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4 Common Misconcpetions on Dark Skin & People of Color to Be Aware Of

by Wendy Kim on Feb 07, 2021

Black Skin Skincare Insert  

While Lunar New Year is celebrated in the month of February, it is Black History Month (African American History Month) in the States. Despite the fact that Wishtrend is a Korean company based in Seoul, there is a growing community and customers that is taking this journey of skincare with Wishtrend in the U.S. Thus, Wishtrend aspires to always take time to not only work closely with the Black community but also educate ourselves on the talks revolving around black community but more so specifically on the idea on skincare. 

 

So, to celebrate every skin types and people of color, Wishtrend pulled up the most common misconception people have about skincare for dark skin and people of color so that we can all take this time to make sure we have a better understanding how 'skin' works regardless of the color of the skin. There are already amazing resources and leaders both in and outside the skincare community to educate us and bust the misunderstandings we have about dark skin and people of color. 

 Fortunately, we came across an amazing sources like the Black Skin Directory, founded by Aesthetician Dija Ayodele. They are revolutionizing the skincare industry by pointing women of color in the right direction, by locating dermatologists, aestheticians, and other skincare professionals who understand the “unique physiology of darker skin tones.” 

Misconception 1: SPF protection is optional? 

It has been scientifically proven that higher level of melanin is found in skin of color which hightens the tolerance towards the sun rays. However, it is false that spf is optional for people with dark skin. Melanin doesn't completely protect against harmful rays from the sun, and skin cancer is still possible.  Dija even further states that this makes the ‘sunscreen is optional’ myth one of the most dangerous. “It’s another falsity. Anyone can get skin cancer. The presence of melanin in darker skin tones doesn’t provide an automatic guarantee of a cancer-free life. Although, studies show that they’re less likely to develop cancer like melanoma than a Caucasian. However, that melanoma proves more fatal to due to lack of knowledge and awareness, monthly skin checks, and lack of sunscreen use. Like every other skin tone, black skin does need to apply a minimum SPF30 for protection against UVA/B rays. Although dark skin already has a head start with sun protection due to the melanin, it isn’t enough to rely on this alone and without adequate protection, dark skin is prone to diseases like skin cancer too.” 

Misconception 2: Skin aging is not a concern?

Although darker skin may show signs of fine lines and wrinkles at a slower pace than lighter complexions, in part thanks to sun-protecting melanin (more on this later), that doesn’t mean it’s immune to aging. Dija explains: “The myth that Black people don’t show aging, e.g., fine lines and wrinkles, as early as Caucasian skin tones, has indeed some truth behind it,” as the darker your skin tone, the higher the level of melanin in your skin, which helps protect the skin from external damage, like sun damage and pollution. However, Dija states that darker skin tones still show signs of aging: “It’s in the form of mottling, hyperpigmentation, age spots, and lentigines.”  The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) describes lentigines as, “Benign lesions that occur on the sun-exposed areas of the body. The lesions tend to increase in number with age, making them common among the middle age and older population.” They most commonly occur on the backs of hands and the face. 

Misconception 3: Hyperpigmentation is irreversible?

We came across that one of the most common misconception with dark skin was that hyperpigmentation on deeper skin tones is irreversible. However, when it comes to skincare and the topical use of different ingredients and medical treatments out there that are available, nothing truly is irreversible.  Regarding the hyperpigmentation, Dija specifically taps on to how to treat hyperpigmentation and says that “Hyperpigmentation on women of color is definitely something that can be treated through professional means. The quickest and safest in-clinic treatment to go for is monthly or even fortnightly chemical peels, to help lift the pigmentation – this works to turbocharge exfoliation and quickly get rid of excess pigmented cells.” 

Misconception 4: Black skin can’t have advanced treatments like laser and chemical peels

Just like we've mentioned how with the proper tools, ingredients and medical technologies, nothing truly is impossible when it comes to our skin regardless of the color of the skin.  Dija explains: “Yes it can, under careful guidance of an experience practitioner using the right equipment and products. Technology is now very advanced and there are many treatment options open to all skin tones.” With so many different types of chemical agents available, it’s important to know something about how they work and what they can be used for. Most peels will have an alpha-hydroxy (AHA) or beta hydroxyl (BHA) base, though sometimes peels agents are used singularly in a pure form or in combination with each other. ▶️ Read the full guide on "Acid Skincare Ingredient 101" to learn different types of acid ingredients for the skin  

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