Caring For Dark Skin

No matter what your skin tone or skin colour, nothing is more attractive than healthy glowing skin. While we admire the skin of models and celebrities, the truth is a lot of air brushing and make up goes on before they go on camera. So what we are really admiring is not healthy skin but the clever hand of a make up artist and the even clever hands of photo editors.

Stars without Make up

While there’s an avalanche of information about black hair care, little can be said about black skin care. While I’m generally happy with the behavior of my own skin most of the time, all of my skin problems occur because of hormones. These are mainly break outs that then lead to hyper pigmentation.

I know I’m not alone in hormone related skin conditions as this tends to be the cause of skin problems for most women regardless of race. I am also not alone in the hyper-pigmentation that results from post breakout. The good news is that these brown spots do fade over time. As much as I hate them, it’s comforting to know that they wont be there forever.  The problem is they are here now and are affecting my complexion.

The other enemy against your skin is sun. As warm and lovely has it feels the sun is responsible for accelerating the aging process and for skin spots that contribute to an uneven complexion.

Your diet affects the way your skin looks. Unfortunately high sugar, high fat diets don’t contain the nutrients that your skin needs to look it’s best and glow. The last time I checked there were no antioxidants or vitamins in a burger. So clean up your diet. I’ve said this before, the problem with high sugar and high fat diets are that, it’s not so much the fat and the sugar that’s the big problem. It’s because these diets are nutrient deficient. The other bad news is that if you don’t provide your body enough nutrients and water to support it’s functions, it will draw these from the skins surface.

Finally drinking plenty of water. Nothing is more moisturizing than water itself. Not only does it help with the body’s detoxification process but you’re also about 80% water, so you’re not going to look that great if you’re dehydrated. Think dried fruit. Not a good look!

Choosing Skin Care

I’ve been looking through David Jones Beauty Catalogue and have just visited the two department stores of Myer and David Jones in Bourke Street Mall Melbourne. There’s a track load of cosmetics products out there and I can’t say I even know where to start. When choosing a skin care product, your skin type should be your main concern. There isn’t a specific skin type for dark skin. There’s a lot of literature that suggests that dark skin is oily but that’s not necessarily the case. Dark skin can be dry, oil and normal. It’s as individual as you are.

Deciding what type of skin you have can be a little tricky as your skin can behave differently depending on the season and for some women the menstrual cycle.

Cleansers

  • Your skin will vary from season to season. In winter regardless of skin type you will need a gentler cleanser, one that will clean your skin without striping away the natural oils but strong enough to strip away the dirt
  • Avoid cleansers with an alcohol base and don’t use a cleanser that lives your skin feeling tight, it’s too drying
  • Natural is best again and organic is better
  • For sensitive skin, make sure you use a brand that is approved or recommended by dermatologists

Toners

Toners are designed to be used after cleansing the skin and most skin care ranges will include a cleanser, moisturizer, and toner. Toning the skin helps to close pores which were opened during cleaning and prevent impurities from entering the skin. It’s up to you whether you want to use the same brand toner as your cleanser or moisturizer.

Avoid alcohol based toner

For gentle and natural toner, use which hazel or rose water

Natural toners such as rose water can be used during the day, sprayed on skin to re-hydrate the skin

Moisturizers

  • A moisturizer should live your skin feeling hydrated without making it feel greasy. Other things to look for
  • SPF 15+ to minimize pigmentation caused by the sun and sun spots
  • Contain no petroleum or it’s by products hydrocarbons
  • Contain anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C to help detoxify the skin (anti-oxidants can also be used in skin products to help brighten skin)
  • Be made of as many natural ingredients (these days a lot of skin care products are claiming that their products are now sulphate, paraben, and silicon free)
  • For sensitive skin types avoid moisturizers containing alcohol, fragrances, and colours
  • For oily skin use a lotion based moisturizer or an oil free moisturizer. For dry skin a cream based moisturizers
  • For uneven skin tone try using skin moisturizers packed with vitamins and anti-oxdants

Serums, night creams, exfolients, masks, eye creams, nutritional supplements

Exfoliants

Exfolients such as scrubs are often used to remove dead skin cells. They are often recommended for use on a weekly basis , but maybe used more frequently depending on the skin condition and skin type. If you have large pores may need to exfoliate their skin regularly to remove the build up of dirt in the pores which will avoid blockage and dark spots.

