Treating Acne in Skin of Color: 7 Tips and Tricks for Clearer, Healthier Skin
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Acne can be an absolute nightmare for anyone to deal with, and for those of us with melanated skin, it can be especially tricky to handle. That’s because our skin has unique characteristics that oftentimes require specific attention and specialized products.
Here are some professionally suggested tips and tricks to help you achieve clearer, healthier skin:
Start with a gentle cleanser
It’s important to choose a face wash that does not strip your skin of its natural oils. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to use a cleanser that is considered an acne wash. You might be asking, “Why is that?” Well, most acne cleansers are quite harsh on the skin, drying it out too much and disrupting your skin barrier which can increase breakouts. We definitely don’t want that, so you’re going to want to look for a cleanser that is gentle and sulfate-free. It will cleanse your skin by getting rid of excess oil, dirt and even bacteria, while not stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Use products with salicylic acid
This tried-and-true ingredient is a beta-hydroxy acid which is known for unclogging pores and reducing inflammation. Look for a serum or gel with salicylic acid as these products are great for actively treating your acne. When using products with salicylic acid, choose those that contain 1-2% salicylic acid, and be sure to follow the instructions carefully. You also want to make sure you don’t over do it, because doing so can cause your skin to become dry or irritated.
Avoid using products with benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is oftentimes the first choice for acne since it is a known ingredient that kills acne-causing bacteria on your skin and pores, so you might be wondering, why we’re saying to avoid products that contain benzoyl peroxide. While it’s super popular, it’s not always the best choice for darker skin tones. It has the potential to dry out the skin, cause redness and possibly even bleach our skin.
Instead, you’ll want to look for alternative ingredient options, like salicylic acid (see above) and glycolic acid.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and moisturize some mo’!
Moisturizing is essential for all skin types, but even more crucial for skin of color. Despite the appearance of oily skin for some of us, our skin can be prone to dryness and dehydration. Really? Yes, that’s because our skin can actually produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture–now this isn’t true for all of skin of color, but for many people who think they have oily skin, it’s really a lack of proper moisture. And, skin in need of moisture can become irritated and inflamed. To avoid this, look for a moisturizer that is hydrating, and not too heavy, and make sure you apply it at least twice a day.
Don’t pick at your skin
This goes without saying, but it’s an important reminder since it can be tempting to pick at your pimples. We’re telling you: don’t pick or pop your pimples! Picking at your skin can make your acne worse by possibly spreading bacteria, and leaving acne scars. It’s important to remember that picking at your pimples can actually make your acne worse and lead to scarring. As tempting as it may be to pick or pop your pimples, resist the urge and choose skincare products that can help to treat your skin without causing damage. And, if you need to “put hands” to your skin, make an appointment with a licensed esthetician and let their skilled hands safely and professionally extract your pimples.
Give yourself grace and be patient with your skin. It can take time to treat acne effectively so be patient while you find a solid skincare regimen you can follow consistently. It is not realistic for you to expect results overnight, so don’t set yourself up thinking that you’ll get quick results by adding a new product. Make adjustments as needed and with time, you’ll start seeing results. It can actually take between 8-12 weeks to start seeing big improvements in your skin once you start tackling acne, so take notes on your calendar and again, be patient.
Book an appointment
Sometimes you gotta call in the big guns–big guns as in the true professionals–estheticians! If your patience has run out (after 8-12 weeks of working your routine) then it might be time to book an appointment with an esthetician who can look at your skin and create a treatment plan customized for your exact skin concerns – handling your current needs, while also helping to prevent future breakouts on your skin.
By trying out these tips, you can start experiencing clearer and healthier skin. It’s important that you stay patient, consistent and gentle with yourself and your skin as you make the proper additions and adjustments on your way to clear skin.