Although the skin may be the largest organ of the human body, its health can often be neglected. Competing priorities of work, family, downtime and life in general sometimes relegate skincare to the back burner.
But taking care of your skin is just as important as any other part of your body, maybe even more so because you have so much of it! And if you are a man of color, understanding the products and approaches to skincare that works best for you can sometimes be challenging. But don't worry, although men with melanin-rich skin may have unique needs, we have a host of tips to share that will have your skin looking and feeling great!
WHAT IS MELANIN?
Melanin is the substance that gives skin its pigment. Some people have more and thus have darker skin, while others have less, resulting in lighter skin. If you have more melanin, your skin may be more prone to the effects of inflammation and injury.
So, let's dive into some common skin issues men of color experience and what experts recommend for a healthy skin routine.
Skincare for Men of Color
As a man, the key to great skin shouldn't be a mystery or a struggle. Fortunately, companies are beginning to target men's skincare more, including focusing on the needs of men of color.
But do men with darker skin really have special skincare needs? The short answer is yes; as mentioned earlier, the increased levels of melanin in darker skin are sensitive to environmental factors that can contribute to certain skin conditions. And these skin issues can manifest differently in darker skin tones. They may also require different products that are gentle and compatible with darker skin.
Common Skin Issues
Not all skin concerns that men of color experience are due to increased pigment. But here are four issues many deal with and how they can be treated, including highlighting products with natural ingredients.
Especially for Black men, razor bumps can be a common problem. Because Black men's hair is curly, it tends to get caught under the skin, creating inflammation, which causes bumps and irritation.
How to treat it:
Modifying shaving practices such as not shaving as often or going over the same area multiple times can help prevent razor bumps. Also, products containing salicylic or glycolic acid can help relax the hair underneath bumps that already exist.
Inflammation is at the root of many skin issues for men with darker skin, hyperpigmentation included. These dark spots can occur because of a variety of things such as sun damage, acne, or ingrown hairs.
How to treat it:
To target hyperpigmentation, consider using products that contain retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids, which have been shown to even out skin tone.
Men of color tend to have more oily skin which can lead to breakouts.
How to treat it:
Keeping skin moisturized will help balance the level of oil. In addition, a gentle moisturizing serum with hyaluronic acid can combat breakouts associated with acne.
Skin with melanin may be prone to sensitivity, especially how it reacts to certain products. And if you have darker skin, it may be more difficult to tell if you are having an adverse reaction to a product because your skin doesn't turn red.
How to treat it:
As always, go for products that have natural ingredients and are anti-inflammatory, like green tea and vitamin E.
Dermatology is also starting to pay more attention to the needs of Black men and others with darker skin. Let's check out a dermatologist-recommended skincare routine and tips for people of color.
The first step to attaining healthy skin is to develop a skincare routine that you can stick to. Below are three facets to natural skincare for men:
- Cleanse daily – Always avoid abrasive cleansers that can lead to irritation and inflammation; instead, use mild and hydrating products.
- Moisturize daily – Establish a habit of using products to moisturize the skin all over your body daily, preferably after you shower, to lock in the moisture.
- Exercise proper hair removal – As was previously mentioned, using the correct shaving techniques is key to avoiding irritation. In addition, adding a moisturizing shaving cream to your regimen will facilitate better results.
Dermatologists recommended skincare goes beyond developing a daily routine to keep skin fresh; it also focuses on actions you can take to integrate skincare into your life long-term. Here are some best skincare tips.
- Always apply sunscreen – It is a false belief that persons with darker skin do not need to wear sunscreen. Although darker skin provides some sun protection, damage can still be done if sunscreen is not used, leading to wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer.
- Perform regular skin cancer self-exams – Another misconception is that persons of color cannot be diagnosed with skin cancer. Although not as common in this group, skin cancer is possible. Dermatologists recommend you remain self-aware regarding your skin, including any growths, lesions, or other possible symptoms, and perform regular skin cancer self-exams.
- Be proactive about preventing hyperpigmentation – As mentioned earlier, hyperpigmentation is a common issue for those with more melanin. Taking actions such as treating injuries quickly, using the correct products for your skin, and proper shaving techniques can help prevent this problem.
- Visit a dermatologist – Your investment in skincare maintenance should equal the level of healthcare you receive for the rest of your body, which means finding a dermatologist and having regular exams.
The best skincare for men of color starts with being more aware of the needs of melanin-rich skin and taking simple actions to improve your skin's health. To learn more about natural skincare for men, visit HIMistry Naturals.