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The best skincare for people of colour


Taking care of your skin is extremely important regardless of your skin tone. However, as a person of colour, your skin may face unique challenges, such as being extremely sensitive. Skincare isn't one-size-fits-all, and no one understands this better than people of colour, whose skin concerns are frequently ignored by mainstream skincare brands.


We spoke with skincare experts who provided us with the best advice on how to care for your melanin-rich skin and maintain a good skincare regimen.


The way we treat our skin and the skincare products we use differ depending on our skin tone, which is why you should pay attention to the ingredients in the products you purchase. You want to spend your hard-earned cash on products that give you the results you desire. We’re not about wasting our time or money here.


Dr Ophelia Veraitch, who is of Indian origin, specialises in the skincare needs of people with darker skin. She represents the United Kingdom and India on the L'Oréal International Board of Dermatologists, and says that “the nuances of differing skin tones have only recently been recognised, and this has now become part of the Dermatology training curriculum in the United Kingdom.”


From her childhood, Dr Veraitch remembers that skincare markets in India and other parts of Asia were largely dominated by skin lightening products, that can often do more harm to your skin by making the pigmentation look worse, which is more difficult to correct. Often products aimed at people of colour would be lightening products – manufacturers thought that lightening the skin solves the skin concern as there was no understanding of how to treat brown skin.


"There has been a seismic shift, and now skincare in Asian countries is much more focused on skin health rather than just lightening," she says. "Similarly, Western skincare is catering to a wider range of skin tones."


So, as a person of colour, what products should you prioritise in your routine?


Niacinamide

Darker skin tones have larger pores by nature; the larger the pore, the more sebum it produces.


Diane Ackers, licensed aesthetician and skin expert for Doctors Formula, recommends using a Niacinamide serum if your skin is always oily, no matter what you do.


"Daily use of Niacinamide has multiple benefits for all skin types," she says. "It's well-known for its anti-aging properties, and it improves the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and it aids in the repair of an impaired barrier function."


Dr Veraitch, who has created her own line of skincare aimed at correcting pigmentation issues, always takes a gentler, yet effective approach. Active ingredients in her products include niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, tretinoin, and hydroquinone.


"I will carefully prescribe a combination of active ingredients based on answers to a medical questionnaire completed prior to check out," she says. "I can vary ingredient selection, concentrations, and interchange bases depending on reported skin type.”

Product recommendation:

Doctors Formula Power Active Niacinamide Serum


SPF

The most common skin problem that people of colour face is hyperpigmentation, which is a generally harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the surrounding area. According to Ashley Wady, founder of BOSSFACE skincare, this occurs “as a result of inflammation following a breakout or a wound on the skin.” It can also happen if your skin is overexposed to UV rays, resulting in an uneven skin tone.


There is a common misconception that people with darker skin tones, don’t burn, and therefore don’t need to wear SPF. People of colour have been told their entire lives that they don’t need to wear an SPF because they are black. And they listened. They have a higher melanin content and are more tolerant to sun exposure, but it doesn’t mean their skin can’t burn. All skin tones need UV protection to prevent premature ageing and hyperpigmentation, as well as skin cancer.


Prevention is always better than the cure and Ashley recommends “including a broad spectrum SPF50 protection into your skincare regime will protect you for the day ahead and is possibly the most important product in your whole routine.”


"The increase in melanin provides the skin with better protection against the harmful effects of UV radiations," explains Dr Veraitch.


"This is one of the reasons why people with darker skin can show signs of ageing decades after people with lighter skin. This increase in melanin, however, can make darker skin types more prone to certain skin conditions, such as melasma, a hormonal, genetic, and age-related pigmentation. Darker skin types may also be more prone to pigmentation issues and scarring as a result of inflammation or procedures.”

Ashley Wady from BOSSFACE also says that “overexposure to the sun is one of the key reasons skin of colour may have uneven skin tones and our dark spots worsen over time.”


She emphasises the importance of choosing products with a suitable PH, which will have a significant impact on how your skin functions on a daily basis. She suggests looking for cosmeceutical brands with a PH of 5 or lower to avoid disrupting the skin's natural barrier functions.


Product recommendation:

Cetaphil Daily Defence Face Moisturiser with SPF 50+


Exfoliate, hydrate and brighten

According to Diane Ackers, darker skin tones have the tendency to be thicker and can be more prone to congestion and can often become dehydrated. This can result not only in blocked pores and breakouts but also dull skin.


The hero ingredients in your routine should be Hyaluronic, Glycolic and Salicylic Acid, as well as Vitamin C.


Darker skin tones are more prone to suffering from dry skin, so Hyaluronic Acid should be your best friend. The more hydrated your skin is, the better it heals and soothes skin inflammation. Hyaluronic Acid is also suitable for every skin type, colour and concern, and can make a great primer for your makeup. Who doesn’t love a 2-in-1 product?


Incorporating Glycolic or Salicylic Acid in your routine can make wonders for your skin, as they are both excellent exfoliators. They remove dead skin cells without overstimulating the skin and diminish the signs of hyperpigmentation. You can opt for a face wash, toner or serum.


Vitamin C is a known brightener, which Ashley Wady recommends focusing on in your routine rather than using skin lighteners. It, like Glycolic and Salicylic Acid, comes in a variety of forms, so you can use a face wash, toner, serum, moisturiser... whatever works for you.


Product recommendation:

CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum




Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant



Vita Skin Vitamin C Gentle Daily Exfoliator



Everyday TLC

As you now know, darker skin tones are more susceptible to developing hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation after inflammatory conditions like eczema or acne due to the skin being more reactive. That's why Diane Ackers emphasises the importance of targeting anti-inflammatory response signals in people with dark skin.


“The healing process is vital for skin inflammation - you know the way a cut can seemingly grow into a keloid scar, or the colour never reappears on the section of damaged skin,” she explains. “The simple fact is that the more melanin we have in our skin, the more reactive it is. Daily hydration, combined with Probiotic skincare to repair the skin’s natural microbiome, will help the skin heal as closely as possible to its original state.”


She also recommends adding one of her favourite active ingredients, Dragon’s Blood, into your routine. Dragon’s Blood is a resin extract used by the indigenous Amazonian population for thousands of years to treat, redness, and support skin repair and barrier function, with an anti-inflammatory and healing effect. “It soothes, calms and repels the redness and reactivity lurking beneath,” she says.


Product recommendation:

NIP+FAB Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Serum



Watch the video below to see how Kindred.'s fashion editor takes care of her skin as a person of colour.


If you have any more product recommendations for people of colour, let us know in the comments below!