Skin Care

By Willette Francis

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Hey, Brown Skin Divas, achieving flawless skin just got easier with the use of skin care products formulated for Women of Color. Now you can have beautiful skin in less time than it takes to whip out that credit card to purchase a pair of Choo’s. No need to use a ton of product, these brands remedy some of the most common skincare complaints by Women of Color such as hyperpigmentation, acne and sensitivity with a few, gentle and effective products.

To find out more about the concerns, needs of women with richer complexions, I asked dermatologist, Dr. Dina Strachan (www.dinastrachanmd.com), who specializes in treating Women of Color and learned important must-know facts about our skin tones. First, there’s a misconception that sunscreen is optional. Dr. Strachan recommends, “People of all complexions wear sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 15. It should also have UVA protection. Although more melanin does provide some protection from sun damage, it doesn’t provide 100% protection. Skin cancer in people of color is a fraction of the rate in those with fair skin, however it is not zero”. Also, using sunscreen can help decrease the discoloration of hyperpigmentation.

To better understand, I had Dr. Strachan explain hyperpigentation in a consumer-friendly way, “People with darker skin have more sensitive pigment cells that produce extra pigment when the skin is injured. This is why they often develop blemishes after even minor burns, cuts, rashes and acne”. To pamper your delicate skin a regimen of a gentle cleanser, daily use of a sunscreen and application of moisturizer will ensure beautiful, healthy skin. For those that complain of extremely dry or “ashy” appearance to the skin, the Dr. has some tips to resolve the problem, “When the skin is dry, there is increase scale present. As the scale is light in color it is more noticeable on darker skin, thus the greater complaint of “ashy” skin by people of color. To prevent dry skin avoid bathing or showering more than once daily, use warm, not hot water, and a gentle, unscented cleanser. Also, application of a moisturizer within 10 minutes of bathing also helps”.

With this knowledge in tow, I’ve found some great products, that’ll give your Brown Skin the TLC it needs.

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“Is there a dermatologist in the house, anyone?” Why yes my dear and she’s right in these three bottles of Dr. Taylor’s Rx for Brown Skin, so try the Bright and Healthy skincare regimen of Ultra-Gentle Cleanser, Ultra-Gentle toner, and Ultra-Gentle Moisturizer. The combination infuses the skin with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate, Soy for restoring even skin tone and Pomegranate reduces inflammation that may cause uneven skin tones and dark marks and it’s a powerful anti-oxidant. My Ultra sensitive skin loved these Ultra-Gentle products for their fragrance free and irritant free properties and my skin never looked so radiant. www.sephora.com

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Sunshine Botanicals Botanical Therapy for Women of Color is a five part system that cleanses, detoxifies and protects against environmental damage and premature aging. To achieve maximum results do all the steps twice daily. Begin with the Cleanse and Clarify Exfoliating Wash, which minimizes pores, refines skin texture and brightens complexion. Following cleansing, apply Derma-Shield Skin Defense Mist to accelerate cell renewal, remove toxins and refresh, hydrate and strengthen skin. Proceed with a thin layer of Enlighten-10 Botanical Skin Brightener to balance coloration and serve as a skin firming serum. Apply Pro Derma Firming Antioxidant Cream a powerful concoction of anti-oxidants that hydrates and deeply nourishes. If you use make-up daily, Grape Seed Make-up Melter is great for removing make-up before deep cleansing. The Botanical Therapy is a synergistic formula of enzymes, amino acids and botanical extracts including cranberry enzyme, grape seed oil and Betulinic acid, an ingredient that is unique to Sunshine Botanicals.

I used this system for over two weeks and noticed results immediately. My skin was clean and very clear, had a nice healthy glow and blemishes became smooth and began to fade. The make-up remover was the best I have ever used. It was even great on the eye area, no need for a separate eye make-up remover because it does it all. All the steps are necessary, worth doing and take a few minutes once you get the hang of it. www.SunshineBotanicals.com

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These indulgent Carol’s Daughter must-haves are made with love, goodies from Mother Nature and are formulated to address the issue of dry skin among many Women of Color. And they make for a great at home spa experience, when time doesn’t permit spending a day at the spa. Add Mango Mélange Bath and Body Oil to a hot bath and it will calm the senses with a sweet heady fragrance and moisturize at the same time. It contains Sweet Almond Oil, Soy Oil and Jojoba Oil to soften and the replenish skin, while leaving it smooth to the touch. My friend tested this product and loved that they didn’t have to apply moisturizer after a bath and it absorbed into the skin without a greasy feel.

The Ocean Sea Salt Body Scrub contains Jojoba Oil and Soy Oil with the addition of Sea Salt and the essential oils of lavender and rosemary topped off with a delicious Ocean fragrance. After using this body scrub, my skin was velvety soft because of the sea salt exfoliation, moisturized and lightly perfumed. That’s three steps in one product. Perfect for the woman on the go! www.CarolsDaughter.com

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AMBI was founded in 1966 and has been loyal to the skincare needs of Women of Color and continue to deliver great quality with their new EVEN & CLEAR line. Use daily to clear skin and even out tone. The EVEN & CLEAR Foaming Cleanser is an extra-mild formula that clears and prevents pimples. It contains EvenBlend Complex, which combines natural soy and anti-oxidant vitamins C & E to help even tone while softening skin. The Vitamin C along with brightening skin, also stimulates collagen production, and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, while preventing hyper-pigmentation, and salicylic acid is what clears break outs and pimples. After cleansing, moisturize with EVEN & CLEAR Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30. Like the Foaming Cleanser, the moisturizer contains EvenBlend Complex for even skin tone. It visibly reduces skin discoloration while providing protection from the sun. Both are oil-free and hypoallergenic. I had my sister test these products, within a week her break outs began to clear and have been kept at bay. Her face feels soft and has a vibrant, healthy appearance.

She also tried the AMBI Black Soap with Shea Butter for face and body. As body soap, she found it to be a great skin moisturizer and was happy that it cleans without over drying. The Black soap contains Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, and the Vitamin E has dual benefits; it cleanses and moisturizes. The AMBI Facial Bars reduce oil, dirt and dead skin cells to help maintain a youthful and even complexion. www.Drugstore.com

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Iman Cosmetics was founded in 1994 by super model Iman, as the first makeup collection for skin of color. After much success, Iman went on to create skin care products for Women of Color as well. The Time Control Liquid Assets Gentle Foaming Cleanser is a combination of botanical extracts to condition and moisture and left my skin hydrated and cleansed without over drying. I followed with the Time Control Skin Tone Evener Hydroquinone Free. This skin tone evener gently and gradually evens tone and fades dark spots, freckles and other skin discolorations. The addition of antioxidants Vitamin C and E protect skin from further darkening and environmental damage. This is an excellent moisturizer and I began to notice some fading of blemishes after a few days. www.imancosmetics.com

Originally published January 2008
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