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Black Skin Care - Tackling Dark Spots

Tackling Dark Spots While Caring for Black Skin

If you’re starting a black skin care regimen, there are pros and cons. Skin of color has several well-known self-protection advantages: its increased melanin levels and higher oil production mean slower aging; its inbuilt sun protection factor is more effective than that of fair skin. However, darker skin is also more prone to dark spots and hyperpigmentation that can be challenging to treat and fade safely. There are hundreds of skin discoloration treatments for African American skin - medical and non-medical – and deciding on a course of treatment can be daunting. We’ll try to clarify the issue and help you on the path to clearer, radiant skin. First, let’s examine what causes dark spots. Acne Acne – there are many types– can be caused by hormonal changes, diet, bacterial infections, cosmetics and excess oil production. It is notoriously difficult and time-consuming to treat, and the temptation to pick and squeeze acne spots is an all-too-common one. Try to resist! Picking and squeezing often leads to bacteria from under the fingernails being transferred to the skin, which leads to a cycle of infection and inflammation. Dark spots and scarring result when the acne spot eventually heals. Maturing Yes, as you gain more and more years of experience your skin will often show signs of its maturity. Often referred to as age spots, they are essentially caused by years of exposure to UV (ultraviolet) sun rays. The darker your complexion the less you will see. However, because we come in all shades, the lighter your skin tone the more prone you are to seeing age spots. Poor diet and lack of vitamins A diet rich in Vitamins C, B and E is required for healthy skin. Leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are proven clear skin boosters. Cosmetics Particularly if you have sensitive skin, be militant about your choice of cosmetics. Look for brands that are non-comedogenic (do not clog pores). Be wary of mineral powders and plumpers that contain silicone – these can lead to clogged pores and in turn, inflammation. Stress and/or smoking Stress can lead to acne/excess oil production and poor eating habits. This is likely to sabotage the health of your skin. The nicotine in cigarettes has been scientifically shown to decrease blood flow (essential for effective skin healing), as well as retarding collagen production. Health Factors Dark spots may also be an indicator of the presence of threat of diabetes and some cancers. So what can you do to treat facial dark spots? Have a consultation with a dermatologist or skin specialist I always recommend this as an ideal first step in solving your skin care discoloration issues, mainly because you can save a lot of time and money by homing in on the exact reasons for your dark spots. Your skin specialist may recommend a series of microdermabrasion treatments (which resurface the facial skin thereby creating a fresher surface for the improved absorption of medical grade skin clearing serums and creams). The key to microdermabrasion treatments is to make sure the specialist understands melanated skin and has a history of successfully working with dark skin. Otherwise, you might want to find a different solution/option for treatment. Be gentle with your skin Look for paraben-free and sulfate-free cleansers and moisturizers. Many natural ingredients make for excellent skin care products: shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil and jojoba oil are among my favorites. Avoid harsh scrubs and products that contain alcohol. Check that SPF creams and cosmetics are non-comedogenic (do not clog pores). Read the product fine print – stay clear of hydroquinone and mercury Of the hundreds of spot fading products available over the counter (OTC), many contain unsafe quantities of hydroquinone. OTC preparations should contain no more than 2% hydroquinone; products containing mercury are especially harmful and are banned in the USA and several other countries. If you choose to buy OTC treatments, look for products that contain natural lighteners such as kojic acid, licorice extract, alpha arbutin, bearberry extract and mulberry extract. Try home remedies for fading dark spots Many people swear by home remedies for lightening hyperpigmentation. The natural acidic content and bleaching agents found in several food items can gradually and safely fade dark marks. Here are a few recommended preparations: Lemon: Twice a day, squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto cotton wool and apply to dark spots. Can be mixed with a teaspoon of yogurt to help balance skin tone. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse off. Aloe Vera: Slice open the fleshy leaf and rub the inside jelly on the skin. Leave on for an hour, then rinse with lukewarm water. Buttermilk: Used for centuries. 4 teaspoons of buttermilk – sometimes with 2 teaspoons of tomato juice added – should be applied with a cotton wool swab. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. Potatoes: Grate one potato and add a teaspoon of honey. Apply and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse. Turmeric: Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1-2 teaspoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a paste. Leave on skin for 20 minutes, then rinse. Check your diet Vitamin C is a proven skin lightener and eating 1 orange a day can significantly improve your skin tone. Make sure you are eating plenty of broccoli, spinach, kale and dark berries. Not a fan of fresh fruit and veg? Try a supplement, but be aware that nothing beats the efficacy of the real food . Keep sugary drinks to a minimum and incorporate more green tea and water into your daily fluid intake. Use an SPF Moisturizer Prevent recurring darkening as you treat your dark spots by using a UVA/UVB sunblock, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm. And finally, be patient! It generally takes 12 weeks before you see an appreciable improvement in dark spots. Keep a skin diary - take photos to help you assess and monitor your skin’s reactions and progress. That's it for this week. Like what you've just read? Share it with a friend or two. As always ... Dedicated To Your Beauty Juliette Samuel Esthetician/Author/Publisher Nyraju Skin Care
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