Vol.1, No.8

Skin care tips for black women

Learn how to get beautiful, healthy skin. Tips for black women on skin care.

Black woman with beautiful skin
Photo Credit: Brett Rabideau
You see it on television and in magazines. You desire it and wonder how you can get it. What is it? Beautiful skin. Is it perfect? Not likely, because models and celebrities have an arsenal of beauty weapons the average woman doesn't have access to: professional makeup artists, exclusive cosmetics, and airbrushing among them.

While perfect skin is usually the hallmark of babies and retouched photographs, beautiful, healthy skin is within your grasp. For black women, a smooth, even complexion is attainable with proper care.

Beautiful skin often begins inside and radiates outward. A healthy diet is vital. This means eating good-for-you foods and saving indulgent treats for special occasions. Fruits and vegetables should make up a large portion of your daily intake. Fatty, fried foods should be kept to a minimum. Instead, bake, sauté (in olive oil or oily sprays), or broil your food.

Also, the importance of water cannot be overemphasized. Drink at least the recommended eight cups a day and compensate for alcoholic and caffeinated beverages with more water.

Exercise is also a good component to skin care. Regular workouts keep the skin toned and make you feel good. Find an activity you like, be it biking, walking, jogging, swimming, or sports. If you like what you do, you're more likely to stick with it for the long haul.

Besides following a healthy lifestyle, what else can black women do to maintain touchably soft skin?

Moisturizers are a must. Darker skin has a tendency to appear "ashy" when it's not well-lubricated. Creams and lotions, best applied after showering when skin is slightly damp and better able to hold in moisture, are plentiful. They range from drugstore brands to department store brands and you're sure to find one in your price range that you like.

For the face, it's best to use a separate moisturizer made specifically for your facial needs. Some women have dry skin, some have oily skin, and some have a combination of both. Once you identify the type of facial skin you have, use products geared toward your particular needs. For any type of skin, gentle handling should be followed.

A facial cleanser should be used in the morning and at night, especially to wash off cosmetics and a day's worth of grime. Dry skin tends to do better with non-soapy cleansers since soap can be even more drying. Oily skin often likes soap. Like moisturizers, there are dozens of cleansers to choose from. You can use your clean hands to wash your face, but if you use washcloths or sponges, these items must be washed or replaced frequently to prevent an overgrowth of germs and bacteria, which will lead to skin problems.

Black women, especially of the darker skin tones, often believe they don't need to use sunscreen since blacks rarely complain of sunburn, but this is false. Black skin also needs protection from the damaging rays of the sun. It is nice to find moisturizers which contain sunscreen as this single combination product does the job of two. Make sure to use sunscreen daily, year-round, to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer. It's also a good idea to wear wide-brimmed hats if you know you're going to be outside for a while, whether gardening or just being out and about; the hat will shade your face from the sun.

If you suffer from acne, do not pick at pimples. This often leaves unattractive scarring and black skin is much more prone to developing keloids as a result. Keloids are scar tissue caused by trauma or surgical incisions. It is important to treat the acne gently, but effectively. Washing too vigorously and handling roughly will only make the problem worse. You'll have to find a cleanser and moisturizer made specifically for your skin's needs. There are several acne-specific lines to choose from. Again, following a healthy diet and being active also can help to prevent breakouts.

For most of us, having healthy skin takes a small amount of work, but beautiful skin is worth the effort. Whether you have ten minutes or an hour's worth of pampering, take the time you need. Every time you look in a mirror, you'll be glad you did.