African American skincare and beauty is often overlooked by mainstream media, but it's time for us to put our best face forward. It’s time for us to celebrate our beautiful, melanin-rich skin. It's time for us to join together in the fight against colorism and all of its many facets, including beauty standards and how they affect women of color. This is the time for us to celebrate our beauty and honor our heritage. It’s time for us to be proud of who we are, where we come from and what makes us different.
Black skin has long been a source of pride and beauty for African Americans, and there are many misconceptions about how to take care of it. We want to set the record straight on what it means to have black skin and how you can make sure your skin stays healthy, radiant, and full of life. Black skin is beautiful, and it’s just as important to take care of as any other type of skin. Unfortunately, mainstream skincare doesn’t always cater to our needs. Many companies don’t consider the unique needs of black skin when developing their products—and that means many African Americans are left with products that don’t work for them. Black skin is a unique asset, and it’s important to take care of it. There are certain things you should know about black skin and how to take care of it.
What is Black Skin?
Black skin refers to any shade of dark brown or brown-to-black pigmentation that occurs naturally in people of African descent. It's also called "melanin-rich" due to its high concentration of melanin (a natural pigment). This pigment produces your unique color and protects your hair from UV light damage.
Why is Black Skin Important?
Black skin is important because it helps protect us against sun damage by absorbing harmful rays before they reach our fragile skin cells. While all humans need some form of protection from UV light exposure, those with darker complexions tend to burn more easily than those with lighter ones—especially in areas where there's less melanin present (e.g., face/forehead).
African Americans have a unique skin type. They tend to have more melanin than other races, which means they have darker skin and can experience more hyperpigmentation than other races. This can be due to genetics or environmental factors such as sun exposure or pollution. Skin color for African Americans can be a bit complicated and therefore skincare is sometimes overlooked. Health concerns such as hyper-pigmentation, hydration, and sensitivity should be taken into consideration while also taking into account environmental factors such as acne, fine lines/wrinkles, and dryness. As with any product or ingredient that you are introducing to your body, it is critical to know what works best for your unique skin type.
Skin cancer is a major concern for people of color. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men who are African American have the highest incidence rate of melanoma, at 43 percent higher than white men. In addition, women who are African American have double the risk of melanoma when compared with white women. The melanin particles protect your body by absorbing harmful UV rays before they reach your cells, but there is still a small chance that some rays will pass through undamaged by melanin and cause damage if they're not protected enough by sunscreen or other preventative measures like staying out of direct sunlight when possible, during peak hours (10am-4pm).
Even if your skin isn’t dark, you can still get melanoma and other types of skin cancer. The risk is slightly lower in people with darker complexions, but it's not a guarantee that they won't develop the disease.
How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun
-Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
-Wear protective clothing: hats, long sleeves and pants.
-Seek shade whenever possible. The risk of melanoma is also increased in people with a history of sunburns, especially if they were younger than 18 years old when they experienced their first sunburn.
It's important to note that these are just general guidelines and not everyone will experience the same levels of risk. The increase in melanin production is not the only way that your body reacts when you're exposed to UV radiation. Sun damage can also cause changes in the elasticity of your skin and a breakdown of collagen, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines and sagging. The UV rays from the sun are also thought to contribute to further development of skin cancer as well as other health conditions such as premature aging and cataracts.
It's very important that African American women tend to their skin in a manner consistent with the harshness of their environment. There are many ways to take care of our skin such as: use sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, do not purge your skin from its natural oils, avoid direct sun exposure and much more. The first step is to take inventory of your individual skin needs and concerns and then take action by seeing your local esthetician/dermatologist for an individualized treatment or prevention plan but also educate yourself on how what you use on the inside and out affects the quality, health and appearance of your skin.