Skincare isn't a one size fits all thing for everyone despite products being developed with that mentality in the present day. Products are often created and tested on non-skin of color, and sent out to be marketed towards those sam exact people. Black people and individuals of color have been around since the dawn of time, yet whenever skincare products are developed, skin of color is an afterthought, if they even think of us at all.
Melanated skin is a blessing to have, even if the media and industry try to make it seem like it's not. Melanin helps to protect the skin, accentuates beauty, and goes well with every color one puts on. Being a person of color also affords one the luxury of having anti-aging benefits, so when it comes to needing products that offer those benefits, it's not always a NEED per say for deeper skin tones.
Having unique shades of color also can mean that unique attention and care needs to be given to melanin-rich skin. Deeper skin tones require unique remedies to help the skin be at its best so it can really shine.
With that being said, why is it so important for skin of color to have skincare and ingredients catered to them? What makes deeper skin tones so unique, and why is it vital to push for more thorough and out-of-the box research when it comes to caring for melanin-rich skin? Why is it important to be particular when caring for melanin-rich skin? If you’ve ever wanted to know what makes skin of color so different, we’re going to explain all of that in this blog, so pull up a chair and let’s get started.
Here are five areas that would be much more closely addressed with increased skincare options if our bold title were not true:
1. Skin of Color Contains More Melanin
The most OBVIOUS difference between skin of color and non-skin of color is the presence of melanin. Everyone has melanin present in their skin, just in different degrees and forms. Deeper skin tones produce eumelanin, while non-skin of color produces pheomelanin. Melanin is the mechanism that gives skin its pigment. Melanin is produced by melanocytes, mature cells that produce the color of our skin tone. Black people and people of color have way more melanocytes than non-skin of color, thus certain aspects like aging are less visible in melanated skin than non-melanated skin. Wrinkles have a harder time forming in deeper shades, having at the most a ten year delay. Having a lot of melanin also offers some protection from sun damage and makes one less likely to develop more serious skin issues from the sun. However, sunscreen is still needed to prevent cumulative damage from occurring. Melanin can indeed make a difference in what certain skin tones have to deal with.
2. Skin of Color Requires Unique Focus for Certain Skin Conditions
The aging process of skin of color is way slower due to the protection having pigment provides from the sun, but melanin still needs to be taken care of to prevent serious issues from happening to it. Issues like dark spots, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and more often develop in Black people and skin of color due to the skin's sensitivity. Deeper skin tones can be very sensitive to trauma, with acne, skin damage, and sun exposure being one of the biggest causes of PIH or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Melasma can also be an issue for skin of color as well, a hardier form of hyperpigmentation caused by hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, and sun exposure. When the skin is damaged by any means, an overproduction of melanin can cause the dark patches you see so often on affected skin.
Melanated skin is beautiful, but the lack of ingredients and products available to ensure that it looks its best are few and far in between. Constantly shifting between products and working to find something that will not hinder the progress one manages to make with their skin can be a tiring and arduous process.
3. Certain Conditions Can Show More Severely On Deeper Skin
Having melanin-rich skin can also make one more prone to developing skin conditions such as hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, eczema, and dark spots. Hypopigmentation is a condition often brought about from the use of very strong lightening products, trauma, or skin damage that makes the skin lose its pigment.
Hypopigmentation can show more prominently on deeper skin than lighter skin and can be hard to cover up, especially when it's present all over the body. Hyperpigmentation works the same, except instead of light patches from melanin damage, dark patches appear on the skin due to the over-production of melanin. Both skin conditions can cause feelings of non-self worth, a lack of confidence, and shame. People with these condition often develop social anxiety from the possibility of having negative interactions with others in society. Hypopigmentation, vitiligo, albinism, and other skin conditions can make it easier for sun damage to occur due to the loss of pigment as well.
Eczema can also appear way different on deeper skin tones than in non-skin of color. Eczema can be hard to control and requires more thorough diagnosis when treating and evaluating a patient with melanin-rich skin. Splotches can appear less red on deeper skin and more purple or deeply shaded. It is also very important for individuals of color to remain hydrated and to drink plenty of water, as deeper skin requires more hydration and moisture than non-skin of color. Melanin-rich skin looks its best when it's well moisturized and hydrated. Dry skin can lead to more eczema flare-ups and itchy patches if not hydrated well enough.
Skin of color simply cannot be treated the same way as non-skin of color. Our melanin, while it is a blessing, can also be the thing that keeps us from getting the help we need due to a lack of understanding it. We need more Black aestheticians and dermatologists in the field to help individuals of color to know how to treat their skin.
More research is needed to find more alternatives for Black women and skin of color to use. The research done so far is a step in the right direction, but there are more places to look, thinking outside of the box isn’t done often enough, and the access to resources to make this happen can be hard to obtain.
4. Skin of Color is Less Likely to Receive Early or Accurate Diagnosis from Professionals
Because of the lack of knowledge in treating deeper skin tones, Black people may find themselves cycling through dermatologists, products, and incorrect procedures administered to treat their unique needs. There are not many pictures shown in dermatology textbooks that demonstrate what conditions look like on deeper skin.
Since a lot of dermatologists are unable to detect these things accurately, it can make it harder for Black people to know what to look for when it comes to checking their own skin for changes, abnormalities, and more. Hyperpigmentation and melasma can be hard to decipher between. Ringworm can be mistaken for eczema due to the similar symptoms they share.
The wrong diagnosis and treatment can make the problem worse, leading to more money out of pocket for Black people and more time wasted in seeing a professional that is no more informed than you are.
Overlooking little details like these and not knowing how to detect differences can also be dangerous when it comes to more severe issues like skin cancer. Black people are way less likely to get a diagnosis for skin cancer because of the way skin conditions show on the skin. Moles, bumps, cysts, and spots can hide in plain sight on deeper skin tones, and may not be noticed at first until the disease is able to progress.
5. Skin of Color is More Reactive to Certain Ingredients
Since melanin-rich skin can be extremely sensitive to certain products and ingredients, it can cause us to spend way more time fixing issues caused by sensitizing ingredients used in products not catered to us. Some products harm more than they help, causing even more hyperpigmentation to crop up. The lack of products available that cater to skin of color is a good reason why it’s so hard to find something that won’t cause the skin to overreact and produce more pigment.
Even going to professionals can sometimes not bode well for skin of color, procedures such as laser surgery, dermabrasion, chemical peels, and more can cause more damage if not properly administered. With the majority of dermatologists being non-Black, and there being a lack of knowledge in treating deeper skin tones, this reality is all too common for most individuals of color.
A lack of research into alternative ingredients can also make it harder to be able to choose products that can best benefit our skin. Skin of color requires unique formulations for its care. If the strength of active ingredients is too strong, skin of color may not be able to tolerate it very well.
Black beauty owners have attempted to provide more alternatives for skin of color and create unique skin care lines, and more research and more development is needed to help boost the numbers.
This is what Sweeter Juice Skin was made for. We’ve long believed the cure is in our roots. Our ancestry. We are constantly researching skin conditions and lesser-known indigenous ingredients to product products that can give a wide range of diverse skin tones the edge they need to flourish and achieve healthy, rich, radiant skin.
More work is needed to be done for Black people and skin of color, we’ve been failed so many times by the industry and continue to be. This journey will not be easy, but with the support of each other, we’ll be able to give skin of color the love and attention it needs.