Your Guide to Skin Care for POC
YAA & CO BEAUTY Founder Mary Addo explodes the myths about skin care for those blessed with abundant melanin.
“We’ve all heard and used this age-old phrase of black don’t crack time and time again, but what is the truth? How do black people and people of colour (POC) in general keep defying the laws of ageing?
Read on to learn about the beliefs surrounding this popular myth, the facts, tips on how to age (more) gracefully and products to help you to stay moisturised and flexin’ your complexion through every season.
For as long as any of us can remember, we have all grown up with the idea from popular TV shows and movies, and frankly, the entire cast of Black Hollywood, that black people do not age much. That is, they don’t get age spots, lines or wrinkles, are not susceptible to the harshness of the sun because of the high melanin content of our skin.
This seems to have become a globally accepted “fact”. But is it actually true?
Science has proven that darker complexions age around ten times more slowly due to the higher melanin content in the skin. Melanin, the pigment responsible for creating skin colour, comes in different types. Eumelanin is element responsible for producing darker skin tones. The more eumelanin a person produces, the darker their complexion.
This is the that is partially responsible for “black girl magic” that absorbs more than ninety-nine percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, before it reaches the skin’s delicate cells where it can cause damage. Hence, the darker the skin tone, the greater the protection from the harshness of the sun and vice versa.
This means that, although POC are not immune, they are significantly less susceptible to developing sun-induced damage such as wrinkles, age spots, sunburn and skin cancer.
Why People of Colour Age more Slowly
The aging process is also determined by bone structure, collagen (a protein responsibility for skin elasticity) and skin thickness. POC also have more dense bone structure which slows down aging.
Add to that the fact that an extra layer of protection is also inherited by POC through a thicker dermis (inner skin layer). This results in skin that is less prone to wrinkling. POC also have a different type of collagen that is less prone to sun damage.
On top of all this, experts have found that although nobody is immune to ageing,(as bones eventually become brittle and all skin succumbs to gravity and loses its elasticity, signs of ageing in POC with higher melanin content is a huge contributing factor to their slower ageing rate.
Signs of Ageing in POC
So, the fact is, everyone ages of course. But people with higher melanin levels show more gradual signs of ageing in their skin, than those with lower levels. POC still need to practice good skin care, otherwise the signs of ageing that might start showing earlier include sagging or dull skin, age-related hyperpigmentation, and hollowing under the eyes.
How to Age (More) Gracefully
Although ageing is different for everybody, there are common behaviours and lifestyle choices that can cause premature ageing. In addition to skin care, here are some practical things that you can do to keep looking your best at any age.
- 1. Accept and embrace every bit of you, at every age and stage of life. All the things that make you uniquely beautiful are worth celebrating!
- 2. Stop comparing yourself to others, especially “perfect” lives on social media. Comparison is the thief of job.
- 3. Get enough sleep
- 4. Stay or get happy. Harness joy, not the fleeting, temporary aspects of life.
- 5. Eat and drink well with a balanced diet and plenty of water.
- 6. MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE! Use the right moisturiser for your skin type. See types of moisturiser below.
- 7. Daily use of a high SPF (30+) Sunscreen is a MUST. Apply every 2 hours to stay protected.
- 8. Get and stay fit. Mentally, physically and emotionally.
- 9. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give the same kindness and care that you so freely give to others in your family and close circle of friends, to yourself.
- 10. Self-care is a must.. Rest often, re-centre and stay close to people who feel like sunshine!”