Sometimes clichés endure for a reason: they happen to be true. “Black don’t crack” is a perfect example. As Black women, we are blessed in that our skin tends to age gracefully. African American women are less inclined to wrinkling due to natural oils and a strong composition of melanin that protects against ultraviolet rays. While it’s nice to have a melanin advantage, a good skincare routine also plays a vital role in keeping our skin healthy.
The following are some basic skincare tips to make sure you keep that youthful glow.
• Clean and moisturize every day.
For women of a (ahem…) certain age, a regular skincare routine is important. Cleansing and moisturizing daily (preferably after showering), are ideal in order to keep skin bright and supple. Use a mild facial cleanser that is made for your skin type. Try to use cleansers that are noncomedogenic (meaning they do not cause clogging of pores). Exfoliate by massaging the cleanser into the skin with clean fingertips, rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Research shows our skin loses moisture faster, so to avoid looking dry, use a daily moisturizer that contains humectants. Shea butter acts a great natural moisturizer, although it may be too heavy for some skin types.
• Maintain a balanced diet.
For skin to look beautiful on the outside it starts on the inside. Everything we consume has a high impact on how our skin looks and feels. As always, drinking water is a fundamental part of maintaining a balanced diet. Consuming a healthy diet ensures the skin gets all the nutrients it needs to shape and repair itself. Consume a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits, lean protein such as fish, legumes and tofu, whole grains, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil. Limited consumption of alcohol and foods that contain processed sugar also helps with maintaining healthy skin. People who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis should avoid alcohol and eating excessive amounts of sugar, as it may make the symptoms worse. It is always wise to consult with a dermatologist if you are suffering from any skin condition.
• ALWAYS use sunscreen.
Using sunscreen daily is vital. The belief that our skin doesn’t burn, and people of color don’t need to wear sunscreen is false. While it is less common for people with darker skin to suffer from some types of skin cancer, we are more likely to die from skin cancers than other ethnicities. Applying sunscreen year round to the face is extremely important, as it is often the only part of the skin that is always exposed to the sun. Exposure to the sun can cause dark spots to develop on skin or darken existing spots. It is recommended to use sunscreen that is waterproof with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher.
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