We’ve all heard the famous phrase, “Black Don’t Crack,” and if you look to celebrities such as Angela Bassett (59), Gabrielle Union (45), and even Bianca Lawson who just turned 39 but could easily claim 20, it’s easy to see how this myth has gained momentum. However, all of these women have their own skincare maintenance routines and aren’t relying on being black to keep them youthful and fine (although it does help!)
People with skin of color have a thicker and more compact dermis (inner layer of skin) that makes facial lines less noticeable, and the concentration of melanin in darker skin types does offer some protection from accelerated aging from sun exposure. Consequently, visible signs of aging tend to be delayed at least a decade when compared to Caucasian skin.
Still, we are not immune to issues related to the loss of skin elasticity, dark under eye cycles, uneven skin tone, scarring, and other dermatologic woes like extrinsic aging, which is influenced by environmental exposures and health and lifestyle habits such as sun exposure, tobacco use, diet, and exercise.
Remarkably, up to 80% of skin’s aging is due to premature aging of skin resulting from the sun’s harmful ultra violet radiation. This often manifests as fine lines and wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, and textural roughness.
Yes, skin of color does age, so it is important to implement anti-aging skin care tips now in order to keep it from well, “cracking.”
“A common skincare regret I encounter in patients is not having an anti-aging approach to skin care sooner. While aging is a complex and rather inevitable process of natural human evolution influenced by environmental, genetic, and ethnic factors, we have just as much influence over how we shape the outcome of these processes as we do our appearance in the mirror.”
As we age, all of these factors become more evident in our skin, but good skin care goes a long way in slowing down these processes in ways that allows us to age more gracefully by following Dr. Adeline N.’s steps below:
1. Always Use Sun Protection.
Yes, the melanin in darker skin does provide some measure of photo protection but it’s still not enough. Sunscreen is the most important product you can use on your skin every day and should be at the top of your list of skin care essentials. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen of 15-30 SPF in any weather.
This is one of the most powerful and hydrating skin ingredients, as it absorbs up to 1000 times its weight in water, drawing and keeping moisture in the skin. This intensely hydrating ingredient is also used in fillers to soften fine lines, increase skin firmness, and induce smoother skin. It’s a must, especially for dry skin.
Product Recommendations: Cerave Moisturizing Cream Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion with Hyaluronic acid The Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
3. Include a Vitamin C Antioxidant.
Whether in serums or creams, a Vitamin C antioxidant provides protection against the effects of damaging free radicals in the skin and also boosts collagen formation, which is essential to preserving and maintaining a youthful appearance. It can also reduce sun damage and is therefore a great addition to sunscreen. It’s a powerful skin brightening agent that is effective at evening out skin tone and texture.
Skinceutical Vitamin C E Ferulic
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
4. Nightly application of topical Retinol/Retinoids.
Retinoids/retinols are vitamin A derivatives that promote cell turnover. They exfoliate and stimulate collagen production, preventing clogged pores and pesky breakouts in addition to reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive ACream
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream
SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex 0.5
PCA Skin Retinol Renewal
5. Routine exfoliation.
This is an essential part of your Skin Care routine which will allow your skin to absorb all the other great ingredients mentioned above. A great exfoliate removes dead skin cells for a better, healthier glow. As you age, the cellular renewal of the epidermis—the outermost surface layer—slows down and skin becomes more prone to discoloration and dullness. To combat these visible changes, you can also use an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) product in your skincare regimen two or three times a week. An alpha hydroxy acid helps prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, minimize pores, and even out skin texture and tone.
SheaMoisture African Black Soap Facial Wash and Scrub
HA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD® Clearing Treatment Mini
6. Yearly Dermatology Consults:
There is an avalanche of product and information online, which can be overwhelming. Your dermatologist can give you advice unique to your skin care needs as well as address specific cosmetic needs involving procedures such as laser therapy, botox, fillers, peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning and more. Also, everyone including those with skin of color should get a yearly skin exam for moles and other skin cancers. Although sun induced skin cancers are less common in people of color, they have poorer outcomes especially if diagnosed late.