. There are silicone sheets available over-the-counter that may help, but a dermatologist can also utilize injections or drugs to help decrease keloids."

    Dark markings should be treated in the same way, according to Dr. Williams.

    "Similarly, pharmaceutical drugs and therapies for black markings are available even at the onset of an accident. In terms of preventing dark spots or minimizing dark spots that already exist, the earlier the better."

    When in doubt, have your pimples examined by a dermatologist.

    As previously stated, if you notice anything unusual about your skin or are experiencing pigmentation, keloids, or acne, don't hesitate to consult a dermatologist. While it may appear that many dermatologists are unfamiliar with the concerns of people of color, Dr. Williams claims that there are people in the field who can help.

    Make an appointment to see a dermatologist if there's something you're not sure about, something that's been hurting you, or something you have questions about." Whether it's dark spots, a new growth that doesn't appear like others, or skincare product issues, we can help. We see folks for a variety of reasons and are always willing to assist. What we don't want you to do, however, is not come in at all."

    If you've had bad experiences with dermatologists in the past, Dr. Williams advises being open and honest with a new one.

    "Express any concerns you may have as a patient." 'I had a horrible experience with my previous provider, and I felt that they didn't hear me or didn't comprehend me,' is acceptable. I'm looking for a better outcome for us.' When you lay it all out there, your new provider will know what they can do differently to assist you reach your treatment objectives."


    About the author

    Monica Stefan

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