Skin of color has specific needs because of its susceptibility to certain skin care conditions. Ailments such as eczema, keloid scarring, and ashy skin are more commonly diagnosed in pigmented skin.
Dry Skin Products
Ashy skin and eczema (atopic dermatitis) are dry skin conditions that afflict people of color. Choose products that are both humectant and emollient. Products that contain glycerin, urea or hyaluronic acid will moisturize. Products that contain oils and butters, such as cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil, will help combat ashiness. Unless skin is irritated, use a mild exfoliant weekly for glowing skin. Products that contain oatmeal and feverfew will help calm irritation and swelling of dry, itchy skin. Avoid products that contain drying ingredients such as alcohols and perfumes. Stay hydrated by drinking water daily and apply skin moisturizers within a few minutes of getting out of the shower.
A form of acne called “pomade acne” is another common affliction of people with skin of color. Pomades are oils and greases used to help control and manage textured hair. According to a survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 46.2 percent of the patients with skin of color used pomade on their hair and 70.3 percent of those users developed pomade acne. The best way to prevent pomade acne is to stop using pomades. If this cannot be achieved, then avoid using pomade near the hairline and cleanse the face after using the pomade instead of before doing so. Note that moisturizers that combat dryness can exacerbate acne. Choose products that are noncomedogenic to prevent clogging of the pores.
Acne can cause scarring or hyperpigmentation more readily in skin of color. Hyperpigmentation is the increase of melanin production in the skin and appears as dark spots. Using moisturizers that contain sunscreen will help prevent hyperpigmentation from worsening while the skin heals. For sensitive skin, avoid sunscreens that contain PABA or fragrances. Also note that skin affected by eczema is more sensitive to UV radiation, so choose a cream sunscreen and apply generously for this type of skin. Apply the sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before entering the sun and reapply as needed. After returning indoors, always remember to cleanse the sunscreen from the skin.
References and ResourcesAmerican Academy of Dermatology
Nationa Institute of Health - Natural considerations for skin of color
National Institute of Health - Eczema