Updated: Jun 21, 2021
by Rafihat Banjo
Oily. Combination. Normal. Sensitive. There are so many different and unique skin types to cater to. It’s super important to take care of your skin, especially if you are a person of color (POC).
Skincare brands are trying to become more inclusive by making more products specifically for POC. According to Paula’s Choice, POC have to take extra precautions for their skin because people with darker skin complexion deal with a lot of hyperpigmentation, how acne appears on the skin, and a lack of ceramide in the skin.
Melanin is skin pigmentation derived from skin cells to create melanocytes used to block ultraviolet rays. Everyone has melanin in their bodies; white people have the least amount, while African Americans and Black people have the most.
Many people with darker complexions believe they can’t get sunburned because they think their melanin is protecting them from the sun. It’s true that dark-skinned people are less likely to get sunburned, but you can still get sunburned as a person with darker skin. It’s important to know about skincare and ways to protect yourself from the sun.
For POC who deal with hyperpigmentation or acne, it may not come as a shocker that they show up as dark marks on your skin. Finding the right skincare products to help to control or reduce hyperpigmentation and acne will increase your self-esteem and make you less self-conscious.
Finding moisturizers that are rich in ceramide is very important, especially for POC. Ceramide is used in moisturizers to hydrate and soften your skin. This is beneficial to your skin because darker complexions are more likely to be dry or ashy.
Healthline notes that dermatologists created the Fitzpatrick scale to measure how easily someone can tan or get a sunburn, “Type 1: ivory skin that always freckles and burns, never tans. Type 2: fair or pale skin that burns and peels often, tans minimally. Type 3: fair to beige skin that occasionally burns, sometimes tans. Type 4: light brown or olive skin that rarely burns, tans easily. Type 5: brown skin that rarely burns, tans easily and darkly. Type 6: dark brown or black skin that rarely burns, always tans. Types 1 through 3 have the greatest sunburn risk. While types 4 through 6 have a lower risk, they can still occasionally burn.” Knowing your risk for sunburn will help you find the right product to protect your skin.
It’s good to get skin care products that contain only a few ingredients but also have sun protection factor (SPF) and ceramide. Here are a few popular skincare products for POC to try:
1. Nourishing Face Moisturizer – This plant-based moisturizer from Jacq’s Organics contains only healthy and non-toxic ingredients such as coconut oil and rosehip oil. This moisturizer costs $28, is super lightweight, and will leave you feeling like you’re not wearing anything heavy or greasy on your face. Purchase this plant-based moisturizer and support a Black-owned business!
2. Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 – This vegan and environmentally conscious sunscreen is made specifically for Black and African American women! This sunscreen is only $18.99, water-resistant, and dries clear. Everything you ever needed is right in one bottle! This sunscreen contains only natural ingredients such as jojoba, avocado, carrot juice, sunflower oil, and cacao.
3. Charcoal & Tea Tree Cleanser – This cleanser works wonders for sensitive skin! For only $25.95, this cleanser will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized as it’s packed with vitamins and oils, such as organic aloe leaf juice and organic jojoba seed oil. The Charcoal & Tea Tree Cleaner will not dry your face out or strip your face of its natural nutrients!
Now that you’ve seen a few products that are great for your skin, here are few skin care products you should definitely avoid if you’re a POC:
1. St. Ives Apricot Scrub – This one is a no-brainer! There has been a lot of negative talk surrounding this product. Although this is an affordable skincare product, this exfoliator will create micro-tears in your skin. This product contains walnuts which are too abrasive for your face and can cause irritation and redness. According to Healthline, “In 2016, a lawsuit was filed against St. Ives and its parent company, Unilever, claiming that the crushed walnut particles the product relied on for exfoliation actually caused microtears in the skin, leading to infection and overall irritation.”
2. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – This brand is really popular and affordable. Even though this cleanser has only a few ingredients, it’s terrible for your skin. People think this cleanser is great because it’s recommended by dermatologists, can be used for all skin types, and is good for sensitive skin. This might seem like a good option, but Healthline notes this cleanser is a possible endocrine disruptor and possibly has carcinogenic parabens.
3. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil – The Body Shop is a well-known sustainable brand. You either love it or hate it. However, this product contains alcohol which is very bad for your skin. Alcohol dries out your skin over time. A lot of people claim this product doesn’t work very well or doesn’t work at all. This product also contains fragrances that can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or redness.
Keep in mind, the products listed above may or may not work for you. It’s okay to go through a bunch of trial and error in order to find the right skincare products for you.