Microdermabresion is an exfoliating method that can be done at home but recently was only available at a cosmetics clinic. The home version that have used has consisted of fine sand like particles that are rubbed onto the skin in circular motion to remove dead skin cells and increase blood circulation and increases the lymphatic drainage of skin.

Face Masks

They can be used for moisturising, exfoliation, detoxifying and rejuvenation of cells. There are many types of face masks. Your choice of face mask will depend on the skin condition you’re trying to address. Face masks are used on clean dry skin and are followed by the use of a toner and moisturizer.

Serums and boosters

A Serum or booster can be used for rejuvenating and repairing skin to acne and as an anti -ageing agent. The composition of a serum defines the use. Make sure the serum is suitable for your skin type and skin need. Serums are applied under moisturizers after the skin has been cleaned and toned.

Eye Creams 

Eye creams are designed to be used around the area of the eye which is said to be delicate and requiring a more richer moisturizer. I must admit I don’t use one, so I can’t comment on whether this is useful or not. There are arguments by some skin specialist that the skin around the area of the eye is no different from the rest of the body so therefore doesn’t require a special type of moisturizer.

Night Creams

What does a night cream have to offer that isn’t already provided by a day cream or even a general moisturizer? Many differences, while the focus on day creams should be lightness, whole day moisture and sun protections, night creams will have more moisturizing ingredients and are more concentrated. Night creams also contain the best moisturizing and skin renewal ingredients because your skin absorbs the most effectively while you sleep. Buy your night cream depending on your skins needs. There are also night serums which can be used instead of a night cream. If you use a night cream, your face should not feel dry when you wake up. You can also use a skin oil in the place of night cream. Again it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Nutritional Supplements

There a growing number of supplements targeting people with problem skin, nails and hair.  I’ve been taking supplements for a long time, most to improve my health and to prevent or deal with my own nutritional deficiencies. I don’t really believe in taking a supplement to improve your skin, grow hair or nails. If you’ve got weak nails or your hair is not growing, there maybe other more important health implications that might require addressing that a supplement specifically designed to promote the growth of your hair or skin wont fix. Further more skin, nails and hair don’t really rate that high on the body’s list of important physiological functions. What’s more likely to happen is that the body will use any nutrients it has available in the body for more important functions.

I recently run into a health food store desperately looking for star flower oil capsules that I had started using to deal with period pain amongst other things. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately the health food shop that I went to didn’t stock the brand of star flower capsules I had been looking for. Instead, the sales person recommended evening primrose oil. I refused to buy the evening primrose oil as I had previously tried it and it didn’t seem to work. I left the health food store only to return later a little more desperate. I bought the oil and although I wasn’t convinced that it would work as well as the star flower oil, I drunk the oil, taking a desert spoon full and hoped for the best.

What happened next was what I think is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Something was happening to my scalp. The horrible flakes of dandruff and itchy scalp that had plagued me all my life were suddenly disappearing. I watched with amazement as my scalp cleared up over a space of a month. Today my scalp is completely clear. I’ve been so excited by the results that I did some research into evening primrose oil. It has one of the highest concentrations of omega 6 fatty acids. Most people are more familiar with omega 3. I’ll have to fill you in later!

I’ve mentioned my experience with supplements because the relationship between health and nutrition and can be a little complex. Taking supplements to improve your overall health and to prevent disease is more beneficial for your health and your looks will generally benefit. Your health not your looks should be your primary concerned. Generally if your skin is playing up, think of it not so much as an isolated incidence limited to your skin but as a  sign of an imbalance and investigating this could be more beneficial to your overall health and appearance.

Make Up and Make Up Removers

Cutting down on the amount of make up you wear is another way to ensure you have great skin. If you have to wear a lot of make up for whatever reason make sure that you have a very good skin cleaning routine. If you don’t remove the make up properly it can get clogged in pores producing black heads and break outs. A gentle way of removing heavy make up is with oil. That’s because most make up is oil based and comes off better with oil. You can experiment with this by using your kitchen olive oil.


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