You know that saying, "Black don't crack?" Well, only part of that is true. Black skin has increased melanin production, which better protects against damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun and keeps us looking younger longer. "It's like winning the skincare lottery because you don't really have to worry about wrinkles as much," says Gervaise Gerstner, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC. But black skin is not invincible and melanoma is still a serious danger. "It's very important that all races wear sunscreen daily," Dr. Gerstner says. Try the L'Orèal Paris Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen and the Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30. Both deliver long-lasting sun protection but go on sheer so you can avoid the layer of white that sits on your skin.
2. Glycolic Acid
You know those annoying dark spots on your (otherwise flawless) face that you hate? Blame hyperpigmentation. While it can happen to anyone, black women are most susceptible to it, and everything from hormones to sun exposure and acne can trigger it. The safest way to get rid of it is to use glycolic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid. The chemicals of glycolic acid work to expose the healthy layer of skin beneath the uppermost layer of the epidermis so all you (and anyone else) see is glow. This GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment contains glycolic acid and not only de-clogs and minimizes pores, but also helps to clear hyperpigmentation, scarring, and breakouts. Use it daily as a mask or spot treatment.
3. Face and Body Exfoliators
Black is beautiful, but when there's a buildup of dead cells that dim your glow, it can make your skin look gray and ashy. This is why it's super important to slough away any flaky, dead skin buildup on a regular basis by exfoliating at least once per week with a
gentle exfoliator. For face, use the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Daily Scrub, which contains skin-polishing jojoba beads that will de-flake dry skin without over-drying, thanks to moisturizing vitamin E. For body, try Shea Moisture SuperFruit Complex Hand & Body Scrub, a sugar scrub that exfoliates your skin and contains shea butter to leave it super soft.
4. Ingrown Hair Treatment Pads
If you have curly hair, then you have curved hair follicles, which also means you're more prone to ingrown hairs on your bikini area, armpits, and legs. As your hair grows back, it easily curls around and goes back into your skin, causing ingrowns. But when you shave away your body hair to prevent ingrowns, you're left with small, dark bumps that aren't a good look when you're wearing a bathing suit or when it's time to get naked. To keep your skin ingrown- and bump-free, try chemically exfoliating with glycolic and salicylic acid-laced pads that also contain soothing green tea. This combination keeps your pores from getting clogged, and keeps redness and inflammation at bay. Try Beauty Rx Ingrown Treatment Pads.
Ashiness is a telltale sign your skin is dry, but it doesn't have to rob you of your radiance. "I like to tell my patients to avoid the white layer of ash on their skin by applying a moisturizer right after they've stepped out of the shower, while their skin is still damp," says Dr. Gerstner. Much like a wet sponge absorbs moisture quicker than a dry one, your skin absorbs more hydration when it's moist because your pores are still open. If your moisturizer (try Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer) isn't keeping your skin ash-free, try mixing it with a thicker balm like Aquaphor. "Combine the lotion with the balm to make a thick putty, and then spread it all over your body," Dr. Gerstner suggests.